Louisiana Coronavirus Cases
As of June 4, Louisiana reported 41,562 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 2,772 have resulted in death. Jefferson Parish has the majority of cases with 7,763 reported. Orleans Parish was second with 7,192, and East Baton Rouge, with 3,820, was third.
Source: Louisiana Department of Health
Louisiana Hospitals Set to Receive Massive Payouts for the Pandemic Which Not Be Enough
Louisiana State health facilities are set to receive coronavirus rescue funds worth over a billion dollars; a humongous amount considering the enormity of the financial crisis in hospitals in that region, as executives warn that the disbursed funds might be insufficient for the hospitals.
The disbursed amount is part of the state's share of 72 billion from the federal CARES Act which has been distributed to health facilities across the state.
Recent data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that an estimated 1.2 billion dollars have been distributed to Louisiana facilities. The projected figure is, however, subject to corrections as not all funds have been received by hospitals yet.
A large percentage of the funds were disbursed to 16 hospitals around New Orleans Lafayette, and Baton Rouge, where most of the infected patients were treated.
Ochsner Clinic Foundation, which includes 3 hospitals in the New Orleans area, received an accumulated sum of $124,729,422 million.
The federal government payouts are divided into two tranches and disbursed based on the amount received by each Healthcare provider. A percentage of the first tranche - an estimated $475 million was distributed to thousands of Louisiana health facilities based on the number of Medicare patients received in the past.
The second tranche - $400 million, however, was sent to just 16 hospitals. More so, the payments are distributed to hospitals that have treated more than 100 COVID-19 patients as of April 10.
"With social distancing guidelines in place, families of the deceased are scrambling to cremate and postpone memorial services, while some are resorting to live streams to broadcast funeral services. "The problems Orleans has — we have similar problems as well. Funeral homes don’t have the capacity to hold bodies. It’s getting dropped on the lap of the Coroner's Office in the parish to hold these bodies, which is not ideal."
Dr. Gerry Cvitanovitch, the Jefferson Parish coroner
Louisiana Cop Fired for Racist Comment on Covid-19 Death Toll on Facebook
The Kaplan Police Department confirmed that a Louisiana officer was laid off after posting what was perceived as a racist remark on the COVID-19 death toll on African Americans.
The State's police department, on May 15, posted on its Facebook page that Officer Aucoin was fired after investigations into comments the officer made just a few hours earlier. The dismissed officer posted in the comment section under a live stream of Gov. John Bel Edwards' press conference on the state's COVID-19 response. He implied that it was "unfortunate" that all black people weren't killed off by the pandemic, according to screenshots of the chat obtained. Other Facebook users also captured the chat, which has since been reposted online.
“Chief Joshua Hardy and the Kaplan Police Department would like to apologize for this matter,” police said in a statement announcing the dismissal of the officer on Friday. “We’re held to a higher standard than normal civilians, so you've got to watch what you do, you've to watch what you say"
According to data released by John Hopkins University, African Americans and other minorities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic which as of Wednesday has infected over 1.5 million people in the country. Edwards noted, in April, that an estimated 70 percent of COVID-19 related deaths are African Americans, despite blacks accounting for just 32 percent of the state population. Furthermore, new screenshots of the exchange showed that the officer had made similar remarks.
Louisiana Unemployment Insurance Claims: 400,000+ Claims made the previous week: 52,000+ Total amount paid in unemployment benefits: $1.4 billion
Number of coronavirus cases: 34,709+
Number of test conducted: Number of coronavirus-related deaths reported: 2,440+ Number of Parishes affected: All
Louisiana Residents Wary About Contact Tracing as the State Looks to Reopen
An overwhelming percentage of Louisiana residents are wary about the breach of their individual privacy as the state is set to roll out massive contact tracing strategies in a bid to mitigate the spread of the virus while reopening businesses and Social activities.
Public health officials are concerned that the residents' wariness about contact tracing might undermine the state's ability to effectively and rapidly pinpoint those who have had contact with infected COVID-19 patients.
Louisiana Governor. John Bel Edwards has commenced the reopening of much of the state’s economy, saying residents have complied with social distancing guidelines, and that the state is no longer at risk of overwhelming their health facilities with COVID-19 cases.
A reduction in restrictions means there will be more long movement, saloons, restaurants, and churches will also open. To avoid a spike in the number of infected cases, health officials said robust testing sites alongside widespread contact tracing are a necessity to determine virus hotspots and those who have had contact with infected individuals.
Dr. Alex Billioux, director of Louisiana's public health office, said some will find the process of contact tracing as breach of privacy since they'll be asked about their interaction with people or to find someone they've shared information with.
"The goal here, though, is to help protect you. The goal here is to identify where you have risk,” Billioux said.
Concerns were also raised when it was reported that the Edward administration hired nearly 370 contact tracers in addition to the 70 already employed, and the possibility that the number of contact tracers might reach 700.