Despite the good news that COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased significantly in the state of Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards has announced he has extended the statewide mask mandate for another 28 days.


Edwards continued to encourage people who have not been vaccinated to do so while calling deaths from COVID-19 among unvaccinated people "unnecessary."    

 

“On August 4, the day that the mask mandate was put back into place, only 37 percent of Louisianans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19," said Gov. Edwards in a press release. "As of today, that is up to more than 45 percent. While that improvement is something to be proud of, it is not enough. Currently, our hospitalizations are down, but they are still roughly four times the pre-Delta surge baseline. In the month of September alone, Louisiana reported that 1,470 people died of COVID, which is tragic, as we know that the vast majority of these deaths were likely preventable. We have to get Louisiana’s vaccine rate up even more so that we have strong vaccine protection in our communities. Just over half of all people in Louisiana who are eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated. That’s why masking right now is important still.”

 

The statewide mask mandate does pertain to K-12 and college/university campuses.

“The CDC has put out information that shows schools without masking requirements are 3.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak than schools where children and staff are masked,” said Edwards in this Louisiana Network article.


EXCEPTIONS TO MANDATE

Edwards did list some exceptions to the mask mandate, such as:

  • Anyone who has a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a face covering.
  • Anyone who is consuming a drink or food
  • Anyone who is trying to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired
  • Anyone who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
  • Anyone temporarily removing his or her face covering for identification purposes

There is no doubt that our COVID-19 situation in Louisiana has improved since the peak of our fourth surge, which was largely driven by the Delta variant, and for that I am deeply grateful,” said Gov. Edwards in a press release. “Even so, the amount of COVID in Louisiana is still incredibly high, at 243 cases for every 100,000 people, as it is disproportionately driven by transmission in those five to 18 years old. This is why to support continued decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases and deaths, I am extending Louisiana’s statewide indoor mask mandate for another four weeks, including in our K-12 schools and on college campuses,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “Masks have been proven to help slow the spread of COVID-19, with recent federal data from the Centers for Disease Control showing that schools without masking requirements are 3.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 outbreak than schools where children and staff members are masked. We must do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us who are vulnerable, including wearing masks indoors and getting the safe, effective and totally free COVID-19 vaccine.

The current statewide mask mandate was scheduled to expire on Wednesday, September 29.

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