Edwards stops short of mask mandate, warns that’s next amid COVID spike

Gov. John Bel Edwards today announced he is “seriously considering” implementing another mask mandate in Louisiana, as COVID-19 cases soar, with hospitalizations and deaths reaching heights last seen in March 2020. Edwards urged all residents, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks when indoors in public places and maintain social distancing. 

Louisiana is a state of greatest concern for the CDC and federal health officials, “a distinction we don’t want to have,” Edwards said during a news conference this afternoon. 

The Louisiana Department of Health today reported 5,313 new COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of about 13.35% on new tests, and 30 new deaths from the virus. 

Edwards said that even though there are breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among those who are vaccinated, a vaccine prevents the most serious effects and is urging residents to “run, don’t walk to get your vaccine.” 

“The delta variant is a game changer,” he said. One person infected with the delta variant will infect six to 10 other people, according to Dr. Joseph Kanter, LDH medical director. 

When the facts change, you have to change your approach, Edwards said, noting that Louisiana needs to both mask up and vaccinate to slow the spread of the virus and save lives.