News for Friday June 19th, 2020
Governor John Bell Edwards announced yesterday Louisiana is seeing a “concerning” rise in cases of Covid-19 and a recent uptick in hospitalizations in recent days, with the vast majority of new infections the result of community spread in cities across the state.
In Acadiana health officials say the number of new cases is alarming.. Likewise the Lake Charles and Alexandria regions are seeing poor trends as well. While the Governor says he is not currently considering moving backward in the phased reopening, he declined to say whether he’s considering moving some regions into Phase 3 but not others.
The Louisiana House has unanimously approved a bill that will result in the state sending grocery store employees, bus drivers, nurses, EMS workers and other first responders with a 250-dollar check for hazard pay. Those who make less than 50-thousand dollars will be eligible. Federal coronavirus relief aid will pay for the one-time bonus checks for those who were required to work when the COVID crisis began. The measure still needs Senate approval.
Governor Edwards signs a gun bill targeting local gun restriction ordinances. The legislation was opposed by the mayors of Baton Rouge and New Orleans who objected to it because it would prohibit local governments from establishing gun-free zones in parks, playgrounds, and other public areas. Edwards doesn’t see the legislation to be controversial. It was one of three gun rights bills Edwards authorized.
A Senate-approved measure creating a policing policy task force written by Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields clears a House committee and the Senate approved measure heads to the House floor for more discussion. Law enforcement supports the resolution.
A survey from the Louisiana Association of United Ways finds that 47-percent of residents say their child care situation changed after the stay at home order. President of the group Sarah Berthelot says for some individuals the change was so great they had to quit their job. Half of the respondents also expressed concern about child care availability in the near future.
28-year-old Cordale Richard was arrested thursday in the shooting deaths of 21-year-old Aliza Gabriel and 20-year-old Tanasa Francis at a large party in Raceland Sunday. Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Brennan Matherne says Richard was involved in a fight at the party, and once the police arrived he allegedly began firing indiscriminately into a crowd. Detectives say Francis and Gabriel were innocent bystanders.
Interim LSU President Tom Galligan announced yesterday that the university will hold its summer commencement ceremony online due to uncertain circumstances surrounding Louisiana's recovery from the initial spread of coronavirus. The virtual ceremony will be broadcast on LSU's Facebook page at 10 a.m. on Aug. 7. In related news, LSU expects to begin Phase 3 of its return to campus plan on June 29.
The LSU Board of Supervisors will vote today to decide if they will rename the Troy H. Middleton Library. Interim President Tom Galligan met with black student leaders following weeks of nationwide demonstrations in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd to discuss ideas and “concrete steps to make real change at LSU. One of the steps black student leaders proposed was removing Middleton’s name from the library. Troy Middleton was president of the university from 1951-1962 and supported racial segregation.
A Calhoun man is in the Ouachita Parish correctional center charged with 400 counts of child porn and 100 counts of sexual abuse of an animal. 40-year-old Keith Taylor is accused of being in possession of, and possibly distributing, inappropriate content online.
Border patrol agents seize 2,000 counterfeit designer face masks shipped into the port of New Orleans from China and Vietnam. No information right now as to whether the masks were functional, but they were seized for bearing the counterfeit trademarks of Burberry, Supreme, Gucci, and Chanel on the front of them.
Medical experts in the United Kingdom indicate that a steroid treatment has provided a glimmer of hope in treatment of COVID-19. Dexamethasone appears to cut the risk of death for ventilator patients by a third. Tulane Medical Center pulmonary care Dr. Joshua Denson says he has used this therapy to treat a handful of COVID patients.
The steroid also appears to cut the risk of death for patients on oxygen by a fifth.
The NCAA has approved a six-week preseason plan for college football that allows for additional hours of supervised weight training and conditioning, plus walk-thru practices that will start on July 24th. Preseason camp would start on August 7th.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says there’s a chance that football might not happen at all this season. Fauci told C-N-N that football players need to be isolated from others and tested regularly. He says for it to work they need to play in a bubble environment like the N-B-A is setting up.
The University of Texas says 13 of its football players have tested positive for the coronavirus or are presumed positive. These 13 players are self-isolating and 10 more players identified through contact tracing are also in self-quarantine. LSU will host the Longhorns on September 12th.
LSU men’s basketball associate head coach Greg Heiar has announced on Twitter that he’s left the program. Heiar has been at LSU the last three seasons. He is credited with helping to develop Tremont Waters and Skylar Mays and he’s also known as a good recruiter. The Advocate reports that Bill Armstrong has been promoted to associate head coach and Kevin Nickelberry will be promoted from the support staff to the coaching.
Former LSU Tiger Tremont Waters has been named the NBA G League Player of the year. Waters averaged 18 points in 36 games for the Maine Red Claws, a develoopment team for the Boston Celtics.
McNeese men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer will also serve as the interim athletics director. McNeese President Doctor Daryl Burckel says a change is needed to address the current needs of the department and the uncertainty of the upcoming academic year and to maixmize the effectiveness and efficiency of the department staff.