NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Governor John Bel Edwards says his mask mandate is temporary, but will stay in place until at least September 1.
Edwards’ mandate requires those five years old and up to wear a mask indoors. The Governor said ultimately, residents did not do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, he maintains it is time to do what is proven to work during previous surges.
“Nobody should be laboring under the misapprehension that this is just another surge. We’ve already had three of these,” Edwards said.
Louisiana is once again leading the nation on a bad list. Edwards said the state has the most COVID growth per capita in the country.
“The second place state is not even close,” Edwards said.
According to Edwards, the data does not show Louisiana’s COVID surge flattening anytime soon. Also, more younger kids are becoming infected and dying as those under 12 are not able to receive the protection a vaccine provides.
“The Delta variant is every infectious disease specialist worse nightmare,” said Dr. Mark Kline with Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
During the Governor’s news conference, multiple health leaders from across the state shared how overwhelmed and short staffed their hospitals are.
“When you come inside our walls, it is quite obvious to you that these are the darkest days of this pandemic,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. “We are no longer giving adequate care to patients, that has also stopped. You’ve heard from these physicians that we think we’re no longer giving adequate care to anybody because these are the darkest days of the pandemic.”
The doctors along with the Governor stress that masking up is the fastest way to slow the spread, but the best protection is to get vaccinated.
“We’re not asking you to do this because it might slow transmission. We already know that it does,” Edwards said.
The Governor knows some will not comply with his mask mandate and others do not trust the science. He encourages residents to talk to their doctors to get factual information and to quit spreading mis-information.
“Do you give a damn? I hope you do. I do,” Edwards said. “I’ve heard it said often. Louisiana is the most pro-life state in the country. I want to believe that. It ought to mean something and in this context, it ought to mean something.”
The Governor is also encouraging people to work remotely, avoid large crowds and to get tested immediately after a potential COVID exposure.