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NOLA considering ‘all options’ to minimize fourth surge

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City Of New Orleans says its COVID-positivity numbers have more than tripled in recent weeks and the daily case count is trending upward.

As major events return to the Superdome, they say there are no current plans for mandatory mask orders or spacing requirements, though they urge all to take precautions.

For now, the city mask order is an advisory, not mandatory, even as big events like the monster truck show return to the Superdome this weekend.

“Everything is on the table right now, [a mask mandate] is something we are actively considering,” said New Orleans Communications Director Beau Tidwell.

On Magazine Street, some businesses have signs out requesting patrons wear masks but as numbers spike, there are no mandatory orders.

“That’s about the only way we will dine is outside,” said restaurant-goer Kent Huff.

Many take their own precautions, as the city’s average daily case count doubles from 99 last week to 209, and a whopping 678 over the weekend. Many believe renewed mandatory mask requirements are inevitable.

“If that’s what it’s gonna take we’re just gonna have to do it,” said diner Stuart Pons.

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The city says its positivity rate has nearly tripled and now stands at 6.5% with heavy demands placed on local hospitals.

One of New Orleans’ major health care providers, Louisiana’s Children Medical Center, or LCMC, paused non-urgent procedures that require overnight stays.

The CAO of LCMC tweeted Tuesday that hospital capacity is “absolutely being threatened.”

“Most major hospitals are shutting down elective procedures and they are overwhelmed with people waiting in the ER,” said Tidwell.

The city says the vaccination rate increased by less than 1% last week, and they would like to see more people get the shot.

“Right now there are no changes when it comes to capacity limits but we will be very forceful about those people needing to wear a mask if they’re in a group or indoor space,” said Tidwell. “And for gods sake get your vaccine.”

“Yes, we all have been vaccinated and we feel more comfortable given the numbers that say if you have been vaccinated, probabilities are low,” said Huff.

The city urges everyone to wear masks indoors in its effort to try and minimize deaths and illness in this fourth surge.

The City Communications Director says the current surge is likely going to get worse before it gets better unless more people take precautions.

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