Trump’s order, mystery illness and COVID-19 numbers on governor’s agenda

By: - August 11, 2020 9:04 pm
John Bel Edwards

Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks about the coronavirus pandemic at a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 6. (Photo by Julie O’Donoghue)

Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press conference Tuesday and discussed Louisiana’s coronavirus situation, a new illness killing children and President Donald Trump’s executive order, among other things. Here are summaries of three main takeaways from the conference: 

Louisiana’s coronavirus situation has been steadily improving

Numbers of new cases and hospitalizations have been on a downward trend since Gov. John Bel Edwards’ face mask mandate took effect July 13. Tuesday saw 1,165 new cases, 26 deaths and 1,338 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. Weeks ago, daily case counts were around 2,000, and hospitalizations had reached 1,600. “Our trends have been positive over the last couple of weeks,” Edwards said. “We owe that progress to the fact that we have more adherence to the mitigation measures.”

An alarming threat has emerged with a mysterious coronavirus illness

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which targets children, killed a fourth child in Louisiana Monday. Both the governor and Dr. Alex Billioux, the head of Louisiana’s Office of Public Health, addressed the illness Tuesday, saying the state is continuing to see more cases of it as scientists struggle to understand the disease. Billioux said there is currently no standard treatment for MIS-C, which has affected a wide range of ages, from infants of just a few months old to adults of 19. So far, 11,382 children in Louisiana have contracted COVID-19, 44 of whom have contracted MIS-C.

No plan yet for implementation of Trump’s executive action

Louisiana does not yet have a plan for implementing President Donald Trump’s executive order that would provide unemployed people $400 per week in benefits. The order requires states to cover 25 percent of the costs by diverting money from the FEMA disaster relief fund. If Louisiana chooses not to pull from its disaster relief funding, the weekly benefit would drop to only $300. “We’re trying to figure out how we can participate,” the governor said. Given the rate at which the state has burned through its unemployment benefit funding, Trump’s relief package would last only a few weeks before running dry in Louisiana, he said.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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