News for Monday April 20th, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
1,296 people are now confirmed to have died of COVID-19 in Louisiana as the state tallied another 412 fatalities last week. Despite the growing loss of life the spread of the virus appears to be slowing consistently as ventilator use and hospitalizations are down. Last week we saw 2,912 new cases of the virus in the state, however the number of hospitalizations decreased by 386.
The Trump Administration issued last week guidelines to states on how to reopen their economies in three “phases”. Phase one continues to encourage social distancing but allows activities like limited dine-in access to restaurants. Governor Edwards says any implementation of these phased reopening will be done on the advice of his Resilient Louisiana Commission that will study the potential tradeoffs of opening the economy. The plan is the slowly open up businesses on the first of next month.
Seems hard to believe but today marks ten years since the BP Oil Spill ravaged the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, leaving behind environmental scars that exist to this day.
National Wildlife Federation Gulf of Mexico Restoration Director David Muth says the overall ecological impact remains horrific, but the one silver lining to result from the calamity was the more than 16 billion in fines that paid for coastal restoration projects.
Muth says Louisiana received over eight billion dollars in payments as a result of the spill.
The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is raising money to help bar owners stay afloat and keep your favorite local watering hole alive through the COVID Crisis. Many small businesses are keeping the lights on by taking advantage of federal programs like the CARES Act. LHF Executive Director Jennifer Kelley says, unfortunately, bars have a very unusual business model and in most cases haven’t been able to qualify for the government assistance.
The state health department says I-C-U doctors should receive credit for helping to lower the number of COVID-19 patients who need ventilators. On April 4th, the state reported 571 of their COVID-19 patients needed ventilators, now that number is 349. Assistant state health officer Joe Kanter says the mortality rate for someone placed on a ventilator in Louisiana is between 40 and 60-percent, while New York and Seattle are over 80-percent. He says are I-C-U doctors have learned how to better treat the disease.
The Louisiana agency overseeing oil and gas drilling has seen a 50% increase in "orphaned" wells the state must pay to plug because they’ve been abandoned by their operators, according to a new audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office. The audit also said the Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation also is behind in forcing operators to plug disused wells that are yet to be abandoned, and has failed to conduct required reinspections of hundreds of out-of-compliance wells.
A Louisiana Tech freshman is 3-D printing ear guards for medical personnel. Medical engineering major Avereigh Barras says the she was inspired to start creating the devices after seeing a Canadian boy scout’s invention intended to relieve the pressure of elastic bands from masks on the ears. Barras says as of now, she’s created just over 1,600 and hopes to hit the 2,000 mark in the first two weeks of manufacturing. Barras recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the cost of the shipping and manufacturing which she says has seen an abundance of support.
Some schools are organizing drive-through pickup for caps, gowns, and class rings for juniors and seniors who are missing out on some of the seminal events of their high school years. Jostens sales rep Jim Raab says his company is working with schools to establish drive-by locations where parents can bring their kids to get some semblance of pomp and circumstance. Raab says they’ve taken precautions to maintain social distancing and all employees are wearing at least gloves. He says it’s not mandatory, but if you do come he asks you to put on a mask…