BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 8 that his decision on whether to keep the state in Phase Two or move to Phase Three of reopening would come sometime before the current order is set to expire Friday, Sept. 11.
Edwards said his decision could come as early as Wednesday, Sept. 9 but warned he was waiting on data and recommendations from the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force. He also said he had to meet with the Louisiana Department of Health about the data from the White House.
Two hours before his news conference, LDH reported 250 positive cases out of 4,125. Edwards said the number of tests was about a quarter of the number tests that have normally been reported as of late. He encouraged residents to go get tested, especially at surge testing sites in the state’s metropolitan areas.
The governor cited the Labor Day Weekend holiday and the fact portions of southwest Louisiana are still reeling from Hurricane Laura as to why the number of COVID-19 tests reported Tuesday was so low.
When asked about seating capacity in Tiger Stadium during the 2020 college football season, Edwards said “his thoughts were in line with the other [SEC] schools."
The governor said he did not know of a difference of opinion about the percentage of capacity between himself and LSU.
“I am looking at 25% [capacity],” he said. “But understanding that whatever decision we make today, it’s always going to be subject as to what’s going on in respect to COVID between now and then. And certainly, we want to make an announcement that would hold true."
Edwards added Louisiana has had more cases of COVID-19 per capita than the other states in the Southeastern Conference, including two spikes of the virus.
“We’ve already ridden the crest of two surges [in COVID-19 cases], I’m not anxious to do it a third time,” he said.
During the press conference, Gov. Edwards also touched on Hurricane Laura efforts in Southwest Louisiana.
According to the governor, there are 26 storm-related deaths, 7 of them from storm clean up and 9 deaths are attributed generator misuse.
Louisiana has also received $14.6 million through the CARES Act for saltwater fisheries affected by the pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced low-income Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Laura could be eligible for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) benefits.
The National Guard also has 5,600 guardsmen activated. They are also currently supporting 31 distribution sites.
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