BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Governor John Bel Edwards reissued the mask mandate in Louisiana. The mandate will be in effect from Aug. 4 until Sept. 1.

The mask mandate applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals indoors. This mandate applies to children as young as five years old.

Edwards said this mask mandate applies to school campuses, this includes K-12 campuses and college campuses.

“It’s vitally important that we protect our children, especially the ones that are too young to get vaccinated,” said Edwards.

The latest COVID-19 information from the Louisiana Department of Health:

  • 11,109 new cases, bringing the number of total cases to 552,787
  • 27 new deaths, bringing the number of total deaths to 11,026
  • 1,984 COVID patients are currently in the hospital
  • 213 COVID patients are on ventilators

Edwards said this fourth surge is the worst one the state has had yet.

In addition to Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer, Edwards was joined by Dr. Catherine O’Neal from Our Lady of the Lake, and Michele Sutton with North Oaks Health System.

Edwards was also joined by:

  • Dr. Mark Kline—Physician-in-Chief and Chief Academic Officer, Children’s Hospital New Orleans
  • Dr. Sandra Kemmerly—Medical Director of Hospital Quality, Ochsner Health
  • Dr. Phyllis Mason—Chief Medical Officer, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center

“Louisiana finds itself yet again on the leading edge of a very dangerous surge going around the country,” said Dr. Kanter.

Dr. Kanter said the state is on track to surpassing peak hospitalization numbers. He reminds the public that the peak during the winter was 2,069 hospitalizations.

The latest about the delta variant, according to LDH:

  • Delta variant is twice as transmissible as the original strains of COVID-19
  • Delta variant is causing large, rapid increases in infections tha tare compromising the capacity of healthcare systems to provide care
  • Vacciantion reduces the chance of becoming infected with COVID-19, but fully vaccinated people infected with delta can transmit it to others

Dr. Kanter asks Louisiana residents to take the mask mandate seriously. He said if you need testing or have mild symptoms, don’t go to the hospitals as they are overwhelmed right now. However, if you are seriously ill, he says you should seek treatment.

Physician-in-Chief and Chief Academic Officer of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans Dr. Mark Kline said almost all children’s hospitals are full at this time and they’ve had as many as 20 patients admitted to their hospital in a day.

Dr. Kline addressed the circulating myth that only children with underlying conditions would get infected with COVID-19. He said that is not the case and that all children are susceptible to the virus.

Dr. Phyllis Mason, Chief Medical Officer of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, explained the overwhelm hospital staff are experiencing now.

“If you’re not going to trust the science, respect the virus and wear a mask,” said Dr. Mason.

Dr. Catherine O’Neal from Our Lady of the Lake described the reality she’s seeing as the state entered the “darkest days of this pandemic.” She said mask-wearing will help mitigate the spread as more people get vaccinated.

Louisiana is the leading nation in the number of new COVID cases per capita and remains one of the bottom five states in administering vaccinations.

“We have the tools we need to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and save lives, and I am pleading with unvaccinated Louisianans to get their shot as soon as they can to protect themselves,” said Edwards. “We can end this nightmare, but it is going to take all of us working together to do it.”

Click here to read Gov. Edwards’ updated indoor statewide mask mandate.

Click here to view the data and slides from the press conference.

For clarification on guidance for large gatherings and guidance for testing and quarantining, click here.