Nurse wearing respirator mask holding a positive blood test result for the new rapidly spreading Coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The numbers tell the best picture of the urgent situation for Louisiana.

Louisiana COVID-19 cases are among highest in the world per capita. That’s why Gov. John Bel Edwards sounded the alarm Sunday with a shelter-in-place order.

The number of confirmed cases in the state in the first 13 days of the outbreak is among the highest in the world.

"In the last two weeks our growth rate has been higher than any other state or country in the world. This is why it matters,” Edwards said.

The governor stressed the importance of flattening the curve.  What does that mean?

The first two weeks of the Louisiana outbreak tracks closely with Spain, Italy and South Korea.  Today, the positive cases topped 1,000, with 34 deaths.

To flatten the curve like South Korea, Louisiana needs to see the line begin to flatten in seven days. Reducing the number of people who get sick means the state can keep pace with available medical resources, according to medical professionals. 

Doing nothing could cause the trajectory to follow that of Spain or Italy. With the number of cases soaring, Louisiana’s health care system could get overwhelmed and cause the outbreak to last even longer. And that's what the governor wants the state’s residents to avoid.

“And so if we want to flatten the curve, we have to take more mitigation measures right now and limit our social contact. There's no other way to do this," the governor said.

The governor also said state residents should all respond as if everyone has the virus and take every precaution to protect one another. The medical community is commending his decision.

LSU Health chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali implores all citizens to adhere to the guidelines.

And Dr. Steen Trawick, Christus Shreveport Bossier CEO noted  how all of the medical facilities are working together, saying the cooperation has been “remarkable.”

Christus Health, LSU Health, Ochsner LSU Health, Willis-Knighton are partnering to make sure each has enough personal protective equipment for its healthcare professionals.

There’s also been a “tremendous” response from the community, Trawick said.

"I've had so many people, dentists and construction companies call and offer some of their personal protection equipment such as face masks and gowns and gloves. And we are preparing ourselves to make sure that we have the capacity to take care of sick people and make sure they get the best care,” he added.

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