Gov. Edwards: Stepping up COVID-19 enforcement after state loses ground in fight

Gov. Edwards: Stepping up COVID-19 enforcement after state loses ground in fight
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he is looking for stronger enforcement as the number of COVID-19 cases grow. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) - Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is stepping up enforcement of rules like social distancing and wearing masks after a large spike in COVID-19 cases.

Louisiana is seeing its largest daily coronavirus case spike since April, during the height of the state’s outbreak.

Nearly 2,100 new cases of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus were confirmed over the last day in Louisiana residents, and hospitalizations continued to tick upward.

The trend is worrying public health experts that Louisiana’s once successful efforts to slow infections are being undermined by a complacent public ignoring recommended precautions.

Edwards said he supports the decisions by some parishes to require wearing masks. East Baton Rouge announced a mandate on Wednesday. Orleans and Jefferson already have a mask requirement for nearly all activities in the parishes.

The governor said the increase is “really steep” in cases with the 18-29 age range, especially seen in Baton Rouge - where many LSU students reside.

At least 98% of Wednesday’s cases come from cases of community spread, not places like nursing homes.

In June, the state tested 385,000 people, which is almost twice the goal of what the state submitted to the federal government in its testing plan. There was a backlog of tests from an out of state lab, but are only tests done in the past two weeks.

Edwards said he is not announcing additional restrictions yet. But the state will stay in Phase 2 of recovery. The governor encouraged people to stay home and stay away from businesses that do not adhere to state and parish rules regarding COVID-19.

Even the White House voiced concern about the rise in positive tests in Louisiana, specifically in the Baton Rouge area.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. The Associated Press Contributed to this report. All rights reserved.