Make Over Main Project in Winnfield Moves Forward

If you have taken a stroll or a drive down Main St. in Winnfield you probably noticed hanging flower baskets with bright beautiful flowers brightening up your path.

The baskets are phase I of the Make Over Main project initiated by the City of Winnfield in order to present a little lagniappe for the Cleanest City Contest sponsored by Louisiana Garden Club Federation.  The contest was canceled due to the coronavirus but the City of Winnfield decided to move forward with their plans for the Make Over Main project. Each basket is sponsored by local businesses, organizations and citizens. 

Later phases of the project include updating the flower beds and moving forward with the Main Street Project. 

Sponsorship’s are still available for $35 per flower basket and may be made in the name of a business, organization, in memory of, or in honor of.  Contact Lindlay Howell at 318-628-0401

A list of sponsors will be published at a later date.

From the IRS – Special Alert for Benefit Recipients Who Don’t File a Tax Return and/or Have Dependents – TODAY!

The Internal Revenue Service today issued a special alert for several groups of federal benefit recipients to act by this Wednesday, April 22, if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents so they can quickly receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payment.

Their $1,200 payments will be issued soon and, in order to add the $500 per eligible child amount to these payments, the IRS needs the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

Following extensive work by the IRS and other government agencies, $1,200 automatic payments will be starting soon for those receiving Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return in the last two years. No action is needed by these groups; they will automatically receive their $1,200 payment.

For those benefit recipients with children who aren’t required to file a tax return, an extra step is needed to quickly add $500 per eligible child onto their automatic payment of $1,200.

For people in these groups who have a qualifying child and didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, they have a limited window to register to have $500 per eligible child added automatically to their soon-to-be-received $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. A quick trip to a special non-filer tool on IRS.gov by noon Eastern time, Wednesday, April 22, for some of these groups may help put all of their eligible Economic Income Payment into a single payment.

“We want to ‘Plus $500’ these recipients with children so they can get their maximum Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 plus $500 for each eligible child as quickly as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “They’ll get $1,200 automatically, but they need to act quickly and register at IRS.gov to get the extra $500 per child added to their payment. These groups don’t normally have a return filing obligation and may not realize they qualify for a larger payment. We’re asking people and organizations throughout the country to share this information widely and help the IRS with the Plus $500 Push.”

To help spread the word to recipients with children about this special “Plus $500 Push,” the IRS has additional material available on a special partners page that can be shared with friends, family members and community groups. This effort will focus on the initial April 22 deadline and continue this spring to reach as many people as possible since the child payments will continue to be made in the weeks and months ahead.

Have a child but don’t file a tax return? Visit IRS.gov now

Those receiving federal benefits – including Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Administration benefits – who have with children and who weren’t required file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 should visit the Non-Filer: Enter Payment Info Here tool on IRS.gov. By quickly taking steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they can receive the $500 per dependent child payment automatically in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

First window affects SSA/RRB recipients with children; SSI and VA recipients have slightly more time to add $500 to automatic payments

For certain SSA / RRB beneficiaries who don’t normally file a tax return and do not register with the IRS by April 22, they will still be eligible to receive the separate payment of $500 per qualifying child. For those who miss the April 22 deadline, their payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020. They will not be eligible to use the Non-Filer tool to add eligible children once their $1,200 payment has been issued.

SSI and VA beneficiaries have some additional time beyond April 22 to add their children since their $1,200 automatic payments will be made at a later date. SSI recipients will receive their automatic payments in early May, and the VA payment schedule for beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments is still being determined. If they have children and aren’t required to file a tax return, both groups are urged to use the Non-Filer tool as soon as possible. Once their $1,200 payment has been issued, they will not be eligible to use the Non-Filer tool to add eligible children. Their payment will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

No action needed by most taxpayers

The Treasury Department will make these automatic payments to SSA, SSI, RRB and VA recipients. Recipients will generally receive the automatic $1,200 payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

For information about Social Security retirement, survivors and disability insurance beneficiaries, please visit the SSA website at SSA.gov. For more information related to veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from VA, please visit VA.gov.

Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments

The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. There is no fee required to receive these payments.

Capital Briefing From District 22 State Rep. Gabe Firment

THE NEW NORMAL?

At a recent Covid-19 press conference Gov. John Bel Edwards proclaimed that Louisianans were just going to have to accept “living in a new normal” for an indefinite period of time. An April 16th CNN online column declared that “the new normal” would include mass temperature checks, mandatory use of face masks, and admitted Orwellian government monitoring of cellphone locations in the guise of protecting public health. The World Health Organization also continues to push this narrative with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom stating that his organization was focused on seeing that “communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the new normal.”

While there is no doubt that the Covid-19 virus has disrupted our lives and created a great deal of angst and anxiety about the days to come, we must be vigilant in seeing that our future as a state and nation is shaped and defined by “We the People” and not by government bureaucrats, liberal pundits, or power-hungry politicians. Last week President Trump released his guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phase plan based on facts and verifiable data designed to re-start the economy and restore our personal liberties in a manner that also protects public health.

In my opinion, Governor Edwards has thus far shown impressive leadership ability and has done a good job of keeping the public informed about the impacts of this devastating viral outbreak on our state. The drastic measures initially undertaken to “flatten the curve” have been successful, and we are now in a position to adopt President Trump’s recommendations and begin opening up Louisiana again before our state economy plunges to a depth from which it may never recover. The time to act is now, and I strongly encourage the governor to let his Stay at Home Executive Order expire on April 30th and allow local officials to determine the best course of action for their parish or municipality.

So what is the new normal going to look like for District 22? I hope it looks a lot like the old normal – only better. I am a firm believer in American ingenuity, perseverance, and self-reliance. I believe that the pioneer spirit that drove our forefathers across the high seas in pursuit of freedom, liberty, and equality still lives in our hearts and minds. I believe the words spoken by President Truman following the end of WW2 still ring true today – “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

I pray that this deadly virus will be eradicated from our land, as I pray that we will be united with an iron will and unwavering resolve to move forward not with a spirit of fear, but with a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I am looking forward to returning to the old normal and to the simple things citizens of District 22 enjoy so much – things like a cup of coffee with the Urania Knotheads, lunch at Red River Livestock in Coushatta, fried catfish at Lakewood Inn on Black Lake, strolling down Front Street in Natchitoches, little league baseball in Pollock, and worshipping our Sovereign God in church with friends and family.

US Department of Agriculture Announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Friday that the USDA would be launching a $19 billion assistance program for the nation’s farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 crisis. Authorized under provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will include direct financial aid for food producers, as well as the government-sponsored purchase of fresh produce, dairy, and meat for distribution to food banks, community, and faith-based organizations.

“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”

CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements to achieve these goals.

Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers: The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted and will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.
USDA Purchase and Distribution: USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. We will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
On top of these targeted programs USDA will utilize other available funding sources to purchase and distribute food to those in need.

USDA has up to an additional $873.3 million available in Section 32 funding to purchase a variety of agricultural products for distribution to food banks. The use of these funds will be determined by industry requests, USDA agricultural market analysis, and food bank needs.
The FFCRA and CARES Act provided an at least $850 million for food bank administrative costs and USDA food purchases, of which a minimum of $600 million will be designated for food purchases. The use of these funds will be determined by food bank need and product availability.
Further details regarding eligibility, rates, and other implementation will be released at a later date.

The Louisiana Department of Health Issues Revised Order for Medical and Surgical Procedures

Monday, the Louisiana Department of Health issued a revised order for medical and surgical procedures. This guidance is necessary during a public health emergency to preserve personal protective equipment, to properly utilize hospital staffing and to ensure adequate hospital bed capacity.

“Health care facilities play a critical role in responding to COVID-19 and helping people be their healthiest,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “We are quite some time away from returning to normal but this is a step in the right direction.”

The revised guidance, which goes into effect April 27, states medical and surgical procedures shall only be performed under the following conditions:

  • in order to treat an emergency medical condition;
  • to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease;
  • and for time sensitive conditions.

