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Edwards: Reopening phase won’t be rushed

Number of local COVID-19 cases, related deaths still climbing
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Louisianans could know as soon as today whether the state will move to the next phase of coronavirus economic reopening or remain in Phase Two.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said while he realizes the current executive order holding the state in Phase Two expires Friday, he won’t be rushed to a new decision.

Edwards said he’s waiting on results of a gating criteria meeting and state-specific recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

How Louisiana proceeds will be based on the data and the White House task force recommendation, Edwards said during a press conference held on

Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, cases of COVID-19 and related deaths continue to climb in Lincoln Parish. As of noon Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 969 cases of the respiratory illness since March and 42 deaths.

That’s an increase of 57 cases in a week’s time and two additional deaths.

Louisiana has been in Phase Two since June 4 and under a mask mandate since July 11. Under Phase Two, bars remain closed to on-premises consumption, indoor social gatherings are limited to 50 people and social distancing of at least 6 feet is practiced.

Edward said he understands Louisianans don’t like the protocols “but they’re there for a reason.”

He said how the state reopens will be determined largely by whether people follow the protocols.

Though the number of new cases of COVID-19 statewide appears to be decreasing, Louisiana still remains an at-risk state, according to the Aug. 30 coronavirus task force report.

Edwards has voiced concern over the impact schools’ reopening, Labor Day gatherings and Hurricane Laura may have on the spread of the virus. Louisiana’s last surge in cases came after Memorial Day.

“We’ve already ridden the crest of two surges,” Edwards said. “I’m not anxious to do it a third time.”