News for Thursday August 20th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Louisiana coronavirus: 139,903 cases | 4,468 dead | 1,160 in hospital | 118,120 recovered
The state reported 779 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, it’s the third day in a row new case numbers are under 800. Fatalities reported from the virus are up 37 and hospitalizations decreased by 44 but still remain over one thousand.
Total jobs lost the first half of this year are nearly double the number the state saw after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. That’s according to U-L Lafayette Economist Gary Wagner. On a positive note, Wagner says he does expect to see job growth in the second half of 2020, but not enough to offset the job losses for the first half of the year. Wagner says he doesn’t see Louisiana returning to a Pre-COVID economy until mid-2022 or later.
Former President of Louisiana College, Joe Aguillard, has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the school. Aguillard’s suit alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act had been rejected by a federal district court. He lost the appeal Wednesday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Aguillard served as president of the college from 2005 until he stepped down for health reasons in 2014. He remained on the faculty until he was fired in 2016.
As more school districts resume classes Governor John Bel Edwards encourages parents to closely monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19, and if you see them running a fever, coughing, or showing other signs. The health department is working closely with the department of education to build a COVID-19 reporting system.
Louisiana’s guidelines for the fall election are appearing more likely to have to be settled in court after a House committee passes a plan Governor Edwards vows to reject.
Barry Ivey was the lone Republican to vote against the plan Wednesday in committee. Under the plan the only COVID-related reason for requesting an absentee ballot is if you test positive for the virus during early voting or before Election Day. Edwards says that makes no consideration for those susceptible to the virus, or those ordered to quarantine. Ivey says instead of sending the issue to court the Legislature needs to cease advancing the Secretary of State’s plan and negotiate a deal with the Governor, or the end result is inevitable.
Governor Edwards expects in a few weeks it will be a lot easier to see your loved ones in nursing homes once new, fast-acting testing equipment is delivered. Edwards says in the near future nursing homes will be able to more easily accept visitors thanks to the new equipment. Nursing homes have been mostly locked down to non-staff and medical personnel since the pandemic began.
Despite long explanations about why publicly reporting positive COVID tests on university campuses is misleading, LSU reversed course and Wednesday began reporting cases on its website. The decision was made Tuesday and the dashboard was added Wednesday to the LSU website dedicated to the reopening of campus, which closed down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. LSU reported 22 positive test results in the past four days.
A new report estimates about a quarter of Louisiana students do not have access to the internet to participate in virtual classes. Franklinton Senator Beth Mizell says additionally, 42% of students are without high-speed broadband access that would allow for multiple users in a home to do virtual learning. Among the ways school districts have attempted to patch the lack of internet access is through the distribution of Wi-Fi hotspots that work off of cellular data. Mizell says the hotspots puts the state in a much better position than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, but it’s not a reliable long-term solution.
Two women are accusing former LSU running back Derrius Guice of rape. The victims tell the USA Today the sexual assaults occurred when Guice was a freshman at LSU in 2016. This comes on the heels of the Washington Football Team releasing Guice after he was arrested on domestic violence charges on August seventh. LSU beat reporter Glen Guilbeau for the USA Today Network says reporters were working on this investigative piece before Guice was arrested. Guice’s attorney sais the accusation dating back to 2016 are not true.
Governor Edwards signs executive orders to address climate change and enhance coastal resilience, with the goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28% by 2025 , 50% by 2030, and achieve net-zero by 2050. Policy director for Audubon Louisiana Brent Newman says Louisiana is already and leader in climate adaption and the latest efforts are historic.