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A Critical Point: New Orleans rolls back to Phase 1 as COVID-19 positivity rate tops 10% again

That data shows a 10.4 percent positivity rate in the city of New Orleans. That’s nearly double from the 5.5 percent last week.

NEW ORLEANS — In battling the third surge, New Orleans city leaders are once again putting restrictions in place. Beginning Friday morning, New Orleans will be in a modified phase one.

“We have seen a serious issue with community spread,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

With that, restaurants, stores and other businesses must go back to 25 percent capacity. Bars will stay closed under state restrictions, but still be allowed to do outdoor service. Gatherings will be restricted to people in the same household.

“We know that people have moved from their pods of family members to just bottom-line socializing and it is reflective in the numbers and in the data,” said Cantrell.

That data shows a 10.4 percent positivity rate in the city of New Orleans. That’s nearly double from the 5.5 percent last week.

“When you have a percent positivity rate of 10 percent, that means that when you are with ten other people it is highly likely that one of them will have COVID,” said city health director Dr. Jennifer Avegno.

Dr. Avegno says the city is averaging more than 200 new COVID-19 cases a day. Statewide, Louisiana hit a record Wednesday, reporting 6,882 cases in a single day, and more hospitalizations than ever at 1,993.

“It is a critical, critical point in the city of New Orleans and we have to do what’s necessary to flatten the curve, yes, a third time,” said Cantrell.

To help restaurants and bars serve customers, the city hopes $2,000 grants will incentivize owners to create and invest in outdoor spaces. It’s part of a parklet pilot program.

“We expect this pilot to run for as long as there are COVID related occupancy restrictions in restaurants and bars,” said director of economic development Jeffrey Schwartz.

Restrictions will last for three weeks. From there, city leaders say data will determine what happens next.  

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