NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The latest on the Coronavirus Pandemic in our area shows that the illness is on the rise. The City of New Orleans is moving from low alert level to medium risk.

Dr. Jennifer Avegno, the New Orleans Health Department Director is urging everyone to take precautions now before it’s too late.

No mask mandate is in place yet, however, Dr. Avegno is highly recommending indoor mask-wearing while New Orleans is at a Medium Risk Level.

She says if we take precautions like testing, treating, and indoor mask-wearing now, then residents will hopefully not see any restrictions and mandates later.

So, what does that mean you might wonder. It means, it’s time to go back to the basics. Preventing the spread is important and doing these three things, masking, testing, and treating can slow the spread.

Breaking down the numbers, Monday, May 16, 2022, the daily count for COVID-19 cases in Orleans Parish was 155 positive cases. That’s 5 times the increase from a month ago.

On top of that number, experts know that since many and most people are using PCR (at-home) tests to see if they are COVID-19 positive, the numbers are likely higher.

With that in mind plus the results from wastewater testing showing high levels of COVID-19, Dr. Avegno says they’ve been able to predict that this was coming and it’s a big contributor to why our city is now at medium risk.

“The virus isn’t going away, and we’ve got to anticipate future surges, but they can be ripples and not tsunamis. That’s what we’re trying to do today, is make this a ripple, and not a tidal wave. All we have to do is take advantage of everything that we have and go back to the basics. You know, we’ve enjoyed a really refreshingly normal spring, I know everybody felt that. I would love to enjoy a refreshingly normal summer with all the heat and humidity it brings, but we just have to buckle down and be a little cautious now, and I think we’ll get there,” said Dr. Avegno.

Some advice to follow while we are at a medium risk level:

  • Test early and often: Test when you are exposed and several days later because the sooner you know, the better.
  • Masks: Wearing a mask is strongly recommended indoors and in crowded places. Dr. Avegno says that if residents can do this ‘short-term, widespread.’ it could really help. It’s not a mandate but, encouraged.
  • Free masks are available at select fire stations, and eventually public libraries, too.