News for Friday June 26th, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
KALB TV Reports Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville is being affected by COVID-19.the LDH reports the hospital has had 71 patients test positive for the virus, and three patients have died. Four more are currently hospitalized. So far, 50 patients have recovered from the virus. An additional 42 employees have also tested positive for COVID-19.
The trend of higher COVID case counts and increased hospitalizations continues with 938 new positive tests reported state wide Thursday and 22 additional hospitalizations.
Louisiana has seen over 53,000 COVID-19 cases and 3,000 fatalities.
Shreveport Republican Alan Seabaugh is once again pushing his petition to end Louisiana’s state of emergency because of COVID-19. Seabaugh needs the support of 53 other lawmakers in the House and says the spread mitigation restrictions have been extended too long.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality warns residents with breathing issues to remain indoors as the Saharan Dust Cloud begins impacting New Orleans this afternoon. LDEQ Air Planning and Assessment Administrator Jason Myers says the dust can exasperate existing respiratory conditions. Wearing an N95 mask is recommended for those who have to go outside and have respiratory issues right now.
The dust hangs in the air and will add a haze to the sky, along with brightening up the sunset.
State workers will not be getting their scheduled pay raises if the budget remains it its current state. Senate Finance Committee members agreed to pause the raises and reconsider them later in the year, citing concern over the “optics” of giving state workers a pay raise while so many private-sector employees have lost their jobs, but Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne notes that most of the workers who will be impacted don’t make a lot of money.
The City of Alexandria utility department is warning residents to be on guard for scammers who are calling customers and threatening to shut off their power unless they make an immediate payment. The City reminds all residents that it will not call customers asking them to make a credit card payment or wire money for bill payment and threaten to terminate services. If you receive such a call, hang up and contact authorities.
The state education department released a plan Thursday on how public schools can reopen for the upcoming school year and do so without contributing to the spread of COVID-19. One of the guidelines calls for children in third grade and above to wear masks and students with a breathing condition could wear a face shield. The plan also calls for symptom monitoring of students when they arrive and throughout the day, including an initial temp check. Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says sick students need to be isolated quickly…
COVID-19 is impacting summer travel. The AAA travel forecast shows Americans will take far fewer trips this summer as experts expect to see a 15% decrease compared to last summer. Driving sees the smallest decrease in travel volume, down 3.6% over the year. AAA spokesperson Don Redman says other transportation methods are taking a much worse hit. Cruise ship, rail, and bus travel are down by 86% over the year.
Louisiana’s first harvested batch of industrial hemp has been tested and is in compliance with rules for the crop. State Ag Commissioner Mike Strain says the crop received the green light after being tested to make sure THC concentration level is below the legal limit of .3% Strain says in Louisiana there are over 100 people licensed as growers, processors, transporters, or seed sellers of hemp.
A 72-year-old Louisiana woman is in critical condition, but stable condition after being attacked by her two pit bulls on Thursday. A neighbor who call the sheriff’s office was also attacked and bitten. Both dogs were still attacking their owner when St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s deputies arrived at the woman’s home near Mandeville. The deputies shot the dogs after the dogs turned on them.
Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said on C-N-N today that football is a nonessential business and the coronavirus risk would have to be eliminated for him to feel comfortable playing football this season. Jenkins says he also doesn’t want to put his parents at risk of getting sick.
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine says for high school football practice to start, Louisiana has to be in phase three of its reopening and it’s disappointing to see the increase in coronavirus cases. Bonine says they will not flip the fall sports season with the spring sports so that football can be played during the academic year. Bonine says there also no plans to push back the football season. That’s because they want to hold the Prep Classic December 11th and 12th.
The NFL’s Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and Steelers on August sixth in Canton, Ohio has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony has been postponed to 2021.
ULM has announced football coach Matt Viator has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him on the Warhawk sidelines through the 2022 season. The extension reportedly does not come with a raise in pay. The USA Today reports that Viator’s base salary is 390-thousand dollars and he can receive 50-thousand dollars in bonuses.
Former McNeese baseball player and head coach Todd Butler has returned to his alma mater and will serve as the school’s new Senior Associate Athletics Director. Butler will oversee ticketing and game promotions operations, work on fundraising and serve as a liaison to the athletic corporate sponsorships. Butler earned his degree from McNeese in 1991 and was the head coach of the Pokes from 2001 to 2003. His last job was as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Missouri.
In girls high school basketball…former LSU star Temeka Johnson has been named the new head coach at John Curtis, replace Barbara Farris, who accepted an assistant head coaching job at Stetson. Johnson is leaving as head coach of McKinley in Baton Rouge.