BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards warned that new COVID-19 cases are rising across Louisiana and across all regions of the state in a media briefing Friday afternoon.
“This doesn’t just happen, it happens for a reason,” Edwards said, noting that Halloween was two weeks ago Saturday.
“I recieved an awful lot of reports in communities across Louisiana, it was noticeably obvious that individuals were not adhering to the mitigation measures to the degree that they had before, so we’re starting to see these numbers now as a result of that, as we have in the past when we had a lot of folks across the state stop adhering to mitigation meaures.”
The governor also noted that it has been two weeks since members of the House of Representatives signed a petition aimed at lifting his emergency COVID-19 orders, “and caused confusion about whether the mitigation measures remain in place.”
“The good news is that petition has been ruled unconstitutional,” Edwards said. Attorney General Jeff Landry has appealed that decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The mask mandate and other coronavirus-related restrictions in phase 3 Edwards extended last week will remain in place unless the higher court overturns 19th Judicial District Judge William Morvant’s decision.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported 3,492 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, the highest number of cases reported over a 24-hour period since the outbreak began in March.
“We don’t have to go to phase 2, we don’t have to go to phase 1, but the people of Louisiana will determine whether in fact we have to do that,” Edwards said. “So, again, I implore you to get serious about COVID-19.”
Noting that cases are rising around the country, the governor said, “There’s no reason to believe that won’t happen in Louisiana, in fact, there is every reason to believe that it is already starting to happen here.”
“We’re seeing increases across the board. As the governor mentioned, we’re not yet where some other states, but that certainly doesn’t mean we won’t get there. And if we don’t double down our efforts, I think we might.” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, interim Assistant Secretary of Public Health at the Louisiana Department of Health. “We have a window of opportunity. That window is closing as we speak. We have to be more vigilant right now, particularly as we head into the holiday season.”
And while Kanter and Edwards say the state’s hospitals are not yet at capacity, Edwards warned that the state will not be able to rely on healthcare workers coming in from other states to help care for the sick because they are needed where they live as the virus has become widespread.
“I know we’re all tired. but just because we’re tired doesn’t mean COVID is gonna leave us alone. That’s now how it works.”
Watch the full briefing below: