News for Tuesday August 4th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Good news on the corona front, Louisiana saw its lowest one day number of new cases yesterday since June 29th with only 1,099. Hospitalizations are also down a good bit and below 1,500 since July 19th. Unfortunately, 17 more deaths were reported.
The legal battle centered around the Confederate monument outside of the Rapides Parish courthouse got more interesting yesterday when the Parish Police Jury announced it wants to be declared the sole legal owner of the statue. Back in June the City of Alexandria filed a petition to have the Rapides Parish 9th Judicial District Court declare the City the sole owner of the statue so it could be removed from public view. In the event the court believes there’s a co-ownership, the Parish believes it’s one of the legal owners - either alongside the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or with the group and the City. No court date to determine the matter has been announced yet.
Nearly 700 businesses have been found to have noncompliance on COVID spread mitigation measures, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says that’s only about ten percent of the total number of businesses they have even investigated. The most common shortcomings included face mask violations, table spacing, large gatherings, exceeded capacities, and self-serve buffet dining.
Bar owners who sued the state in federal courts in Lafayette and New Orleans over the bar closure order have their request for a restraining order against the closures rejected. The New Orleans case will be heard on the 14th and the Lafayette case will be heard on the 17th. Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino doesn’t expect they’ll have much success. The Governor’s order restricts bars from serving customers on-premise but does allow for customers to buy to-go drinks.
The state sets guidelines for movie and TV crews to begin filming again after all production shut down at the start of the pandemic. Louisiana Entertainment Director Chris Stelly says the health guidelines are pretty similar to other jobs. Wear a mask, social distance while on set, limit access to the studio. Stelly says 14 projects were in motion in Louisiana before the pandemic. Not all of them may return.
Federal lawmakers are working on legislation to extend the extra unemployment benefits funded by the feds to those out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator John Kennedy says the legislation would give states a choice as to how to go about paying the benefits. The amount of time the benefits would be provided is up for debate, but Kennedy says the extra money could continue through the end of October.
Kennedy expects every Democrat and many republicans to vote against the bill.
Louisiana Lottery’s flagship game, Lotto, has been upgraded to see starting jackpots of a half-million dollars. The change marks only the fourth time the game has been altered in its 28-year history. Lottery spokesperson Dustin Annison says the changes are being done to spur more excitement with players. The first drawing with the new format is Wednesday night. You should know, with the increased size of the starting jackpot, the odds against winning have also gone up.
United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that he has resigned from the Department of Justice, effective August 3, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. CDT, at which time he assumed the duties of United States District Court Judge. Joseph was appointed by President Trump to the position of United States Attorney in March of 2018.
Ochsner Health is one of 120 sites worldwide chosen to participate in phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study with drug maker Pfizer. Ochsner Principal Investigator Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz says the selection comes as a result of its expertise and history in conducting clinical trials. Another factor that brought the study to Louisiana is its status as a COVID-19 hotspot.
Tulane researchers say an antibody treatment has shown signs in animal trials that it can be effective at preventing coronavirus from multiplying once it infects you. Tulane Internal Medicine Chair Dr. Jay Kolls says lab mice that received a protein called MDR 504 were far less likely to see the virus replicate once infected. Kolls says the treatment could be fantastic for frontline workers like nurses who are regularly exposed to the virus.
Drew Brees’ notable quirk where he licks his fingers throughout a game is a no-go for this season. Brees says he’s been working all offseason to break the habit given the current circumstances…The Saints are back to strength and conditioning work yesterday after the entire team tests negative for COVID-19.