The state of Louisiana is staying in Phase II of the Federal Government's re-opening plan.
Governor John Bel Edwards made his decision public today at a 2:30 p.m. press conference, saying that the state has not made enough progress to move forward in its re-opening efforts.
Phase II will last for 28 more days, and Governor Edwards said more restrictions are possible if conditions continue to worsen.
"We have seen the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations increase across the state across the state," Gov. Edwards said. "We have not made the progress we'd have hoped and now is a time for continued caution."
Edwards' comments are backed by numbers and data that have not trended in the right direction in recent days.
On June 1 when the state announced plans to go to Phase II, there were 661 patients hospitalized and 86 patients are on ventilators.
Throughout June, those numbers have gone down. They're currently at 630 patients hospitalized and 77 patients on ventilators.
But in recent weeks, those numbers have gone in the opposite direction. The state had dropped to 542 hospitalizations on June 13. But in the past 9 days, that's risen to 630 hospitalizations, which Edwards said is troubling.
"It's pretty clear we have more COVID-19 in our state than we did in days before,"
In Phase 3, larger crowds would have been allowed, and business capacities would have been increased.
Phase 3 is also going to be troubling for athletic seasons. Phase 3 is when team activities are allowed for football, basketball, soccer and wrestling. Those activities were not going to be allowed per the LHSAA in July anyway, but continued delays could be problematic for season start days, if we cannot get into Phase 3 in the future.
Edwards and his team said that certain regions of the state are seeing greater increases than others.
Our Region, Region 3 has been mostly steady.
But other regions are seeing increases in hospitalizations and bedding and there are concerns about the rapid spread in those areas.
One thing the Governor said is that younger people are now getting the virus than before because of community spread. The average age in cases are going down, which is, in part, why there has not been a huge spike in hospitalizations as new cases have come in.