Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an order today that extends Phase Two and the statewide mask mandate, closure of bars to on-site consumption and gathering size limits in Louisiana for another two weeks, until September 11, 2020. Despite progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state, The White House Coronavirus Task Force still has Louisiana in the red zone for new cases, just as schools and colleges return to campus and Hurricane Laura is set to impact the state. Further, almost half of the state’s parishes have positivity rates in excess of 10 percent.
The Governor’s current order expires on Friday, August 28. He signed a new order today.
Just this week, I had a conversation with Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the response for the White House, and she noted Louisiana’s improvement, but also recommended that we keep the current measures in place until we get positivity, cases and hospitalizations even lower. In addition, Hurricane Laura has caused Louisiana to pause its testing, which means that we will be flying blind with data for a couple of weeks when we need it the most to gauge the impact of resuming K-12 schools and higher education. Finally, tens of thousands of our neighbors from southwestern Louisiana, the area with the highest priority, ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall, and there will be additional sheltering after the storm – perhaps for an extended period of time. Extending Phase 2 until September 11 will allow us time to restart our testing and assess where we are after the storm."