News for Friday August 21st, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The state reported the largest single-day drop in COVID hospitalizations in three months yesterday as the total falls to 1,087, down by 73, and marks the first time since July 9th it has been below 1100. There were just over 1000 new cases Thursday 140,821… Sadly the death count rose by 28.
Governor Edwards feels the latest metrics are showing the state is trending in the right direction in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The state overall has seen its daily percentage of positive tests drop below 10 percent. Broken down by region, Edwards says four out of nine are testing below that mark.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has tested positive for COVID-19. A press release from his office the Republican senator was notified Wednesday night he had been exposed, he was tested yesterday and it revealed he’s positive. A spokesperson from his office says the Senator is also suffering from mild symptoms that began Thursday morning. He was in Shreveport Wednesday visiting two hospitals which included the VA medical center.
All eyes are on the tropics as two tropical depressions are expected to form into named storms today. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the closest system to Louisiana is tropical depression 14 and is currently getting better organized in the Western Caribbean. Keim says the tropical depression 13 is also gaining steam but is about 750 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands in the Atlantic. Keim says Louisiana could be a landing spot for either or both storms.
The Louisiana Municipal Association calls on Congress to include aid to struggling local governments in the next pandemic relief package. Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker says they’ve been hammered by dual disasters in last year’s tornado and the pandemic. To survive this period they need federal aid. The National League of Cities estimates 90 percent of municipalities will not be able to meet their budgets. Preliminary figures show a 20-30 percent loss of sales tax revenue nationwide and a 13 percent decline in overall revenue for the current fiscal year.
As the deadline to complete the 2020 Census looms, the Bayou State is falling short in responses, which could put the state in danger of losing future funding and possible representation in Congress. U-S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the national response rate to the Census is 64-percent and Louisiana is at 58-percent. Ross says if your community is 5-percent undercounted it could be a loss of $15 million over the next decade. Being undercounted could adversely affect funding for schools, roads, and hospitals and Ross says it could also affect Congressional representation.
The Louisiana Treasury Department announces they returned a record 63-million dollars in unclaimed property for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. State Treasurer John Schroder says the previous record was 52-million dollars, which was set during the previous fiscal year.
Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin gave emotional and at times teary-eyed testimony at a Senate Committee Thursday over his controversial fall election plan that rolls back the summer’s mail-in balloting options. Governor Edwards has outright rejected the plan on public health grounds. Ardoin says his plan needs Legislative and Executive support to be implemented or it will head to the courts. Under Ardoin’s 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.
American Airlines is suspending flights out of Lake Charles from October 7th through November 3rd. Lake Charles Regional Airport Director Heath Allen says their data indicates they had been filling American flights out of Lake Charles at 70 percent, which is a healthy number right now, so the decision is surprising.
Seven SEC teams have released their reduced stadium capacities so far, with all of them having capacities somewhere between 20 and 25 percent. Governor John Bel Edwards says he is also waiting on plans from ULM, UL Lafayette, and La Tech as well as LSU. He’s confident their proposals will be adequate. Face coverings will also be mandatory at all SEC games.
The Ragin Cajuns have finalized their football schedule for 2020 as they’ve added a trip to UAB on Friday October 23rd and will host Central Arkansas on November 21st at Cajun Field. That gives U-L Lafayette 11 games on the schedule, making up for the games lost against New Mexico State and Missouri. The game at U-A-B will be on a Friday.
ULM announces it will kick off the season on September fifth at Troy. The two teams were originally scheduled to play on October 17th.
As long as COVID-19 doesn’t get in the way, Myles Brennan will finally get his chance to be LSU’s starting quarterback. Brennan arrived at LSU in 2017 and has watched Joe Burrow take snaps the last two seasons. In today’s college football, many quarterbacks look to transfer if they don’t play right away, but Brennan says he knew he would eventually get his chance with the purple and gold…