The governor of Louisiana is lifting the state’s mask mandate for interiors other than schools.

The governor of Louisiana is lifting the state’s mask mandate for interiors other than schools.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards on Tuesday suspended the state’s mandate on interior masks for at least the next four weeks.

“I’m optimistic here today, relieved that the worst of the fourth climb is behind us,” said Mr. Edwards, a Democrat. “We have made tremendous progress, and I have no doubt that the reinstatement of the mask mandate was key.”

However, he warned the pandemic was not over and reminded residents who were not fully vaccinated to follow federal instructions and wear a mask. He also said the state lagged way behind on vaccinations, ranking 45th in the country.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 56 percent of citizens 12 and older are fully vaccinated. Public school students still require indoor masking who can log out as long as they follow the Centers for Disease Control quarantine instructions. No students under 12 will be vaccinated, but an FDA panel approved Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds Tuesday afternoon.

Mask requirements in Louisiana were reintroduced in August to slow the spread of the more contagious Delta variant in the community as the state faced its fourth and worst spike in coronavirus. Louisiana saw an average of more than 4,300 new cases a day for the first week of August, according to data from the New York Times. The state had the highest rate of new cases per capita in the country and its hospitals were overcrowded with patients.

The mandate helped reverse the trend lines and the picture looks much brighter in the last week of October, the governor said. According to Times data, the state is seeing an average of 500 new coronavirus cases per day, a decrease of 31 percent over the past two weeks.

Hospital admissions are down 39 percent and deaths are down 27 percent in the past two weeks. The numbers are among the lowest in the state since the pandemic began, according to the Department of Health.

Edwards said the number of Covid patients hospitalized on Tuesday was just 323, the lowest number in the state since July 2, down from a high of 3,022 10 weeks ago during the delta surge.

According to the CDC, many of the communities in Louisiana are still considered to be at high risk for Covid exposure

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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