Apr 30, 2020

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Briefing Transcript April 30

Louisiana April 30
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsLouisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Briefing Transcript April 30

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards held a coronavirus press conference today, April 30. Edwards signed a stay-home order extension until May 15.


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John Bel Edwards: (00:00)
With Dr B, but as you now know, it was for I think a very good reason. Yesterday, Dr. B and I traveled to Washington to meet with the President and the Vice President and many members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. I will tell you we had a good meeting with the President and quite frankly he was very generous with his time. We spent more than 90 minutes in the Oval Office with the President and with his team. And we discussed a number of things, including the experience we had in Louisiana with the highest growth rate at one time of cases in the country, if not in the world. And then the work that we’ve done together working with our federal partners, with our local partners and the team here at the state level. We had those discussions with the President. We also discussed with him and members of his team, our plan to continue to use the White House issued guidance, the guidelines on reopening, with the threshold criteria that have to be met while we continue to ramp up our testing capacity and our contact tracing capacity.

John Bel Edwards: (01:17)
Specifically, our plan as I announced on Monday of this week, to move to phase one of reopening on May the 15th. Again, assuming then that we meet all of the administration’s criteria. We also talked about the fact that Louisiana to a degree that I think exceeded the vast majority of States, had left open a number of non-essential businesses of various types across the State of Louisiana. They were able to safely operate during this time. I will tell you the President was extremely supportive of the work that had been done here by everybody, by folks at the state level, folks at the local level and really more than anybody else, the people of Louisiana who obviously demonstrated a tremendous compliance with the stay at home order with social distancing, with the hygiene measures and so forth.

John Bel Edwards: (02:14)
And of course I thanked him and his team for the assistance that we have received from them from the beginning and the good communications that we have had and enjoyed, especially with individuals such as the Vice President who has called me on numerous occasions, but also others in the administration who’ve made themselves available for us here in Louisiana, including folks like Dr Fauci, Brett Giroir, Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General and many others.

John Bel Edwards: (02:42)
We also had an opportunity to meet individually with Dr. Birx, Dr. Fauci, Jared Kushner, and the Vice President and others. I will tell you what became apparent to me was they were watching Louisiana much more closely than I thought several weeks ago, when we were reporting the cases that put us on the trajectory of case growth that exceeded anything else being experienced in the country. And quite frankly they were alarmed at what they saw and they weren’t quite sure that we were going to be successful and turning that around and flattening that curve, especially in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish areas.

John Bel Edwards: (03:29)
And the degree of knowledge that they had about those regions and the case growth and the measures that were taken, I will tell you demonstrated to me that they were paying very, very close attention. Now and I will tell you, I think from my perspective at least the single most important thing to come out of the meeting, other than just the opportunity to visit face to face and talk and to express our gratitude for their assistance was their commitment, yet again, to resource the State’s testing plan for the month of may and going forward where we have a plan to test 200,000 Louisianans each month. That’s 4.3% of our population each month in order to keep a lid on case growth through the testing and the contact tracing and they recommitted to that and the weekly allocations of those tests kits should start arriving in the first week of May, which is next week. So that was very important.

John Bel Edwards: (04:36)
I will tell you that that testing is going to be really important as we continue to open up more and more of our economy and bring people into contact with one another and to that end, I did want to save that just earlier this afternoon and I officially signed the order that extends the stay home order until May the 15th, that’s what we discussed on Monday. It is important for every business owner, if you were able, to read the order for themselves very carefully. There are numerous ways that many non-essential businesses can continue selling their goods and services, whether it’s curbside pickup or limiting the number of people to no more than 10 including staff and patrons.

John Bel Edwards: (05:23)
As I said on Monday, the order also requires employees who are interacting with the public to wear mask or face coverings and to enforce social distancing of at least six feet. May the 15th is going to come quickly. I believe in order to move to phase one, we certainly need to use the time between now and then to remain vigilant, adhere to the stay at home order, continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, because those criteria still have to be met. Those are symptoms, cases and hospitalizations, we want all of those to be on a good downward trajectory.

