Gov. John Bel Edwards

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has celled a Monday news conference to announce if the state will further open the economy.

"Edwards will hold a media briefing about Louisiana’s response to COVID-19," the announcement said. As of Sunday, May 31, there were 39,916 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Louisiana, with 2,686 deaths.

More clear evidence of the flattened curve includes the fact that for the first time in months, the state reported just single digits new daily deaths Sunday.

There were just six additional Louisiana coronavirus deaths reported Sunday.

The number of people with the virus in hospitals keeps falling too.

There are now just 678 hospitalized patients with COVID-19.  Of those, only 84 are on ventilators.  Both numbers are a fraction of their peak.

All of those numbers indicate no reason the state would not move to Phase 2.

Under the White House plan, Phase 2 includes some very important changes that would be big for Louisiana if the state agrees to the same rules.

Among them:

  • BARS may operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate
  • NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume
  • LARGE VENUES (e.g., sit-down dining, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship) can operate under moderate physical distancing protocols

Some individual mitigation continues:

  • ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place
  • Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home
  • Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
  • All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC should maximize physical distance from others
  • Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed

Business guidelines:

  • Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations
  • Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce moderate social distancing protocols
  • Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION

Other:

  • SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZED YOUTH ACTIVITIES (e.g., daycare, camp) can reopen
  • VISITS TO SENIOR CARE FACILITIES AND HOSPITALS should be prohibited. Those who do interact with residents and patients must adhere to strict protocols regarding hygiene
  • ELECTIVE SURGERIES can resume, as clinically appropriate, on an outpatient and in-patient basis at facilities that adhere to CMS guidelines
  • GYMS can remain open if they adhere to strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols

The city of New Orleans has already indicated that regardless of what the state does, the city will NOT advance to Phase 2 for at least a "few weeks."

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