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Link: Coronavirus cases in Louisiana up to 1,172, including 34 deaths, more cases in Acadiana

The Advocate:

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Louisiana increased over the past 24 hours from 837 to 1,172 with 14 additional deaths, bringing the total deaths to 34.In Lafayette, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals as of noon Monday is reporting nine coronavirus cases, up from six Sunday.

Virus Update

JBE Sunday update: ‘stay at home’ ordered

The gist: In an emergency press conference called today, John Bel Edwards pulled the trigger on the awaited, “Stay at Home” order that several other states enacted. According to the order, which will begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, all non-essential businesses will close to the public.

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Reader Q: Has anyone heard what precautions LPCC is taking right now?

A: There are efforts to decrease population. 

The jail population has been reduced by at least 60 inmates in the past week, because of the efforts of judges, lawyers and the D.A.’s office, all of whom are working together for the early release of prisoners. Some individuals are bonding out, pleading to time served or probated sentences, or having probation/parole hold lifted.

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Can our hospitals handle a surge?

We’ve seen alarms go up in New Orleans, where hospital staff are staring down a wave. The reality is some hospitals run near capacity when there isn’t a pandemic around.

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Virus Update

JBE Thursday update: we’re on Italy’s track

The gist: Gov. John Bel Edwards took a sobering look at Louisiana’s worst-case scenario for infections versus hospital beds and found that Louisiana could see an Italy sized problem in as little as 7-10 days.

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Lourdes, General postponing elective procedures

The gist: Both Our Lady of Lourdes and Lafayette General were still doing elective surgeries this week, despite widespread concerns about pending equipment, supply and bed shortages and the potential for spreading the coronavirus from asymptomatic patients to health care providers. 

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Virus Update

JBE Wednesday update: surge is coming

The gist: In an unusual show of unity, Gov. John Bel Edwards was joined today by Attorney General Jeff Landry to deliver the somber message that the state has two weeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Another familiar face, LSU football coach Ed Orgeron, joined the elected officials for the daily press briefing on the virus quickly spreading in the state.

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What you need to know: Louisiana numbers likely to jump substantially. It’s going to get much worse before it gets better, the governor said. “Over the next 24-36 hours, in all likelihood, you’re going to see the number of cases in Louisiana jump tremendously because we’re going to get test results, probably over 1,000 test results,” he said.

Need unemployment? Edwards announced a waiving of the one-week wait for unemployment benefits. That doesn’t necessarily mean those out of work will get a call back right away, but it should help, he said. For small business owners, Edwards has put in a request for assistance from the Small Business Association for disaster loans.

Also, Edwards has suspended all eviction and foreclosure proceedings, but people should still continue to make their rent or mortgage payments.

Health and home: Coach O called out those who still feel the need to go out into the world with a resounding, “Stay home.” Edwards cautioned against stocking up for an apocalypse and mentioned a week of supplies is fine. Buckling down for the next two weeks remains absolutely crucial. Landry expressed support for the governor’s measures to limit gatherings to 50 people, close bars and limit restaurant service. The message from all three: Don’t be a spreader.

Testing access still limited: The governor said the state is “ramping up” its testing capacity, noting drive-thru screening locations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes are expected by the end of the week. Approximately 400 National guard soldiers have been activated, and they will like be working at one of the drive-thru testing sites. The drive-thru service that shut down after less than hour yesterday in Baton Rouge after running out of supplies is back in business.

Rapid expansion: Edwards said the state has opened negotiations with the VA to make use of the three hospitals within the state. Both new bed space and new bed count will come online within the next two to three weeks. The state also looks to identify rural hospitals that need renovations to handle increased numbers and assist them with bringing those much-needed medical facilities up to code as quickly as possible.

A little good news: The LA Wallet app, a digital driver’s license that functions as a valid ID, is currently free in the app store. The app is typically $5.

Link: NOLA.com: Louisiana restaurants can sell takeout wine and beer

The gist: Louisiana relaxed regulations to allow the state’s restaurants to offer carryout sales of beer and wine. The move is aimed to help cushion COVID-19’s economic blow to restaurants, amid enforced closure of dining rooms statewide.

  • Packaged wine and beer can be sold
  • Liquor and draft beer are not included in the revised rules
  • Customers must buy food to buy alcohol
  • Alcohol must be in factory-sealed containers

COVID-19 drive-thru screening site launching Wednesday

The gist:
The Cajundome will be a drive-thru SCREENING (not testing) site for coronavirus beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Communications Director Jamie Angelle stressed at Tuesday’s press conference. 

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Amid new cleaning procedures, LFT still flying

While the Lafayette Regional Airport is taking major cleaning precautions to account for the COVID-19 outbreak, flights are still going in and out of the airport as of Tuesday morning, according to the LFT website. 

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