News for Tuesday April 14th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The state health department reported 44 more COVID-19 deaths Monday at noon, bringing the total number of deaths to 884. There are over 21-thousand positive cases.
Governor Edwards says the curve has now been flattening for at least a week, but it won’t stay that way if residents go out and ignore social distancing like they did over the Easter weekend. Edwards says it appears as the rate of new infections slow, many people are taking that as an excuse to stop staying home.
Governor Edwards says he will make it official today, that all schools across the state will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019 / 2020 school year. . Edwards said yesterday during a press conference that physical school locations will remain closed for the rest of the academic year but online-learning will still continue..
With many employers still shut down due to the risk of spreading the virus, a record number of workers have filed for unemployment insurance. Governor Edwards encourages all Louisiana residents who have lost work or hours to file for unemployment at Louisiana-works-dot-net. This week the first of the 600 dollar federally enhanced unemployment checks began going out.
Families and businesses are picking up the pieces following a tornado outbreak on Easter. The system killed 11 in Mississippi, while Louisiana escaped without any fatalities, but it did do an estimated 25-30 million in damages at the Monroe Regional Airport. Congressman Ralph Abraham says he saw debris littered runways, destroyed buildings, and the remains of small jets poking out from under a collapsed hangar. Abraham says it could be some time before it gets back up and running.
The Marksville Police Department is investigating what appears to have been a murder / suicide on Easter Sunday. Police say 50 year old Terry Dupuy was found shot multiple times. 21 year old Eden Dupuy died from a single gunshot wound. The investigation is ongoing.
OPEC and Russia reach an agreement with the US to cut production of 9.7 million barrels of oil a day in an effort to stop the ongoing rapid oil price collapse. But LSU Center for Energy Studies Executive Director David Dismukes warns it’s just not enough of a reduction to save oil prices, and too little too late given the scope of the problem.
After the announcement was made, the price of a barrel of oil barely budged from its holding pattern in the low 20s. Dismukes says the deal will likely not prevent a substantial reduction in investment in new oil projects in Louisiana or the loss of more oil sector jobs locally.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuhcin said yesterday that 80 million Americans will receive stimulus checks via direct deposit by Wednesday. Mnuchin added that those who do not receive their check by Wednesday will need to report their banking information to the IRS if they want their check via direct deposit. Previously, the IRS said an online tool that will help speed up getting stimulus checks to many Americans will be launched on April 17. Mnuchin suggested the website will be available on Wednesday. The website will be for those who do not have their bank account information on file with the IRS. The IRS will use the information to distribute checks via direct deposit. The online tool will also allow for Americans to check the status of their stimulus check.
The beef industry is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as processing plants are slowing down. Chair of the Louisiana Beef Industry Council Amelia Kent says some of the slowdown is coming from sick workers while others are pausing operations to undergo deeper sanitation measures. Kent says the disruption is trickling back to the farm level as cattle are coming out of feed yards having no way to advance into harvesting. Much like toilet paper and disinfectant products, there has been a large consumer demand that has seen shoppers buying up all the meat at the store. Kent says the slowdown at the processor level will only intensify meat shortages.