New Orleans 'strongly recommends' masks as COVID-19 cases rise

New Orleans 'strongly recommends' masks as COVID-19 cases rise
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New Orleans officials are recommending residents resume wearing face masks as COVID-19 cases rise in the city.

“I am recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask indoors when with people who are not in their immediate household," New Orleans Mayor LaToya CantrellLaToya CantrellLouisiana governor encourages all residents to wear masks New Orleans 'strongly recommends' masks as COVID-19 cases rise Will Smith treats New Orleans to Fourth of July fireworks MORE (D) wrote in a tweet Wednesday.

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The advisory from officials "strongly recommends" face coverings, putting "the responsibility on individuals themselves" instead of instituting a mandate.

Cantrell’s announcement comes as the city has reported its highest seven-day average of virus cases, 117, since February, after dropping to as low as eight last month, according to The Associated Press

New Orleans had been one of the major hot spots during the early days of the pandemic, shutting down the city's famous nightlife scene and leading to the cancellation of yearly Mardi Gras celebrations. 

New Orleans has the highest vaccination rate in the state of Louisiana with 55 percent, the AP reported, but is still well behind other major U.S. cities. 

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Local medical officials Jennifer Avegno and Emily Nichols told said the new rise in cases has led to a shortage of health care workers. 

“Our beds are filling up, [and] our providers are working long, hard hours,” Nichols said.

Louisiana’s health department announced 5,388 new virus cases, the third-highest it has been since the pandemic, and COVID-19-related hospitalizations has risen to 844 in the state, the AP noted.