BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) — Louisiana won’t be further easing its restrictions on businesses because the state is seeing a troubling, recent uptick in coronavirus cases.
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday that he’ll keep in place the current limitations on restaurants, bars and retailers enacted on June 5, which were set to expire Friday.
The decision comes as Louisiana exceeded the grim mark of 3,000 deaths from the outbreak.
The Democratic governor was considering moving Louisiana from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of reopening under the White House guidelines. But he decided against the move based on the latest surge in cases of the COVID-19 disease and hospitalizations over the last week.
The announcement comes after multiple COVID-19 clusters were reported in Southeast, Louisiana.
New Orleans reported two clusters stemming from a graduation party and a bar gathering.
The Louisiana Department of Health also said over 100 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed after an outbreak at bars in Tigerland in Baton Rouge.
Several Hammond businesses closed for cleaning after an outbreak was reported at multiple businesses.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana has surpassed 50,000 and hospitalizations for the disease caused by the new coronavirus are on the rise.
State figures released Monday showed 630 people hospitalized with the disease, an increase of 41 from a day earlier. Hospitalizations peaked at more than 2,100 in April.
They had trended steadily downward until recently, hitting a low of 542 earlier this month.
According to Edwards, last week 4,200 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state. This number excludes outdated tests and numbers of cases for Thursday that the health department is still reviewing.
That comes as more businesses have reopened and restrictions on activities have loosened.
Edwards is urging Louisiana residents to “do a real gut check” about whether they are taking enough personal precautions to lessen their coronavirus risk.
State officials say increased testing capacity doesn’t explain the entire number, and only 9% of the cases came from enclosed group settings, like nursing homes.
The Acadiana, Lake Charles and central Louisiana regions are seeing rises in hospitalizations.
The governor reiterated the use of masks, following social distancing guidelines, and staying at home if considered high risk.
Edwards also said that he would not make masks mandatory because data has shown that states that issued mask mandates saw a reverse in course.
He still encourages residents to wear masks.
Edwards said he would review the latest data Monday and make an announcement on whether or not the state will move into phase three reopening.
Edwards said in regards to moving into phase three, that the data shows so far that the state is not there yet.
According to the Center for Disease Control, COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
By: WDSU Digital Team