News for Friday April 3rd, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
Most of the State’s residents got a text blast from the Governor informing them the statewide shelter in place order has officially been extended through April 30th. Along with that, an offer to sign up for direct alerts on vital COVID-19 info from the state. This comes as the state yesterday crossed the 9,000 case mark, and adds 37 new official COVID fatalities.
Governor Edwards says a model used by the White House predicts 1,834 Louisianans will die of COVID-19. The Governor says the model is predicated on the idea that we continue mitigation measures through May, instead of the current reopening date of May 1st.
The CDC releases new guidelines and is now recommending wearing protective masks when in public. The state is reporting 37 additional COVID-19 deaths today and over 27-hundred new cases. The death toll is up to 310 and Governor John Bel Edwards says 9,150 total cases should be a wakeup call for anyone still doubting the pandemic’s severity. 1,639 COVID patients are hospitalized, with 507 on ventilators, an increase of 17 from yesterday.
If life wasn’t already difficult enough, Colorado State University Hurricane researchers predict an active 2020 hurricane season. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. But C-S-U forecaster Jhordanne Jones says their forecast calls for 16 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.
Avoyelles Parish has officially declared a curfew in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting today adults must be off the streets between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. For minors, the hours are from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. However, if the minor is in the company of an adult, the 10 p.m. deadline applies. The curfew will remain in effect through the end of the health emergency.
A nurse at New Orleans East Hospital becomes the state’s first healthcare worker to die after testing positive for COVID-19. Larrice Anderson passed away on Wednesday. Executive Director of the Louisiana State Nurse’s Association Thea Ducrow says the death sends a shockwave through the nursing community.
Four inmates have now died from the coronavirus at the Oakdale federal prison in Allen Parish. There are nearly one-thousand male offenders at Oakdale and at last report eleven of them have tested positive, 19 others are in the hospital suspected of having the virus.
A Louisiana lawmaker whose constituency includes Grand Isle has been put on a ventilator to assist his breathing as he battles the new coronavirus. Before his setback state Rep. Reggie Bagala had hoped to be discharged by this weekend. The 54 year old Bagala is at least the second member of Louisiana’s House of Representatives to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
Legendary Peabody high school basketball coach Charles Smith has been named the Class Four-A Boys Basketball Coach of the Year after leading the Warhorses to a state championship for an eighth time.
Ochsner Health chief Warner Thomas says they continue to increase the number of intensive care beds to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 patients. Thomas says adding to the strain is that COVID-19 patients spend over a week in the I-C-U. Thomas says 85-percent of their COVID patients in the ICU are on ventilators.
Department of Education issues guidance for school districts on how to handle the impending graduating class of high school seniors. Assistant Superintendent Ken Bradford says seniors won’t have to worry about taking the usual standardized tests graduation, but districts will have to make a call on how to handle course credits and other graduation requirements. Bradford says students may elect to receive a pass/fail credit over a traditional letter grade for classes this semester, but it will not be factored into a GPA. All requirements to receive TOPS have remained the same.
The State Treasurer is shipping out four million dollars’ worth of unclaimed property checks to Louisianans this week. John Schroder says by working with the Department of Revenue they’ve identified tens of thousands of recipients who are owed money they can use right now. Unclaimed property can be everything from payroll checks to old bank accounts, royalties, deposits, interest payments, and more. Schroder says the average check is no small fortune, but it is worth about nine hundred dollars. Schroder says about one in six Louisianans is owed unclaimed property by the state, and you can speed up the process of getting it to you by visiting latreasury.com
Later today the U.S Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carre Spillway.
The Army Corps says that heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley and rising Mississippi River water stages and flow are prompting the opening.
The Department of Children and Family Services is not relaxing child support payments due to the pandemic. Child Support Enforcement Director Lydia Scales says non-custodial parents will still be on the hook for money owed despite their employment status, but no enforcement actions will be taken. If a parent loses a job and can’t make a payment, Scales recommends they call their child support worker and let them know that their circumstances have changed.
Beams and other load-bearing structures on the upper floors of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans were not properly designed, causing structural problems ahead of the building's collapse, according to citations issued against the engineers in charge of the project. The firm was fined about $154,000.
It’s unique times and that’s no different for the Saints who are preparing for this month’s NFL draft with a small group of coaches and front office personnel at the Dixie Brewery in New Orleans East. Coach Sean Payton says they are practicing social distancing in their draft war room. Payton says he feels good after testing positive last month from the coronavirus. He says he never had the respiratory issues that many patients suffer from.
The Saints have announced they’ve re-signed cornerback P-J Williams.
Court records show LSU Football Coach Ed Orgeron filed for divorce from his wife Kelly on February 26th after 23 years of marriage. In the filing, Coach O is living at the former couple’s home in Baton Rouge, while Kelly has been granted exclusive use and occupancy of their Mandeville home.
The family for former Saints kicker Tom Dempsey says the 73-year-old is receiving hospice care. Dempsey is one of several residents at the Lambeth House Senior living center in Uptown New Orleans to test positive for coronavirus. According to Dempsey’s daughter, her father’s fever has gone away, but his oxygen levels are low and he’s lost his appetite.
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is still not exactly sure what his roster might look like in 2021. Mainieri says senior pitchers Matthew Beck and Aaron George will be able to return, because the NCAA is giving them another year of eligibility. But he’s not sure how many players or recruits he’ll lose to the draft, because Major League Baseball has yet to decide how many round the draft will be.