NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued an executive order Thursday requiring all City employees and public-facing contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
All employees and contractors will have to submit proof of vaccination or receive routine COVID testing by Monday, Aug. 30, according to the order.
The executive order remains in effect until it is cancelled by another executive order or the state of emergency in New Orleans cause by COVID-19 ends.
New Orleans currently requires several local businesses, including bars, gyms, restaurants and the Superdome to screen customers for proof of vaccination before they can enter.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state are slowing down after skyrocketing at an unprecedented rate in July. Louisiana has also seen a slight decline in the percentage of tests returning positive in recent weeks. However, it may still be too soon to determine if the state has reached the peak of the record-setting fourth surge of the virus, or if new cases and hospitalizations are just plateauing.
Regardless, the rush of COVID-19 patients has stressed the state's health care delivery system to a near breaking point. As of Wednesday, five of Louisiana's nine health regions - which include 32 parishes - had fewer than 10 ICU beds available. The latest region to drop below that threshold was Region 9 (Northshore) which reported just eight ICU beds available.
Louisiana also reported on Thursday 5,550 new cases and 58 new deaths due to the virus. In total, 11,851 people in Louisiana have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
Children represented about 28 percent of the newly reported cases, Christina Stephen, a spokesperson for Gov. John Bel Edwards' office said.