News for Monday March 16th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Congratulations to all involved in the KRRV Country Cares for Kids, St Jude Radiothon. The event, held last Thursday and Friday raised more than $103, 000.
All public schools are closed today through April 13th.
CLTCC postpones classes as part of COVID-19 response
In a little over a week, Louisiana has gone from having no reported cases of Coronavirus to, as of 7 last night, having 104 positive cases and two people dead. The number of positive cases comes from only 284 people tested statewide. More tests should be available this week and it is expected the number will go up substantially. The big concern now for viral experts is that those how are not showing outward signs, and therefore would not be tested, will spread the virus.
Louisiana saw it’s first two COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, and Governor Edwards says data now shows per capita the state has the third or fourth-highest number of infections in the nation. Governor Edwards says the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people is serious, and is being done to flatten the curve. “flattening the curve” refers to spreading the number of infections out over a longer period of time so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system. The CDC recommends that gatherings of 50 people or more in US be canceled or postponed in next 8 weeks because of coronavirus.
As a resident of a facility serving people with developmental disabilities, 58-year-old Ives Green, who had limited had limited contact with the outside world, Saturday became the first person in Louisiana to die from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. A second patient at that same facility, a 53 year old man, also died over the weekend. Health officials also report a 45 year old attorney in Kenner is in critical condition with the virus.
State lawmakers return to the capitol today for the second week of the legislative session. Ten committee hearings are set for today. The three-month long session will end June 1st. But because of the spread of the coronavirus, there’s a chance the session could end early, so lawmakers are putting more of an emphasis on bills that must be passed. Public access into the building will be limited. Fewer people will be allowed in the committee rooms and in the House and Senate chambers. Also individuals entering the capitol will have their temperature checked. If a person has a fever, they will not be allowed in.
Walmart has now joined a growing list of grocery and discount store chains that are changing their operating hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Walmart announced over the weekend that all of its stores, including Neighborhood Markets, would be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. The company says this will give employees more time to clean stores and restock shelves. Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain will move now be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
As the COVID-19 cases continue to add up, health experts recommend preparing the immune system to fend off the ailment. Chief of community and population medicine at LSU Health New Orleans Dr. Benjamin Springgate says in addition to good hygiene, the body’s intake is key to being as healthy as possible. Eat healthy, limit alcohol intake and limit smoking. Springgate also recommends getting plenty of sleep. Springgate anticipates there will be companies hoping to cash in on the epidemic and will sell whatever they can that will land them a buck, regardless of effectiveness. Do your homework before you purchase anything and know there is no miracle cure.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell says New Orleans has been selected for a federal pilot program to expand COVID-19 testing in the city, with implementation set for mid-week. Testing won’t be available to all, with first responders prioritized, and followed by high-risk groups. The city has released a list of restrictions on restaurants which includes a requirement to reduce seating by 50 percent, and mandated early closures. The ballooning number of NOLA based cases didn’t keep French Quarter revelers from packing into bars over the weekend.
The coronavirus is impacting the crawfish industry. The season saw a slow start before Carnival celebrations, and now people aren’t congregating for a crawfish boil because of the pandemic. President of the Crawfish Research and Promotion Board David Savoy says the harvest of crawfish has been bountiful and the prices have been relatively low all season already, so he doesn’t anticipate this price going down much further.