Louisiana temporarily reinstates indoor mask mandate

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced Monday that the state is reinstating a temporary indoor mask mandate for all people ages 5 and older.

Why it matters: The move comes as the highly contagious Delta variant drives up COVID-19 cases across the country and the state struggles with a low vaccination rate.

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The big picture: Louisiana is currently experiencing its "worst surge of the COVID-19 pandemic so far in terms of case growth rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations," per a press release from the governor's office.

  • The indoor mask mandate, intended to stem a fourth wave of the virus, will stay in place until September 1, with the possibility of extension if necessary, according to the press release.

  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be required to mask indoors at K-12 schools, universities, and other higher education institutions, per the press release.

  • In July, New Orleans officials issued a public health advisory "strongly recommending" that people wear face masks indoors.

What they're saying: “It has never been more clear that we are in an unchecked COVID surge that, in addition to threatening the health and wellbeing of many Louisianans, also threatens the capacity of our hospitals and medical facilities to deliver care to their patients," Edwards said in the press release.

  • "This decision is not one I take lightly, but as the fourth surge of COVID-19 is upon us, we know that mask wearing when you are in public is one way to greatly lower your risk of spreading or catching COVID," he added.

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