News for Monday May 4th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Deaths statewide from COVID-19 are now far outpacing those annually from the flu and other diseases. The first COVID-19 death in Louisiana was reported March 14 and the death toll hit 1,969 by Sunday. The roughly two-month run of the virus in the state has accounted for more fatalities so far than had any single year's worth of deaths from diabetes, kidney disease, drug overdoses or the flu between 2014 and 2017, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Sunday at noon there were 29,340 reported Cases of covid-19 state wide, 1,969 have died and 1530 remain Hospitalized.
The state is ramping up COVID-19 contact tracing this month and that means you may be getting a call from a health official if you or someone close to you tests positive. Governor Edwards says contact tracing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus. If you test positive, Edwards says the state will want information from you that could help identify others you may have infected.
State lawmakers return to Baton Rouge today for the resumption of the 2020 legislative session. Legislators have been away from the State Capitol since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic and safety concerns still exist. The biggest issues on the table are the budget, COVID-19 related bills and legislation to help the economy. Before the coronavirus pandemic, auto insurance rate reform was the big topic. Senate President Page Cortez still expects the tort reform bills to be heard. Cortez says they do not plan on discussing a proposed budget until after May 11th. The Revenue Estimating Conference will meet that day to give legislators a projection on how much money is available for next fiscal year. The session must end at 6 PM on June 1st. If a budget is not approved, a special session will be called.
As the state House gavels in at 9 AM this morning, Baton Rouge Representative Ted James will not be present. James was hospitalized with COVID-19 and pneumonia a month ago and says the House chamber is not a safe environment. James has since recovered but noted there’s no confirmation currently that those who’ve caught the virus once can’t be reinfected.
About 250 protesters showed up at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday demanding Louisiana immediately drop the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus and allow the unfettered reopening of businesses and churches.
No masks, no gloves and no social distancing were in evidence among the overwhelmingly white crowd, many of whom wore pro-President Donald Trump paraphernalia; shook homemade signs with slogans such as “I trust God with my immune system”; and waved American flags.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a daunting set of new challenges at Louisiana and New Orleans area emergency planners gearing up for what is expected to be a busy hurricane season. Planning for the expected combination of pandemic and hurricane threats began early in April, when Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered state agencies to outline issues they expected to face and adaptations that needed to be made to existing hurricane preparedness plans.
A Lafayette drug testing company reaches a deal with suppliers to provide a test that will show patients within ten minutes whether they have coronavirus antibodies. Global Data Fusion Founder and CEO Ed Roy says the test process is easy and only requires participants to give a small prick of blood from their fingertip. Global Data Fusion is set to offer the test to hospitals and other companies and is not offering individual tests to the public. The tests, from a Chinese producer, will be shipped to Lafayette sometime this week.
It’s official, The New Orleans Archdiocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the institution is facing mounting legal costs caused by litigation stemming from decades-old incidents of clergy abuse. Archbishop Gregory Aymond says the action will not affect individual church parishes or their schools…
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture introduces a new online tool for those looking to get their hands on farm-fresh foods. It’s called the Louisiana Farm Food Map and Directory. Manager of the Louisiana Farm to School Program Johannah Frelier says the tool can be found in the coronavirus information center section of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s website and can help shoppers find fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, seafood and more. Frelier says there has never been a more vital time for the immune system to get the nutrient product that farmers offer.
The Mississippi River has receded enough to prompt Friday’s closure of the final bays of a spillway north of New Orleans. The Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened April 3 after the river was at a high enough level to threaten New Orleans’ levees. The opening marked an unprecedented third straight year and the fifth time this decade that the spillway was open.
on… Monday, May 04, 2020
The stories and information below are aggregated from various news sources and are for planning purposes only.
T OP STORIES
C ORONAVIRUS – DOMESTIC ANGLE
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 1,122,486 U.S. cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 29,671 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,452 to 65,735.
PROMISING EARLY COVID-19 TREATMENT WILL BE ROLLED OUT THIS WEEK: CEO
Remdesivir, a tentative treatment for the novel coronavirus, will be rolled out to hospitals in the coming days, the CEO of the company behind it said on Sunday. “We are now firmly focused on getting this medicine to the most urgent patients,” Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day told CBS’ Face the Nation. “We intend to get [remdesivir] to patients in the early part of this next week, beginning to work with the government which will determine which cities are most vulnerable and where the patients are that need this medicine,” he said, adding that 1.5 million vials that could treat up to 200,000 patients would be donated to the government.
