News for Tuesday March 31st, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
1,158 Louisianans are now hospitalized with COVID-19, and 385 of them are on ventilators as statewide cases cross the 4,000 mark. 185 people have now died due to coronavirus related causes, an increase of 34 in the past 24 hours. Governor John Bel Edwards says by the end of this week the New Orleans area could reach its ventilator capacity. Edwards says he’ll likely extend his stay-at-home order beyond April 13th as Louisiana ranks second in the nation in per capita deaths related to COVID-19….
Drive through testing is available in Cenla Today.. In Alexandria, testing is available this afternoon from 1 to 3 in the parking lot of the Rapides Parish. In Natchitoches, drive-thru testing starts at 10 A.M. and runs until until noon in the parking lot of Central Louisiana Technical College (CLTCC) on Highway 1. This is the first day of testing in Natchitoches. Thereis no out of pocket expense, but you will need to bring your ID and insurance card. Patients do not need a doctor's order or a negative flu test to receive testing. The only requirement is a fever above 100.4 degrees
Edwards reiterated his calls for social distancing, but one church in Central refuses to comply having hosted over a thousand people Sunday night. But, the governor says he won’t be breaking up those services. Reportedly residents from five different parishes were bused in for Sunday service at Life Tabernacle Pentecostal Church in Central.
Legendary Saints kicker Tom Dempsey is reportedly positive for COVID-19. Dempsey had been living at Lambeth House, a nursing home in New Orleans that was one of the earliest reported hubs for coronavirus activity, and now one of 28 nursing homes in the state to get the virus. Dempsey is best known for his, at the time, record breaking 63-yard field goal in 1970 that lifted the Saints over the Lions.
President Donald Trump has extended the nation’s social distancing guidelines that were set to expire today for another month through April 30th. Senator Bill Cassidy says the restrictions will likely extend into May, unless the curve is flattening or scientists discover a treatment. Over 11-hundred COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. Cassidy says hospitals are doing what they can to keep up with the surge in cases
Congressman Ralph Abraham says more than $650,000 in grants will be disbursed to the cities of Alexandria and Monroe for the coronavirus response. These funds can be used in a variety of ways to build infectious disease response capacity and mitigate the effects on the surrounding community. Alexandria will receive $248,000 while Monroe will receive $436,000
State Rep. Ted James, a Baton Rouge Democrat and one of the area delegation's most influential voices, is hospitalized with pneumonia after testing positive for the coronavirus.
LSU’s medical school has received approval to begin clinical testing of hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for COVID-19, State officials announced yesterday the state has received 400,000 hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets from a donation.
Food stamp recipients who are not currently receiving the maximum total possible on their SNAP cards will now start receiving the max. Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walter says only 37 percent of recipients currently receive the maximum. The max for a single individual recipient is $194 a month. The Department is also waiving redeterminations, interviews, and the work requirements for SNAP. Walters says if you have SNAP, you don’t have to worry about losing it right now. If you need to apply for the SNAP program, the best way to do that is on line.. Visit DCFS.LA.GOV/GetSnap or text get SNAP to 898-211
Some state lawmakers will reconvene today to try and set a new date to get back into session. The 2020 session came to a halt three weeks ago over coronavirus concerns. Senate President Page Cortez says he’s got no definitive date in mind. House Speaker Clay Schexnayder says today’s business will not require a full house since they are not voting on any bills adding that although they may be exceeding a congregation of 50 people, they will be practicing social distancing. Both Cortez and Schexnayder remain optimistic that a special session could be avoided, but that decision hinges on the rapidly changing COVID-19 outbreak.
After a two-week break, LSU’s spring semester resumed Monday, but all classes have been moved online. English Professor Kevin Cope says the transition to online learning has gone about well as it could considering the short notice. Cope says those in traditional liberal arts classes will likely fare the best under the new online-only curriculum, and those in lab heavy courses, as well as those in sociology, education, and social work will likely lose the most in the transition. LSU’s campus is currently set to stay closed at least through the end of May.
ESPN reportedly offers Saints QB Drew Brees the Monday Night Football analyst position once he retires from the NFL. Brees recently signed a two year contract with the team.
In more Brees news, the QB recently posted about taking long nature hikes during the COVID-19 shutdown, including one where he ran into a rattlesnake. Coach Sean Payton shot back that he should pick a new trail.
The F-B-I wiretap that reportedly has LSU basketball coach Will Wade discussing a strong offer made to a recruit is expected to be aired tonight on an H-B-O Documentary titled “The Scheme.” Wade missed the NCAA Tournament because of the FBI wiretap scandal but was reinstated in May.
ESPN is reporting that the SEC is allowing its football coaches to have two hours of virtual instruction and video conferencing per week. That includes film review. It’s an attempt to make up for the loss of spring football. But ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit says he would be shocked if we have an NFL or college football season this fall.