John Bel Edwards

Calls to Action How 211 became an instant link to health and social services for thousands in Louisiana during the pandemic

How 211 became an instant link to health and social services during the pandemic, while providing the state and nonprofits with a powerful feedback loop to target unmet needs.

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A viral, bogus ‘HIPAA’ loophole underscores weaknesses in Louisiana’s mask mandate

Cracks in the governor’s mandate are an easy opening for objecting owners to squeeze through and take a stand on principle, which many have.

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Special session roundup: Business interests notch big wins as legislators assert independence

The Legislature staked out an independent course this session, calling itself into special session that produced policy wins for business interests

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Tight for time, Louisiana Legislature tackles ‘tort reform,’ medical marijuana, gun rights and more

While lacking time, the Legislature nevertheless managed to push through several notable bills. Among them long-sought wins for business interests and the beginnings of change to Louisiana’s jungle primary.

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COLUMN: With slight expansion of absentee balloting, Louisiana will test pandemic voting on low turnout primaries

Louisiana’s emergency election plan only applies to the July and August elections, though it could serve, if needed, as a foundation for an emergency plan for the November presidential election.

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Link: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards likely to lift stay-at-home order May 1

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday he will likely lift some restrictions currently mandated by his stay-at-home order when it expires April 30, but warned life still won’t be as it was before the coronavirus crisis.

“I don’t bet very often, but if you made me bet $1 I would bet on May 1 we’d be under a different order than we’re under now,” Edwards said. “But that really does depend on what happens over the next week or so because we have to make sure we have those 14 days where our trajectory is where we want it as it relates to cases and as it relates to hospital capacity and then an overall downward trajectory of (symptoms).

Source: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards likely to lift stay-at-home order May 1

State-led program offers COVID-19 small biz help

Gov. John Bel Edwards today announced a new loan guarantee program offering loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees.

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JBE, Cantrell touring Convention Center field hospital Sunday; media briefing to follow

Gov. John Bel Edwards will join New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell Sunday in New Orleans for a walk-through of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center that will be used for recovering coronavirus patients who no longer need to be hospitalized. 

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Virus Update

JBE Friday update: 69 deaths in the state had either diabetes or obesity

The gist: COVID-19 numbers continue to rise around the state. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state saw a 19% increase in cases since yesterday to a grand total of 2746 and 119 deaths. Though the numbers seem daunting, and they are, Edwards said, the state’s testing has improved, and as of now, Louisiana is one of the top five states for testing per capita.

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Virus Update

JBE Thursday update: strike team incoming

The gist: Once again, Gov. John Bel Edwards made an impassioned plea to the people of Louisiana, asking them to stay home and help #flattenthecurve. The current trajectory for the state hasn’t bent to promising numbers quite yet, with 510 more cases and 18 new deaths since yesterday. A 28% increase in case numbers.

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Virus Update

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

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

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Virus Update

JBE Monday update: Remember the 2016 Flood? COVID-19 is like that

The gist: Gov. John Bel Edwards and a team of state officials and health experts took viewer questions over the course of an hour on LPB. Sally-Ann Roberts hosted the event, providing a soothing voice while urging the state to keep #flatteningthecurve.

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Once more for those in the back: Mitigation was the talk of the evening. State officials compared Louisiana’s current situation to the 2016 floods. Sure, the area could sustain 20 inches of rain over the course of two months, but 20 inches of rain in three days? That’s the level of COVID-19 cases the state is staring down.

“No one knows how long this is going to last,” Edwards said. “Take all the information we’ve given you and use it.”

Treatments: Though testing has increased, officials say don’t look for a cure any time soon. For now, supportive care is what’s available, helping the lungs of those affected work through the muck, but there is no fully tested medication.

Cover that sneeze: A study out of Germany suggests that asymptomatic patients usually shed the virus sooner, LPB reported. The study also shows that the virus sheds itself very quickly for the first few days then tapers off after.

According to Dr. Alexander Billioux, the state’s assistant health secretary, officials should know within the next week whether the “Stay at Home” measures work.

Unemployment: The Louisiana Workforce Commission has seen a massive wave of unemployment claims — 71,000 people had filed claims as of Monday. Officials announced that the one-week waiting period would be waived for new claims.

“We’re going to get through this, we’re going to come back and we’re going to get through this together. Everyone should have hope,” Edwards reiterated. He also said the class of 2020, both high school and college, will see their celebrations happen in the future, though he wasn’t quite sure what those celebrations would look like.

LPB also announced a new broadcasting structure, adding a block from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. that focuses on middle and high school social studies content. Younger kids can refer to PBS Kids’s award-winning lineup.

Key takeaways: Don’t be a spreader. Stay away from others. Exercise. Hike. Read a book. We’re in this for the long haul.