DHS REPORT: CHINA HID VIRUS’ SEVERITY TO HOARD SUPPLIES
U.S. officials believe China covered up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak — and how contagious the disease is — to stock up on medical supplies needed to respond to it, intelligence documents show. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report dated May 1 and obtained by The Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that that country was responsible for the spread of disease and must be held accountable. Not classified but marked “for official use only,” the DHS analysis states that, while downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, China increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies. It attempted to cover up doing so by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data,” the analysis states. The report also says China held off informing the World Health Organization that the coronavirus “was a
contagion” for much of January so it could order medical supplies from abroad — and that its imports of face masks and surgical gowns and gloves increased sharply.
COSTCO TO REQUIRE FACE COVERINGS, GO
BACK TO NORMAL HOURS STARTING MAY 4
Starting Monday, May 4, Costco will require workers and guests to wear face coverings while shopping in its warehouse, according to a statement on its website. The coverings must cover the nose and mouth at all times. Costco said the mask policy will not apply to children younger than 2 or those unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions. Costco also announced that most stores and gas stations will return to normal operating hours starting May 4. Costco will continue giving priority access to front line workers at its stores. Select Costco stores will open early, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., for those aged 60 or older or those with disabilities.
MACYS REOPENING IN 68 STATES
Macy's plans to reopen 68 stores in states where restrictions placed to stem the spread of coronavirus have been lifted. The retailer will institute several significant changes to the shopping experience, including "no-touch" consultations in beauty departments and the suspension of alteration services.
SELECT STARBUCKS STORES OPENING MONDAY, 90 PERCENT TO BE REOPENED BY JUNE
Some Starbucks branches in the U.S., nearly half of which have been closed following the COVID-19 outbreak, will begin reopening from Monday with restrictions. The selected locations will be offering expanded pick-up, drive-thru and delivery order options, the company confirmed in an updated statement. Thirty stores reopening from next week will not be offering in-store seating, while the company considers local government restrictions and infection curves as it reopens branches, the company's chief operating officer, Roz Brewer, told the Associated Press (AP).
BMW RESTARTS PRODUCTION AT ITS SPARTANBURG PLANT IN SOUTH CAROLINA
BMW restarts production at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, which has been closed in recent weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Measures have been put in place to protect employees at the plant, while work will at about half the factory's capacity before production is gradually increased.
MORE AIRLINES REQUIRING FACE COVERINGS STARTING MONDAY
Spirit Airlines is the latest domestic airline to require passengers to wear face coverings to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Starting Monday, passengers on United, Delta and JetBlue will have to wear them as well. Spirit's new policy will take effect on May 11, the same day as American, Southwest and Alaska. Frontier Airlines said it will require passengers to wear face masks starting May 8. United said it would provide the required face coverings to passengers starting Monday. Spirit passengers will have to bring their own masks, and will have to wear them at the airport and throughout the flight. Very young children will be exempt.
MALLS TO REOPEN IN 10 STATES BY MAY 4
Simon Property Group (SPG) plans to reopen 49 malls in 10 states between May 1 and May 4, according to an internal memo cited by CNBC. The reopenings will comply with state-by-state shutdown rules in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemics. SPG will reopen over 21 malls in Texas opening May 1, 10 in Indiana opening May 4, and a few malls each in mostly Southern states like Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. The Indianapolis-based SPG, the biggest mall operator in the United States, will require employees to wear masks, keep limited hours to allow for overnight cleaning, and provide temperature testing using infrared thermometers. Customers will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks,
and tenants will be encouraged to use contactless technology. Traffic will be limited to one person per 50 square feet, though was not clear how that would be enforced.
STATES PARTIALLY REOPEN:
Gov. Doug Ducey on April 29 extended the state's stay-at-home order through May 15, with some businesses reopening on a limited basis as early as May 4.
Two county sheriffs in Arizona say they will not be enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey's (R-Ariz.) stay-at- home order amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to the Arizona Republic, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb have both said they will not arrest or hand out fines to those violating a stay-at-home order issued by Ducey that seeks to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which data shows has infected thousands in the state and killed hundreds in recent months.
