Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Tuesday he was renewing Louisiana’s indoor masks mandate for an additional month, attributing the requirement to cover the face to protect students from COVID-19 and fight the state’s fourth wave of coronavirus.
The Democratic governor reinstated the mask’s tenure in August as Louisiana faced its worst peak in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with hospital chiefs describing grim conditions caused by the influx of COVID-patients. 19. People infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus have filled hospital beds and damaged access to inpatient health care services for people seeking treatment for illnesses unrelated to the coronavirus.
But soon after the face coverage requirement was replenished, hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 peaked at more than 3,000 and then began to decline, falling below 1,000 this week for the first time since July. The number of new infections and the percentage of COVID-19 tests that turned positive have also dropped significantly over the past six weeks.
Even as the latest wave abates, the Louisiana Department of Health on Tuesday warned it had seen an increase in “severe pregnancy outcomes” among unvaccinated women in a state that lags behind. most of the rest in its coronavirus vaccination rates. The agency cited the cases of 14 pregnant women infected with COVID-19 since mid-July, saying six of those women have died and 10 of the children have died.
“More COVID-19-related maternal and fetal deaths have been reported during the Delta outbreak than the total number of serious COVID-19 pregnancy outcomes reported in the last 15 months of the Louisiana pandemic,” State of State Dr. Joe Kanter said. responsible for public health.
Edwards’ continued mask mandate includes all indoor public places such as K-12 schools, colleges, restaurants, bars, gyms and retail stores. The requirement covers anyone aged 5 and over and all kindergarten children if they are under 5, and this includes those who have been vaccinated.
The governor can only promulgate such emergency public health rules for one month at a time, so he must continue to renew the mask’s mandate every month if he is to keep it in place. The last order will expire on October 27.
Edwards said maintaining the mask requirement was particularly critical for schools, where many students are too young to be vaccinated and where people are crammed into crowded classrooms for hours every day.
The state, however, has not made a major effort to enforce the mandate, hoping that most schools, businesses and residents will voluntarily comply.
The Louisiana Department of Health on Tuesday reported 1,031 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 989 people hospitalized for the disease. More than 12,200 people across Louisiana have died from coronavirus disease, and another 1,600 deaths are considered likely from COVID-19, according to department data.
A group of Louisiana women doctors said on Friday that misinformation wrongly linked coronavirus vaccines to infertility and bad practices …
Although the latest increase has eased, public health officials warn Louisiana still has significant amounts of COVID-19 circulating in the community. But the state no longer has the highest COVID-19 per capita growth in the country, as it did in early August when Edwards reinstated the masking requirement. Louisiana fell among the lowest per capita rates among new cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Louisiana continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, but vaccination levels have increased since the fourth wave of the virus. More than 45% of the state’s 4.6 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 51% have at least started the process which can take two injections.
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