News for Thursday July 23rd, 2020
Compiled By Dave Graichen
The state reports 60 new COVID-19 fatalities in the latest COVID report yesterday, the highest daily addition since May 1. Total statewide death toll: 3,558. The state also added another 2,800 cases and is on course to surpass 100,000 total cases today.
The state is nearly back to where it was in late April when it comes to hospital bed usage, and several regions of Louisiana are now actively working to move ICU patients into less slammed areas. Some have called the recent concern over ballooning cases hysteria caused by higher overall testing but Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says that’s false, and the state now has an over ten percent positive rate for COVID tests.
A Remington Research Group poll commissioned by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder shows wide and bipartisan support for the Governor’s mask mandate and public health emergency declaration. 76 percent of those surveyed last weekend support a government mask mandate. UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says
57 percent of respondents agreed with the way the state government has handled the pandemic so far, only 26 percent disapproved. 61 percent of Louisianans oppose canceling the public health emergency declaration while only 22 percent agree. Cross says that’s a blow to legislative efforts to accomplish that.
Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins will challenge Republican Senator Bill Cassidy in the November 3rd election. Before he got into politics, Perkins served in the Army and is a former student body president at West Point and Harvard. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Cassidy cannot underestimate Perkins. Perkins says Washington’s poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak persuaded him to jump into the Senate race. Pinsonat says Perkins is a qualified candidate, but running as a Democrat for a statewide office is a challenge in the Bayou State.
Seven candidates for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District seat qualified on Wednesday, looking to fill the position currently held by Ralph Abraham who is not pursuing an additional term. Among them is Abraham’s Chief of Staff Luke Letlow.
Republican Ouachita Police Juror Scotty Robinson announced his bid for the position last November. Clinical social worker, addiction counselor, and small business owner Candy Christophe lives in Alexandria and is running as a Democrat. Chief Operating Officer of Grambling State University Martin Lemelle of Ruston enters the race as a Democrat with a focus on education and helping local small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, a Republican, says he sees a bunch of career politicians in DC and touts his balance of holding elected office and being a business owner as the reason voters should cast a ballot for him. Additionally, Allen Guillory of Opelousas and Matt Hasty of Pineville, both Republican, qualified on Wednesday. The primary election is scheduled for November 3rd.
A tropical system in the Gulf has a good chance of developing into a tropical cyclone and dumping a good bit of rain on the southern portion of the state on its way to Texas. National Weather Service forecaster Donald Williams says parts of Louisiana could see some impacts as soon as this afternoon. In the form of showers and thunderstorms. Williams says the system is not expected to develop into a hurricane, and at most may become a weak tropical storm.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell files paperwork seeking a fourth term in the office representing northwest Louisiana. Campbell is one of the state’s longest-serving elected officials, first elected to the State Senate in 1975. Campbell says he wants to continue his work serving the working people of the state. Campbell has made several attempts to run for federal and statewide offices but has not been successful, his most recent effort a loss to now-Senator John Kennedy in 2016.
LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine posted a letter on Wednesday, July 22, intended to let parents and athletes know the association is committed to fall sports.
“The LHSAA is committed to conducting fall sports to the direct benefit of your student-athletes. However, we will not put schools in conflict or in harm’s way,” Bonine wrote. “We have no intention of canceling fall sports unless schools are closed or the pandemic dictates that it is not safe to play.”
Hancock Whitney posted a $117.1 million loss in the second quarter, or $1.36 per share, that reflects the bank’s decision to sell off $497 million in energy loans and increase its reserve for possible credit losses as the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In comparison, Hancock Whitney posted a profit of $88.3 million in the second quarter of 2019, or $1.01 per share.
Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett says they are planning to proceed with the upcoming football season as scheduled. Burnett says they expect a full slate of games will be played on Labor Day weekend. Burnett says university presidents and athletic directors continue to meet and the health and safety of the student-athletes is their top priority…