NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - New Orleans leaders are taking a strong stance against large gatherings this holiday weekend. They are warn that ignoring the dangers of the virus could force the city to enforce tougher restrictions.
At Woldenberg Park, usually on the 4th of July there would be thousands of families and visitors from all over to enjoy the fireworks and festivities. But City leaders are now warning that this year there should be none of that and taking part in large gatherings will come with consequences.
Leaders say what people do this weekend will further impact if and when students can return to school and whether or not businesses will have to shutdown again.
Health officials say the rate of positive cases in the city continues to go up and there is indication of community spread.
In preparation for any testing shortages, the city will begin capping testing sites at 150 per day after many have begun to max out capacity in just the first hour.
With more than 170 un-permitted large gatherings since the start of Phase 2, Mayor Latoya Cantrell said if this continues, especially on a holiday weekend, she won’t hesitate to roll back to Phase 1 like restrictions.
While showing off cell phone video of yet another illegal second line, a frustrated Cantrell warned this kind of activity puts families and the community at risk.
“There will be no progress if we continue to see in our city what we saw last week. It can not be as it relates to this week. It can not be,” says Cantrell.
“Today I am more concerned that I have seen in several months the data trends we see in New Orleans are concerning in the region and the state even more so and then in our neighboring states they are downright alarming,” says Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of the New Orleans Department of Health.
Avegno says the age group 18-29 year olds are reporting the highest number of new cases both in the state and the New Orleans area. She says young people are also requiring more hospitalizations as well.