Arkansas' barbershops and beauty salons, which have been closed since March 25, may reopen for business May 6, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said May 1. The announcement applies to barbers, cosmetologists, massage therapists, tattoo artists and medical spa services. Barber colleges and beauty schools will remain closed at this time, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson said April 30 that gyms, fitness centers and indoor athletic facilities may reopen on May 4. Such facilities will be required to screen both its staff and its patrons for COVID-19 when they reopen. Face masks will be required for staff and patrons except when actively exercising, hand sanitizer must be made readily available and all equipment must be sanitized after each use, the governor said.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announces decision on whether to begin lifting restrictions on places of worship and larger venues, which have been subject to social distancing measures to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Colorado allows up to 50% of office staff in any one place of work to return to work in-person, as long as social distancing protocols are followed, as part of the state's 'Safer-at-Home' coronavirus (COVID-19) containment phase. Critical businesses have been permitted to remain open with strict precautions throughout the lockdown.
Florida 'Safer at Home' order expires, unless extended, with a new order coming into place that allows some business to reopen, subject to certain restrictions to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The new order, signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, allows restaurants to reopen with full outdoor seating, and indoor seating allowed at 25% of building capacity. On-site sale and retail businesses can also operate at 25% of capacity, subject to appropriate social distancing and sanitation measures, but bars, nightclubs and gyms remain closed, as do personal care services, though portions of those business with on-site retail sales may reopen at 25% capacity. Groups remain limited to 10 people or fewer. The revised order also allows sporting venues to operate without spectators, and outdoor exercise and recreational activities are allowed if consistent with social distancing guidelines. Beaches remain open, with a phased-in reopening of state parks.
INDIANA EASES CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS, AS MORE BUSINESSES OPEN
'Stage 2' of Indiana's 'Back on Track' plan takes effect in most of the state, except Cass, Lake, and Marion counties. Under the revised order, essential travel restrictions are lifted; social gatherings with 25 people may take place following the CDC social distancing guidelines; public libraries can reopen; and shopping malls may open at 50% capacity with indoor common areas at 25% capacity. Indiana residents are recommended to wear face coverings in public settings, and those 65 and over and those with high- risk health conditions should remain at home whenever possible * Cultural, entertainment, sports venues, and tourism still remains closed.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced April 30 that she will allow many Kansas businesses to reopen the following week if they can maintain social distancing; she hopes to lift all coronavirus-inspired state limits on mass gatherings and other restrictions by June 15. Kelly unveiled her framework for reopening the state by phasing out restrictions for businesses and social activities over the following six weeks while ramping up efforts for virus testing and tracing. Kelly's three-phase plan begins with the May 4 expiration of her statewide stay-at-home order.
Much of Missouri may begin reopening May 4 under relatively lenient statewide orders, but local governments can impose stricter rules if they want. The state's stay-at-home order expires May 3 at midnight, but St. Louis and Kansas City are set to remain under stay-at-home orders, for example.
Montana lifts some hospitality industry lockdown restrictions, including the reopening of restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos, as long as strict physical distancing and reduced capacity protocols are followed. Gyms, pools, cinemas, and music halls remain closed.
Hospitals, which had largely been restricted to treating COVID-19 patients and emergencies, can start performing time-sensitive procedures such as CT scans and knee and hip replacements for chronic pain starting May 4.
Gov. Henry McMaster announced May 1 that a mandatory stay-home order will be lifted May 4, the same day that outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed to resume.
Gov. Phil Scott on May 1 announced additional steps to ease restrictions under the state's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order issued in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Effective May 4, manufacturing, construction and distribution companies will be able to re-open with a maximum of 10 employees. The following week, on May 11, those same sectors, will be allowed re-open at full operations with as few employees as necessary.
More than 100 parks, trails, and boating sites will re-open Tuesday in Washington state as some coronavirus restrictions are eased, but many popular sites remain closed indefinitely. The state parks that open will be limited to daytime use only and parking spaces will be limited at some urban parks to discourage crowding. All ocean beach parks and parks along the Columbia River Gorge on the
Washington-Oregon border will remain closed. The re-openings are being made under the first phase of Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to ease rules imposed to prevent the spread of the virus. Beaches and campgrounds would re-open under the second phase of the plan, although large gatherings would still be banned.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on April 30 said he is lifting the statewide stay-home order next week as part of his plan to ease coronavirus restrictions. A new rule will go into effect May 4 encouraging people to stay home but not requiring them to do so. The move coincides with the reopening of small businesses, outdoor dining at restaurants and barbers.