John Bel Edwards: (06:05)
We’re going to continue to issue guidance about moving to phase one I should say, so please stay tuned for that. Moving to today’s testing update, we are reporting today 341 new cases across the state of Louisiana, so we just broke 28,000, 28,001 to be exact. Unfortunately, we’re also reporting 60 new deaths, bringing the total of deaths to 1,862. There are 1,601 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 231 of those are on ventilators. Both of those numbers represent slight improvements over yesterday. There are areas of concern, and I need to be clear about this because sometimes you lose sight of this when you talk about the numbers for the state as a whole. Over the last week we’ve seen an increase in cases in Washington Parish by 22%, east Baton Rouge Parish by 14% Caddo Parish by 11%, and Saint Tammany Parish by 9.8%. So while as a State, I can say we are doing better, that’s born out by these numbers that is not uniform everywhere and we still have our work to do.

John Bel Edwards: (07:25)
And I just called out East Baton Rouge, Caddos, the Monroe area, and the North shore area in Saint Tammany. So you can see that this is why it’s across the State where we have work to do. We are also reporting that all of this information is based on a total of 161,309 tests that have been administered in Louisiana to date. The last thing I want to mention about the amount of COVID-19 we have in our state is there were still some percentage of our State’s population that is COVID positive but either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and haven’t even requested a test yet. And the conversations that we were having yesterday in the White House about the percentage of folks who could be across the country and certainly here in Louisiana with COVID-19 but don’t know it and therefore at a greater risk of actually spreading it just because they’re not symptomatic doesn’t mean they aren’t contagious because they are.

John Bel Edwards: (08:33)
That was startling and so I just want to make sure the people of Louisiana are paying attention to that and that is really why we have gone to the protective measures that we’ve implemented and the CDC has as well with respect to masks, so social distancing and so forth. On March the 16th, I directed the councils on aging across Louisiana to discontinue congregate programming in order to protect the safety of the seniors that they serve, while also challenging them to continue and if possible, expand, bolster their feeding programs. No seniors should ever have to worry about having enough healthy food to eat and that is especially true in these difficult times when they shouldn’t be going out and going to the grocery store, if at all possible. They shouldn’t be going out and grabbing something at a restaurant and so forth.

John Bel Edwards: (09:26)
But it’s really difficult because seniors, I guess, categorically are in that group of people who are more vulnerable to this disease, the individuals who are 65 and older. And the good news is, in fact, it’s great news, our councils on aging met the challenge. They have delivered more than 600,000 meals to our seniors since I issued that challenge. And so I speak for myself and really for the entire state. When I say thank you to the leadership and to the staff, all the workers at the councils on aging for taking care of our seniors. I thank you very much. And this is not over, we’re going to need your continued-

John Bel Edwards: (10:03)
… service and ask you to continue to find new and better ways to expand what you’re able to do on behalf of our seniors.

John Bel Edwards: (10:14)
I continue to believe that our healthcare heroes deserve an awful lot of thanks from the people of Louisiana. They are on the front line of the COVID-19 fight and that is why tomorrow the Louisiana Air National Guard for 159th Fighter Wing is set to join the air force reserves, second bomb wing and a fly over of New Orleans and Baton Rouge area hospitals to honor healthcare workers who have been working in the front lines of the COVID-19 response. So this will happen tomorrow, Friday, May the first. The 159th is scheduled to send two F-15 Sea Fighter jets to escort 2B-52 bombers from the second bomb wing. The fly over should last between 10 and 20 minutes in each city, New Orleans and Baton Rouge. They’re scheduled to fly over the New Orleans area first at approximately 9:30 in the morning and the Baton Rouge area at approximately noon.

John Bel Edwards: (11:14)
I was able to call both wing commanders today to thank them and all of the people who work with them, the men and women, and really thank them for what they’re doing to honor our healthcare workers. We do want people to know that they’re encouraged to watch the fly overs and to participate in that. We ask them to do so in a way that still honors social distance in however. We ask that you not congregate in order to watch the fly overs. These aircraft will be flying low and slow, so the four plane formation will be able to be seen from a long ways off and from the comfort of home for many people.

John Bel Edwards: (11:58)
I now want to get to some questions from the public. So I think we have Elizabeth from Baton Rouge. “What information is needed for contact tracing? What level of interaction with another person is considered a contact? Is this information needed for a certain number of days prior to the onset of symptoms?” These are all good questions and we’re talking a lot about contact tracing here in Louisiana and elsewhere around the country. And a lot of people don’t know what that means. It’s a really good question because anybody is subject to being called by a contact tracer. So this is a good opportunity to tell people what they can expect.

