Gov. Edwards 'incredibly concerned,' returns Louisiana to 'Revised Phase 2'

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Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards today issued new restriction in the face of surging coronavirus. He is announcing now that the state is returning to a "Revised Phase 2" of COVID restrictions.

"It is time for us to rise to the occasion once again and meet the challenge before us," Edwards insisted. "If there was ever a time to step up and be a good neighbor... that time is now."

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The new executive order goes into effect Wednesday, November 25th and lasts for 28 days. It will be scheduled to end December 23rd. Edwards said if these measures don't work, he will issue further restrictions.

The governor also urged all employers to maximize the use of teleworking as much as possible. He added that holiday parties should not be held this year.

This is a developing story, and it will be updated as further details are released.

The administration said the situation has gotten ever more dire in Louisiana.

"He is incredibly concerned about the rising hospitalizations and the new cases across Louisiana," spokeswoman Christina Stephens said in an email. "More than 6,300 Louisianans have now died."

She says the following three parishes had the highest number of new cases over the last three weeks:

1. East Baton Rouge Parish
2. Ouachita Parish
3. Jefferson Parish

"These parishes represent 20.0% of new cases in Louisiana," Stephens noted.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force report for Louisiana this week calls for "significant behavior change."

Louisiana now has more cases than the national average.

The report shows 474 new cases per 100,000 people in Louisiana. Last week, Louisiana had 172 new cases per 100,000 population.

Here are the specific recommendations, from the White House:

·“Referring to the national profiles in the back of the packet, there is aggressive, rapid, and expanding community spread across the country, reaching over 2,000 parishes. In states with aggressive mitigation, we are beginning to see the impact of that mitigation despite the cooling weather.
We are also seeing stabilization in many European countries that implemented strong public and private mitigation, but preserved schooling. However, in many areas of the country, mitigation efforts are inadequate or too recently implemented to see a significant impact. All states and all parishes must flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”

·“The silent community spread that precedes and continues to drive these surges can only be identified and interrupted through proactive, focused testing for both the identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals. This must be combined with significant behavior change of all Americans. Ensure masks at all times in public, increase physical distancing through significant reduction in capacity in public and private indoor spaces, and ensure every American understands the clear risks of ANY family or friend interactions outside of their immediate household indoors without masks.”

·“We need to protect those we are thankful for in our families and communities. Ensure indoor masking around vulnerable family members during any gatherings due to significant amount of virus circulating and the high rate of asymptomatic and undiagnosed infections among family and community members. Public spaces where masking is not possible must have a significant reduction in capacity or close.”