News for Friday August 7th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Louisiana crossed a grim COVID-19 milestone Thursday, we now have had more than 4,000 confirmed deaths from the disease. The state also reported 1,300 new cases yesterday continuing our slow but steady downward trend. Governor Edwards says that’s encouraging but we can’t start slacking. 1,457 people are hospitalized with COVID, and the positivity rate was 6.6 percent.
A Baton Rouge judge sides with Governor John Bel Edwards over business owners who filed suit in an attempt to lift coronavirus restrictions including the mask mandate, bar closures, and crowd size limitations. Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the venues just aren’t safe because the main purpose of going to a bar is drinking alcohol which decreases vigilance in spread mitigation efforts.
Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is expediting the process for shuttered bars to apply and receive temporary restaurant licenses if they qualify. Edwards says if bars show they can safely transition to restaurants they can reopen because functioning like a restaurant would make them safer.
In a less than smart move, a Grant Parish man, who was arrested yesterday on a domestic violence allegation, told the judge he was appearing before there were bombs in his house that would detonate unless he was released. After an inspection of the home, authorities determined there were no bombs. As a result, GPSO will be pursuing charges against Nicholas Hollingsworth for the communication of false information of a planned arson.
A 25 member task force aimed at studying policing policy reform met Thursday for the first time since being formed by the Legislature in response to the George Floyd protests. Baton Rouge Senator Cleo Fields was named chairman and the members come from a range of backgrounds, including civil rights activists, lawmakers, and law enforcement.
Fields authored the resolution that formed the task force and was nominated for the chairmanship by representatives of the law enforcement community.
More than half of Louisiana households are operating either below federal poverty standards or in the realm of “working poor” families as defined by ALICE, a United Way measure applied to people who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed.
In the report released yesterday, it showed that a family of four in the state needs income of $69,732 to make ends meet. That’s well above the pay standards of low-income jobs like cashier, the most common job in Louisiana, which pays an average of $9.10 an hour and about $18,200.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center bumps up the number of expected storms for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, now calling for up to 19 to 25 named storms with 7 to 11 becoming hurricanes. Lead hurricane forecaster Dr. Gerry Bell says the development of La Nina conditions also factors into being more hospitable for hurricane formation and intensification.
COVID nasal swaps are very uncomfortable and LSU researchers say they’ve developed a potential fix for that: an effective saliva-based test.
LSU virus expert Becky Christofferson says their research was inspired by patients stuck in situations where they have to be repeatedly tested by the convention nasal swab. Christofferson says the saliva spit tests are also easier to store and are not as temperature-sensitive as nasal swabs. The saliva test they’ve developed uses the same PCR testing procedure as the nasal test, making it highly accurate.
After missing for four days in the woods an elderly Calhoun man with dementia is found by a neighbor’s pet bloodhound. 85-year-old Kenneth Russell went missing Sunday and by Wednesday morning search crews had had no luck. That’s when local realtor Zach Stephens heard about it and showed up with his dog Ruby. After nearly 90 hours missing and repeated search efforts by local authorities Ruby tracked down Russell in just 34 minutes to a heavily wooded area several hundred yards away from his home.
Once Russell was found he was rushed to the hospital and was treated, but is in good condition.
Zachary's school board voted Thursday to postpone the reopening of its schools after 19 of the district's teachers were infected with or exposed to the coronavirus and after many faculty and staff quit in recent days, some fearing COVID-19, others uncomfortable with virtual teaching. In the special session, school board members agreed the opening should be pushed back to Aug. 17.
The Preseason Amway Coaches Football Poll for the 2020 college season lists Clemson at the top spot for the second year in a row. The LSU Tigers ranked fifth in the poll. The Ohio State Buckeyes filled the second spot, the Alabama Crimson Tide followed at three and the Georgia bulldogs took the fourth spot. Three SEC teams filled out the top five of the poll.
New Orleans Saints long snapper Zach Wood and linebacker Kaden Elliss have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to Thursday's transactions. The two are the first Saints players to be placed on the newly created reserve list since its inception July 26. Just because a player is placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list doesn't mean they have tested positive for the virus. Players can be designated reserve/COVID-19 if a team fears they've been exposed to the virus and require quarantine. NFL teams are not allowed to discuss the reasoning behind any player's placement on the list.