Louisiana ranks second per capita in COVID-19 deaths
BATON ROUGE - With 273 coronavirus deaths statewide as of Wednesday, Louisiana ranks second in the country for deaths per capita.
Five parishes rank in the top 13 of COVID-19 death rates per capita for any parish or county in the country with at least 5 deaths.
No. 1 St. John the Baptist Parish - 27.8%
No. 2 Orleans Parish - 25.8%
No. 5 Jefferson Parish - 13.1%
No. 6 St. Charles Parish - 11.3%
No. 13 Ascension Parish - 4.8%
In his Wednesday press briefing, Gov. John Bel Edwards called those numbers "disturbing." When asked why Louisiana residents are dying at higher rates than those in other states, Edwards attributed it to a problem that has been plaguing the state for decades.
"We have more chronic health conditions per capita in Louisiana than most states," Edwards said. "When you factor that with the number of cases per capita and the growth we've been showing you, and those underlying health conditions are the very ones that make you most susceptible, most vulnerable to this virus, what you see playing out is tragic."
Showing another graphic, Edwards said Louisiana remains on the same trajectory it was on last week, similar to the previous paths of Spain and Italy. Sounding hopeful, Edwards added Louisiana can still avoid that trajectory.
"You can see what happens if we have more effective mitigation measures, social distancing and the stay-at-home order," Edwards said. If people follow them we should start to flatten out like South Korea."
Edwards cited a bright spot in the data. Numbers show the numbers of cases is starting to flatten in the Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish area. Even with the good news, Edwards warns residents to keep following the mitigation measures strictly as an "unpleasant" period of time is approaching.
"I think that people should start trying to prepare themselves, in their minds, that it's going to be a long time before we're back to normal," Edwards said.
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