State official: Wear masks, go online as virus cases rise

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The commissioner of Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles is encouraging people who come into OMV facilities to use masks as the state reports a surge in COVID-19 infections.

In a news release, Karen St. Germain said masks aren’t required but mask-wearing is encouraged. And, she said OMV offices continue to enforce social distancing protocols.

St. Germain also is encouraging people to look into using the OMV’s online services at www.expresslane.org.

“Several Louisiana OMV locations have experienced intermittent closures over the past few months due to precautions related to COVID-19,” the Saturday news release said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our customers. When possible, we shift resources around to where they are needed to keep our offices open. Unfortunately, sometimes we must close temporarily to protect the health of our customers and employees.”

State officials last week expressed concerns about a new surge in cases of the coronavirus illness, primarily among the unvaccinated.

Gov. John Bel Edwards noted that since February, 97% of the state’s new COVID-19 cases and deaths have been in people who aren’t vaccinated.

Louisiana lags nearly every other state in vaccine distribution.

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