BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards reinstated an indoor mask mandate during a Monday news conference, imploring residents to comply immediately as COVID-19 cases spurred by the delta variant continue mounting.
“This is obviously not something I wanted to do, but Louisiana is not in the place where we want it to be or need it to be,” Edwards said.
The new mask mandate - which applies to anyone age 5 or older in all public places statewide - is set to expire on Sept. 1, but could be extended, WAFB reported.
According to The Advocate, the public places alluded to in the mandate include schools, churches, businesses and any other public spaces.
Although the order does not technically take effect until Wednesday, Edwards urged all Louisiana residents to start wearing masks indoors immediately, regardless of vaccination status, WAFB reported.
Edwards’ remarks zeroed in on the threat to children posed by the coronavirus, as more than 2,000 of the newest COVID-19 infections involved children, The Advocate reported.
“Let’s rid ourselves of the notion, right now, that kids can’t get COVID. We can’t send children back into school unvaccinated and unmasked,” Edwards said.
“It’s vitally important that we protect our children, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated,” he added.
Edwards’ mandate follows confirmation of 11,109 new COVID-19 cases and 27 virus-related deaths reported over the weekend in Louisiana, WAFB reported.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, 90% of all COVID-19 cases documented statewide between July 15 and July 21 were among those residents not vaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated, resulting in 1,984 hospitalized COVID-19 patients - including 213 on ventilators - by Monday afternoon, the TV station reported.
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