During his State of the State Address on Monday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that he would not renew the current health order for the state.
The decision comes as Louisiana and the nation sees a significant drop in cases and hospitalizations and the wide availability of vaccines. The order expires on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
“On March 11, 2020, I signed a public health emergency for COVID-19. And while it changed to reflect the ebb and flow of the pandemic, it has remained in effect ever since. This Wednesday, the order expires, and after 24 months, I will not be renewing it,” Gov. Edwards said. “This decision was not made lightly. I have met with GOHSEP, the Department of Health, the Louisiana National Guard, and the Division of Administration to ensure that there will be no federal aid repercussions or other adverse consequences from not renewing the proclamation. I want to be clear that just because the proclamation is expiring doesn’t mean COVID is over. If the circumstances call for it, I will not hesitate to declare another emergency. God willing, we will never have to see such difficult mitigation measures in our state again. Thankfully, at this time, we are no longer in a crisis. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that we are in a much better place today than we were two years ago.”
According to the Governor's Office, Edwards and his public health advisors will continue to monitor the situation with COVID and provide the public with updates and guidance as is necessary to manage public health in Louisiana’s communities and also to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.
He stated that should additional needs arise or the situation change, Edwards could revisit his emergency order in the future. According to new community risk models from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of Louisiana’s parishes have a low risk for COVID spread.
Before allowing the COVID Public Health emergency order to expire for the first time in two years, Governor Edwards consulted with cabinet officials, including LDH, GOHSEP, the Division of Administration and the Louisiana National Guard to ensure that the state could continue to provide the support necessary to manage COVID in Louisiana’s communities. Many other states have let their emergency orders expire, even as COVID has continued.
Louisiana will continue to support community vaccination and testing as the pandemic requires, they say.
Now that the state is no longer in a crisis mode, COVID-19 activities including vaccination and testing will increasingly begin to return to traditional healthcare settings. COVID-19 testing and vaccinations will remain widely available at local pharmacies, primary care clinics, and FQHCs throughout the state. Call 211 to find a test site or vaccination location near you.
State agencies will continue to support community operations as needed.
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