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NOLA implements indoor mask advisory amid surge in COVID cases

The rapid spread of COVID-19 during the fourth surge is “cause for alarm.”
A person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP...
A person holds a mask while walking outside in Philadelphia, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)(Matt Rourke | AP)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 12:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On Wednesday, July 21, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced an indoor mask advisory will be issued as cases of the delta variant of COVID-19 continue to rise.

Officials are strongly recommending anyone, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask indoors.

In a press conference, Cantrell said wearing a mask is the most “immediate and tangible” way to slow the spread.

“Don’t let us go back,” Cantrell said. “The city cannot afford for that to happen.”

Doctor Jennifer Avegno says 97% of the severe cases, which require hospitalization or results in death, are in unvaccinated people.

The number of average daily cases in New Orleans has jumped from 11 to 99 in just two weeks. A nine-fold increase, according to city spokesperson Beau Tidwell.

Avegno says breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are mostly among the elderly and those with health risks.

In his weekly press conference on Tuesday, city spokesperson Beau Tidwell says the situation is “serious and cause for alarm.”

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 5,388 new cases of COVID-19, the third-highest single daily total since the pandemic began.

More: La. reports third-highest daily count of cases since pandemic began

The delta variant is a mutated coronavirus. The variant is believed to be more transmissible, and as it spreads health experts warn about the risk to young children who are not vaccinated. It was first detected in India but now has been identified around the world.

Just over 69% of adults in New Orleans have gotten the first dose of the vaccine. Tidwell says 63.7% are fully vaccinated. Almost 51% of the total population is fully vaccinated, he said.

The rapid spread of the Delta variant could put fall events in jeopardy. Several festivals are scheduled this fall, including Jazz Fest, Buku, and French Quarter Fest, and the Saints kick off the regular season against the Packers on Sep. 12.

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A city spokesperson says "all options are on the table" as the delta variant preys on the unvaccinated: https://bit.ly/36Sz9yR

Posted by WVUE FOX 8 News on Tuesday, July 20, 2021

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