BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is waiting for a promised shipment of ventilators from the national stockpile to help care for its most fragile COVID-19 patients.

The state is bracing for a looming weekend deadline when New Orleans hospitals are expected to run out of the breathing devices. New figures show Louisiana had its deadliest day of the coronavirus epidemic Tuesday. Fifty-four more Louisianans have died from the COVID-19 disease. That brings the state's death toll to 239. State lawmakers returned to the Capitol for a short introduction of last-minute bills Tuesday, including emergency measures related to the virus.

Gov. John Bel Edwards responded to the spike in virus cases by doubling the number of overflow hospital beds being constructed at New Orleans' convention center.

(Story Written by MELINDA DESLATTE/AP)