BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) — Gov. John Bel Edwards held his weekly news conference Friday to discuss the latest in COVID-19 trends in Louisiana.
According to Edwards, the state is starting to see signs of a possible plateau.
This has been the deadliest surge the state has seen since the pandemic began.
Edwards said that the transmission rate is still high in the state and that people more than ever need to follow COVID-19 restrictions due to the new U.K. variant being found in Louisiana.
According to Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health, the new variant makes the virus transmit more quickly and he expects to see an increase in transmission now that the variant has been found in the state.
Kanter also revealed a new addition to the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard to provide more detailed data on vaccinations in the state.
The new dashboard will include where vaccines are being distributed by region, age, gender, and race.
Kanter also announced the state has a new COVID-19 tracing app called COVID Defense.
The app is free and can help protect people’s friends, family and community from COVID-19 by getting exposure alerts.
The app is private and will alert you if you were exposed to COVID-19. The app does not require personal information.
The app works by using Bluetooth anonymously that will exchange secure codes with other phones to record if the person was near them.
The app does not track or record your location.
The app is available in Apple and Android app stores now.
Kanter revealed that the state has work to do to get more minorities vaccinated.
According to Kanter, only 9.86% of people to receive the vaccine in Louisiana are Black.
Kanter is urging vaccine distribution centers to make sure more minorities are getting vaccinated statewide.
Next week, the state is expected to receive 29,250 Pfizer vaccines and 28,900 Moderna doses.
Currently, vaccines are only available to those in the following categories:
Phase 1B, Tier 1:
• People 70 years or older
• Outpatient clinic providers and clinic staff
• Urgent care clinic providers and staff
• Community care clinic providers and staff
• Behavioral health clinic providers and staff
• Dialysis providers and clients
• Home health service providers, direct support workers and recipients including people with disabilities over 16
• Dental providers and staff
• Ambulatory care providers and staff, including members of coroner, autopsy, or mortuary teams.
• Students, residents, faculty and staff of allied health schools