Despite positive trends, Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 of its reopening plan

State remains in ‘red zone for new cases,’ governor says

New Orleans Mask
Visitors walk past face mask signs along Decatur Street in the French Quarter on July 14, 2020 in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 of its coronavirus reopening plan until at least Sept. 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday.  That means nonessential businesses (such as amusement parks and playgrounds and concert halls) and bars without a food service permit will remain closed indefinitely and essential businesses must continue operating under the current restrictions.

“Louisiana has seen improvement in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and this would not be possible without the hard work of the people of Louisiana who have faithfully followed the mitigation measures, including wearing their masks when in public,” Edwards said in a press release.

The state has recently seen a promising drop in hospitalizations. According to numbers released by the Louisiana Department of Health, there were 914 people hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday. There were 1,600 such hospitalizations July 27.

Despite the drop in hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases, the state will keep its current restrictions in place, Edwards said, partially out of a concern about how the numbers will change as the state’s K-12 schools and colleges re-open.

“The White House Coronavirus Task Force also continues to recommend that Louisiana keep its current mitigation measures in place,” Edwards said in Wednesday’s press release. He said,  “Louisiana remains in the red zone for new cases and many of our parishes continue to have testing positivity rates higher than 10 percent.”

This week’s hurricane preparations have caused officials to suspend some community testing efforts, and the governor expressed the concern will be flying blind with data for a couple of weeks” even as more schools plan to welcome students and staff back to campus.