COVID-19 Louisiana Graphic

"Yesterday we reported the highest number of cases," said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards addressing the 2,600 new cases Friday.

"It is clear to me that our current restrictions are not enough," said Edwards.

Edwards said Louisiana is No. 3 in growth rate of cases per capita in the country.

Edwards announced Louisiana will stay in Phase 2, but there will be changes on Monday including a state-wide mask mandate, all bars will be closed except curb side pick-up and gatherings must be less than 50.

Graphic showing which parishes are required to follow the mandatory-mask mandate

The new mandates will take place until July 24 when further decisions will be made.

Edwards said that face masks and cloth coverings are easy and effective when protecting people from illness.

He said that children under 8, residents with health conditions and parishes with a low number of cases can opt out of the mandate but are encouraged not to.

"None of these steps I'm announcing today are steps I wanted to take," said Edwards. 

"I know that some of what I'm announcing today is going to be challenging for some, unpopular for others. It is the necessary thing to do," he said. 

"This is no longer a New Orleans outbreak. This is a Louisiana problem," said Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Office of Public Health.

Dr. Catherine O'Neal of Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center said that a third of patients are in the ICU, youngest patient is 25 without preexisting conditions, patients in 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s in the ICU struggling for their lives. 

"I have confidence in Louisiana," said Edwards. "We should take advantage of the opportunity we have. Now is our time. Don't wait until tomorrow."

Edwards specified that masks are required inside and outside when individuals are in close proximity to one another.

"The mandate does apply to churches, but we will not be enforcing it in churches," said Edwards encouraging churches to follow the mandate.

"If you don't like the mask mandate, then don't like it," said Edwards. "But wear your mask anyway if you are going to be out in public."

"The hottest area in the state for case transmission is in Lake Charles, Louisiana and the second hottest is Lafayette," said Edwards addressing that this is a state-wide problem.