John Bel Edwards: (12:42)
And as we work to enhance contact tracing in our state, literally any one of us who tests positive could receive a call from a contact tracer to help understand where we have been and who we may have exposed to the virus. Other people may called to be notified that they potentially have been exposed to the virus by being in close proximity and contact with an individual who’s tested positive. And contact tracing is absolutely critical for quickly identifying and stopping the spread of COVID-19 because individuals who have been in contact with others who are COVID positive will be asked to quarantine for 14 days.

John Bel Edwards: (13:28)
Contact tracers specifically, will be calling those who are considered a close contact of someone who is confirmed to have the disease COVID-19. Based on CDC guidance, those that would be considered close contacts of a positive case and who would need to quarantine are household members, intimate partners, individuals providing care to an infected individual in a household without using recommended infection control precautions, and other individuals who have had close contact. And that is defined as less than six feet for a minimum of 15 minutes.

John Bel Edwards: (14:07)
So that’s a good question from Elizabeth and I think we have one more question. Monique from Alexandria, I should say. “Can churches have services outside just like a restaurant can have people eating outside?” So as I mentioned on Monday, one of the things that we’re moving to tomorrow with the order that I just signed is allowing restaurants to offer on-premise dining but outside so long as that is not accompanied by a waitstaff at the table. And for somebody who asked the question the other day, they will be able to leave their restrooms open for hand washing and so forth. And so that was a good question.

John Bel Edwards: (14:51)
There are certain limitations on that because we still need people to practice social distancing. So they’re not going to sit at a table with anyone who isn’t from their household. The table size is going to be limited. The spacing of tables is going to be far enough apart to make sure that they can sit without being too close to other individuals and so forth.

John Bel Edwards: (15:14)
The same thing will go for church services. We do believe that church services can be conducted safely, outdoors, just as individuals can safely eat on premises of a restaurant outdoors. Now , for those churches who want to put up a tent in order to create the space, that’s fine. But if you put the flaps down, the walls of a tent, it really becomes an interior space without the outside airflow, and that would be a problem, so that’s not going to be allowed. But if you wanted to do it outside or outside under a tent that doesn’t have the flaps down or the walls and practice social distancing, encouraging people to not come if they are 65 or older or have those comorbid chronic health conditions that we’ve been talking about.

John Bel Edwards: (16:07)
And for those who do come, people in the same household can sit together, but nobody should be sitting within six feet of someone who isn’t from their household. We again believe that those individuals should, part of the the CDC guidance and the department of health guidance here in Louisiana, wear a mask. And then we would ask that those churches take special precautions about community service and other parts of the services that would typically bring people into close proximity with one another and to make alternative arrangements for that. And there will be more guidance coming out tomorrow from the department of health and the fire marshal’s office on that. So that is a great question from Monique and we’ll be getting some more information to you tomorrow. So with that, I’m going to take a sip of water and a question. Yes sir.

Speaker 1: (17:06)
Governor, the state legislative budget chairman, both are projecting, I don’t know what they’re basing it on, but a pretty big sizable budget shortfall in fiscal year 2021. And one of them is that the cuts are going to be inevitable regardless of what the federal government does. Do you agree that we’re going to have to be cutting the budget in the in the next month? Or do you hope that federally you can offset those?

John Bel Edwards: (17:33)
Well, there’s always that hope. I know that the president is talking and as our leaders of Congress in both parties and in both the house and the Senate about additional stimulus packages that would include States, and I know they’re talking about different numbers and other things that they’re going to insist on being in that package.

John Bel Edwards: (17:56)
We know that the States have been making this request to the federal government for a week now, through the National Governors Association. So I am cautiously optimistic that at some point in the not too distant future, there will be assistant that comes to the state, that unlike the 1.8 billion that we currently have, would be allowed to offset lost revenue. I don’t know when that’s going to come and I don’t know in what amounts.

John Bel Edwards: (18:24)
I don’t want to speculate beyond saying that at some point in the next couple of weeks, we should have an REC meeting that will, as best our economists can predict, look at the revenue that we have coming in for the rest of this fiscal year, relative to what the budgeted amount was and for next fiscal year and whatever adjustments are required will be made. I don’t want to get ahead of that right now. It goes without saying that revenue changes that will be forthcoming at the REC, they’re not going to be positive, they’re going to be negative. I don’t know how big. The good news is, and I mentioned this the other day, I believe we were running excess in the current year and we still have surplus from the previous year.

