BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is encouraging everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks indoors if they can’t stay distanced from others.
His guidance released Friday comes as Louisiana sees more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. But the Democratic governor stopped short of issuing any face covering mandates or new restrictions on activities and businesses.
Louisiana's in its fourth spike of COVID-19, driven this time by the highly contagious delta variant. The state has among the nation’s lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates and is seeing thousands of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus illness each day.
Edwards said Louisiana is leading the nation in new case growth. "Louisiana has the highest growth rate per capita in the United States,"says Edwards. Additional guidance may come later.
For more information dial 211 or 1-855-453-0774 you can also visit covidvaccine.la.gov.
UPDATED GUIDANCE FROM LDH
In light of sharply increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout Louisiana, and as the nation learns more about the transmission dynamics of Delta breakthrough cases, today the Louisiana Department of Health recommends additional layers of protection for all residents, regardless of vaccination status. This updated guidance includes:
All people – vaccinated and unvaccinated – should wear face masks while indoors if six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
All businesses should review their operations to accommodate employees in a way that reduces unnecessary contact to avoid the spread of COVID in the workplace.
All people should take a COVID test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
If positive, they should isolate immediately.
If negative, they should retest again between five and seven days post-exposure.
If they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point they should test and immediately isolate pending the results.
This guidance will remain in place at least until Louisiana is safely out of its fourth COVID-19 surge, with additional guidance and mitigation measures put in place if and when necessary to slow the spread of the more contagious and virulent Delta variant and preserve hospital capacity.
The following guidance from LDH and the CDC has not yet changed:
At this time CDC advises that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19, and LDH is not yet altering this guidance.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, even those who are fully vaccinated or without a known exposure, should get tested.
Anyone who tests positive should immediately isolate. Isolation (for those who test positive for COVID-19) typically consists of:
If symptomatic, at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, symptoms are improving, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication
If asymptomatic but with a positive test, 10 days from the time the test sample was collected
Local leaders may implement mitigation measures that are more comprehensive that the current state guidelines should they feel this is best for their communities. In addition, local school boards currently set masking and mitigation policies for their schools.
UPDATES FOR LOUISIANA STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Under the Governor’s proclamation, heads of state government agencies will be authorized to enact masking procedures and mandates indoors when social distancing is not possible. Starting Monday, June 26, executive branch agencies in the Governor’s cabinet will mandate masks indoors of state buildings when distancing is not possible, for employees and visitors.
In addition, appointing authorities are directed to review their current operations to accommodate employees in a way that reduces unnecessary contact to avoid the spread of COVID in the workplace.
REVIEW OF COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms and the CDC continues to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes may be to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.