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LABI Statement on COVID-19 Impact on Louisiana’s Health & Economy

August 2, 2021

BATON ROUGE, LA (August 2nd, 2021) – LABI President and CEO Stephen Waguespack released the following statement regarding the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and the impact it has on Louisiana’s health and economy.

“Our healthcare members have reported this week that COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing due to the Delta variant, especially in younger and unvaccinated populations.  This troubling trend must be addressed, especially as our students head back to school, businesses get back on their feet, and Louisiana families return to normal after the pandemic shutdown.  For these reasons, we recommend compliance with the executive order and urge anyone not yet vaccinated to consult with their doctor about doing so. Getting your vaccine could not only protect yourself and the ones you love, but could also stave off any new economic restrictions by government.

To reinforce this position, we must reiterate how devastating any version of a second pandemic shutdown would be to Louisiana. Our economy is simply too fragile. We’re roughly 160,000 jobs down from before the pandemic and our unemployment rate sits 2.5% higher than before this all started.  Businesses are having tremendous difficulties with workforce shortages, including front-line health care positions, and supply chains are severely disrupted.  Small businesses, especially those in hospitality and retail, make up the backbone of our economy and can’t afford to close their doors again. The shutdown-style approach tried across the country last year should not be repeated.  We stand ready to work with our elected leaders to prioritize creative and effective efforts that address the shared goals of protecting public health and saving our battered economy, rather than pitting them against each other.”