News for Monday June 29th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 56,236 cases of Covid-19 in the state an increase of 1467 over the weekend. There have been 3,086 deaths reported in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. Here in Rapides Parish we’ve seen 1,498 cases that’s an increase of 45 cases over the weekend. 57 people have died thus far.
Governor Edwards is demanding businesses comply with coronavirus restrictions as Covid-19 numbers continue to soar across the state. Edwards says the state office of public health, A-T-C, and state fire marshal deputies will conduct robust compliance checks on businesses when they get complaints they are not following Phase two restrictions. Assistant health secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says in order to stop the surge in cases, Louisiana residents should wear masks in public and maintain social distancing.
An unprecedented special session called by Republican legislators during the coronavirus crisis still must resolve two key issues before adjournment at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Legislators still must approve the operating and construction budgets that will fund health care, education, prisons and countless other state activities beginning July 1. The Republican-led Legislature also must settle on a plan on the most contentious issue of the year — the effort to limit court payments to car accident victims and their attorneys.
If Louisiana is still in Phase Two when schools reopen in August then students who rely on busses could be in a bit of a bind, with busses limited to 50 percent occupancy. State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley says districts are working on solutions to the school bus capacity limit. The state will remain in Phase Two for another 27 days due to the recent spike in cases. Brumley says Phase Two school bus limitations and other restrictions mean students may be doing a split of distance and congregate learning should schools reopen without moving to Phase Three.
An Alexandria police officer has been released from the hospital after an altercation with three people in the parking lot of Rapides Regional Hospital. After being asked one time to turn down loud music, the vehicle holding three people was observed a short time later with music blaring and this time they were asked to leave or face arrest. But, a short time later they were back. This time the APD officer told them three people they were under arrest. One of the vehicles occupants then attacked the officer striking him multiple times, knocking him unconscious. Bystanders, as well as backup police officers, intervened. The officer used a taser on the suspect, and all three suspects were taken into custody.
The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred Early Sunday Morning in the 100 block of Sunset Drive. During the preliminary investigation, officers determined that there were multiple shots fired from a small vehicle which was occupied by several people. Three victims were transported to local hospitals by Acadian Ambulance. One of the victims later died at the hospital. The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending notification of family.
Legislation that would provide grocery store workers, bus drivers, law enforcement personnel, and healthcare workers with a 250-dollar check is nearing final legislative passage. The legislation needs House approval on Senate changes before it heads to the governor’s desk. It passed out of the Senate on a 38-0 vote. Federal coronavirus relief dollars will pay for the tax credit…
The C-D-C now says pregnant women may be more at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 than those who are not expecting. This news comes on the heels of a Baton Rouge mother who gave birth to a premature baby but died from COVID-19 complications. The newborn girl is fighting for her life in intensive care.
A common childhood vaccine might help prevent severe lung inflammation and sepsis if a person is infected with COVID-19. LSU Health New Orleans researcher Dr. Paul Fidel suggests that live attenuated vaccines such as MMR can help boost an adult’s immune system to mount a more effective defense. The next step, Fidel says they plan to give the MMR vaccination to adult primates to see if it can prevent severe complications of COVID-19.
The University of Louisiana System is anticipating a five percent loss of revenue by the end of the 2021 fiscal year. President Jim Henderson says part of the revenue loss can be attributed to a drop in enrollment. For the current fiscal year that ends Tuesday, the UL System is set to suffer a 28 million dollar loss.
LSU has set its fall academic calendar. Classes will begin August 24th. The fall holiday in October has been canceled and students will not return to campus to finish the fall semester after the Thanksgiving holiday. The final few classes and finals will be held online.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau has a new president for the first time in 31 years as Jim Harper from here in Rapides Parish has been elected to replace Ronnie Anderson. Harper is a crawfish, sugarcane and soybean farmer, who previously served as vice president.
Housing advocates warn Louisiana is likely to suffer a substantial wave of evictions after enhanced federal assistance for rent and unemployment ends July 31st. Center for Planning Excellence CEO Camille Manning-Broome says due to Louisiana’s service-based economy they estimate 69,000 to 132,000 renter households are at risk once benefits end. Nationally that number is estimated to be nearly seven million.