HOUSTON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. city of New Orleans on Friday tightened its COVID-19 restrictions as the situation of the pandemic continued to worsen in the past days.
According to authorities, New Orleans started to follow the Modified Phase One restrictions from 6 a.m. on Jan. Under those restrictions, gatherings and special events are not allowed except for people who live together in a single household; all indoor activities are reduced to 25 percent of permitted occupancy; only people from the same household are allowed to sit at the same table at restaurants and bars with the limitation of six people.
Nearly all COVID-19 measures soared in the past days in New Orleans. The positivity rate went up from 5 percent two weeks ago to over 10 percent now; average daily cases have increased exponentially to over 200; hospitalizations reached an all-time record earlier this week statewide, with more COVID patients admitted than in April of last year.
Authorities said for all these reasons, it was necessary to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in all sectors.
"With vaccines coming but our COVID-19 numbers rising, these next few weeks will be a defining moment in the history of our response to this pandemic. That's why we need everyone in our community to take this change in COVID-19 restrictions very seriously," the city's Mayor LaToya Cantrell said earlier this week during a press briefing.
In the state of Louisiana where New Orleans is located, 2,553 more confirmed COVID-19 cases and 92 more confirmed deaths were reported on Friday. The Louisiana Department of Health said that Friday's death toll is the second highest total reported in a single day in the state.