UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Governor John Bel Edwards and healthcare leaders across the state urged all residents to wear masks and get vaccinated in a press conference Friday afternoon.
As of Friday, August 8, Louisiana continues to be the number one state with new cases of COVID-19 per capita. Edwards said, “Things are if anything, worse today than they were on Monday. Unfortunately, the eyes of the Nation are on Louisiana right now.”
The governor made a point to note the growing rate of infections among children. “Why wouldn’t we send our kids to school with a mask on?”He added, more than 6 thousand children already tested positive for COVID-19 across Louisiana.
On Monday, there were 2,079 children around the state who had tested positive for COVID-19. In the four days since another 3,949 COVID cases have been confirmed in children 18 and under.
“All of these numbers are going in the wrong direction,” Edwards said of the state’s rate of new cases, hospitalization, and percent positivity, which is now 15.4 percent positivity.
As State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter pointed out, “That’s the largest number we’ve had since April 22, 2020, the very first wave, when he had five times less testing volume happening.”
Kanter said at least 50 hospitals across the state have reached out to the Louisiana Department of Health asking for help, “telling the state that they can no longer adequately provide care for patients and they need help.”
Edwards said these stats, combined with a worsening nursing and staff shortage, have prompted the state to ask the federal government to send medical strike teams. Noting that there was already a nursing shortage before the pandemic started and the fact that nurses, medical and healthcare professionals themselves are also getting sick, Edwards said he expects the state will be asking for more assistance from the federal government.
Healthcare leaders in the conference referred to the fourth surge as ‘the darkest days of the pandemic’, but mentioned there are more tools at our disposal.
Along with vaccines, monoclonal antibodies are being given to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who have moderate symptoms. Healthcare professionals say the antibodies are helping patients from becoming hospitalized.
Vaccines and wearing masks were said to be the best bet to be successful right now.
ORIGINAL POST: BATON ROUGE, La. (WGNO) — On Friday afternoon, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a press conference to discuss efforts to combat the fourth surge of COVID-19 that continues to plague the state.
Edwards reissued the mask mandate in Louisiana from Aug. 4 until Sept. 1 in hopes to slow the fourth COVID-19 surge.
The mask mandate is for all individuals, vaccinated and unvaccinated, both indoors and outdoors, ages 5 and up. The mandate will be in place through Sept. 1 and may be extended, if necessary.
STATEWIDE MASK MANDATE
Face masks that properly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose should be worn indoors at all times, unless a person is in a home, under the governor’s statewide mask mandate, which will be in place until at least September 1.
The order requires face coverings for everyone age 5 or older or enrolled in kindergarten, except for the following:
- Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
- Anyone who is consuming a drink or food
- Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired
- Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
- Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes
Face coverings are highly encouraged for those ages 2 to 4 as tolerated.
As with the governor’s previous mandate, children younger than kindergarten age are exempted if they cannot wear a mask. However, the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly encourage indoor mask-wearing in public for all children aged two and older, especially as they are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine. Generally, LDH shares these reminders for individuals and families who are trying to stay as safe as possible during the COVID-10 pandemic:
- If you can do an activity outdoors instead of indoors, do it outdoors
- Follow good hygiene practices (wash your hands vigorously and frequently, and don’t touch your face)
- Stay away from crowded settings
- Work virtually if possible
- If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested immediately
- If you’re in an at-risk group, be extra careful
- Everyone who is sick or who has COVID symptoms should stay home
SHOT AT A MILLION
On Friday morning, Gov. Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health announced the fourth winners of the Shot At A Million COVID-19 campaign.
Coty Hemperley and Nevada Charity were selected in the drawing conducted by the Louisiana Lottery Corporation and overseen by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.
A Shreveport native, 32-year-old Coty Hemperley won the fourth $100,000 cash prize as part of the Shot At A Million campaign.
Nevada Charity, a 13-year-old New Orleans resident, won the fourth $100,000 scholarship prize as part of the Shot At A Million campaign.
The remaining five $100,000 scholarship winners will be announced next week along with the $1 million grand prize winner.