News for Friday May 15th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The state reports 827 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest single-day case count increase in over a month, due in part to an influx of old results from labs that are just now being reported, including a large lab reporting over 600 cases from tests as far back as March. Total cases as of noon Thursday: 33,489. Total fatalities: 2,351, up by 36
Many businesses can resume operations today at 25 percent capacity as the state enters Phase One. Fire Marshal Butch Browning says churches can resume indoor services, but worshipers will be spaced out six feet in every direction between your family and fellow attendees. Most dining rooms will be allowed to open as well, however Self-service and buffets will not be allowed under Phase One. Movie theaters, hair salons, gyms, and many nonessential businesses also open today. Browning says following social distancing guidelines will be key to determining whether we can expand that list in the future…
The Louisiana Department of Education releases guidelines on how childcare centers and summer schools should proceed under Phase One. The guidance calls for new procedures for pick up and drop off, separating children into smaller groups, and requiring workers to wear masks. Mask-wearing is recommended for children “as able”.
Children under two, or children with breathing difficulties should not wear masks per the CDC.
Louisiana saw 40,000 new unemployment insurance applications last week, down from 50,000 new applications the week before. The record-breaking case application numbers are being processed by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, whose executive director Ava Dejoie received rave reviews from a House Committee earlier Thursday. One LWC model predicts the trust fund paying out state benefits only has about another four months of money in it if claims were to remain at current levels, but those claims should dip as the state enters Phase One of the limited economic reopening.
LSU executive deputy athletics director Verge Ausberry says it will be the SEC and university leaders, not the NCAA, who will determine if the Tigers will kick off their football season in September. Ausberry hopes student-athletes can get back on campus in June and says the football coaches returned to their offices about two weeks ago.
The Sabine Parish town of Many will not actively enforce the Governor’s new proclamation according to Mayor Kenneth Freeman. Freeman believes the residents of Many are doing a good job with mitigation efforts without law enforcement intervention. In a message to residents, Freeman says if someone needs to shelter at home, that is their choice and he encourages that to continue. For those that resume life as normal, Freeman still advises them to continue to take spread mitigation efforts seriously. Freeman believes citizens deserve the credit for Sabine Parish currently having only 29 COVID-19 cases and no fatalities on record.
For the second day in a row, the state Senate voted Thursday to allow individual parishes to decide whether to legalize sport wagering. The vote was 23-9 and the proposal, Senate Bill 378, next faces action in the House. On Wednesday the Senate approved an identical bill by Sen. Cameron Henry. Sen. Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles, sponsor of the latest measure, said his plan will serve as a backup in case Henry's legislation encounters problems. The session ends June 1.
The Alexandria Museum of Art says that they will remain closed until the state enters phase two, expected in early June if COVID-19 cases continue the downward trend. AMOA says they're following directives set forth by LSUA, which calls for only essential employees to come back to work.