WATCH: Mayor Cantrell issues indoor mask advisory in light of COVID surge in past 2 weeks

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — With the latest COVID-19 new case numbers surging daily in the city and around the state, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Dr. Jennifer Avegno held a media briefing regarding COVID mitigation measures in New Orleans.

“It’s a very sobering day,” said Mayor Cantrell at the start of the briefing. “The Delta variant is alive and very much and well in the City of New Orleans. It’s more aggressive, it’s deadlier, and it’s in our community.”

“The alarming transmission data we’ve seen in the last two weeks, coupled with an inadequate vaccination rate, leaves us no choice,” said New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “People who continue to refuse to take the lifesaving COVID vaccine are now also putting the entire community in jeopardy. We must take action now to slow the rapid spread of the Delta variant.”

The city’s average daily cases went from 11.43 on July 5 to 104 as of Tuesday, which is a nine-fold increase in two weeks. Statewide, hospitalizations have doubled in that same time frame and the rate of positivity is over five percent. Nearly all of the cases are from the COVID-19 Delta variant.

The average number of daily cases has increased more than 10 times in the last two weeks, with 185 new cases reported in Orleans Parish today alone. The number of new cases reported statewide today is the third-highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Statewide COVID hospitalizations are also significantly increasing, with two times the number of COVID patients hospitalized compared to two weeks ago.

Mayor Cantrell announced that the city is issuing an indoor mask advisory regardless of vaccination status, as a result of the numbers multiplying nearly tenfold over the past two weeks in new case reports.

This is not a mask mandate, but rather an advisory for all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to exercise extreme caution and wear masks indoors until numbers subside.

According to the mayor, wearing a mask is the most “immediate and tangible” way to slow the spread of the virus. “Don’t let us go back,” urged Cantrell. “The city cannot afford for that to happen.”

For the latest updates on coronavirus information and assistance in finding a testing or vaccination site, text COVIDNOLA to 77295 or go to ready.nola.gov/covid19.

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