Additionally, the order states dental visits, procedures and surgeries shall only be performed under the following conditions:

  • in order to treat an emergency medical condition;
  • to avoid further harms from an underlying condition or disease;
  • and for time sensitive dental conditions.

Before facilities perform any procedure, each much have a plan in place to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms or test if possible; to ensure adequate physical distance between patients; must have a five-day minimum supply of PPE available; and must follow additional guidance outlined in the order.

The previous order allowed surgeries only for emergency medical conditions.

This order does not mean that all containment measures can be lifted across all facilities and specialties.

Healthcare services other than medical and surgical procedures should continue to happen via telehealth when medically appropriate.

Click here to read the order from the Louisiana Department of Health.

Statewide Burn Ban Modification Announcement

CEASE AND DESIST ORDER

Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in response to the outbreak of the respiratory disease, coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

WHEREAS, effective March 25, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., to assist in preventing potential fire-related dangers during this state of emergency and to diminish any airborne irritants caused by burning, the State Fire Marshal ordered a statewide cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to his authority under R.S. 40:1602 with private burning only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government;

WHEREAS, the cease and desist order does not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law;

WHEREAS, a severe thunderstorm moved through Vernon Parish on April 19, 2020, bringing with it heavy rainfall and high wind gusts resulting in downed trees, debris (which includes, vegetation, limbs, and fallen trees), and other damage;

NOW THEREFORE, I, H. “BUTCH” BROWNING, Fire Marshal of the State of Louisiana, by the authority of Louisiana R.S. 40:1602, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The March 25, 2020 statewide cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to his authority under R.S. 40:1602, with private burning only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government, is modified to allow for the burning of debris resulting from the April 19, 2020 thunderstorms and wind gusts unless prohibited by the local governing authority. This modification is limited to Vernon Parish.

This order is effective April 20, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. and shall remain in effect until April 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Big Bird in Space

By Brad Dison

In the 1960s and 1970s, everyone, it seemed, was interested in the space program. With Sputnik, the Russians put the first artificial satellite into orbit around the Earth. A Russian cosmonaut became the first human to journey into outer space. American astronauts, not to be outdone by the Russians, accepted the challenge with the creation of NASA, and made many firsts in the space race including the first photographs of the Earth from space and the first spacewalk. President John F. Kennedy pledged “before the decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” a feat Americans accomplished in July, 1969. The space race continued in the 1970s with astronauts and cosmonauts making several trips to the Moon.

The excitement of the space program in the 1960s and 1970s was waning in the 1980s. Television stations no longer interrupted regular scheduled programming with rocket or space shuttle launches, transmissions from space, or landings. For many people, space exploration had become boring. Children, especially, had a hard time relating to and even understanding the tedious technical jargon the astronauts used. NASA searched for ways to boost children’s interest in space exploration and the space program.

On November 10, 1969, PBS began airing Sesame Street, a children’s educational television series which featured interactions between Muppets and humans. Big Bird has been a featured character on Sesame Street since its debut. The popularity of Sesame Street soared. The show’s audience grew to include people in about 150 countries. Children all over the world recognized and loved Big Bird.

In the early 1980s, a representative of NASA contacted Caroll Spinney, the man who performed Big Bird from 1969 to 2018. NASA proposed that they send Caroll along with the Big Bird costume into orbit around the Earth. The plan was for Big Bird to make a worldwide television broadcast from space. Big Bird would be and “outer-space ambassador to children all over the world.” Caroll talked the proposition over with Debra Gilroy, his wife and manager. They both agreed that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he could not pass up. “All kids loved Big Bird,” Caroll later explained, “but not all kids loved NASA. It’s not as exciting as ‘Star Wars’.” Return of the Jedi, the third installment in the Star Wars franchise, was playing in theaters when Nasa representatives contacted Caroll. After their short discussion, Caroll and Debra decided that Big Bird would go into space.

