News for Friday July 10th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Louisiana reported 1,843 more coronavirus cases Thursday and hospitalizations also rose by 20. The state reported 16 more deaths. The state has reported 151-thousand test for this month, but the huge surge in testing has led to delays in people getting their results back. Governor John Bel Edwards says they are working on trying to speed up the process. Here in Rapides Parish there were 47 new cases yesterday and 1 death.
State contact tracing data has identified 16 outbreaks linked to restaurants leading to at least 68 known cases. Assistant health secretary, Doctor Alex Billioux, says compliance checks are happening, but he’s unaware if any business has been cited. That data has also identified that Bars lead the way with 36 outbreaks that have produced at least 393 cases.
The number of people hospitalized as result of COVID-19 has nearly doubled over the last month. According to the state department of health, there are just over 40 ICU beds available at each of these three regions, central Louisiana, the River Parishes and Acadiana. As of yesterday, the number of ICU beds available in southwest Louisiana was down to 27. Governor Edwards says some hospitals also report a low supply of Remdesivir, which is an approved therapeutic drug for severely ill COVID patients. Edwards says hospital officials say they are seeing more younger white males hospitalized as a result of COVID-19.
LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron says coronavirus cases involving his players are under control as his team goes through voluntary workouts. At one time LSU reportedly had at least 30 players in quarantine, but in an interview on WWL Radio, Orgeron said that was inaccurate. The Big 10 announced today that they’ll only play conference games this fall.
According to the U-S-A Today, Teurlings Catholic offensive lineman Jacob Lemaire has spent four days in the intensive care after being infected with COVID-19 and developing pneumonia. Lemaire’s mother tells the USA Today that her son is on oxygen, but he’s doing really well.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers is asking the state mandate facemask usage while on school campuses, instead of the current policy of recommending their use.
Some localities and parishes have adopted mandatory face mask usage while in businesses and public buildings, but most have not.
Louisiana’s K-12 schools and colleges will be shielded from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts the COVID-19 disease. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday he has signed the new liability limitations into law. The measure will keep people exposed to COVID-19 at a school or school facility from being able to sue for damages unless they can prove the high legal standard of “grossly negligent or wanton or reckless misconduct.” The protections cover public and private K-12 schools; charter schools; and public and private colleges and universities. The new law is retroactive to March 11.
LSU Interim President Tom Galligan says school officials are working to ensure international students meet the necessary requirements to avoid being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). New guidelines coming from ICE say that international students can be deported to their own countries if their courses move mostly to online classes. Some international students at LSU feel they have more to fear than getting sick. Earlier this week, ICE made modifications to its Student Exchange Visitor Program which says students who are strictly taking online classes will be deported.
New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson is stepping down as chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. She’s led the party for the last eight years. Candidates to replace Peterson have emerged. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says he may run and Lafayette lawyer Katie Bernhardt has already announced her candidacy. An election is set for August 29th
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is developing a smartphone app aiming to make it easier for consumers to stick to their diet plans by gauging calorie consumption. Co-principal investigator Dr. Corby Martin says the PortionSize app helps tackle a critical problem in weight management, getting people an idea of what they are actually eating. How long it will be before the app ends up in the hands of the public is still to be determined.
Saturday is Election Day for the Presidential Preference Primary. The voting process will look a little different than other elections. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin says there will be spread mitigation efforts in place and they’ve recruited poll workers that are less susceptible to poor outcomes from COVID-19 exposure.