JBE Wednesday update: Trump signs declaration, resources on the way

Virus Update
Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

The gist: Late last night, President Donald Trump approved the major disaster declaration requested by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Louisiana now has greater access to funds and resources desperately need to combat COVID-19. 

Deal or no deal: Senate leaders emerged last night in apparent victory as the governmental body struck a tentative deal to pass a much-needed stimulus package to the nation. Upwards of $2 trillion dollars will be spent to put dollars back into Americans’ pockets. Edwards praised the bill, which provides $1,200 to Americans making $75,000 or less. 

Unemployment: Freelancers, gig workers and those currently in furlough would also meet the requirements for unemployment under this bill. The bill extends unemployment by 13 weeks.

(To directly help gig workers in our area consider donating to Social Entertainment’s “Lost My Gig Fund.“)  

Back to brass tacks: Louisiana’s numbers continue to grow, jumping 407 to a total of 1,795 cases. The state also added 19 more deaths, bringing the tally to 65. Edwards stressed that even if the map says your parish doesn’t have a COVID-19 case, you do. You just haven’t tested for it yet. 

Need for vents: With case numbers coming out of NOLA, there still remains a significant chance the state will run out of ventilators, at least in that area, by next week. Edwards added that in the near term, this is the biggest problem Louisiana faces. 

“We’re not where we need to be,” Edwards said. Though COVID-19 steals the spotlight, the state remains on the tail end of a rambunctious flu season as well. Edwards mentioned 100 new ventilators will arrive in the New Orleans area tomorrow, with more coming soon. He says he won’t count those ventilators among our numbers until they are in hand. 

Apple sending help: Edwards said he personally talked to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the needs of Louisiana. Apple agreed to donate 100,000 PPE masks to Louisiana to help protect healthcare workers on the front lines. 

New Orleans desperately seeking space: Healthcare workers may find a new home soon. The governor is talking to hotels and also contemplating converting the Convention Center into a facility to house non-critical coronavirus patients. Dormitories were considered but soon ruled out.