Monday, March 23, 2020 8:52 PM EST
By MELINDA DESLATTE, AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling on Louisiana residents to comply with his “stay at home” order. The governor's comments in a statewide TV address Monday night came as the number of state residents confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus spiked to nearly 1,200 people. The state health department says at least 34 residents have died from the COVID-19 disease. Edwards ordered his state's 4.6 million residents to voluntarily stay at home unless they need to carry out essential tasks such as getting food or medicine. First responders and workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors' offices and other critical operations are exempt from the directive. Edwards says Louisiana has the third-highest per-capita rate of confirmed infection.