Governor on COVID-19: ”The situation is serious across the state and it is most serious in Lake Charles.”

Governor John Bel Edwards doing a virtual interview
Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 7:34 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Nineteen new COVID-19 deaths reported in Southwest Louisiana today by state health officials and sixteen of those deaths were in Calcasieu Parish. There was one in Allen, two in Vernon.

The nineteen deaths top the previous single-day high of eleven set on July 27th.

John Bel Edwards says Lake Charles is the worst in the state when it comes to communities testing positive for COVID-19.

He says he wants people in Lake Charles area to know the area has the highest rate of COVID positivity: more than 17%.

Edwards says people need to take measures to drive the numbers down. Besides wearing masks and social distancing, he says don’t go out as much.

“Reduce the frequency with which you leave your home. So, if you don’t need to go to the store more than once a week, don’t’ go to the store more than once a week,” he said.

Earlier this week, a Lake Charles City Council member proposed a resolution to ask the governor to let this area jump ahead to Phase Three to help save businesses. The governor says no.

“The part of the state that’s actually doing the worst right now is Lake Charles. So, if I were ever going to consider making an exception for a region or a parish, it certainly wouldn’t be for Lake Charles right now, and really that demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the situation is. The situation is serious across the state and it is most serious in the Lake Charles area,” he said.

A question many people ask lately is why bars must close while casinos stay open. Edwards says many more outbreaks and cases are traced to the bars, though he admits some issues with casinos.

“I’m not going to say we haven’t had any issues with respect to casinos, but contact tracing shows us we’ve had far more outbreaks and cases attributable to bars than casinos.”

“And when we had them in casinos, we believe a lot of that was related not to the gaming floor but to the pools and so we have now gotten with them. They have closed their pools to anyone but their registered guests, who are then going to have to distance and all of those sorts of things,” said Edwards.

The governor says, with plans to start school, people should be trying harder than ever to stop the spread. His son will be a freshman at LSU.

”I do have a son who’s 18. He is going to be going to in person classes will be wearing a mask and distancing from his classmates,” he said.

The governor says if people do as asked, wearing masks and such, schools can open safely.

The governor admits, with community spread of COVID, it will get into the schools. But he says taking immediate action when it happens will be critically important.

On another topic, the governor urges everyone to fill out their 2020 Census form, if they have not already, because it affects many things important to the state from money to congressional representatives. The deadline has been moved up to September 30.

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