BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an order Wednesday that extends Phase Two and the statewide mask mandate, closure of bars to on-site consumption and gathering size limits in Louisiana for another two weeks.
Despite progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state, Edwards says the White House Coronavirus Task Force still has Louisiana in the red zone for new cases, just as schools and colleges return to campus and Hurricane Laura is set to impact the state. Further, almost half of the state’s parishes have positivity rates in excess of 10 percent.
The governor’s current order expires on Friday, August 28. The new order extends it through September 11, 2020.
- Click here to read the updated Phase Two order, which includes the closure of bars to on-site consumption, the statewide mask mandate and limitations on gathering size.
- Click here to read the extension of emergency provisions that is also extended to September 11.
“Louisiana has seen improvement in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and this would not be possible without the hard work of the people of Louisiana who have faithfully followed the mitigation measures, including wearing their masks when in public,” said Edwards said in a statement announcing the extension.
“While we have seen drops in hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases, we also know that we have more people moving around because of schools and colleges going back to in-person classes, which is one of the reasons we will stay in Phase 2 for another two weeks.”
Edwards said the White House Coronavirus Task Force also continues to recommend that Louisiana keep its current mitigation measures in place, as the state remains in the red zone for new cases and many of our parishes continue to have testing positivity rates higher than 10 percent.
“Just this week, I had a conversation with Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the response for the White House, and she noted Louisiana’s improvement, but also recommended that we keep the current measures in place until we get positivity, cases and hospitalizations even lower. In addition, Hurricane Laura has caused Louisiana to pause its testing, which means that we will be flying blind with data for a couple of weeks when we need it the most to gauge the impact of resuming K-12 schools and higher education. Finally, tens of thousands of our neighbors from southwestern Louisiana, the area with the highest priority, ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall, and there will be additional sheltering after the storm – perhaps for an extended period of time. Extending Phase 2 until September 11 will allow us time to restart our testing and assess where we are after the storm.”
During his Wednesday morning briefing on the storm, Edwards said the upcoming Labor Day holiday was also a factor in the decision.
Louisiana reported 846 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases and 32 more deaths Wednesday, bringing the cumulative number of cases statewide to 144,960 and total deaths to 4,688.
The newly confirmed cases came from the results of 14,105 tests reported to the state since Tuesday, bringing the total number of tests to 1,808,167.
Because of the daily removal of newly identified duplicates and out of state cases, state says the new case increase may not match the difference between today’s and yesterday’s total case count.
Also according to the LDH:
- The collection dates for most of these cases (89.7%) fall between August 19 and August 26, 2020.
- 89% of the cases reported to the state today were community spread.
- People aged 29 and under represent 30% of these cases.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the state’s data showed 914 patients hospitalized with coronavirus. Of those, 148 were on mechanical ventilators. That’s slightly up from the 141 reported Tuesday.
The number of patients hospitalized in Region 7 has risen by 15 since Tuesday to 193. The number of patients on ventilators remains at 22.
The total number of confirmed cases in NWLA has risen to 14,401 and there are now 551 deaths reported in the region.
Of the 45 new cases reported in NWLA on Wednesday, 108 were in Caddo Parish and 33 were in Bossier. Caddo also reported another death from the coronavirus.
Webster Parish added 12 new cases, Natchitoches none, Bienville five, De Soto four, and Claiborne two. Sabine and Red River added one new case each. De Soto Parish also add one death.
As of midday, the LDH was reporting the following data on confirmed cases, deaths, and testing in Region 7:
- Caddo – 7,225 case(s) | 312 death(s) | 641 state tests | 121,561 commercial tests
- Bossier – 2,652 case(s) | 92 death(s) | 285 state tests | 50,903 commercial tests
- De Soto – 808 case(s) | 32 death(s) | 93 state tests | 11,150 commercial tests
- Webster – 1,005 case(s) | 19 death(s) | 180 state tests | 16,526 commercial tests
- Claiborne – 344 case(s) | 12 death(s) | 156 state tests | 6,002 commercial tests
- Bienville – 414 case(s) | 30 death(s) | 310 state tests | 6,807 commercial tests
- Natchitoches – 907 case(s) | 22 death(s) | 546 state tests | 11,777 commercial tests
- Sabine – 736 case(s) | 13 death(s) | 226 state tests | 9,412 commercial tests
- Red River – 310 case(s) | 19 death(s) | 451 state tests | 3,094 commercial tests
There are now 23,405 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the ArkLaTex and 828 deaths reported.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and be life-threatening.
If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.