One year ago there was no playbook for COVID-19.
Medical professionals and government leaders wrote it as the country and world dealt with a surge in cases and growing numbers of deaths each day.
According to John Hopkins University, a year later, there have been over 29 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The number of deaths was at 525,904.
In Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Health reports 434,289 total coronavirus cases in the state as of March 8 and a total of 9,758 deaths due to the virus.
On Monday in Baton Rouge, 9,758 white flags were planted on the front lawn of the state capitol. The flags honor each of the lives lost in the state to COVID-19 since March 14, 2020.
"We continue to mourn our brothers and sisters and dedicate all of our efforts against this virus in honor of their memories," a post by Governor John Bel Edwards said of the memorial.
While honoring, there is also celebration.
Vaccines are continuing to be administered across the country. A sign of the progress that has been made in combating the virus.
Across the state, over 1 million total doses have been administered and nearly 450,000 vaccine series have been completed. A list of vaccination locations are available online at the Louisiana Department of Health's website: ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine/
At Ocshner Lafayette General, close to 30 thousand vaccines have been distributed so far and those elligible can still make an appointment to be vaccinated.
The health system shared on Monday that they have now discharged over 10,000 patients with COVID-19.
72-year-old Kenner resident Miriam Bertrand helped Ochsner reach that milestone when she left the hospital on Monday. Bertrand tested positive for the virus and was admitted on March 4.
Doctors, nurses and a band were there to cheer her on as she was discharged.
On Wednesday, March 3, the state entered a modified Phase 3 which relaxed some guidelines for business and gatherings. The state still requires that all citizens wear a mask when out in public and that social distancing be practiced.
Read those guidelines, here.
The Centers for Disease Control on March 8 offered new guidelines for members of the public who have been fully vaccinated.
According to the new CDC guidance, small groups of people who are at least two weeks out from their final vaccine shot can safely gather indoors in small groups.
The CDC also says that small groups of vaccinated people can safely gather indoors with unvaccinated people — as long as those unvaccinated people do not have pre-existing conditions that would put them at elevated risk for the virus. In order to visit with those unvaccinated people at elevated risk, the CDC says people should wear masks and physically distance.
The CDC also said that meetings between vaccinated and unvaccinated people should be limited to people of no more than two households.
The agency also said Monday that fully-vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test if they are knowingly exposed to a person who has contracted the virus unless experiencing symptoms.
The CDC kept most of its recommendations in place. It still advises that Americans avoid travel, avoid large gatherings and wear masks while in public.
Read more on that new guidance, here.
Gov Edwards is expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday, March 9 on the state's response to COVID-19.
Reports say that the governor will expand vaccine eligibility to more citizens.
That press conference is scheduled for 12 pm.
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