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Should Governor Edwards Revive Louisiana’s Maskman Date?This is what his public health adviser says | News

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana-Louisiana is rushing towards a fifth surge in COVID-19 infection, and state supreme health officials wear masks in public indoors, regardless of vaccination status. , Virus spreads and protects vulnerabilities.






Teresa Sokol

Teresa Sokol


“Vaccination is what ends this pandemic for us, but masking can stop the surge,” said state epidemiologist Teresa Socol.

It is up to Governor John Bel Edwards to turn that recommendation into a mission. On Tuesday, the Governor extended a public health emergency in Louisiana, demanding masks at most state offices, but did not issue state-wide orders.

“Vaccine and booster effects are the most powerful tools we have in the fight against COVID, but public health experts also say that masks are an important way to slow the spread of current Omicron variants. I agree. Edwards said in a prepared statement.

The Democratic Governor lifted the Louisiana-wide mask requirement at the end of October as the fourth wave of coronavirus fueled by the Delta variant gradually diminished. Earlier this month, Edwards said he hoped there was no need to revive a similar mask mandate, but warned that “everything is at the table,” especially if the hospital is overwhelmed.

“We don’t want to go back there,” Edwards said on December 3.

However, since then, Louisiana has experienced a surprising rise in coronavirus infections, boosted by the rapidly prevailing subspecies of Omicron. Last week, new cases more than doubled, renewing the threat of yet another outbreak that could lead to serious illness and death, pushing the state hospital system to the limit again.

“I hope we don’t need to take any additional mitigation measures, but since we’ve done the whole pandemic, let the advice of a public health expert guide us on what we’re trying to do. In a spokesman for the governor. One Christina Stevens said.

The advice seems simple: you need a mask.

“What we need now is that everyone who is fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, boosted, or not fully vaccinated is indoors in public. It means we need to mask it, “said Sokol, one of Edwards’ top public health advisors. Press conference on Monday.

On Tuesday, the State Department reported an additional 1,165 confirmed cases of coronavirus, resulting in a total of 5,667 infections per week. This is almost three times the percentage of the week a month ago.

The surge has so far been concentrated in the New Orleans region, accounting for almost half of last week’s state incidents. Another 12% of cases came from the Shreveport area.

The Baton Rouge region accounted for about 8.7% of all these incidents, and the River Parish and Lafayette regions each accounted for an additional 6%.

So far, hospitalizations have remained relatively low, but it is not clear if it will change as the virus continues to spread. The number of patients admitted with COVID on Monday, the last day of data availability, was 265, an increase of about one-third from the previous week.

If everyone starts wearing masks again, Louisiana can avoid another surge in the worst, said Dr. Catherine O’Neill, an infectious disease expert and associate professor of LSU Health Sciences.

“Every time they added masks, our rates began to fall again,” O’Neill, the attending physician of Our Lady of the Lake Community Medical Center, said on Monday.

Experts warned that mutations in new strains could make it highly contagious and allow it to be re-infected even for those who have a vaccine or protection from previous infections. .. Health officials say that those who have been vaccinated and received booster shots are more likely to experience significantly milder symptoms or are asymptomatic than those who have not been shot. Is emphasized.

“Simply put, one of the most dangerous things in Louisiana right now is not being vaccinated. You are signing up for a serious illness, hospitalization, or the possibility of something worse. “.

According to O’Neill, masks provide the wearer with another layer of defense, but more importantly, they help protect immunocompromised people and those who are medically vulnerable in the community from infection.

“When we look at masking, it’s very similar to just being a good neighbor,” O’Neill said.

“You don’t have to wear a mask,” said Dr. Catherine Baumgarten, Head of Infection Control and Prevention at Oxner Health. “We know that masks work. It’s clear from the data. Everyone who collects must wear a mask indoors.”

There is early evidence from overseas outbreaks that Omicron variants may not have more serious consequences than previous strains, but many experts wonder if this is the case as the virus spreads. It warns that it is still premature to say. They are also concerned that even though the likelihood of serious illness in Omicron is low, its widespread spread still sends a large number of people to hospitals and risks overwhelming the healthcare system again. Was announced.

There has been a recent surge as Louisiana citizens are preparing to meet for Christmas, and O’Neill said that simple actions such as wearing a mask help families enjoy each other’s company without contributing to dissemination. Said. She is especially looking forward to her nephew’s basketball tournament at Lafayette.

“Am I going to wear a mask while I’m there? Absolutely because I can scream through the mask, protect the people around me, and be protected by the mask,” O’Neill said.

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