On Tuesday Governor Edwards says that the state of Louisiana is moving in the right direction based on the data regarding COVID-19 cases.
"We are doing better and that doesn't just happen," he said. "People made a conscious effort and I want to thank everyone for doing that."
Edwards say that the state will be moving to Phase 3 on Wednesday March 3, 2021. It will look similar to the Phase 3 that the state was in last fall. It will expire on March 31.
The mask mandate will remain in place.
MODIFIED PHASE THREE GUIDELINES:
The majority of businesses, including restaurants and salons, will be able to move to 75 percent of their capacity and indoor gatherings and event centers will be capped at 50 percent of their capacity but limited to 250 people. Religious services will no longer have capacity limits, social distancing is strongly encouraged and masking will still be required.
Gyms and fitness centers will remain at 50 percent of their capacity, based on recent research from the CDC that raises concern about the spread of COVID-19 in these settings. Bars in all parishes will be able to open for indoor service at 25 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people, but those in parishes where the percent positivity is 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may have indoor service at 50 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people. Alcohol sales still must end at 11 p.m. and no one younger than 21 years old can enter a bar. Patrons must be masked at all times except when consuming food or drink, and they must be served at socially distanced tables.
Live music will be allowed indoors under additional guidance provided by the State Fire Marshal. Indoor gatherings may operate at 50 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. Outdoor events may operate at 50 percent of their capacity, with no cap on attendance, but six feet of social distancing must be practiced. Conventions, conferences, indoor sporting events and fairs and festivals may operate at up to 50 percent capacity with six feet of social distancing required, if they receive approval from the State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Health.
Strict masking continues to be required for all gatherings and events.
- Click here to read the Governor’s new Phase 3 order.
- Click here to review the data about COVID incidence statewide.
- Click here to view the new Phase 3 guidance on OpenSafely.la.gov.
Louisiana has this week surpassed the one million mark on vaccine shots for residents.
Edwards encouraged those who are now eligible for the vaccine to receive one when possible. Legislators were added to the priority list on Tuesday.
Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be getting a shipment of 47,900 doses. Edwards says they should be on their way to the state. He says they do not expect any more of the J&J vaccine until the end of the month as availability is limited.
The Louisiana Department of Health's Dr. Kanter spoke about state numbers which he said are encouraging. He still stressed that the relaxed measures do not mean that there is no risk.
Since our peak at Christmas and New Year's, there has been a 50 day downward trend, Kanter said, which is very significant.
Kanter says that the J&J vaccine had the largest vaccine trial to date covering several countries with a very diverse number of participants. "This is a very safe and effective vaccine," he added.
The J&J vaccine will be limited for the next two weeks. Pfizer will be 57,330 and Moderna will be 45,000 doses for next week. 972 doses or .01 percent of doses were lost since vaccinating began in the state. Kanter says that refrigeration of vaccine during the winter storm was an issue for loss of some of those vaccines.
Edwards says that with the new vaccine available, residents will not be able to request certain vaccines. In regards to recent statements from the Baton Rouge and New Orleans diocese, Edwards says that residents should take the first vaccine that is available to them.
18 cases of UK variant have been confirmed and 58 suspected covering all regions in the state expect for Regions 3 and 8. "We believe that the UK variant will be the dominant variant in the US," Kanter said. He says the variant is more transmissible.
The Brazilian variant has not been identified in Louisiana as of March 2. Kanter says they are hoping to build up a base of vaccinated people to fight against the variants. "Use the window of opportunity to continue to suppress transmission."
Edwards mentioned that the Lake Charles region has seen the most suspected UK variant cases. He asks that residents continue to mask up and social distance to keep the variants from taking hold in the state.
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