News for Wednesday April 22nd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Louisiana’s COVID-19 death toll increases by 77 in the latest report, rising to 1,405. Total cases: 24,854… up by 331. Hospitalizations increases to 1,798, up by 4.
Louisiana saw small crowds of protesters in the Capital over the weekend calling for the state to end its stay at home order, with more protests apparently set for this weekend.
Governor Edwards says those complaints about the shutdown won’t shake him from the position that the stay at home order will hold until April 30th. Edwards says the criteria for reopening remain firm: A measured 14 day period of declining cases.
The Resilient Louisiana Commission announced by Gov. Edwards last week will meet for the first time today. The commission will look at what is needed by businesses and organizations to restart the state. Two meetings will be held today via teleconference.
The beleaguered Louisiana Workforce Commission appears to be getting better at sending out payments to jobless workers, a huge relief for the nearly 300,000 people who have filed claims with the state agency. In all, the Workforce Commission sent out a total of $243 million to laid-off workers Monday and Tuesday of this week. That was 54% more than the $158 million the Workforce Commission reported sending out in the first two days of last week.
A $483 billion coronavirus aid package flew through the Senate on Tuesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to replenish a small-business payroll fund and provided new money for hospitals and testing. Passage was swift and unanimous, despite opposition from conservative Republicans. It now goes to the House, where lawmakers have been summoned back to Washington for votes on Thursday. The bill is expected to pass easily.
Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has submitted a new emergency election plan to lawmakers that rolls back voters’ access to absentee ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, following Republican pushback over an initial plan that would have extended mail-in ballots to more people. Ardoin, a Republican, presented his initial plan to lawmakers last week. Originally, the plan would have allowed absentee ballots for those 60 or older, those subject to a stay-at-home order or those unable to appear in public due to concern of exposure or transmission of COVID-19 . The new plan does away with all of those reasons..
Senator Bill Cassidy is pushing for a 500 billion dollar relief package in Congress aimed at aiding local and state governments who are facing coronavirus related fiscal cliffs.
Lafayette is expecting to lose 35 percent of its expected revenue for the year, and Monroe and New Orleans are facing one million and 150 million dollar deficits respectively. Cassidy says the money would be distributed based on how severely a locality has been hit by both the virus and the economic impacts of virus-related shutdowns. Localities with populations over 50,000 would be given the money directly to manage without having to go through state government.
A survey of crawfish producers shows the decreased demand for their crop has pummeled the industry at a time when producers usually make their most money. The normal crawfish production season starts near the end of December and will go through the middle of June, but LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry says some producers have already pulled the plug on their season or will end it by the first week of May because of prices falling below their breakeven point.
The Louisiana Department of Education will award nearly 10 million dollars to childcare providers who are hurting for cash during the coronavirus shutdown. Assistant State Superintendent Jessica Baghian says only about 30 percent of childcare centers are still open, and even the ones still open are bleeding cash. A report indicates child care providers have already experienced a 1.7 million dollar loss in revenue since the shutdown began.
LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is studying lifestyle changes as a result of social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions. Researcher Leanne Redman says a 15-minute online survey includes questions about work changes, physical activity, diet, sleep, and well-being. Redman says the goal is to get one million responses to the survey and so far they’ve received 6,000 from participants from all over the world.
Redman says anyone over the age of 18 can participate in the survey, just go to pbrc.edu/covid19andyou
The Bengals are expected to select former LSU Q-B Joe Burrow with the number one pick in tomorrow night’s N-F-L draft. If that’s the case, Burrow will play for a franchise that has not won a playoff game since 1991. LSU Coach Ed Orgeron says Burrow will look forward to the challenge in making Cincinnati a winner.