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Governor John Bel Edwards puts his mask back on, after speaking and introducing U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, who is leading the U.S. Department of Defense's COVID response, Sunday, April 19, 2020 at Baton Rouge General Mid City, where 74 Naval medical staff are working during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. John Bel Edwards may have held a briefing to wrap up the Louisiana Legislature's final day of special session, but the press had just as many coronavirus questions ready on case increases and the likelihood of mask mandates.

When asked if the recent surge in coronavirus cases would result in requiring state residents to wear masks in public spaces, Edwards said though mask-wearing compliance is not where it should be, he doesn't think a mandate would improve it.

"I am not sure that a statewide mandate would produce the level of compliance that we need," Edwards said. "There would be issues related to the enforcement of such a mandate, but I do encourage everybody to (wear a mask)."

Edwards noted that state officials are keeping an eye on rising case and hospitalization numbers as it relates to mask policies and could recommend face-covering mandates to more local governments in Louisiana if necessary, similar to what Jefferson Parish passed.

Early on in the pandemic, Louisiana officials followed the Centers for Disease Control's suit in urging residents to wear masks when in public and social distancing cannot happen. The only people required to wear masks in Louisiana are public-facing workers, such as first responders and service industry staff. 

As COVID-19 cases increase across the U.S., some states have since mandated masks to be worn by all citizens.

Edwards began Tuesday's question-and-answer portion of the briefing by announcing he would hold a full coronavirus press conference at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

Follow the Advocate's coronavirus news conference coverage below.

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Contact Katelyn Umholtz at kumholtz@theadvocate.com.