Scientists at NASA began working on the logistics of putting Big Bird into orbit. NASA faced two challenges with this plan; Caroll would have to undergo extensive training at NASA, and the scientists would have to get the 8-foot 2-inch Big Bird costume to fit into the storage compartments of the space shuttle. Caroll recalled that “the space shuttle was like being in two vans put together. There’s not a lot of room.” Scientists used a mockup of the space shuttle and filled it with mock ups of all of the experiments and equipment that would be aboard on the mission. Finally, they looked for room to store the Big Bird costume. Scientists rearranged as much as possible on the shuttle but eventually concluded that the Big Bird costume was just too large to fit in the cramped storage spaces on the space shuttle. NASA cancelled Big Bird’s trip into space.

NASA scientists eventually decided on a different program called Teacher in Space. They reviewed applications from over 11,000 teachers and selected a Social Studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, called Christa McAuliffe. On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. 73 Seconds into the flight, the space shuttle disintegrated and killed everyone on board including Christa McAuliffe, Big Bird’s replacement.

Sources:
The Alexandria Town Talk, January 3, 1986, p.39.
Florida Today, January 29, 1986, p.1.
Hartford Courant, June 10, 2015, p.D1.
“John F. Kennedy ‘Landing a Man on the Moon’ Address to Congress – May 25, 1961.” Video, 3:46. https://youtu.be/TUXuV7XbZvU.
I Am Big Bird: the Caroll Spinney Story. Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker. New York City, New York: Copper Pot Pictures, 2015

Notice of Death April 21, 2020

Please note that the State Law limits number of people during the visitation period and attendance at the service to ten (10) or less and that social distancing be observed! This must be strictly enforced! Thank you in advance for your cooperation. It is designed for the safety of the family, our staff and the general public.

NATCHITOCHES:
William “Bill” Marshall Puls
October 19, 1934 – April 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Mark Fox
April 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Eloise Armstrong
April 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Bernadine W. Peters
April 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Adell Sims Scott
April 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

L. V. Jackson
April 14, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Mary Isaac
March 31, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Florida Mae Brown
September 2, 1944 – March 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

RED RIVER:
Sylvia Delores Davis
February 19, 1948 – April 20, 2020
Private Graveside Service: Thursday, April 23 at 10 am at Bethel Cemetery. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a memorial service will be held at a later date.

Winn Parish Arrest Report

Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office
Name: Betty Snelling
Date: 4-13-20
Charge: OBSTRUCTION OF A COURT ORDER, RESISTING ARREST OR OFFICER

Name: Arron Poisso
Date: 4-16-20
Charge: DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION W/O ACCIDENT,PROHIBITED ACTS;DISTRIBUTION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA/POSSESSION OF SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS/POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE II DRUGS/ POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE III DRUG W/INTENT TO DISTIBUTE

Name: Eugene Broussard, Jr.
Date: 4-17-20
Chatge: DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED-2ND OFFENSE (W/O TEST), OPEN CONTAINER, DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION W/O ACCIDENT, IMPROPER LANE USAGE, CURFEW VIOLATION

Winnfield Police Department
Name: Troy L. Jones
Date: 4-17-20
Time: 10:31 PM
Address: Winnfield, LA
Race: W
Sex: M
Charge: Stop Lamps Out, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Prohibited Acts, Drug Paraphernalia, Theft (checks)
Bond: None Set

 

When You Come to a Knife in the Road

By Bob Holeman

Diet and Exercise. Diet and Exercise. This has been the mantra of the wellness sector for years. Better to stay well through self discipline than to battle any illness resultant from being a couch potato who eats too much pizza and donuts.

I’ve got a friend who has been walking on a regular basis for years. He told me his exercise routine was not so much for right now (he was about 40 at the time) but for when he gets to be 80. He doesn’t want to lack the mobility he saw in his father.

I thought this was a great idea but didn’t get around to it until a couple of years ago, inspired by Diane who had begun walking with a friend. I mapped out a route up and down the hills of our neighborhood, through the parking lot of the old Autumn Leaves and back to the house. One mile. We’d walk it twice on nice days.

