BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD and KTAL/KMSS) — Governor John Bel Edwards held his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday afternoon to give an update on Louisiana’s response to the Coronavirus.
Gov. Edwards has announced the extension of the modified Phase 2 COVID-19 restrictions for another 28 days, citing a continued rise in cases, positivity rates, and hospitalization rates across the state. The extension will expire on February 10, 2021.
“It’s time to buckle down,” Edwards said in the Tuesday afternoon briefing.
Louisiana is currently ranked 21st in the nation for average daily COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 4,673 new cases and 53 new deaths bringing the total number of cases to 352,939 and the total number of deaths to 7,971 for the state.
“We are not in a very good place,” said Edwards. He urged residents to follow the mitigation measures, saying that they do work but only to the extent people follow them.
Edwards said the state is also reviewing the state’s distribution plan as far as which groups are given priority in light of today’s new recommendations from Operation Warp Speed Officials urging states to make the vaccines more widely available by not reserving the doses they have for second doses and making them available to those 65 and over as well as to those 64 and under with certain comorbidities.
Edwards also noted during Tuesday’s briefing that there will be a new administration in Washington a week from now, “so we’re going to hearing from the new administration to determine whether it’s going to keep the changes announced today.”
Dr. Joe Kanter, the governor’s chief public health adviser, said the state should learn later tonight how many doses the state can expect to get in next week’s shipment.
So far, 159,560 doses have been administered around the state. Of those, 21,652 people have received their second and final dose of the vaccine. This week, the vaccine is being administered in all 64 parishes at 210 vaccine sites. Those sites do not include hospitals.
Gov. Edwards also spoke briefly on the Capitol attacks saying, “This past week has been difficult and dark one for our country.” Edwards noted that reports on the attacks seemed to only get worse as time went on.
“Each report seems to be worse than the previous one. As an American, as a governor, as a Louisianan, and as a veteran, I am angry at what we saw,” said Edwards. He also appeared to refer to President Donald Trump when he characterized those who engaged in “political grandstanding and misleading people” leading up to the siege of the Capitol building.
Gov. Edwards ended the briefing by once again pleading with residents to follow mitigation measures over the next few weeks. Let’s do what we know works: wear masks, stay six feet away from each other, and wash our hands.