Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a news conference to discuss testing statistics and contact tracing pertaining to COVID-10, Friday, May 8, 2020, at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La. (Photo: AP)
Louisiana’s governor says the state will have 250 workers in place by the end of next week to contact people infected with the new coronavirus and track down people they have been in close contact with.
Such “contact tracing” is a key factor in whether the state will be able to start easing restrictions and closures of businesses.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is under increasing pressure from Republican officials to restart Louisiana’s economy. Increased testing is also a factor, and Edwards said the state plans to complete a total of 200,000 tests for the month of May.
Edwards said the state has signed contracts with two companies that will establish the contact tracing system. That will bolster the 70 contact tracers currently working. The state expects to eventually hire as many as 700 contract tracers if needed.
Edwards’ current emergency order, banning gatherings of more than 10 people and closing many nonessential businesses, expires May 15. He plans to announce Monday whether the restrictions will be extended or if a phased reopening of businesses can begin on May 16.