Edwards: Louisiana ready for Phase 2
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday afternoon that Louisiana will be transitioning to Phase 2 of the reopening process beginning Friday.
The governor says he will sign the proclamation on Thursday that will have the details.
Every region of the state is not doing equally well, he said, but there are fewer hot spots than there have been. Contact tracing and increased testing will help keep an eye on those spots.
“Louisiana is headed in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of COVID-19 in Louisiana, it’s in every community in the state, so we still have work to do,” he said. “We still have restrictions that must stay in place. We’re not going to be fully back to normal for some time, not, likely, until we have a vaccine.”
The state did exceed the goal of 200,000 tests in May; more than 206,000 tests were administered, he said. That exceeds the CDC goal to test at least 2 percent of the population monthly, Edwards said.
Louisiana is now 10th in the nation for per-capita cases of COVID-19. At worst, the state was second in the nation for that number.
On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana increased by 425; the number of deaths increased by four.
The number of cases in the state is now at 40,341. This is 425 more cases than were reported on Sunday.
A total of 2,690 people have died of the disease in Louisiana as of Monday. This includes four more deaths than were reported Sunday.
The LDH is reporting that 31,728 coronavirus patients are “presumed recovered” (updated weekly).
The LDH also reports that 661 people are hospitalized and that 86 require ventilator.
Four more confirmed cases were reported in Acadia Parish, bringing the total number of cases to 422.
No new deaths were reported in Acadia Parish due to the virus since Sunday. The parish has reported 23 deaths to date.
The state entered Phase 1 on May 15, and in recent weeks, Edwards had been optimistic about Louisiana’s transition into Phase 2.
According to criteria detailed by The White House, in order for a state to enter Phase 2, its statistics must not give any evidence of a rebound in coronavirus infections and all data should satisfy the criteria to enter Phase 1 a second time.
A brief overview of Phase 2 guidelines includes:
• All vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
• All individuals, when in public (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.
• Non-essential travel can resume.
• Continue to encourage telework, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
• Close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols.
• Strongly consider special accommodations for personnel who are members of a vulnerable population.
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• Schools and organized youth activities (e.g., daycare, camp) can reopen.
• Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene.
• Large Venues (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols.
• Elective surgeries can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient and in-patient basis at facilities that adhere to CMS guidelines.
• Gyms can remain open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols.
• Bars may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate.
Though many had expected Louisiana to enter Phase 2, Edwards has urged caution, warning that novel coronavirus is still a threat to the community.
For this reason, he and other state leaders have repeatedly asked residents to continue wearing face masks while in public and to practice social distancing guidelines recommended by state and federal health officials.