Weekly COVID-19 update: Bel Edwards lifts mask mandate

Caroline Latta, Staff Reporter

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Cecilia Hammond

Governor John Bel Edwards lifted Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, excepting only K-12 schools, on Oct. 26. 

In a press release, the Governor’s office said that the governor was “cautiously optimistic and very relieved that the worst of this fourth surge of COVID is clearly behind us, which is a direct result of the people of Louisiana who stepped up to the plate when we needed them to and put their masks back on, got vaccinated, and took extra precautions to stay safe.”

Mike Strecker, Tulane University’s Assistant Vice President for Communication, said that Tulane would retain their indoor mask mandate.

As of Oct. 26, Tulane University has completed 54,996 tests during the fall semester, 287 of which were positive. Tulane has a seven-day 0% positivity rate, while Orleans Parish reported a positivity rate of 0.6% and Louisiana reported a positivity rate of 1.8%.  

Tulane currently has two active cases, one student and employee. Over the course of the fall semester, there have been 175 positive tests from students and 112 positive tests from employees. The percentage of all positive tests this semester has been 0.5%. 

Currently, Tulane has a vaccination rate of over 95%, whereas Orleans Parish has a vaccination rate of 70%. Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine are available to people ages 18 and over with underlying medical conditions. The booster vaccine can be administered at least six months after having the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Those who are eligible to receive a booster in the Tulane community can receive their third dose at the university vaccine clinics, located on both the uptown and downtown campuses. 

Tulane — along with the city of New Orleans — is following modified phase three protocols, which require that masks must be worn indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test must be shown for all indoor events, which includes classrooms, bars, gyms and any indoor entertainment. Proof can be shown via the LA Wallet app, vaccine card or immunization record.

Due to the decreasing number of positive COVID-19 tests in the community, Tulane reduced its testing frequency. This updated testing schedule started on Oct. 25 and will run until Nov. 22. Tulane will test randomly selected individuals several times throughout the week. Testing must occur within 96 hours of the individual receiving their QR code via their Tulane email address.

If you have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please complete the COVID-19 reporting form available here. Students are not permitted to self-quarantine unless they have spoken with a Tulane contact tracer.

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