Over the weekend the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed the state’s first identified case of the COVID-19 variant, frequently referred to as the U.K. variant because it is prevalent in the United Kingdom, in an individual in the Greater New Orleans area. This variant spreads more easily from one person to another than other viral strains currently circulating in the United States, though it has not been shown to cause more severe disease. Health experts believe current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the variant strain. The Department conducted a case investigation and contact tracing to identify, inform and monitor anyone who was in close contact with the individual, who has a reported history of travel outside of Louisiana.
Governor Edwards said our case counts and hospitalizations are increasing and deaths from COVID have reached an alarming rate. He said he implores everyone to wear a mask, avoid people and places that are not implementing the mask mandate, social distance, wash your hands frequently and do not go around anyone if you are sick. He said even with the vaccines available, controlling our behavior with the measures that are proven to help keep us safe is our best defense against spreading this virus to our family, friends and throughout our communities.