BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – There is hope that Louisiana is beginning to flatten the curve again, two weeks after he issued a statewide mask order and shut bars down for on-premise consumption.
The order went into effect on two weeks ago on July 13. Edwards noted that the 1,125 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state on Tuesday was the lowest single-day number since July 6.
“I believe that we’re starting to see an impact,” Edwards said in a briefing Tuesday afternoon. “We are seeing early signs of a plateauing of our cases, which is obviously a good thing…but they’re plateauing at a really high number of cases.”
Edwards said one day does make a trend and they will be digging deeper into the data in time for his next briefing on Thursday.
The state still remains highest in per-capita cases in the country, with New York just behind.
“That No. 1 ranking should be an alarm bell for everyone,” said Edwards.
However, the number of hospitalizations has fallen flat in recent days, which is reason for some cautious optimism.
“For me if any good news that number is it,” said Edwards, adding that it is the “first time time it’s happened in a long time and hopefully the beginning of a trend.”
One week after issuing the mask order, Edwards also announced he would be extending the current Phase Two emergency order limiting restaurants to 50% capacity for in-person dining, as well as limiting occupancy in gyms, salons and other businesses deemed nonessential. The extended order is set to continue through August 7.
Bars have been among the biggest sources of outbreaks in the state.
Edwards was joined by State Fire Marshal Butch Browning whose agency has conducted more than 50,000 business compliance checks since the beginning of Phase 2, he said.
Earlier this week, the state agency said four businesses, which were all bars, had been temporality suspended for not complying to health-safety measures.
The governor explained that, like many states, Louisiana’s unemployment benefit trust fund could dwindle, and that lawmakers in Washington D.C. must act quickly to agree on relief funding.
On Monday, the Louisiana Main Street Recovery Grant Program began accepting aid applications for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and/or health-safety mandates.
The program is derived from $275 million from the federal CARES Act. Edwards said nearly 10,000 small businesses with fifty employees or less have already applied.
You can find the application at louisianamainstreet.com.