John Bel Edwards: (19:16)
And so that excess will be a cushion, but how much of a cushion relative to the size of the hole, we don’t yet know. But we will make whatever adjustments are required and we’re going to continue to make the case to the federal government that we in Louisiana and other States would like to have some assistance because it doesn’t make sense if we’re trying to keep the economy going, that state to be in a position where they can’t keep school teachers employed or first responders and all the other myriad people who work for States, especially at a time when the people are going to be demanding more services as a result of the Public Health Emergency…

John Bel Edwards: (20:03)
… that we have, and unlike the federal government, as you all know, and I think this is without exception of States, I know it’s true for Louisiana, States cannot run a deficit, we have to balance the budget, and so without some help from them, then I can assure you that the cuts will be much more drastic than they would otherwise be. But I don’t want to get ahead of that just yet. We’re going to know a lot more in a couple of weeks. Yes ma’am.

Speaker 2: (20:30)
Governor, there are some parishes where leadership seems to be indicating that on Friday they’re going to be reopening more than what is allowed under your order, and also the Attorney General has sent you a letter asking about the possibility of loosening some of the restrictions on churches. In both of those cases, are you interested in loosening any of the restrictions on churches in particular, but then also what are you going to do if parish officials don’t follow your stay at home order? How are you going to enforce it?

John Bel Edwards: (21:04)
Well, first of all, I did get a letter from the Attorney General today, and I’m always interested in loosening restrictions on churches and on businesses, but we’re going to do so in a way that we feel comfortable, that aren’t going to cause a spike in cases. And we know for example, that on may the 15th, if we are able to go to phase one, and I surely hope we can, that we will increase the number of people that can be inside of the church service from 10, which is a current limitation, to 25% of their occupancy limit. In addition, as I just laid out, we are going to make available to churches and other places of worship, this outdoor service idea that we just went through.

John Bel Edwards: (21:51)
So I share the Attorney General’s concerns that we get places of worship back into operation closer to normal. But that’s the pace at which we’re going to move. And I think both of them are measures that we should take to try to balance public health on the one hand with the need to get the churches, just like we need to get the economy back open.

John Bel Edwards: (22:20)
So the other part of your question had to do with parishes. As a general matter, I can tell you that parishes are free, and mayors, to be more restrictive than whatever restrictions I’ve put in place by virtue of executive order of proclamation, they are not free to be less restrictive. And so any such order would not be valid. And we would look for the State where depending on the type of entity it is, and I don’t know what examples you had. It could be the department of health, it could be the Fire Marshall’s office that would enforce the executive order.

John Bel Edwards: (23:05)
I remain hopeful that there won’t be instances of political subdivisions that attempt to move further and faster than my proclamation would allow, because I can assure you the proclamation was based on sound data, and science, and the recommendations of doctors, including epidemiologists from all across the state of Louisiana. And looking at what’s happening in multiple regions. And I just gave you a number of parishes that over the last seven days have seen significant increases in the number of cases, and they’re not all clustered in one part of the state. And so that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. And I think it’s important that we do that. But if they’ve got questions, I’m more than happy to meet with them and talk to them about what the questions are.

John Bel Edwards: (23:58)
Some of the things that we’ve actually heard of that’s happening at the local level, they are actions that are entirely consistent with what my orders have been throughout. And it sometimes relates to whether it’s a retail store that can be opened, or whether a municipal golf course can be open, and those sorts of things. Many local leaders made the decision to be more restrictive weeks ago, and now are loosening some of those restrictions. But those decisions are actually consistent with the decisions that we made and the orders that we’ve had in place.

Speaker 2: (24:34)
What are the enforcement mechanisms that LDH and the Fire Marshall have? I mean, just shutting businesses down?

John Bel Edwards: (24:39)
Well yeah, they, they need permits to operate and so forth. And we really hope it doesn’t come to that. And I would hope that we can clarify whatever confusion may be out there, if to the extent that there is confusion, and make sure that people operate within the restrictions that we have.

Speaker 3: (25:01)
Did you talk to Kenny Hubbard who is one of these parish leaders?

John Bel Edwards: (25:04)
I did.

Speaker 3: (25:05)
And what did you say to him? Did you tell him that your going to go over this, we are going to enforce it through LDH and the Fire Marshall?

John Bel Edwards: (25:11)
Well, when I spoke to President Hubbard this morning, and you need to know, he’s a longtime friend of mine, and when I talked to him this morning, we had a nice conversation and he assured me that he’s not trying to do anything in West Feliciana that is inconsistent with the orders that I had put forward. And I made sure that we clear up any communication.

