Statewide COVID-19 outbreak dashboard reveals dangers of bars, food processing plants

Coronavirus

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Health has begun tracking where COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring across the state.

A dashboard showing the results of that tracking highlights the risks associated with going to bars during the ongoing pandemic as it picks up steam in communities across Louisiana.

Governor John Bel Edwards debuted the dashboard at a press conference this afternoon. He said outbreak tracking can help individuals assess the risks associated with choosing to frequent bars, restaurants, and gyms right now.

Nightlife remains the hotspot for spikes in coronavirus cases, with the state tracking 36 outbreaks back to bars. Those 36 outbreaks produced 393 new coronavirus cases, according to the LDH.

Eleven outbreaks have been tracked to food processing centers. While 423 cases have been attributed to that work environment, Edwards said the communities of food processing workers tend to be more isolated and insulated from larger community centers, limiting the impact infected workers can have on the larger population.

While 16 outbreaks have been traced back to restaurants, those outbreaks led to 68 new cases. There have been only three outbreaks in colleges and university areas, but those three outbreaks created 84 cases.

That should put colleges and universities and the communities that surround them, like Baton Rouge, on high alert for outbreaks of COVID-19, Edwards said.

In a press conference that started minutes after Edwards finished speaking, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city will be enacting new restrictions on bars at restaurants. Those restrictions include eliminating seating at bars and limiting indoor events to 25 people.

Louisiana topped 70,000 coronavirus cases for the first time today, with over 1,800 new cases reported in the last 24-hours.

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