Regional planning projections released by the Louisiana Department of Health show that while aggressive mitigation measures appear to be effectively flattening the COVID-19 curve, Louisiana could be grappling with the virus at least until the end of the year.

“Forecasting what is going to happen with COVID-19 in the state of Louisiana is challenging and nearly impossible,” said Interim Secretary of the Department of Health Stephen Russo. “Just as it is impossible to forecast the exact weather and temperature on a given day.”

“While these planning projections show our healthcare system may not be overwhelmed, they also show that we are not out of the woods,” said Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux. “It’s important that we continue to do our part to protect ourselves and our families.”

“These planning projections are good news and it’s good news we all need to hear right now. It means we are moving in the right direction but we must stay on course,” said Secretary Russo. “There is significant concern that if we make sudden changes or stop social distancing that we will see another large spike and strain on our health care resources.”

For each region, there are three planning projections:
  • One shows infectious persons per day under four scenarios:
    • Red line: Baseline (no interventions)
    • Yellow line: Scenario the state was initially planning on
    • Blue line: Where we would be if we effectively practiced social distancing
    • Purple line: Where we would be if we effectively stayed at home
  • The second two planning projections show hospitalization and vent projections under two of the above scenarios. The black line is where Louisiana is as of April 16, based on conditions on the ground. This shows most regions are currently tracking at or below the lowest projected scenario, i.e., staying at home, thanks to the concerted efforts of our healthcare system.
Technical note on planning projections:
  • By definition, the model’s planning projections have changed and will continue to change.
  • Changes in planning projections should not be interpreted as inaccuracy of the models. Changes are largely driven by changing conditions on the ground.
  • Use of these planning projections to drive the state’s response will inherently change the results of the projections daily.
Here is a link to the full set of regional projections, last updated on April 16, 2020:

Next week, the Department of Health will release a comprehensive brief on its modeling to date.