Gov. Edwards addressing COVID-19 response, announcing latest order in Tuesday press conference

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards holds up his own mask, taken off while he was speaking, to remind Louisiana residents that a highly effective thing within their power to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to simply wear a mask, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at a press conference update on the state’s COVID-19 situation at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge, La. (Travis Spradling/The Advocate via AP, Pool)

BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Gov. John Bel Edwards will address the media regarding the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Scheduled for 3:30 p.m., the press conference will be live streamed on the governor’s Facebook page and can also be viewed on his website, www.gov.louisiana.gov.

The press conference will be held one day before Edwards’ modified Phase Two order is set to expire. In an attempt to curb the spread of the virus and maintain hospital capacity, Edwards originally implemented the order on Nov. 25 after a two-month period in Phase Three.

Under the revised Phase Two, most non-essential businesses are limited to 50-percent capacity while indoor (25-percent capacity or 75 people) and outdoors (25-percent capacity or 150 people) social gatherings also have limitations.

Despite the added restrictions, Louisiana’s situation hasn’t improved.

The state continues to grapple with its third COVID-19 surge, in which new cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations have risen greatly over the last several weeks.

The state has averaged more than 2,400 new cases a day through the first 11 days in the month of January, including a near-record 4,142 new cases on Jan. 6.

Percent positivity, another key metric, reached 13.70 in the most recent report for Dec. 24-30. That’s the highest since April 16-22 (15.40 percent).

COVID-19 hospitalizations, a key metric in the state’s reopening plan, have continued to climb since late October, surpassing that of the second surge over the summer. Hospitalizations have hovered around 2,000 statewide for the last week, reaching a high of 2,069 on Friday.

As of Monday, hospitalizations were at 1,982 across the state, including 232 patients on ventilators, the most since Aug. 4 (240).

The rise in new cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations have led to an accompanying rise in COVID-19 deaths. The state recorded its second-most deaths in the month of December (952) and is on pace to surpass that mark in January.

Last Friday, the state confirmed 92 fatalities from the virus, the second-most in a day yet and the most since April 14.

“There is not a single parish in Louisiana where COVID-19 is not a serious threat,” Edwards via social media Monday evening. “It is up to every single one of us to wear our masks, social distance, and act responsibly in order to preserve our hospital capacity and save lives. We are all in this fight together.”

While COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly, the state is continuing the trudge along in its months-long vaccination process. On Monday, the Department of Health nearly doubled the number of locations offering vaccinations to people 70 and older as well as additional healthcare workers.

As of Monday, the state is reporting:

  • 312,290 confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • 35,944 “probable” cases
  • 7,489 confirmed COVID-19 deaths
  • 429 “probable” deaths
  • 4,674,395 total COVID-19 tests
  • 280,373 “presumed” recoveries (updated every Wednesday)
  • 81,585 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered (updated every Tuesday and Thursday)

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