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

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

By: - August 26, 2020 5:58 pm
Governor reinstates face mask mandate

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.


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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.