News for Thursday April 23rd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Severe weather rolled across the state yesterday afternoon and evening, leaving in its wake 2 people dead. We should have more information later today in the death of a Woodworth woman last night on Robinson Bridge Rd. In Mansfield, in Desoto Parish, a man was killed when he was washed away by high water. In the storm last night, a large tornado traveled from East Texas into Louisiana near Rosepine, just south of Leesville. That same storm spun off another Tornado Just south of Alexandria. That tornado caused some heavy damage on the LSUA Campus.
The latest numbers from the state are in and currently, the state has recorded 25,258 positive cases of COVID-19, up 404 from the previous day. The State is now reporting 1,473 fatalities up 68 from Tuesday.
The Resilient Louisiana Commission began its work Wednesday in coming up with recommendations on how the state can jump-start its shuttered economy. The commission will examine 15 different sectors of Louisiana’s economy that include energy, manufacturing, health care, tourism, and education and provide the governor with strategies on how they can be more resilient.
Governor Edwards says some businesses could re-open on May 1st, if the state sees a downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, reported flu-like symptoms and hospitalizations. But the governor says life will not return to pre-COVID right away. Edwards says he plans to announce early next week what restrictions will be in place starting on May 1st.
Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on Louisiana residents to “mask up” which means wearing a face mask in public places. Edwards says wearing a mask reduces the chances of asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic people unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. Guidelines still call for anyone feeling sick to self-quarantine, even if they have a mask. Edwards says while masks are recommended for the public, gloves are not. He says they can cause more harm than good.
Since March 27th, the Louisiana Workforce Commission has paid out more than $561 million in unemployment benefits to 302,000 claimants. LWC executive director Ava Dejoie says when putting it into perspective with last year, it showcases just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the state’s workforce. Last year, there were only 103,000 claimants. Dejoie says they are currently in the process of adding an additional server to its network to be able it to handle more online volume.
A bill that would expand mail-in voting for the July and August elections heads to the full House and Senate. The legislation expands voting options, doubles the early voting period, and more, but it didn’t have unanimous support. In House Governmental Affairs, State Representative Rodney Schamerhorn of Vernon Parish says his constituents oppose any election rule changes.
According to Gas Buddy the average price of gasoline in Louisiana is $1.64 a gallon today and in some areas of the state it’s getting close to a dollar a gallon. Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan predicts prices could drop another twenty to forty cents a gallon in Louisiana. There have been some prices as low as $1.05 a gallon already in New Orleans.
Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette is one of the many events canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of trying to push back to the fall, a virtual music festival will happen instead. Festival spokesperson Carly Viator says they will stream musical performances starting tomorrow through Sunday. This would have been the 34th year for the festival and the live stream takes place on the event’s Facebook page.
A UL Lafayette student’s face mask sewing operation receives the national spotlight from CBS. Sewing with Savoie founder Christine Savoie set up a Facebook page for the operation to help in distributing sewing patterns, take requests, and donations of resources. Savoie says it has been rewarding seeing the pictures of people wearing some of the different masks she has made.
Tulane is set to study whether hydroxychloroquine can be used to help prevent people who’ve been exposed to coronavirus from developing COVID-19. Tulane School of Medicine Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Kissinger says the treatment has shown promise, but it needs to be proven in a human clinical trial. Tulane hopes to enroll 500 local participants.
At least four members of the 2019 national champion LSU football team will be selected in the first round of tonight’s NFL draft. Football analyst Mike Detillier says Joe Burrow will be the first pick and Justin Jefferson, K’Lavon Chaisson and Patrick Queen will also go in the first round. Detillier says safety Grant Delpit could also be a first-round pick, even though his production fell off last seasons. Detillier says the Saints could use the 24th overall pick to take former LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.