News for Thursday April 9th, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
DHH Numbers yesterday show the state now has just over 17,000 COVID-19 cases, and a total of 652 fatalities, That’s up 70 from Tuesday. State health officials are encouraged to see the number of COVID-19 patients who require ventilation has gone down, four days in a row. Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux says we are seeing now the results of public behaviors that started two weeks.
The state has now received funding from the CARES Act to pay additional unemployment benefits. Those will now include an additional $600/weekly through July and will cover gig workers, 1099 workers, and the self-employed. Payments will start Monday. The cash influx will be a big boon for the hundreds of thousands who’ve filed in the last month. Governor Edwards says between March 1st and April 4th there were 277,000 claims filed in Louisiana.
Here in Rapides Parish school officials say they will be contacting High School seniors and their families individually and given an update on final grades and what that means for the students graduation process. Students will have options available to help them improve their final grades before May 8, the original last official day for seniors. When it comes to Graduations, the plan right now is to delay graduations until schools are ready to hold them again.
Senator John Kennedy anticipates Congress will authorize additional funding for a Small Business Administration loan program designed to prop up companies during the coronavirus shutdown. The 250 billion dollar program has been highly popular so far, so popular that Kennedy says they’ll need to double the size of the program. Companies that qualify the loan can have it partially or fully forgiven if it is used mostly to maintain payroll. The Senate isn’t scheduled to meet again for several weeks, but Kennedy says this legislation could get passed by “unanimous consent” so that the Congress could abide by social distancing guidelines.
The LSU AgCenter and the Louisiana Farm Bureau are surveying crawfish producers to determine the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says the information collected will be turned over to the U-S-D-A in an effort to get assistance for the industry. Crawfish producers have been hurt by a glut of crawfish because restaurants can only offer carryout or delivery service.
A Louisiana Oil and Gas Association survey projects more than 23-thousand jobs in the industry are at immediate risk. Association President Gifford Briggs calls for the suspension of state severance tax collections for one year, oil and gas storage capacity expanded and legislation to end government-led coastal lawsuits
State health officials are encouraged to see the number of COVID-19 patients who require ventilation has gone down, four days in a row. Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux credits I-C-U doctors who are learning better methods in treating the virus.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says he expects other car insurers in Louisiana to follow Allstate’s lead and offer rebates to customers for premiums paid during the stay at home order. Allstate is paying back customers in the state 13 million dollars in rebates. Donelon says it’s because the company is saving a lot of money right now.
Donelon says the company is paying back roughly 600 million dollars to policyholders nationwide.
The COVID-19 lockdown has resulted in an unprecedented dilemma for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations during one of the holiest times of the year. LSU Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History Michael Pasquier (pass-cay) says
a message from religious leaders to congregation members can go a long way in letting them know they are doing the right thing by their faith by staying home to mitigate the spread of the virus. Pasquier says the mindset of those that are still going to church is usually set by the pastor.
A team from LSU is creating personal protective equipment for healthcare workers including much needed masks and gowns. LSU Biomedical Engineering senior Meagan Moore says they’ve been hammering out ways to do field expedient work with base-level materials including cardboard, hot glue, and trash bags. Moore says they even got a call from Lamar Advertising, who is donating old billboards to make gowns and they’ve up a website, onelouisiananow.org, where the public can connect with the team if they believe they’ve got materials to contribute.
Authorities in Ville Platte yesterday reported multiple arrests made in connection with a string of nearly 30 burglaries between January and the end of March. The break in the cases came in mid-March, when a patrol officer stopped a vehicle that had several juveniles and a bag of burglary tools inside. This stop led to information and evidence to a string of break-ins and burglaries
The question is being asked more and more, will there be a college football season in the fall. College football insider Brett McMurphy at the Stadium Network has surveyed the 130 F-B-S athletic directors and he believes the best option is a football season starting next spring. McMurphy says there will be consideration to play games in the fall without fans, but he believes A-D’s would prefer to wait until the spring so they can sell tickets.
The Saints' Drew Brees told Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday that the "American people need sports right now." Brees was joined by his wife Brittany on Wednesday's show and pointed out that sports are often coping mechanisms people use in difficult times, something that they cannot lean on during the coronavirus pandemic.