A big announcement from Governor John Bel Edwards today. He is expected to extend the public health emergency in Louisiana but his order will no longer require masking. This change will also include public schools across the state.

Edwards is renewing the COVID-19 public health emergency order which expires on Wednesday. The Governor cites a dramatic drop in hospitalizations over the past few weeks as the reason for his easing of the restrictions. Edwards says "There won't be any mention of masks in the new order.”

Since the latest peak with the Omicron variant of COVID in January, the numbers have been cut in half. The Governor says we are on the downswing of this surge. But he does remind Louisiana residents we are still seeing dozens of deaths each day and that is a “gut punch”. 41 people died from Covid in Louisiana on Monday.

Some Governor’s have lifted all public health emergency orders, but Edwards says before he does that, he wants to make sure “there aren't adverse circumstances in doing so." Louisiana has been under a public health emergency order for nearly two years.

On Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 3,039 new cases of COVID-19 and 1,135 patients hospitalized with the virus statewide.

Local governments can still implement their own mask mandates if they choose to do so.

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