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Health officials warn Louisianans to be cautious over Labor Day weekend

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BATON ROUGE - Public health leaders have a warning for those heading out to celebrate the Labor Day weekend.

This weekend could be a critical turning point for COVID-19 safety. No matter what your plans are this holiday weekend, health experts say COVID-19 safety needs to remain a top priority.

"It is still very prevalent all across Louisiana. We're worried about this weekend, and the reason is because of Memorial Day," said Dr. Frank Welch, with the Louisiana Department of Health.

In a news conference Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards pleaded with Louisiana residents not to repeat history. He refers to the surge in new cases and hospitalizations following Memorial Day weekend in May.

"Please be mindful of the fact that our last surge started on Memorial Day weekend when people let their guard down. As a state, we've surged twice already. We don't want to see that happen a third time," Edwards said.

Dr. Welch says any progress in this pandemic would heavily depend on following the safety guidelines.

"What I really hope is that people take the time off and take the time to spend with their families but still remember that we still need to follow those social distancing rules," he said.

Dr. Welch says he has seen people let their guard down this summer. Something that LSU student Abigail Batten has noticed as well.

"People are getting tired of staying inside all the time. As a student it's overwhelming sometimes, so I think people are relaxing a little bit more," Batten said.

COVID-19 numbers are trending downward across Louisiana, but it comes with a reminder from health officials to remain vigilant.

Free coronavirus testing sites have reopened in Baton Rouge. Some of those locations can be found at the LSU Student Union and the F. G. Clark Activity Center at Southern University.

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