John Bel Edwards: (25:37)
I’ve asked my staff to make sure that they’re talking not just to the folks in West Feliciana parish, but to the Police Jury Association, to kind of go back through the order and make sure that people understand what it says, and what happens tomorrow in addition to what we already had in place. And you know those are basically three things where employees have to wear a face master or other facial coverings if they’re going to come in contact with the public. That stores in malls can be open for curbside pickup, and that restaurants can move to that own premises, but outdoor dining as we’ve already talked about it.

John Bel Edwards: (26:13)
President Hubbard mentioned to me that what he had really done is he had taken the memo and information that had been put out by the fire marshal’s office relative to the restaurants, and that’s what he had sent out. So if there remains any miscommunication, we’ll sort that out and make sure that that gets fixed. Yes, sir.

Speaker 4: (26:32)
Following up, obviously you mentioned that businesses that aren’t supposed to be opening, the Fire Marshall and LDH will deal with that. As far as public businesses that don’t have employees wearing masks or face covering is that also in their jurisdiction?

John Bel Edwards: (26:45)
Yeah, and they’re going to be… First of all, I’m going to assume that people who are not complying aren’t doing it willfully and intentionally, they’re going to be given opportunities to come into compliance, but that’s one of the reasons we announced Monday what the changes would be Friday so that businesses would have an opportunity to ask questions and to get clarification, and to make the changes that they need to make, to acquire masks for example.

John Bel Edwards: (27:12)
Again, we’re not asking that an employee of a grocery store for example, to where an N95 mass or a surgical grade mask, because those remain somewhat in short supply, and they’re just not necessary for that setting. But they do need to have perhaps a Hanes face mask or other face covering cloth of for example, to minimize the distance at which that virus would be expected to spread. Any other questions? Yes ma’am.

Speaker 5: (27:44)
Have you talked to the legislative leadership since the last time we’ve had a briefing, and they had expressed displeasure and the way you had announced the extension?

John Bel Edwards: (27:54)
No, I spoke to them on Monday afternoon. I get confused on days. Yes, Monday afternoon, and I haven’t talked to them since. Although we are trying to set up a meeting at the Capitol on Monday, early afternoon

Speaker 5: (28:10)
The petition that’s been circulating around, some Republican legislators to try and rescind your emergency order. Do you have any comments on that?

John Bel Edwards: (28:20)
Well that would be just completely irresponsible and nonsensical to be the only state in the nation without an emergency declaration in place for the public health emergency that is COVID-19, when we’re the sixth highest state in cases per capita in the country. And by the way, it would disqualify us from Stafford Act Funding from the federal government. Obviously it would be, silly is not the right word, it would be profoundly regrettable and unfortunate, and to a degree that I don’t think sensible legislators would entertain the idea. Leo?

Leo: (29:16)
There seems to be some friction between different factions of the legislature for the meet next week, [inaudible 00:09:19]. How do you see this [inaudible 00:29:26] ? How do you see the [inaudible 00:29:27]?

John Bel Edwards: (29:29)
I try to be very mindful of the separation between the branches. I will tell you generally the way that I feel about it. Ultimately, the speaker and the president working with their leadership and their members are going to have to sort this out. Just like for the duration of this public health emergency, and since its inception, there have been infrastructure and workers that are deemed essential. I happen to think the legislature is essential as well. I mean, if for no other reason, then come July, 1st, if I don’t have a budget, if the state of Louisiana doesn’t have a budget, we don’t continue-

John Bel Edwards: (30:03)
… to operate and to offer services. So between now and then, there are certainly a number of bills, primarily these money bills, appropriations, capital outlay and so forth that really needed to be passed and so, I think the legislature is essential. However, it’s certainly not appropriate in my view for the legislature to operate business as usual. Meaning that they need to take special precautions to put as few people in that building at one time as possible and to do it as infrequently as is necessary I think, to get the essential legislation through. Now exactly what time line they work on, what they take up and exactly how they do that, I’ll leave it to their discretion. I do know that there are certain members who believe it would be best to not go back at all until after May 15th and I assume that they’re taking that up with leadership but beyond what I’ve just expressed, I don’t think I have any comment on that. Yes, sir.

Speaker 6: (31:12)
Going back to your reading yesterday at the white house with the President. Obviously in the part we saw on television, y’all were speaking, so not wearing masks, not socially distant but how did things run at the white house? So you said you were tested yesterday being around the President, what were the parameters in place as far as this virus goes?

