The rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past several weeks has prompted officials with the City of New Orleans to issue an indoor mask advisory, asking everyone to wear a mask indoors when with people who are not members of their immediate family.

“The alarming transmission data we’ve seen in the last two weeks, coupled with an inadequate vaccination rate, leaves us no choice,” said New Orleans Health Department Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “People who continue to refuse to take the lifesaving COVID vaccine are now also putting the entire community in jeopardy. We must take action now to slow the rapid spread of the Delta variant.”

The average number of daily cases has increased more than 10 times in the last two weeks, with 185 new cases reported in Orleans Parish today alone. The number of new cases reported statewide today is the third-highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Statewide COVID hospitalizations are also significantly increasing, with two times the number of COVID patients hospitalized compared to two weeks ago.

The majority of cases are among unvaccinated individuals, and 97 percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated individuals. Because there is so much virus circulating in the community, there is also an alarming increase in “breakthrough” cases among vaccinated New Orleanians. So far, the vast majority of breakthrough cases have been mild.

Masking has been proven to significantly mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Residents are asked to wear masks in indoor settings when with people who are not members of their immediate household. However, residents are also reminded that COVID vaccines continue to be our way out of the pandemic. While 69.1 percent of eligible adults have received at least their first shot, many in the community remain unprotected.

“I’m asking every single vaccinated New Orleanian to tell their story to a family member, neighbor, or colleague: that vaccines are safe, effective, and lifesaving,” Avegno said.

For the latest updates on coronavirus information and assistance in finding a testing or vaccination site, text COVIDNOLA to 77295 or go to

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