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Pence heads to Louisiana amid renewed surge in virus cases

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Pence heads to Louisiana amid renewed surge in virus cases

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence travels Tuesday to Louisiana, which has reemerged as one of the nation’s hot spots for the coronavirus only months after seeming to contain its outbreak.

The Republican vice president was scheduled to meet with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, members of the congressional delegation and state health officials to talk about the state’s response to the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

Pence’s visit comes as Louisiana’s confirmed virus cases, percentage of positive tests and COVID-19 patient hospitalization rates are surging — worrying public health experts about the level of virus spread in a state that previously appeared successful in combating its outbreak.

“Louisiana has been on the radar, literally front and center, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since the very beginning. We’ve never come off of that radar,” Edwards said. “I think that’s a big reason why the vice president chose to come to Baton Rouge and to Louisiana.”

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In response to the spike in virus cases and hospitalizations, the Democratic governor enacted a statewide mask mandate for people ages 8 and older that took effect Monday. He also returned bars to take-out and delivery only. Restaurants, casinos, gyms, salons and other businesses remain open with occupancy restrictions.

While in Baton Rouge, Pence also is planning a discussion at Louisiana State University’s Tiger Stadium focused on fall college reopening plans and the future of university sports programs in the pandemic. LSU’s Tigers won the college football national championship title in January.

The Baton Rouge region is one of three metropolitan areas where federal officials recently set up new drive-thru coronavirus testing sites aimed […]

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