John Bel Edwards: (31:30)
So Alex and I we’re brought into the Eisenhower Building, I think that’s what it’s called, the Eisenhower Building and we were administered a test and then we were shown to a waiting room to await the results. Through all that time we wore a mask just as the CDC recommends and so forth. We were then told that our tests were negative, thankfully. And the other thanks I can give, the swab was not put all the way up beside my eye, it was a different kind of a test. And then we were later escorted into the white house itself and we continued to wear a mask until we were told by someone that because we had passed the test that they did not expect us to wear the mask. And I certainly knew that once we got into the oval office meeting, I wouldn’t be wearing when while we were going to be on TV. And I guess one of the differences between the white house and just about any other building in the country right now is everybody in there passes a test and I don’t know the frequency with which everybody else has administered the test. I know that we had to do it immediately for going in and then we were temperature checked two or three different times before we ever got into the room with the president as well. But the meeting lasted about 90 minutes and it was a very pleasant discussion that we had. And it was a great opportunity for us to talk to national leaders so they understood the challenges we still had in Louisiana as we move forward and especially around testing to inform our contact tracing and so forth, so that as we continue to open up the economy moving forward, we keep those cases down. I don’t recall a single incidence of anybody there being in disagreement with anybody else really about anything that either Louisiana was doing or that the country as a whole was doing.

John Bel Edwards: (33:38)
Certainly the best news for the country I suspect yesterday, I told you the best news for Louisiana was that recommitment to 200,000 tests a month starting in May, but for the country, it was this idea that we may soon have an FDA approved pharmaceutical treatment for COVID-19, at least for those individuals who were hospitalized and that was the Gilead drug, Remdesivir and that news came as we were in the oval office from Dr. Fowchee. So anyway, it was a pleasant trip and I enjoyed it. It was also good to get out of Baton Rouge for the first time in a long time other than going out to look at some tornado damage.

Speaker 7: (34:28)
Last question.

John Bel Edwards: (34:28)
I’m not going to back here because Jace you’ve been very patient.

Jace: (34:33)
I’m trying. Did you and the President talk you extending your stay at home order [inaudible 00:34:40] open up the economy as well. What did he say about that specifically?

John Bel Edwards: (34:42)
Well the President didn’t express any opposition to it. And if you will recall, when he released the guidelines for reopening America, he talked about how states were going to be moving at different paces because some we’re rural spots of the country with relatively few cases, other places where we’re hotspots and it may take them a little bit longer to come online and start moving through the phases. There was never a time when they discussed hotspots that they weren’t discussing New York, New Jersey and Louisiana as it relates to the new Orleans region. I don’t think he was surprised, he’s probably like me, he’s a little bit disappointed that we didn’t meet the criteria and we didn’t move forward but he knows that we’re committed to doing that just as soon as we do meet the criteria.

John Bel Edwards: (35:40)
And so, there was never any hint of disappointment with the decision itself or disagreement with the decision. And in fact everything that was expressed to me and to Dr. Bu by the president and the vice president and the entire team, it was very laudatory about the efforts that had been made here to take us off the trajectory that we were on. And I will tell you that made the trip I think especially meaningful to me and to Dr. Bu and then of course we know that there are an awful lot of people across Louisiana working at the state level, at the parish level for municipalities but really the people, our citizens have responded.

John Bel Edwards: (36:29)
My message today is we have to continue to do that. We’ve got a couple of weeks left in the stay at home order at least. And if we want to move forward to phase one, we’ve got to meet those criteria, which means our symptoms, our cases and our hospitalizations all need to be on a downward trend. And so, we still have some work to do and I’m asking the people to abide by the stay at home order, to make sure that they’re following social distancing and the hygiene measures and that’s been my message all along but it remains critically important.

John Bel Edwards: (37:03)
And I continue to appreciate the people of Louisiana for doing as they’ve done thus far and I will tell you the trip yesterday to Washington I think was a very beneficial one for the state of Louisiana, given the opportunity that we had to have that discussion directly with the President and his team. I mean these were, I guess you would call it the first string of the white house, coronavirus task force. And to be able to spend that much time with them talking about our state and our needs, I think is just going to prove beneficial. So thank you all for being here again today. We will have a press conference tomorrow at 2:30. I will see you all then. Thank you.

Speaker 8: (37:59)
Every year puffins just arrive out of the blue. They spend the winter out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean being tossed around in storms …

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