Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is urging residents of the southeastern U.S. state to stay home and limit contact with others as the rapid spread of new coronavirus has made the area one the nation's hot spots for the disease.
At a news conference late Wednesday, Edwards said Louisiana had moved into a tie with New Jersey for the second-highest rate of virus cases per capita.
As of Thursday, the state department of health reports Louisiana had 2,305 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and at least 83 deaths.
Edwards said on Thursday alone the state recorded 510 new cases of the disease, a one-day jump of 28 percent.
The governor announced that U.S. President Donald Trump had agreed to a request to send two federal field hospitals, along with a 60-member public health strike team, to help with the outbreak.
Health experts and state officials believe New Orleans' annual Mardi Gras celebration in February contributed to the severity of the spread of the virus in Louisiana. Some 400,000 celebrants from all over the world come to the festival, often celebrating in close quarters.