News for Monday April 6th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
In yesterday’s covid-19 update 68 new coronavirus deaths in the state, marking biggest day-to-day jump. Health officials in Louisiana are now reporting there are 13,010 cases of coronavirus in the state, with 477 deaths reported.
Governor Edwards says Louisiana has the highest death rate in the nation for COVID-19 and based on what we know about hospital admissions and coronavirus fatalities, the virus is more prevalent than initially thought. Underlying health conditions are a major factor. Louisiana’s modeling data shows the state is on course to require 2,500 new hospitalizations a day in the New Orleans area by mid-May if the public does not adhere to mitigation measures.
Now the CDC is recommending you wear a mask if you do go out and about to take care of essentials, Governor Edwards says feel free to make a DIY mask, but save the N95s for healthcare workers who need them most. Most online tutorials say you only need some cloth, like handkerchiefs, and elastic bands to make the most basic DIY mask.
92% of small businesses are reporting a negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic according to a nationwide survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB state director Dawn Starns says some businesses are choosing to forego the use of loans from government programs because they don’t want to get tangled in the extra paperwork or debt.
Businesses with under 500 employees can now apply to receive a Small Business Administration loan from the feds to help cover payroll, and some other expenses for the next two months. CPA Ben Vance says businesses who qualify get a loan amount that is determined by the SBA.
With the Governor’s extension of virus spread mitigation measures through April keeping many businesses closed, unemployed Louisiana residents are wondering where their next paycheck is coming from. Governor Edwards says the financial impact of COVID-19 is something that weighs heavy on his mind, adding the state is doing everything it can to expedite relief to those without an income. Governor Edwards says in addition to loan programs available at the federal level, the state is working with banks to back loans to keep businesses afloat. Edwards says the timeline of getting the economy back on track is reliant on what happens with the virus’s spread.
New testing is starting to become available for those who may have been an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive carrier and now have recovered and likely have immunity. State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says the testing is not yet widely available in Louisiana, but could be more available in the coming months.
Welch says this testing could be most useful in strategic hospital staffing.
Ray P. Authement, who served as president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for 34 years, has died. He was 91 years old. Authement died Sunday with his wife, Barbara, at his side after "an extended illness," according to a statement from the university. Under Authement's leadership, UL became a major economic force in Acadiana. Authement was president of the university from 1973 thru 2008.
The deadline to submit ACT scores for TOPS qualification has been extended to September 30th as the ability to take a test is non-existent at the moment. LOSFA Executive Director Dr. Sujuan Boutte says the traditional April national ACT test was delayed until June, and Boutte says they’re working with ACT to try to make June a possibility even if restrictions are still in place. If a student has already taken an ACT, LOSFA will begin running eligibility on those scores in June. Many school districts are now moving to Pass/Fail grades for classes due to school closures.
The COVID-19 outbreak is not only impacting our physical health but mental as well. Unlike other disasters the uncertain reality we are all facing makes it extremely challenging for families to reassure children. LSU Psychology Asst Professor Dr Anna Long says during this period be sure to reaffirm your child’s physical wellbeing and give them a perception of safety. Long also says most importantly set a routine and stick to it.