Coronavirus file photo stock of closed business unemployment

In this April 22, 2020, file photo, a man wearing a face mask is reflected in the door of a business closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

While extending Louisiana's stay-at-home mandate once again, Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a Monday press conference that not all the state's regions have seen decreases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

He said that is necessary in order to move forward to the White House's Phase 1 reopening plan.

More than a handful of regions are still reporting an increase or plateau of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, including Baton Rouge, Acadiana and the north shore.

The White House's Phase 1 plan would allow Louisiana to lift its stay-at-home order and ease restrictions on public spaces and closed businesses as long as it sees drops in the rates of three categories: coronavirus-like symptoms, cases and hospitalizations. 

New Orleans, a couple of other regions and the overall state have recorded drops in all three categories. According to state officials, every region has been successful in decreasing the rate of residents with COVID-19 symptoms.

"Our assessment was that we're not going in the right direction on some regions," said Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary for Louisiana Office of Public Health. "I will also say though that our feeling is that the measures we are taking now are working."

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Edwards said he would circle back to discussing Phase 1 plans for Louisiana on May 11.

Until then, the state will remain under an extended stay-home mandate through May 15, an announcement he made at Monday's press conference. 

"There's a lot of good work here, but it's just not enough that we feel comfortable," Edwards said. "What we can't have is new hot spots."

While businesses will still remain closed and residents will be asked to stay home except for essential duties, Edwards relaxed a few restrictions that would roll out May 1, when the current mandate is set to expire. 

Those changes include letting restaurants allow customers to eat outdoors on patios, re-opening malls to operate curbside retail and enforcing public-facing workers to wear masks. 

Several states in the south have began reopening, while most of the hardest-hit states, like New York and Michigan, have extended their stay-at-home orders to mid-May.

Staff writer Sam Karlin contributed to this article.


Contact Katelyn Umholtz at kumholtz@theadvocate.com.