News for Wednesday April 29th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The state announced yesterday 61 additional fatalities due to Covid-19, that bring the death toll to 1758. Total reported cases: 27,286, up by 219 from Monday. Both hospitalizations and ventilator usage have gone down.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss the state's response to the coronavirus in Washington, D.C. today. The governor says he looks forward to having a substantive conversation with President Trump about Louisiana’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our plans to re-open additional businesses next month, and our ongoing needs as we surge our testing capacity to 200,000 tests per month beginning in May.
Governor Edwards announces the feds have committed to provide Louisiana with the resources needed to be able to administer 200,000 COVID tests a month. Louisiana Department of Health Assistant Secretary Alex Billioux says that’s great because they’re testing more potential asymptomatic carriers who work or live with those in high-risk groups. First responders and those who work in nursing homes were targeted for potential increased asymptomatic testing.
Louisiana residents will soon be able to travel into Texas without self-quarantining for 14 days. Texas Governor Greg Abbott plans to lift the order restricting travel on Friday.
Gov. Abbott issued the executive order back in March to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. The travel restrictions will remain in place for people traveling from California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Miami.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory addresses Governor John Bel Edward’s decision to extend the stay-at-home order. Guillory says he knows the call may have been a disappointing or frustrating development, believes the Governor is acting in good faith. Guillory remains optimistic the state will move into phase one reopening when the Governor’s stay at home order extension expires, but calls on the public to make that happen by continuing to play it safe.
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack says he’s disappointed in the Governor’s decision to extend the stay at home order to May 15th. Waguespack says the Governor should trust business owners to implement rules that would limit viral spread on their properties. LABI is asking the state to use the extra time to develop a comprehensive plan to allow all businesses to open by May 15th at the latest.
University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson says he’s planning on having students back on UL campuses for the fall semester. Henderson says it is important to have the students back in class so they can continue their education and not suffer further setbacks. LSU Interim President Tomas Galligan says they’re planning on doing the same at the flagship campus. Despite the pandemic throwing most plans out the window, Henderson says applications and admissions are up across the board.
According to Nola.com, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is not ruling out canceling Carnival celebrations in 2021 as the city continues to recover from the novel coronavirus. In an interview with the Washington Post, Cantrell said data about the disease's spread and how severely it impacts the city's bottom line will guide decisions about the Carnival season next year. Next year's season begins on January 6 with Mardi Gras Day set for February 16.
A survey from Lending Tree indicates that 91 percent of coronavirus-impacted homeowners, who asked for assistance or forbearance on their mortgage are successful. Lending Tree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz says unemployment relief and stimulus checks are helpful, but they trickle in, receiving immediate assistance from creditors is more effective. But, you have to ask.. The survey also indicated only 1 in 5 people knew to contact their lenders for such assistance.
The Associated General Contractors of America says the pandemic has hit the construction industry hard. Spokesperson Brian Turmail says nationally, 68 percent of construction firms report having at least one project that was underway canceled or delayed and Louisiana is part of that trend. New Orleans saw construction jobs dip by 2,800 from March 2019 to March 2020, a 10 percent drop. The bugs will be swarming for roughly the next two to three months. The swarms begin at dusk and Sun says one of the best mitigation techniques is limiting outdoor lighting. The termites generally dissipate by 10:30 PM, at which point you should be able to turn back on outside lights.