BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards held a media briefing on Louisiana's response to COVID-19 as well as Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta on Thursday.
Edwards announced that he would sign a new executive order Thursday that will keep Louisiana in Phase 3 until Dec. 4. He said all of the current COVID-19 mitigation measures including the statewide mask mandate will remain in effect.
“The mitigation measures we have in place are slowing the spread of COVID and saving lives and now is not the time to let up,” Edwards said in a statement. “All Louisianans need to continue to work together to slow the spread of COVID in our state and keep hospitalizations down so that we do not risk our ability to deliver health care to our people."
According to the Louisiana Department of Heath, Louisiana is in a plateau with regard to COVID-19 cases. However, Edwards said that the state's plateau still has a relatively high number of cases.
The governor said that the state's number of COVID-19 cases never got down to a lower level since its last rise in cases over the summer.
Edwards said that Louisiana has the 44th highest number of new cases per capita, with the lowest test positivity and new cases per capita in the South, according to the White House Coronavirus Taskforce.
He added that the state's 7-day average is 5.26% positivity rate, which shows that while much of the nation is seeing a surge in new cases, Louisiana’s new case count and test positivity has remained mostly stable.
The governor said that the plateau of cases is good news, but not because the state has improved its standing with regard to COVID-19 cases but because of the deterioration of other state’s standing with COVID-19.
Edwards said that currently there are only 12 parishes in Louisiana that are not experiencing new cases.
He added that there has been an increase of hospitalizations lately, which marks the most residents in hospitals since Sept. 18.
"We have now seen three consecutive days of increasing hospitalizations, and last saw this many people in the hospital in mid-September," said Edwards.
Edwards said that the total number of hospitalizations itself is not alarming, but given the nature of the pandemic is that things are always worse than they may seem because it usually takes two weeks for results to show.
The governor also said that residents should be mindful of the public health emergency as they begin to make plans for the holidays.
"As we move into the holiday season, it is important that people do not let their guard down," Edwards said. "We have seen COVID spread because of small, private gatherings at people’s homes and everyone should be focused on minimizing their risk and protecting their loved ones.”
The governor's current Phase 3 emergency order expires on Friday, Nov. 6.
In October, the Louisiana House of Representatives filed a petition to end the governor's emergency proclamation for seven days.
On Tuesday, a district judge for that case ruled that Edwards can renew his COVID-19 restrictions for the moment as the lawsuit is heard in court.
A hearing for that case is set for Nov. 12 in Baton Rouge.
You can watch the governor's full briefing from Thursday below:
The governor's Phase 3 order can be read below:
The governor's extension of his emergency provisions that are extended to Dec. 4 can be read below:
The LDH gating data presented at Thursday's briefing can be seen below:
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers