Despite a slight increase in number of hospitalizations and number of patients on ventilators, Louisiana is “in a better place today than we were at this time last week,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday.
“It is because of you,” he said. “It is because of the people of Louisiana and your compliance with the stay-at-home order.”
Louisiana has over 19,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19. The state has lost 755 lives, including state Rep. Reggie Bagala.
In the wake of data revealing a major racial disparity in COVID-19 deaths, the governor said a Health Equity Task Force will be put in place.
The recently released data showed that while African Americans make up roughly 32% of Louisiana’s population, they account for 70% of the deaths in the state.
“We want to make sure that we have better health outcomes on the other side of this pandemic, as well,” the governor said. “So we need to answer the question: ‘What are the social determinants of health disparity and how do we ensure health equity for all of our citizens?’ And this task force will be meeting this charge.”
Edwards said his state has received additional federal funding for continuing testing sites in the state, some of which were scheduled to close as soon as today. Edwards said he still isn’t satisfied with the testing within the state and that is another issue the task force will tackle.
“There is no region of our state that isn’t currently testing, but we don’t believe that we have adequate testing anywhere,” he said.