Report: Louisiana likely to remain in Phase Two, governor tells radio station

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Livingston Parish News

BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – Louisiana will likely remain in Phase Two of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports.

Gov. John Bel Edwards discussed his concerns with moving the state forward in its reopening plan during an interview on a Baton Rouge radio station Tuesday morning, according to a report from WWL-TV in New Orleans.

During the radio spot, Edwards reportedly said the order that keeps most businesses at 50-percent capacity, mandates face coverings, and bans on-site consumption at bars will be extended before it expires on Friday, Aug. 28.

“We’ve got to see an extension of the proclamation, exactly what that extension is going to be I don’t know yet,” Edwards said, according to WWL-TV.

Edwards cited four reasons for extending the Phase Two order, the television station reported:

— K-12 students and college populations returning to campus

— The possibility of using mass transit to evacuate residents in Hurricane Laura’s path and having to use shelters

— Not having the normal amount of information and data since many of the state’s drive-thru testing sites are shut down this week due to tropical storms

— Despite improving on key coronavirus numbers — such as positivity rate and hospitalizations — the state is still seeing “more new cases over the last seven days than you want to see per 100,000 population.”

“About half of our parishes are still well above 10 percent positivity,” Edwards told the radio station.

Edwards said he had a call with Dr. Deborah Birx, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, who told him she still had some concerns about the state of the coronavirus in Louisiana.

Edwards also said that he is concerned that because most of the drive-thru testing has been suspended, only hospitals and clinics are currently able to test.

“We’re going to be blind this week on data to affect our decisions,” he told the radio station.

Louisiana entered Phase Two of reopening the state on June 5. This would mark the fourth time Edwards has extended the Phase Two order, following a four-week extension in June, a two-week in July, and a three-week extension in August.

It is unclear when the governor will make an official announcement regarding Phase Two. He typically has made his announcements by Tuesday before the current order expires. 

A message to the governor’s office from The News asking when an announcement may come was not answered. 

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