What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

WATCH: Gov. Edwards warns Louisianans against premature return to normal life

BATON ROUGE, La. — As Louisiana sees encouraging signs in fighting the coronavirus, Gov. John Bel Edwards worries the news could embolden people to lessen their physical distancing from others in an Easter holiday week traditionally packed with religious gatherings and crawfish boils.

The rate of new hospitalizations has slowed, and the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators has decreased. The governor cautiously described those benchmarks as early signs “the curve is starting to flatten” and the rate of new infections could be shrinking. In a hopeful sign, Louisiana dropped the number of ventilators it’s trying to obtain, from 14,000 on order to 1,000.

While he’s heartened by the latest data, Edwards said Louisianans shouldn’t return to normal life.

“Things could shift again, and they will shift again if people decide that their job is over and that they’re no longer going to comply with our stay at home order and with social distancing,” the Democratic governor said.

More than 17,000 people in Louisiana have confirmed infections of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, according to health department data. The number of virus patients statewide who needed ventilators fell again Wednesday, along with the number of people hospitalized by the virus. Of the nearly 2,000 virus patients in hospitals, 490 were on ventilators, down from 519 a day earlier.

The Latest