Governor John Bel Edwards provided an update on winter weather conditions in Louisiana along with a weekly COVID-19 update.
In relation to COVID-19, vaccine eligibility has been expanded to a large number of Louisiana residents.
Beginning on Monday February 22, K-12 teachers and support staff along with daycare, early learning center workers and staff are now eligible for the vaccine. Edwards also announced that residents age 55 to 64 with at least one condition listed by the CDC that is at risk (Cancer, Kidney disease, etc) can now receive the vaccine along with all pregnant persons
Starting Mon., Feb. 22, teachers & support staff working at K-12 schools & daycares, non-emergency medical transportation staff, pregnant persons and people 55-64 years old with one or more health condition defined by @CDCgov will be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine. #lagov pic.twitter.com/dLahNEhQIV— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) February 18, 2021
With that expansion, 479,000 people have been added to the vaccine eligibility list.
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley released the following statement in support of the Governor’s decision.
“I’m grateful and relieved to know our early childhood workers, as well as k-12 educators and school staff, now have access to this vaccine. This signifies the value of our essential employees and will enable even more Louisiana centers and schools to be fully open to serve students, families and communities. I extend my thanks to Governor Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health and our state’s medical professionals for working alongside us throughout this pandemic and for making our educational community a priority. Although not perfect, Louisiana has managed to maintain an early childcare system and a k-12 educational program throughout this pandemic.”
The expansion, Edwards says is due to Louisiana will be seeing an increase in Coronavirus vaccines for the next few weeks. This week's allocations have been stalled due to winter weather. They will arrive possibly on next week.
As a result, the state will double up and administer more vaccines next week.
"We are more confident that we can expand the eligibility," Edwards said.
Dr Kanter with LDH says that the federal retail pharmacy program will be extended in Louisiana. CVS stores will begin to carry doses in the state along with Walmart pharmacies. That information will be available to resident on Monday morning on the LDH website.
Winter weather was a big hit to Louisiana for much of the week and it is expected to continue through Sunday for the centeral and northern portions of the state.
Governor Edwards says that the second system in 72 hours hit the state. A federal emergency declaration was sent to President Biden on Wednesday. Edwards spoke with Biden on Tuesday about that request .
125,000 are without power in the state with 20,000 people out of power since the 15 of February. Most of those people are in the Baton Rouge area. They believe power will be restored on Thursday.
98 water outages are reported in Louisiana with 245,000 people affected. Boil Advisories are affecting over 1 millions residents.
The national guard is coordinating with GOSHEP to deliver bottled water across the state. 28,000 bottles of water has already been delivered to sites in North Louisiana.
Distribution sites are being worked on in Calcasieu Parish, namely Lake Charles which is still struggling since hurricane Laura. The city is using fire trucks to shuttle water to health facilities to keep water supplied to critical locations.
LANG is providing generator support in a few parishes. Evangeline Parish has requested that assistance the Governor said.
He urges people to be safe while using generators. "Please make sure that you engage in all safety measures. Do not use it inside," he explained.
He also stressed against warming homes with ovens
Roads in North Louisiana are still not passable and travel in Central in North Louisiana is not advised unless there is an emergency. South Louisiana roads are in a better state.
La511.org is an updated website where residents can view road closures.
Freezing temperatures are expected to continue in Central and North Louisiana until Sunday.
DOTD is continuing to receive salt deliveries and will continue to spread salt and brine to roads affected by ice and snow.
Two deaths related to someone slipping on ice. The third confirmed death was from exposure. Only three deaths have been confirmed by coroners as Winter Storm related.
Rolling blackouts have been happening over the past few days to prevent failure to the power grid in Louisiana.
Edwards said that power conservation is critical as record low temperatures Thursday night and into Friday night.
Residents should conserve between the hours of 7:00 am to 9:00 am and then from 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm.
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