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Gov. Edwards to extend Phase 2 restrictions until September 11

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Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 16:25:30-04

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday that he would be extending the statewide Phase 2 restrictions after his current executive order expires on Friday, Aug. 28.

During his Wednesday press briefing on the state's preparations ahead of Hurricane Laura, the governor said that the Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 846 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths.

Edwards said he would be extending the Phase 2 restrictions put in place across the state to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic including the mask mandate, bar closures and 50-person limit.

Edwards said that the state would "basically going to be blind for two more weeks" as the impact from Laura will delay testing across the state.

Edwards said that the delay in testing comes at a particularly bad time as it has been almost two to three weeks since students across the state returned to school.

"We are essentially blind when it comes to looking at cases and the spread of the virus," he said.

Edwards said the delay in testing poses an added risk as the number of cases in the state remains high and is still considered a "red state" by the federal government in terms of new cases being reported.

He added that many parishes continue to remain in the red as their case positivity is higher than 10%.

"Despite progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state, The White House Coronavirus Task Force still has Louisiana in the red zone for new cases, just as schools and colleges return to campus and Hurricane Laura is set to impact the state. Further, almost half of the state’s parishes have positivity rates in excess of 10 percent," a release from the governor states.

The Governor’s current order expires on Friday, August 28. He signed a new order today.

  • Click here [gov.louisiana.gov] to read the updated Phase Two order, which includes the closure of bars to on-site consumption, the statewide mask mandate and limitations on gathering size.
  • Click here [gov.louisiana.gov] to read the extension of emergency provisions that is also extended to september 11.

“Louisiana has seen improvement in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and this would not be possible without the hard work of the people of Louisiana who have faithfully followed the mitigation measures, including wearing their masks when in public," said Gov. Edwards. "While we have seen drops in hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases, we also know that we have more people moving around because of schools and colleges going back to in-person classes, which is one of the reasons we will stay in Phase 2 for another two weeks. The White House Coronavirus Task Force also continues to recommend that Louisiana keep its current mitigation measures in place, as Louisiana remains in the red zone for new cases and many of our parishes continue to have testing positivity rates higher than 10 percent.
"Just this week, I had a conversation with Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the response for the White House, and she noted Louisiana’s improvement, but also recommended that we keep the current measures in place until we get positivity, cases and hospitalizations even lower. In addition, Hurricane Laura has caused Louisiana to pause its testing, which means that we will be flying blind with data for a couple of weeks when we need it the most to gauge the impact of resuming K-12 schools and higher education. Finally, tens of thousands of our neighbors from southwestern Louisiana, the area with the highest priority, ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall, and there will be additional sheltering after the storm – perhaps for an extended period of time. Extending Phase 2 until September 11 will allow us time to restart our testing and assess where we are after the storm."

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