Louisiana extends COVID-19 mask term as hospitalizations remain high
Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the face mask statewide tenure on Tuesday for an additional 28 days as the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19, although trending down, is still around four times higher than it was before the fourth wave.
The mask mandate applies to all indoor locations, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities for anyone 5 years of age or older or enrolled in Kindergarten, except for the following:
- Anyone with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering
- Anyone who consumes a drink or food
- Anyone trying to communicate with a hearing impaired person
- Anyone who gives a speech for broadcast or to an audience
- Anyone temporarily removing their face covering for identification purposes
“There is good news on the COVID front,” Edwards said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. “We are seeing improvements … In fact, yesterday we went under 1,000 hospitalizations for the first time since July, (but) everything is relative.”
Although Louisiana’s battle with the coronavirus has improved significantly since peaking 3,022 hospitalizations on August 17, the numbers are still nearly four times higher than baseline hospitalizations in the state in July just before the start. of the fourth wave, the governor said.
Another cause for concern, officials said, is the high number of pediatric infections statewide.
“The number of children infected with COVID-19 has increased dramatically in the latest wave,” Edwards said.
State health official Dr Joe Kanter said the 0-18 age group has emerged as the leader in new COVID-19 cases, accounting for 24% on Tuesday. In particular, 5 to 17 year olds have been the source of more infections than any other age group since the week of August 12 to 18, according to health service data.
Seven children in Louisiana have died since the start of the fourth wave in early July, and a total of 16 have died throughout the pandemic. Not all were vaccinated, said public health official Dr Joe Kanter.
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