Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 for an additional 21 days beginning when Gov. John Bel Edwards' proclamation takes effect Friday, Aug. 7.

In a news conference Tuesday, during which Edwards announced the proclamation, he said that data is showing that, over the past several days, the state is beginning to move in the right direction.

He said the “relatively modest improvements” are a testament that the mask, bar closure, and limited social gathering mandates are working.

But, he cautioned, it is too early to tell if the declines in cases, hospitalizations and COVID-like symptoms will become a true trend. He said the trend definitely won't last if residents stop adhering to the the mandates.

Edwards noted that over the past eight days, hospitalizations, statewide, decreased by 100. Cases are down in nearly all regions, but positivity rates, in relation to testing are still in excess of the 10 percent.

There are currently 240 patients on ventilators in the state and there are 50,000 Louisiana residents with active COVID-19 cases, spread throughout each parish.

Dr. Alex Billioux, with the Louisiana Office of Public Health, said the number of active cases is the highest it's been at any time since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of noon Tuesday, the state had an increase of 3,615 new cases over the past 24 hours. Backlogs were responsible for 1,741 of those, leaving the true increase at 1,874.

The total number of cases in the state sits at 124,461. There were 27 reported deaths. Cases in Calcasieu increased by 67 for a total of 6,594. The death count remains at 127.

According to a report from The Associated Press, Edwards joined the leaders of Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia on Tuesday in announcing an interstate compact to buy 3 million rapid-use coronavirus tests.

"Rapid access to testing is crucial in our collective fight against COVID-19, which is why I am grateful to join these other governors in a collaborative effort to purchase testing supplies and help identify outbreaks more quickly, while improving the turnaround time for test results," Edwards said in a statement.

The governor's office said the purchasing agreement, coordinated through the Rockefeller Foundation, is the nation's first such testing compact. It's aimed at demonstrating demand to private manufacturers for the rapid tests that deliver results in 15 to 20 minutes.

Each state will buy 500,000 tests through a deal being negotiated with two manufacturers, Becton Dickinson and Quidel, Edwards' office said.

For more information visit ldh.la.gov/coronavirus.