News for Monday March 23rd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards issues a statewide shelter in place order, and ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in Louisiana saying drastic measures are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order, which takes effect a 5pm this afternoon does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and allows for restaurants to serve takeout or drive-through meals. A complete listing of ordered closures is available at gov.Louisiana.gov.
All state offices will be closed to the public until further notice. State workers will receive their marching orders from their direct supervisors. Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall announced yesterday that all City of Alexandria buildings will be closed to the public until further notice. City workers will continue to report to work as scheduled and services will continue to be provided but public interaction will be held to a minimum.
In yesterday’s press conference the Governor said there will be no checkpoints or enforcement of travel restrictions, but the Governor is asking people to be good neighbors and follow the order to shelter in place. Edwards says two weeks ago we had zero COVID-19 cases. One week ago we had 91 confirmed cases. As of Sunday 837 confirmed cases and twenty deaths, a ten times increase in seven days.
Governor John Bel Edwards will take to radio and television airwaves Monday at 7PM for a one-hour broadcast to address Louisiana’s fight against the spread of COVID-19. Edwards’ spokesperson Shauna Sanford says there will be no audience at the LPB studio, but Edwards and a health professional along with other guests will answer questions from the public that were sent in over the weekend. You can hear the program tonight on KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM and on KISS 98.7 and you can watch it on L-P-B.
The Rapides Parish School Board is planning a special meeting for Monday with just one item on the agenda. The 12:25 p.m. meeting is for the purpose of adopting an emergency declaration and to "temporarily suspend all other open public board meetings and action until further notice."
Unemployment insurance claims are skyrocketing. Louisiana Workforce Commission executive director Ava Dejoie says the department has received over 30,000 new claims last week and that number is expected to greatly increase this week. Dejoie says staffing of the department has been shifted from other divisions to help process the new claims. The first checks are anticipated to be sent out next week. The maximum unemployment benefit is $247 per week. Dejoie says the best way to file a claim is online at LAworks.net.
LSU announcing yesterday they will close the campus except for an extremely limited number of essential personnel and those students who have received permission from Residential Life to remain in on-campus housing.
The statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline has dipped to $1.93 and are expected to continue to drop. COVID-19 economic impacts, as well as overproduction between OPEC and Russia, are the main factors. Oil prices are at their lowest levels since the early 2000s.
Ochsner Health CEO Warner Thomas says their health system is prepared to handle a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. Despite reports of hospitals lacking personal protective equipment and not enough respirators, Thomas says they are in good shape right now. Thomas says their estimates show the system can handle patients without being overloaded, assuming every Louisianan heeds the Governor’s call to for social distancing.
As children prepare to venture into the world of online learning, the experts are recommending a few tips and tricks for making the transition away from the traditional classroom an easier one. Head of Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy Danielle Scott says make sure children have a designated area for learning. Children need a routine, so Scott says it is important for parents to create a schedule together with their child