Could East Baton Rouge Parish return to phase 1?

Updated: Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:28 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 has hit a record high. 

“We just need to get this under control and get the number lowered,” said Andrew Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald is the Senior Director of Business Intelligence for BRAC. He says while they have recorded economic improvements for the Capital Area, there are some concerns there could be setbacks due to the recent spike in cases.

“We’ve hit a new low since the start of the pandemic in terms of unemployment claims in the capital region, but we are always cautious and worried that we are going to back slide a little bit specifically if the official phases get slid back from our modified phase 2 to more of a traditional phase 2 or even a phase one,” Fitzgerald says.

Currently, the state is under modified phase 2 precautions. Governor John Bel Edwards will re-evaluate those guidelines next week. While there’s no certainty the state will roll back phases, Fitzgerald says they are preparing for the impact of any tighter restrictions.

“We do have another round of PPE starting. We do have $300 extra a week for those that are unemployed so consumer spending won’t be affected,” said Fitzgerald. “You would see a job loss if that were to occur if we rolled back, but it would not be as bad as the first time most likely.”

He says he believes it will take more than guidelines and safety precautions to help get daily life back to normal.

”I think a more robust, a more fast paced, and a more broader vaccination kind of schedule, or tiered approach is definitely needed,” Fitzgerald said.

The latest update from LDH shows more than 80,000 people in Louisiana have received the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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