Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Wednesday the new rise in coronavirus cases statewide indicates the state is "heading in the wrong direction" as it combats the public health crisis.
"I think these numbers make crystal clear the correctness of the decision not to move forwards," he said.
The state had 882 new cases on Wednesday bringing the overall total to 52,477. The biggest increase in positive cases across the state has been with young people ages 18-29.
"No one is immune," he said. "Everyone who gets it is subject to a serious outcome."
Less than 10 percent of new cases have resulted from congregant settings, he said, indicating the virus is "community spread." Waiting until symptoms appear to begin practicing good hygiene and wearing face masks is too late to stop the spread from asymptomatic individuals, Edwards said.
"That just totally misses the point ... . If you wait until then, you're just putting people at risk."
Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh, Public Health Region V regional medical director, said Southwest Louisiana is no different than the rest of state experiencing considerable upticks in positive tests.
"It is truly impacting Southwest Louisiana in a big way," she said. "The demand for testing has grown substantially."
Beyond lowering and containing the virus's spread, Cavanaugh said another significant challenge is learning about the disease.
A lot more information has been discovered since the beginning of the outbreak, but lingering unanswered questions continue to "make us a little uneasy."
In light of unanswered questions, Cavanaugh pointed to businesses that have chosen to temporarily close again due to spreads in staff and patrons.
"I'm very proud of them for recognizing where we are right now in terms of our cases in Southwest Louisiana," she said. "I applaud them for choosing to do the right thing for our community."