NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The number of people hospitalized with the disease caused by the new coronavirus dropped below 1,200 on Wednesday, one of the positive trends that has prompted state officials to allow partial re-opening of businesses, even as the number of cases and related deaths climbs.
The latest figures from the state health department in Baton Rouge showed 32,662 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, up from 32,050 on Tuesday. The number of known cases is expected to rise as more tests are completed and the department said Wednesday’s one-day jump of 612 cases was due to the fact that some labs that had not previously provided information have begun reporting.
Deaths rose to over 2,300. More than 22,600 people are “presumed recovered” by the state. The figures show more than 228,000 tests have been performed to date.
Downward trends in the number of people showing symptoms, hospitalizations and the percentage of new cases among those tested are among the factors leading to an easing of some restrictions.
Businesses being allowed to reopen Friday in most of the state — with restrictions including social distancing and 25% capacity requirements — include barbers, nail and hair salons, movie theaters and gyms. Restaurants will be allowed to resume limited inside dining. Church services can resume with the 25% capacity rule And, on Monday, casinos can reopen — except in New Orleans.
New Orleans, which has had tighter restrictions, adopts relaxed rules similar to the state’s on Saturday. But casinos will remain shuttered for the time being. And, restaurants and other service providers, such as salons and gyms, will have to take reservations to stagger admission and gather information that could be used if contact tracing proves necessary.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.