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WATCH: Louisiana Gov. Edwards and Rep. Scalise on importance of social distancing

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards held a news conference April 16 to give an update on the state’s efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.

Watch the governor’s remarks in the player above.

Edwards said that a total of 22,532 cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — have been confirmed in Louisiana, and 1,156 people have died as a result. The state surpassed 1,000 deaths on Tuesday, following the largest death count thus far was reported.

The governor added, though, that social distancing measures had helped slow the spread of the virus, as well as hospitalizations due to COVID-19. “We’re in a better place today…because the people of Louisiana took seriously the stay-at-home order,” said Bel Edwards. “I hope you all will help us explain to the people of Louisiana just how critically important this is.”

Edwards also announced the creation of a Resilient Economic Commission to help prepare and guide the state through recovery while adequately protecting public health.

More than 80,000 people in Louisiana filed for unemployment last week. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., expressed optimism that the economy can reopen while still respecting public health standards. “When we talk about reopening the economy….we’re not talking about picking a choice between safety and economic recovery. You can do both and we have to do both.”

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