NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans city spokesman said spiking Covid-19 numbers in the Big Easy should “scare the hell out of you.”
Communications Director Beau Tidwell revealed there have been 2400 new cases in the city since this time last week. The average daily cases in the city went from 298 last week to 327 this week.
Since mid-July there’s been a 430 percent increase in statewide Covid hospitalizations.
“We’re in a dangerous spot and we need to do more,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell announced potential new Coronavirus restrictions are expected to be announced later this week. That could include gathering limits at bars and other businesses in the city and a possible vaccine mandate.
A dramatic surge in cases has already caused the cancellation of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Red Dress Run, White Linen Night and other local events.
Tidwell stopped short of saying French Quarter Fest, now scheduled for late September, should do the same.
“As I said with these other events, the event organizers themselves were the ones that made that decision,” Tidwell said. “We think it was the right one and that’s what we would encourage people to do.”
“What I can tell you is we’re not making the decision to pull the plug on them today,” Tidwell added. “But we are going to continue to watch the situation and hope that the event organizers look at it closely themselves.”
French Quarter Fest is staying the course, at least for now.
A spokeswoman said in a statement, “We don't have any new updates to share at this time. We are continuing to stay in close communication with the city and our local health officials.”
The New Orleans Saints had expected to start the season with full attendance inside the Caesars Superdome. But with Covid numbers spiking again in the city, a Saints official said the team continues to monitor the situation.
Tidwell said a citywide mask mandate will be enforced at the dome.
“Are potential other changes possible, yes, but nothing is being announced today.”
Discussions between the city and Saints organization are ongoing.
The team’s preseason home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars is now set for August 23.