Governor John Bel Edwards on Thursday held a virtual media briefing on Louisiana's response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.
Edwards was joined at 1:00 pm by medical professionals from across the state.
Governor Edwards started by stating the state is surging with COVID cases due to the Omicron variant.
"We are still at the very beginning of this current surge. We need everyone to take this seriously in what you do and what you don't do. We have to take this seriously."
Edwards went over the latest on cases in the state. Those stats can be found here.
Tier 1 hospitals were able to speak with Edwards on Thursday. Overcrowding of emergency rooms was the main issue being seen at hospitals across the state.
The most severe among the unvaccinated people. the least severe among vaccinated and boosted people.
Edwards says that hospital capacity is being strained again.
"While I hope and pray that 2022 is a much better year for each of you individually, for our families, for our state, for our country, January is going to be very, very challenging."
During the press conference Edwards stated that Omicron has spread more quickly than other strains and is the dominant strain in Louisiana at over 90 percent.
Masking, social distancing, and isolating when sick are still the best practices, Edwards said.
The Louisiana Department of Health asks that Louisianans celebrate the New Year's Eve holiday at home instead of going out to parties and gatherings for the New Year.
Edwards says his family will be doing that for New Year as he did for the Christmas holiday.
LDH says that residents can take the following preventative measures to keep themselves safe:
- Get vaccinated or boosted if eligible. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to Omicron.
- Wear your mask indoors and when unable to distance outdoors, and limit exposure to those outside your household. To stay safe this NYE, celebrate at home.
On the return to school, LDH made several recommendations for January 2022.
LDH says that schools will return in January and will likely result in closures due to absences. LDH says to keep that from happening mask-wearing must be done throughout the K-12 setting. Kids need to be socially distant, they say.
Extracurricular activities are asked to be suspended to help preserve in-person learning. These are only recommendations and nothing has been mandated.
Vaccine and boosting should be done for those who are eligible before a return to school. LDH says that before returning, those who will be in school settings should get tested.
See the breakdown here:
Theresa Sokol shared our new return-to-school recommendations amid our severe #Omicron surge. These recommendations will help protect our kids, preserve in-person learning and stop the spread. pic.twitter.com/qHtJCLeHPH— Louisiana Department of Health (@LADeptHealth) December 30, 2021
Last week on December 21, 2021, Edwards extended Louisiana’s Public Health Emergency order related to COVID-19, including a provision allowing all state government agencies to require mask wearing, given the fast-spreading Omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain in the United States and Louisiana according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
State agencies in the Governor’s Cabinet will begin requiring masks of employees and visitors.
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