NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s unemployment rate more than doubled during the first full month of coronavirus pandemic restrictions on business, but was about the national rate for April.
“The unprecedented public health emergency brought on by COVID-19 is not only deeply impacting the health of our people but also the health of our economy,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
The governor closed bars, gyms, movie theaters and casinos on March 16, restricting restaurants to take-out and delivery. Starting May 15, gyms and malls were allowed to reopen at 25% of capacity. Casinos were allowed to reopen Monday, and most have done so.
Edwards said Louisiana has come back from challenges before and will do so again. Before the pandemic, he said, the state's unemployment had generally been decreasing for several years.
“Now more than ever we must be united in our efforts to keep the coronavirus at bay in order to get our economy moving forward for our employers, workers, communities and state,” he said.
The economic news came as the state Department of Health reported that numbers of hospitalized patients and those on ventilators continued to edge down.
There were 867 people hospitalized Friday with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That was down from 884 Thursday and 1,031 on Monday, according to the department’s COVID-19 information site. The department said 104 were on ventilators. That compares to 107 Thursday and 118 Monday.
The department said about 36,900 people have been diagnosed with the disease and at least 2,545 of them have died.