EASES MEDICAL RESTRICTIONS - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced yesterday that he is lifting many restrictions on non-emergency medical procedures including abortions beginning April 27th. This is the first rollback of his stay-at-home order since the coronavirus crisis began.
"We believe we need to allow people to redume going to the doctor for things that may not be an emergency at first,"explained Edwards. "But if you don't allow them to get treatment at some point, many of those things will become acute and emergencies."
Medical professionals will largely determine what non-emergency medical procedures will be allowed under the governor's new order. The Louisiana Hospital Association welcomed the reopening of some clinics, after seeing health systems across the state take a hit from the virus. Two of the state’s biggest health systems, Ochsner Medical Center and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, have recently reported steep financial losses from the virus, stemming in part from the cancellation of elective procedures.
As to lifting his executive orders and allowing all Louisiana businesses to reopen -- the Governor said Louisiana hasn't yet met all the requirements for what President Donald Trump and his task force have called the "Phase One" reopening, though he's hopeful the state is closer to meeting the requirements.
"I want to reopen the economy as quickly as we can do that and protect public safety and save lives at the same time," Edwards said.
State officials and health experts say Louisiana needs to experience a downward trajectory in cases and hospitalizations in order to reopen AND increase amount of testing and number of contact tracers, people who track down those persons who test positive and maintain quarantine. Louisiana’s current total reported number of Covid-19 cases is up to 24,523 with 1,328 Covid-19 related deaths reported.