News for Friday August 14th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Health Department announced eleven-hundred new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 135-thousand. But Governor Edwards says the percentage of tests that show a positive coronavirus case is decreasing. The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has also fallen below 13-hundred to 1,281. However, the state reported 41 more COVID-19 deaths as the death toll rose to 42-hundred.
The Southland Conference has decided to postpone league competition for football and other fall sports to the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner Tom Burnett says questions surrounding the long-term effects of the virus was a factor in their decision. The league is giving schools the option of playing nonconference games in the fall, but McNeese, Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana and Northwestern State have decided to wait until the spring. Burnett says the plan is to play a conference schedule in 2021.
LSU begins its staggered move-in for students living on campus Saturday. LSU Residential Life spokesperson Catherine David (Da-veed) says more than 7,000 students will be settling into their new homes, and given assigned days to do so.
LSU reports it is expecting to see an increase in enrollment this fall despite the pandemic.
The new 300 dollar federally enhanced weekly unemployment benefits are expected to begin shipping in the next few weeks and will be retroactive to August 1st. Governor Edwards says the final ruling allows for all Louisiana unemployment beneficiaries to collect the payment. The 300 dollar weekly boost is being funded by FEMA emergency relief funds. The disaster response fund has enough money in it to fund the program for roughly five to six weeks.
Step Up Louisiana’s unemployed worker committee says it collected 1,200 petitions to call on Governor John Bel Edwards to stop the work search policy that would require Louisianans to apply for three jobs per week. The group says the pandemic, not higher unemployment benefits, is keeping people from going back to work.
Deputy Chief of Staff for the Trump Administration and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. John Fleming offered a look at what is on the horizon for combatting COVID-19. Fleming, a former 4th District Congressman, says there is a feeling of optimism for the several vaccines and there will be no shortage available upon getting the green light for distribution. In addition to work on vaccines, Fleming says there are promising developments with the use of synthetic antibodies, a variety of treatments such as filtration of the blood to pull out the virus, and an oral anti-viral that can be taken at home for those battling the virus.
US District Judge Martin Feldman is set to hear further arguments in New Orleans today in an effort from 22 southeast Louisiana bar owners to put a stop to the enforcement of Governor Edwards’ bar closure order. Similar challenges have not had much luck but legal analyst Tim Meche says the argument might be in front of the right judge this time. Meche says the bar owners could be looking for success in finding the closure order unconstitutional when it closes down certain businesses while letting other types of businesses operate.