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Gov. Edwards 'seriously considering' reinstating statewide mask mandate

Louisiana's mask mandate could return soon.

NEW ORLEANS — Gov. John Bel Edwards is "seriously considering" imposing a new mask mandate across the state.

The Louisiana governor said he's had requests from health leaders across Louisiana to reinstate a statewide mask mandate as COVID hospitalizations rise at a dramatic pace.

"In light of the trends and developments, I can tell you I have received, over the last 24 hours or so, numerous requests from hospitals and healthcare organizations and other entities to reinstate a statewide mask mandate," Edwards said. "This is something that I am seriously considering."

Hospitalizations have skyrocketed across Louisiana since July 1. There are 1,456 more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than there were at the start of the month. On Thursday, July 29, there were more patients hospitalized on the Northshore than at any other point in the pandemic.

During the same time frame, 251 people have died because of the virus. At the start of the month, Louisiana was reporting on average about six new deaths each day. Now, the state is reporting on average 14 deaths daily.

Last week, Edwards issued a "mask advisory," asking all Louisiana residents to wear masks while indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

"When the facts change and you learn new things, in the field of epidemiology and science you do all the time, you have to change your approach," Edwards said. "That is why the department of health, last week in Louisiana, recommended to me that we make that change and recommend that individuals be masked whether they were vaccinated or not."

Edwards also asked businesses to set things up to minimize the chances of exposure to COVID for their employees. And, he said anyone who has exposure to COVID, should get tested and isolate if positive, and get re-tested in 5-7 days if negative.

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