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Testing up 70%, cases down 50% in May compared to April

As Gov. John Bel Edwards decides whether to announce Monday afternoon if Louisiana will move to “Phase Two” of re-opening later this week, various data seems to suggest that the spread of COVID-19 is declining.

In April, the state reported a total of 22,764 new cases of COVID-19, and 1,623 new deaths. There were also 122,342 new tests reported in April, with a note that the LDH did a “recounting” of the statistic in mid-April, reporting nothing from April 22-25.

In terms of averages, the state reported 758.8 new cases each day in April, 54.1 new deaths each day, and 4,078.1 new tests each day.

In May, the state reported a total of 11,915 new cases of COVID-19, and 824 new deaths. There were also 213,800 new tests reported in May. One of the state’s re-opening targets was the ability to complete at least 200,000 tests a month.

In terms of averages, the state reported 384.4 new cases each day in May, 26.5 new deaths each day, and 6,896.7 new tests each day.

Comparing the two months, the data shows:

  • New cases — 758.8 daily in April, 384.4 daily in May, for a decrease of 49.3 percent (or 374.4 fewer new daily cases, on average).
  • New deaths — 54.1 daily in April, 26.5 daily in May, for a decrease of 51 percent (or 27.6 fewer new daily deaths, on average).
  • New tests — 4,078.1 daily in April, 6,896.7 daily in May, for an increase of 69.1 percent (or 2,818.6 more new daily tests, on average).

These May statistics include the fact that the state was in “Phase One” of re-opening for half of that month. Phase One began on Friday, May 15, and allowed most businesses to re-open as long as capacity was capped at 25 percent. The state was under a full lockdown for all of April.

In summation, despite the number of tests increasing by almost 70 percent in May, the average number of new cases diagnosed fell by 50 percent.

For additional comparison’s sake, the averages in March were 226.7 new cases per day, 10.4 new deaths per day, and 1,655 new tests per day. However, the state did not begin reporting COVID-19 statistics until March 9.

The governor’s first “Stay at Home” lockdown order was issued on March 22.

Other key statistics were also significantly down in May, compared to the end of April. On April 30, the state reported 1,601 COVID-19 patients in hospitals and 231 ventilators in use for those patients. On May 31, the state reported 678 hospitalizations and 84 ventilators in use.

Under the White House and CDC’s guidelines, Phase Two could allow:

  • The resumption of non-essential travel.
  • The opening of summer camps.
  • The operations of large venues, such as stadiums and movie theaters, under moderate physical distancing protocols.
  • The operation of bars, with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate.
  • The expansion of occupancy restrictions, at most businesses and places of worship, to 50 percent capacity.

Edwards is expected to announce if the state will move to Phase Two during a press conference Monday at approximately 2:30 p.m. If the state re-opens further, the new criteria will begin taking effect Friday.