AP

As Mardi Gras nears, New Orleans brings back mask mandate

Jan 11, 2022, 11:33 AM | Updated: 2:16 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans will reinstitute an indoor mask mandate to fight the spread of COVID-19 while readying for an influx of visitors for the Mardi Gras season, the city health director said Tuesday.

Dr. Jennifer Avegno said the mandate takes effect Wednesday at 6 a.m. and will apply to participants in the annual Mardi Gras balls that take place in the city.

Avegno said Louisiana’s statewide coronavirus daily hospitalization numbers have grown in three weeks “by a factor of seven.” She said those cases have put a strain on hospitals, with emergency room waits as long as 12 hours in some facilities.

Growing numbers of coronavirus cases, driven by the omicron variant can affect treatment for people seeking treatment for other illnesses or injuries, Avegno said.

And, while Avegno said she’s hoping cases will subside in coming weeks, she added hospitalizations and deaths show up weeks after cases are reported. That could mean continued pressure from coronavirus cases about the time emergency rooms face an annua uptick in patient numbers as Mardi Gras nears and tourists, some of them overindulging in alcohol, flood the city.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, falls on March 1 this year. Major parades, which draw as many as a million locals and visitors to city streets, begin in the last two weeks of February.

The city already has a requirement that people show proof of vaccinations or negative tests for entry into bars, restaurants and numerous other venues.

Mardi Gras in 2020 became what officials later realized was an early Southern superspreader of COVID-19. Festivities were largely canceled last year. This year, officials are determined to proceed with Mardi Gras events, while enforcing vaccine and testing requirements.

The state health department said Tuesday that just over 1,900 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Louisiana as of Monday, up from about 200 in mid-December.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Global technology outage causes chaos on Friday morning...

Associated Press

Faulty software update causes havoc worldwide for airlines, hospitals and governments

A global technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks and hospital systems offline and media outlets off air on Friday morning.

4 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives during the second day of th...

Associated Press

Donald Trump celebrated by former rivals at Republican National Convention

Former president Donald Trump was celebrated at the Republican National Convention by former rivals, including Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis.

6 days ago

FILE - Members of the Henderson Fire Department load Deb Billet, 66, into an ambulance before trans...

Associated Press

Things to know about heat deaths as a dangerously hot summer shapes up in the western US

A dangerously hot summer is shaping up in the U.S. West, with heat suspected in dozens of recent deaths.

10 days ago

FILE - Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the "Ask Dr. Ruth" panel during the Hulu presentation at...

Associated Press

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, has died

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the sex therapist who became a pop icon, media star and best-selling author, has died.

10 days ago

Biden proposes rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat...

Associated Press

Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat

President Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed a new rule to address excessive heat in the workplace, warning — as tens of millions of people in the U.S. are under heat advisories — that high temperatures are the country's leading weather-related killer.

20 days ago

FILE - Rori Chang, of Glendale, Ariz., walks with her dog Ava as they leave the Maricopa Country An...

Associated Press

Here are ways that can help ease dogs’ July Fourth dread

Those with furry, four-legged family members will be searching for solutions to the Fourth of July anxiety that fireworks bring.

21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

As Mardi Gras nears, New Orleans brings back mask mandate