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COVID worsens; state remains in Phase 2

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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Pictured is a screenshot from Gov. John Bel Edwards' press conference on Tuesday during which he extended the Phase 2 coronavirus response order.

The incidence of COVID-19 in Louisiana is worse than it’s ever been, and there’s nothing on the immediate horizon signaling things will change soon, the state’s top health officer said Tuesday.

“We’ve not yet seen a suggestion we are peaking and going down,” Dr. Joe Kanter said.

Kanter’s comments followed Gov. John Bel Edwards’ announcement that Louisiana will remain in Phase 2 of coronavirus restrictions at least until Feb. 10. Edwards indicated the restrictions may need to stay in place longer.

The governor’s decision to extend the current modified Phase 2 limitations comes as the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus continues to climb statewide.

“It’s time to buckle down,” Edwards said.

Both he and Kanter said the next several weeks will be the hardest ones Louisiana’s endured since the pandemic hit, mostly be cause of the fallout from people’s behavior over the holidays.

Edwards’ blamed Louisianans’ holiday gatherings for the elongated surge.

“We have no doubt the numbers you are seeing are a direct result of people’s activities during the holiday period,” Edwards said.

He urged businesses to allow employees who can work from home to do so and pleaded with residents to “buckle down” and adhere to virus mitigation measures including social distancing, frequent handwashing and the statewide mask mandate.

“The mitigation measures really do work but only to the extent that people employ them,” Edwards said.

He said Louisianans should presume that the mutated strain of the COVID-19 is in Louisiana.

“Not that it really changes anything other than perhaps it makes it a little more urgent that we all do the things we’ve been talking about,” Edwards said.

Meantime, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Lincoln Parish are now at 2,849 since the pandemic began 10 months ago, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. So far, the virus has killed at least 76 parish residents.