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Governor recommends wearing a mask indoors amid new COVID surge, some state employees required to wear one Monday

2 months 20 hours 1 second ago Friday, July 23 2021 Jul 23, 2021 July 23, 2021 3:00 PM July 23, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Louisianans are encouraged to wear masks indoors – no matter their vaccination status – and most state employees may be required to wear masks starting Monday, the governor announced in a news conference Friday.

The measures are the strictest yet after months of living in ease as the delta coronavirus variant sickens people at a rapid pace.

The governor warned Friday, additional measures may be announced later “if the situation worsens.”

The governor asked that people wear masks when inside “for the duration of the fourth COVID surge.”  It was especially important, he said, when being six feet apart is not possible.

As for how the surge could affect football season, Edwards said there's currently no drastic changes planned for fall sporting events. 

Click here to listen to what the governor had to say about fall sports

"The good news is that those football games are outside," the governor said. "Any activity outside is much, much safer than that same activity inside."

The governor said he was "hopeful" that fall sports can go on as planned, adding that small adjustments were possible depending on how the state progresses in the coming weeks.

“[Louisiana is] the leading edge of the COVID-19 surge, due to the rapid spread of the delta variant among the unvaccinated in our state. Indeed, Louisiana leads the nation in case growth, with 47 cases per capita,” the governor said.

 “It necessitates additional guidance for how all people should stay safe in Louisiana right now, including wearing masks indoors, when unable to maintain social distancing, testing after suspected exposure even if they are vaccinated and, if possible, working remotely from home to limit exposure to groups.”

“We are in a very dangerous surge right now,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, state health officer. “To ensure their own safety people in Louisiana should take precautions immediately. Masking and testing will limit death and suffering until we make it through this.”

As part of the new recommendations Friday, the governor asked businesses to review operations and accommodate employees in a way to avoid contact and COVID spread in the workplace. 

No matter if a person is vaccinated or not, anyone with a known or suspected COVID exposure should be tested, the state said.  If a test is negative, the person should retest within five to seven days, a new mandate.

Despite the stricter testing recommendations and masking guidelines, the Louisiana Department of Health has not “yet” altered CDC recommendations and still agrees fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19

Local leaders may implement mitigation measures that are more comprehensive than the current state guidelines, the governor advised.

The governor suggested school boards consider set masking and mitigation policies for schools.  School is scheduled to resume within the next two weeks in Louisiana.

Heads of state government agencies will be authorized to enact masking procedures and mandates indoors when social distancing is not possible. Starting Monday, July 26, executive branch agencies in the governor’s cabinet will mandate masks inside of state buildings when distancing is not possible for employees and visitors.

The governor said he expects to hold another news conference next Friday.

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