News for Friday June 5th, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
The state reported 429 new coronavirus cases Thursday to bring Louisiana’s total 41,562. Assistant health secretary Alex Billioux says seeing more cases is not enough for them to be concerned that the spread of the disease is getting out of hand. The state is reporting 613 people are hospitalized. That’s a decline of 134 since May 25th.
Senator Bill Cassidy believes a coronavirus vaccination will be ready by October. Cassidy says he’s been in talks with one of the companies working on a vaccine and feels confident that a product could help resume events with large gatherings this fall.
The state moves into Phase Two of the economic reopening today. The change means establishments that previously were allowed to operate at 25% occupancy will now see that increased to 50% capacity. Movie theatres, gyms, shopping malls, museums, barbershops and salons will all be able to increase capacity to 50% with social distancing. Casinos and video poker establishments can increase to 50% capacity, limited to 75% of their gaming positions. Phase Two will last at least 21 days.
36 year old Ronnie Humphrey of Pineville has been arrested on charges of distribution of pornography involving juveniles. The arrest resulted from an investigation by State Police that dates back to March. Humphrey was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. This investigation is ongoing.
The JC Penny store in Alexandria missed the first cut, but it days may be numbered. The company announced yesterday that they would close three stores in the state, Lafayette, Metairie and Shreveport, with additional closures expected to be announced later this month. The affected stores will begin store closing sales on June 12.
Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday issued an emergency declaration ahead of the expected Sunday or Monday landfall of Tropical Depression Cristobal, which is expected to bring heavy rains and potential flooding to parts of Louisiana. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the forecast calls for up to ten inches of rain in the watch area.
Colorado State University ups its projections for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season for above-average to very active. CSU forecaster Jhordanne Jones says they now expect 19 named storms before the season closes, up from 12, along with now nine hurricanes, up from eight. Expected major hurricanes remained at four. Jones says this season is still being driven by the lack of an influential El Nino, and it appears that will be the case for this season.
The number of people continuing to receive unemployment in Louisiana has taken a downward turn as more businesses reopen from the state's stay-at-home order aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. There were 301,598 continued claims being paid last week, down from the peak of 328,409 continued claims set the week before.
Even with businesses coming back, there were still 19,334 people who filed for first-time benefits last week.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser announces the reopening of Louisiana’s welcome centers under Phase Two guidelines today as the state is ready to start accommodating travelers. Nungesser says there will be a strict cap on the occupancy of the lobbies at any one time, along with more frequent cleanings. Welcome centers have been closed since March 16th.
As Southeastern Conference teams ready to begin voluntary workouts in the coming days, a handful of Alabama football players have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The positive results for at least five Crimson Tide players came as student-athletes returned to Tuscaloosa this week. The names of the players have not been released.
New Orleans Police fired tear gas into a large group of George Floyd protestors last night after the crowd allegedly began planning to assault a line of officers. NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson says they have video evidence of an effort by some in the crowd to break through the police line guarding the Crescent City Connection and get onto the bridge. Ferguson says after rolling one tear gas canister and firing another from a launcher the crowd began dispersing.
One day after saying he cannot support players who take a knee during the national anthem, Saints Quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday with a lengthy post on Instagram. Brees admits his comments were insensitive and he completely missed the mark. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas disagreed with what Brees had to say yesterday but went on Twitter today and said he accepts Brees’ apology and now it’s back to the movement.
Thursday, the NBA Board of Governors approved a 22-team format to resume the 2019-20 season. The Pelicans and 21 other teams will play eight regular season games in Orlando starting on July 31st. A training camp for the 22 teams will start on June 30th and then the teams will travel the bubble site in Orlando on July seventh. So what about the rest of the NBA calendar, the NBA draft lottery will be August 25th, the NBA draft will be October 15th and the 2020-21 regular season will begin December 1st.
LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine says they have video evidence and pictures of four football teams holding summer workouts before the June eighth start date. Bonine made the comments during the Association’s executive committee meeting. He says the investigation into the practice violations continues. He says they received reports on 17 different football teams violating the practice ban.
ESPN Basketball commentator Dick Vitale says LSU will soon receive a notice of allegations pertaining to its men’s basketball program. Vitale first reported that LSU has received the notice, but sent another tweet an hour later clarifying that LSU basketball will receive a written report soon.
LSU baseball has received some news on the recruiting front as Dylan Crews is taking his name out of consideration for the Major League Baseball Draft and will play for the Tigers in 2021. Crews is from Longwood, Florida and is ranked as a top 50 prospect and considered one of the best high school hitters in the class of 2020.