Gov. John Bel Edwards outlines the shelter-at-home mandate he issued during a briefing March 22 at the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

BATON ROUGE – Gov. John Bel Edwards requested a major disaster declaration Monday night from President as the total number of positive cases of coronavirus continues to rise at a staggering rate across Louisiana.

A major disaster declaration would provide Louisiana eligibility for funds to help through the financial hardships the state will face as cases continue to grow at a rapid pace,, Edwards said in a press briefing Tuesday at the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

The number of positive cases grew to 1,388 across Louisiana – a rise of 260 from the figures released 24 hours earlier. The death toll reached 46, up from 34 on Monday.

Of those cases, 271 are hospitalized and 94 those patients are on ventilators..

It’s part of the overall challenge of delivering healthcare for those who need it.

“Everyone has a role to play in this, and we have a critical amount of time to flatten the curve,” Edwards said. “We need to minimize social contact to stop the virus.”

“When we maximize the use of science to make decisions, we minimize the use of politics,” he said. “There’s simply no room for politics here, so we need to take the orders seriously.”

Residents need to ask themselves a question each time they plan to leave home, Edwards said.

“Before you leave your house, ask if this trip is essential,” he said. “Can this second trip to the grocery store wait until tomorrow?”

The order does not bar outdoor activity or stop essential workers from going to and from their job site.

“Right now, it’s just imperative to change our mindset on what it means to be a good neighbor,” Edwards said. “Right now, that means staying at home and stopping to spread to save lives.:

He urged donation of blood, groceries or money to food banks.

“Every dollar can provide up to four meals, and this is something you can do from your couch,” Edwards said. “I know many people don’t have the means to give, but if you have, it could help a needy family.”