News for Monday April 13th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Since March 9th Louisiana has reported 20,595 coronavirus cases, and as of Sunday at noon 2,084 people are currently hospitalized with 458 of those requiring the use of ventilators. To date, 840 people have lost their lives in Louisiana due to the Novel Corona Virus. Numbers are updated daily at noon on all of our station websites.
Governor Edwards says the state will look at its options for potentially partially reopening Louisiana next month as coronavirus infections continue to level off. The curve is flattening, but fatalities remain high. Edwards says tough times are still ahead.
Starting Today, Louisianans who lost their job or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 will receive federally enhanced unemployment insurance payments in addition to unemployment payments they already receive from the state. Contract workers who did not previously qualify for the state’s unemployment now qualify for the federal benefits as well. State benefits cap out at 247 a week, but the feds are adding an extra 600 dollars a week on top of that. BTW it is retroactive (05a)
Most of Louisiana was spared any damage from the cool front that moved across the state yesterday. But, that wasn’t the case in Monroe. Communities around the Millhaven area of Monroe and Interstate 20 have been severely damaged by a tornado that hit the area on Sunday. The City of Monroe is reporting major damage at the airport. There was also damage to 300 + homes and other buildings in the Monroe area. The same storm system killed at least 6 people in Mississippi.
Senator Bill Cassidy says the feds are drawing up plans to conduct mass coronavirus immunity testing as one way to expedite a return to normal life. Cassidy says for life to return before a vaccine is created, we need to know who is and is not a potential coronavirus carrier. Immunity is thought to last for at least a year, meaning a person could interact with others without fear of getting sick or getting others sick. Cassidy says outside of antibody testing it’s likely that in a few months you could begin allowing those under 30 without underlying conditions back out into the world because they rarely have severe symptoms.
Business owners are feeling the pressure of the halted economy. Oil City Republican Rep. Danny McCormick feels that businesses need to open sooner than later. McCormick says small business owners have reached out to him indicating the state absolutely must start to get back to normal by May 1st. McCormick says the economic recovery has to start soon and it can be done with the public health’s best interests in mind.
You might want to check your bank account for some extra money. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in a tweet on Saturday that it has deposited its first wave of coronavirus stimulus checks into the bank accounts of qualifying Americans. The agency is starting with people who have provided banking information while filing taxes the past few years, also those on Social Security. However, people who haven't used direct deposits will get checks by mail. That could take weeks or even months.
LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali urges those who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma so it can be used to treat critically ill patients. Ghali says donors must have tested positive for the virus, but are now symptom-free for two weeks and tested negative, or symptom-free for 28 days. Ghali says it’s early, but so far results are encouraging and recruiting donors is vital. To participate, your physician must complete documents verifying your diagnosis and recovery before donating to a Lifeshare Blood Center.
A survey of the state’s childcare providers shows that roughly a third of childcare facilities that closed do not see a path to reopening. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Libbie Sonnier-Netto says a majority of childcare centers have reported losing revenue. She adds that more funding will be needed that goes beyond SBA loans and Payroll Protection in order to ensure the stability of what she says is an important factor in the economy.
St. Mary Parish Coroner Dr. Eric Melancon confirmed over the weekend 15 residents at Legacy Nursing Home in Franklin have tested positive for COVID-19. Five employees (4 CNAs and 1 LPN) are also COVID-19 positive, with three pending employee results. Those 3 pending cases are quarantined at home.
ESPN reports Drew Brees will take a position as a Sunday Night Football studio analyst after he retires from the NFL. NBC won the bidding war for the highly sought after talent. He will also do game day analysis for Notre Dame games.
If the world had not been hit by COVID-19, LSU football would play a spring game on Saturday. Instead, the players are working out on their own. LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt says for players who do not have weights, they have to be creative to stay in shape.