BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards says Louisiana is starting to see hospital admission and death rates that could suggest new infections are slowing.

The Democratic governor offered a hint of optimism Monday in a state with one of the nation’s highest per capita virus infection rates. Still, the virus was blamed for the death of a baby girl born prematurely after her mother contracted the disease. And Edwards cautioned that Louisiana residents must stay home as much as possible and continue to avoid public gatherings.

Louisiana has nearly 15,000 people with confirmed infections and more than 500 virus-related deaths.

(Story written by MELINDA DESLATTE/AP)