Louisiana Reinstating Indoor Mask Mandate

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has temporarily reinstated a statewide mask mandate indoors for all people aged five and older.

The Governor said he is making mask wearing mandatory as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across Louisiana, threatening the ability of the state's hospitals to deliver care during this fourth wave.

Louisiana is currently in the worst surge of the COVID-19 pandemic so far in terms of case growth rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations. 11,108 new COVID cases were reported in the state on Monday, which is the second highest daily case toll in the country. The pandemic so far claimed 11,026 lives and infected 552,787 others in Louisiana.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest data, while vaccination reduces one's chance of becoming infected with COVID-19, those who do become infected with the Delta variant despite being fully vaccinated are likely at risk of transmitting it to others.

The indoor mask mandate also applies to K-12 schools, universities, and other higher education institutions, which return to on-campus learning this month. In accordance with new guidance from the CDC, all people on campuses should be masked indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

Louisiana's temporary indoor statewide mask mandate will stay in place until at least September 1 and may be extended if necessary.

Driven largely by Louisiana's insufficient vaccination rate and the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, COVID-19 cases in the state have grown exponentially. Louisiana remains No. 1 nationwide for number of new COVID-19 cases per capita.

"It has never been more clear that we are in an unchecked COVID surge that, in addition to threatening the health and wellbeing of many Louisianans, also threatens the capacity of our hospitals and medical facilities to deliver care to their patients," Governor Edwards said. "That is simply unacceptable, and after reviewing new data from the CDC, speaking with public health advisors, and hearing from hospital leadership and the business community, I am reinstating Louisiana's statewide mask mandate indoors, including in schools to protect our children who are too young to be vaccinated and our teachers and staff."

In his opinion, "The temporary indoor statewide mask mandate will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and limit suffering and death in Louisiana until we are through this fourth surge"."

On Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health additionally issued guidance to the public about large event gatherings.

LDH recommends limiting the size of indoor gatherings, moving events outdoors, or hosting meetings and events virtually to reduce the likelihood of COIVD-19 spread.

All participants of indoor meetings and events are required to be masked.

People with underlying health conditions that make them more likely to have severe COVID complications have been advised to avoid nonessential trips outside of the home.

Event hosts and facilities should practice strong sanitation and hygiene practices. Spaces should be staged to accommodate at least six feet of distance between guests.

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