Louisiana a ‘yellow zone’ state in latest White House report, Governor cautions testing needs to increase after Laura

Report says State has seen ‘stability’ in new cases and a decrease in test positivity

Louisiana a ‘yellow zone’ state in latest White House report, Governor cautions testing needs to increase after Laura
For the first time, Louisiana is listed as a yellow zone state in the White House's Coronavirus Task Force report. (Source: WVUE-TV/White House Coronavirus Task Force Document)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - After being listed for weeks as a ‘red zone’ state in White House Coronavirus Task Force reports, Louisiana is now listed in the so-called ’yellow zone’ for both new cases and test positivity. But state leaders cautioned that the state’s overall testing is down likely due to a tropical storm and major hurricane both making landfall in the state.

The report, sent weekly to governors across the United States, summarizes COVID-19 data from the week prior and compares it to the rest of the region and the country. According to the Coronavirus Task Force, Louisiana had the 22nd highest new cases per 100,000 in population last week and the 23rd highest rate of positive tests.

White House Coronavirus Task Force graphs show levels of COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic, including ahead of Hurricane Laura.
White House Coronavirus Task Force graphs show levels of COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic, including ahead of Hurricane Laura. (Source: White House Coronavirus Task Force Document)

“That’s only 4,029 tests,” Governor John Bel Edwards said of Monday’s numbers. “We were routinely reporting 15... 20... 25,000 tests per day.”

Gov. Edwards said in a Monday press conference the state must get back to its testing volume before Hurricane Laura and to aid in that the National Guard will be standing up 17 new testing sites in the state.

The report notes ’despite the impact of Hurricane Laura, Louisiana is well positioned due to its strong mitigation efforts and will be able to expand testing and ensure testing in shelters. In the lead-up to Hurricane Laura, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state made it a priority to shelter people in hotels and only use actual congregant shelters as a last resort. Laura struck Southwest Louisiana, a region that over the past month has seen some of the highest rates in new cases in the state.

The White House task force notes that the state saw 98 new cases per 100,000 in population last week, a figure that remains above the national average of 88 per 100,000.

In the task force’s list of recommendations, they suggest the state continue the mask mandate and continue its closure of establishments like bars. The latest Phase 2 restrictions were extended by Governor Edwards to run until at least September 11.

Fifteen of the state’s 64 parishes are listed in the report’s ’red zone,’ down from 24 parishes last week. Thirty-six parishes are listed in the report’s ’yellow zone,’ up two from last week.

A ’red zone’ area is an area that saw more than 100 new cases in the last week per 100,000 in population and a test positivity rate above 10 percent. A ’yellow zone’ area is one that has seen between 10-100 new cases in the last week per 100,000 in population and a lab positivity rate of 5-10 percent.

FULL WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE REPORT

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