Louisiana restores indoor mask mandates as COVID-19 cases surge to record highs
Depiction of a COVID-19 patient in the hospital. (Shutterstock.com)

Louisiana is bringing back its indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 cases in the state have surpassed the highs set last winter.

Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on Monday afternoon that he is "reinstating Louisiana's statewide mask mandate indoors for all people ages 5 and up as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across Louisiana, threatening the ability of hospitals to deliver care."

Edwards also encouraged the state's residents to be careful during the current surge in cases.

"Everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves and slow the spread," he said. "Wear a mask, avoid crowded spaces, get tested if exposed, and understand your risks."

According to Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller, the mask mandate will include Louisiana public schools.

Data compiled by the New Orleans Advocate shows that Louisiana is now averaging more than 3,400 new novel coronavirus cases per day, surpassing the record it sent last winter when the state peaked at an average of just under 3,000 new cases per day.

Additionally, the New Orleans Advocate finds that nearly 2,000 Louisiana residents are currently hospitalized thanks to the disease.

Louisiana is one of the least vaccinated states in the country, with only 37 percent of its population having been fully vaccinated.