On Tuesday, August 18, Governor Edwards announced that the Louisiana coronavirus positivity rate has fallen below 10 percent, but on Thursday, it rose back to 14 percent. While the initial dip was encouraging, the spike in positivity is alarming, as the state aims for a positivity rate below 10 percent. The governor underlined the gravity of the situation by noting that Louisiana once agaiin has the highest number of cases per capita in the country. According to WDSU News, the state tested over 500,000 people in July.
Edwards also announced that Louisiana has begun the process of receiving federal aid to increase unemployment by an additional $300 per week. While we don't yet know when that funding will become available, WDSU News reports that Edwards claims "federal unemployment payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1." However, the governor has also announced the shutdown of Louisiana's Rental Assistance Program, which was overwhelmed when more than 40,000 people applied. The $24 million in funding will be able to assist up to 7,500 applicants.
For at least 21 days after August 18, the statewide mask mandate will remain in place while we stay in Phase Two. All indoor gatherings and any outdoor gatherings where attendees cannot remain at least six feet apart are capped at 50 people.