News for Wednesday March 25th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The newest numbers of COVID-19 cases from the state brings the total to 1,388 and 46 deaths. That’s an increase of 216 cases and 12 additional deaths. Of the current cases 271 are hospitalized and 94 of those patients require ventilators.
Governor John Bel Edwards requests a major disaster declaration for Louisiana from the feds, citing numbers showing the state has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita. Edwards says new projections indicate the New Orleans area will run out of healthcare capacity by April 4th. President Trump has indicated he wants to get Americans out of their homes and working again by Easter, but Edwards says the only timelines he will follow are those given by the medical community. The Governor reiterated his calls for “flattening the curve”, and says he’s encouraged by how serious the public has taken his call to stay home and limit interpersonal contact…
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon issues an emergency rule designed to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Donelon says the rule means that insurance agencies must cover a telemedicine visit as they would for an in-person visit to the doctor and it requires insurers to cover mental health telehealth services as well.
Yesterday was the first full day of Governor John Bel Edwards stay at home order. But Edwards says that doesn’t mean you should lock yourself in your house, you can spend time outside in the year and playing with the kids, taking walks and exercising. Office of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Jim Hussey says to help stay sane and healthy during this period you should make a daily schedule, and keep to it.
Louisiana residents are prepared for hunkering down for flooding and hurricanes, but staying at home through April 13th can still feel like a daunting tasking to prepare for. LSU AgCenter registered dietitian Sandra May says while it’s a good idea to have some snacks, it’s important not to go crazy with junk food. May says it is vital to have a balanced diet to keep the immune system at peak performance.
All buildings and overnight facilities at Louisiana State Parks are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. Buildings at all state historic sites are also closed. The closure will remain in effect until April 13. Officials say no new reservations will be accepted prior to April 13.
In times of crisis, scam artists will prey on your emotions and your wallet and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Cynthia Albert with the Better Business Bureau of Louisiana is warning residents not to respond to emails that say you are receiving a government check and they need your banking information. It is a scam plain and simple, do not reply. Albert says fraud schemes are running rampant with the COVID-19 outbreak.
All of LSU's May commencement ceremonies, including the vet school and the law school, have been postponed. In a letter to students, Thomas Galligan, Jr., LSU Interim President, writes that students will be able to "graduate" eventually and he promised all graduating students will have the opportunity to participate in a future commencement ceremony.
COVID-19 is also having an impact mental health as we try to cope with stress and anxiety from the pandemic. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Michelle Moore with LSU Health New Orleans says a majority of workers in the state are working from home and some find themselves unemployed and/or caring for children at home. If you feel you need counseling, you can call the Louisiana Department of Health’s Keeping Calm Through COVID Hotline at 1-888-310-7977
Evictions and foreclosures may be on hold in Louisiana due to the shutdown of courts, but that situation doesn’t get tenants off the hook when it comes to paying rent or a mortgage. Spokesperson for the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center Maxwell Ciardullo says the future seems dire without housing assistance from the federal relief bill being negotiated. Ciardullo hopes landlords will work with tenants.
A shortage of hand sanitizers has some craft beer breweries and distilleries churning out the disinfectant. Founder of Acadiana-based Bayou Teche Brewing Karlos Knott says they just received the greenlight from the feds for production. The brewery is purchasing spirits from a local distillery and chemicals from local suppliers for the initial 55 gallon batch. It will be donated to healthcare facilities. Knott says the only thing standing in the way of making more is a slowdown in the supply chain.