Decision on next phase in coronavirus reopening in Louisiana may not come until Thursday

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A decision on whether Louisiana will move into a new phase of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic could come late Wednesday afternoon, but may not come until Thursday.

The current Phase 2 order is set to expire on Friday. Typically, Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced decisions on reopening plans the Tuesday before the current order expires, but he said in a briefing Tuesday that he had not yet met with state health officials to go over the gating criteria he has used to determine the next steps.

“We’re not gonna rush that decision,” Edwards said, adding that he was also awaiting guidance from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which gives governors state-specific recommendations every week.

The governor was scheduled to meet with his health team shortly after Tuesday’s media briefing, and he said he expected to speak with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Other than a brief media availability following a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette Wednesday morning, the governor’s office had not shared any plans as of late Wednesday morning for any news conferences and Edwards’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications indicated an announcement will not come until Thursday.

To advance in the White House’s “Open Up American Again” plan, vetted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a state must see decreases in reported COVID-like symptoms, cases, and hospitalizations over a 14-day period.

The governor has also warned that schools reopening across the state along with all of the additional movement resulting from Hurricane Laura and a slowdown in testing, as well as the possibility that the Labor Day weekend could result in a spike similar to the one that followed Memorial Day are all factors in the decision.

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