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Louisiana to remain in Phase Two

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Louisiana will remain in Phase Two of economy reopening until at least Aug. 7, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday. That includes an extension of the current mask mandate, bar closing and 50-person limit on gatherings, the governor said.

Edwards said he was taking the action in light of the still-surging number of COVID-19 cases statewide.

Louisiana now ranks No. 2 per capita in cases of the potentially fatal respiratory illness, just behind New York, the governor said during a press conference in Baton Rouge.

Hospitalizations are also up statewide, the governor said. As of noon Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 1,527 Louisianans hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s the largest number since May 3.

All totaled, 96,583 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Louisiana, including 556 in Lincoln Parish. Though the state tally represents a jump of 1,691 from Monday to Tuesday, the Lincoln Parish total dropped by two cases.

That’s happened before and usually represents LDH removing duplicates from the list.

“We still have a lot of COVID-19 in our state, more than we want,” Edwards said said.

The two-week extension of Phase Two holds occupancy rates for restaurants, gyms, churches and other establishments to 50%.

“We’re going another two weeks and see where we are,” Edwards said.

He said the state doesn’t have to “go back to Phase One or Phase Zero” to flatten the novel coronavirus curve so long as people heed the mitigations: wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands.