SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Five Northwest Louisiana parishes saw a drop in their positivity rates for COVID-19 last week, according to the latest data from the Louisiana Department of Health, but none so far meet the requirements for reopening bars to on-premise alcohol consumption under Phase 3 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan.
Under Phase 3 requirements, bars may begin to re-open for on-premises consumption if the positivity rate for COVID-19 in their parish remains below 5% for two consecutive weeks.
Positivity rates by parish are updated every Wednesday on the LDH dashboard.
With 3.60 as of September 16, Claiborne was the only parish in Region 7 with a positivity rate below 5% after dropping by nearly 60% from the previous week. The positivity rate will have to remain below 5% for a second consecutive week before the parish government can opt into allowing on-premises alcohol consumption in its bars.
Caddo, De Soto, Webster, and Natchitoches each saw their positivity rates drop from the previous week, but none below the threshold. Caddo dropped from 6.20 to 5.50.
Positivity rates Bossier, Bienville, Sabine, and Red River rose last week, with Red River reporting the highest at 10.70. Bienville was well below the threshold two weeks ago at 2.90, but rose with the latest data to 5.50.
NWLA parishes by positivity rate (lowest to highest) as of September 16:
- Claiborne 3.60 (-60% from 8.90)
- Caddo 5.50 (-11% from 6.20)
- Bienville 5.50 (+90% from 2.90)
- De Soto 5.80 (-38% from 9.40)
- Webster 6.20 (-10% from 6.90)
- Sabine 6.80 (+15% from 5.90)
- Bossier 7.10 (+3% from 6.90)
- Natchitoches 7.40 (-4% from 7.70)
- Red River 10.70 (+37% from 7.80)
The guidelines for reopening are based on mitigation measures recommended by the White House and designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the state.
On Wednesday, White House’s coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx applauded Gov. John Bel Edwards’ leadership in responding to Louisiana’s coronavirus outbreak and described the statewide mask mandate, limitations on bars and other restrictions as appropriate to combat the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.
Birx made the comments while visiting Baton Rouge to meet with Edwards and state college system leaders and students, giving Gov. Edwards a boost on the eve of a special session where Republican lawmakers will work to strip some of those regulations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.