But this route took us past a couple of homes with pit bulldogs chained and barking in their back yards. We had less confidence in the dogs’ restraints than the owners apparently had so we changed our routine. Still we went up and down hills, through the parking lot, but then we headed downtown, up Main Street and back. Then home. Diane tracked this and determined we were going something over three miles. We did take a winter break but resumed in this gradually warming spring.

A month ago, Rotary held its 5K Walk & Run as a fundraiser. It was mostly president Samantha Kelly’s idea and response for a first-time event, both by Rotarians involved and by participants was excellent. Diane and I walked. I also learned something I’d not bothered to look up. “How far is 5K?” I asked fellow Rotarian and walker Mary Lou Blackley. “It’s 3.1 miles,” she responded without blinking.

Wow, so I’ve got some useful information. I can tell neighbors that Diane and I get up weekday mornings and do our 5K. It sounds more impressive that telling then we walked 3 miles.

We enjoyed waving at and greeting folks along the way. Shop owners. Passersby. Barber Rayford Riley was always a favorite and Diane would generally slow down to let me catch up because I didn’t want to appear the laggard. Rayford would smile and wave unless he had his back turned, telling stories to his customers. Mostly now it’s a quiet walk. Diane still waves at a lot of empty windows, hoping someone is there inside.

We do count cats at the top of Main Street, guessing in advance how many there might be that day. Diane will go first, then I’ll pick one number either higher or lower. She’s usually closer, though I’ve had a couple of good days lately.

I was reminded of one of Yankee great Yogi Berra’s witticisms the other day. He advised, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” While Diane generally looks ahead as we walk, I’m often looking down, in case I see something. A penny or a dime might be my reward. So as we reached North Street, there in the road was a nice stainless steel dinner knife. Taking the hint from Yogi, I took it.

One thing walkers learn is how to read drivers at intersections. The sound of their engine or the look in their eyes are pretty good indicators. Mostly now, folks are in no big hurry because there aren’t that many places to go. So many may stop well short of the intersection, give a big smile and wave us through. If, on the other hand, they approach with a phone held to their ear, perhaps it’s best for us to pause.

During this current downtime, I’d encourage readers to get out and walk, breathe in a lot of this refreshing, virus-free Winnfield air. I enjoy spending this relaxing time with my wife. On occasion we may see something beyond our tranquil time together, like seeing a pair of pileated woodpeckers which were showing off on poles and trees on North Street. But don’t count on thrills. Just enjoy.

Grants Up To $50K Available for Nonprofits from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation

Attention Nonprofits! The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana will be offering grants up to $50,000 to Louisiana nonprofits to meet the needs of Louisiana residents who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Community Crisis and Disaster Response Grant are designed for Louisiana-based 501(c)(3) organizations working to support people directly impacted by a recent, declared disaster or crisis.

Grant Details:

  • Amount – Grant awards are up to $50,000, which can be used to support general operating costs. The Foundation has initially allocated up to $2 million to be spent via this grant program.
  • Length –We are looking for projects that can be implemented immediately but also may be execute over time to alleviate specific needs following a disaster or associated with an ongoing community crisis.
  • Number of Payments – One.
  • Matched funds required? – No matching funds are required.
  • Eligible Organizations – Louisiana-based, 501(c)(3) organizations working to support those directly impacted by a recent, declared disaster or crisis may apply. Louisiana-based 501(c) 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 19 organizations may apply provided that their efforts are related to the Foundation’s mission, are similarly supporting those directly impacted by a recent, declared disaster or crisis and provided that they can demonstrate clearly how this work being supported is otherwise the same as community and charitable work being done by a 501(c)(3) organization.
  • How to Apply – Submit a grant proposal online using the link below.
  • Letter of Intent Deadlines – Immediate and ongoing, as long as funds allow and there is need.

Applications should be submitted through the BCBSLA Foundation’s Website. https://bit.ly/2K8LPW

Edwards Expects Louisiana to Lag Behind Other States on the Path to Economic Recovery

Last week, President Donald Trump rolled out his three-phase plan for “reopening” the national economy on a conference call with governors.

Edwards said the plan will eventually serve as a valuable roadmap, but that he expects Louisiana to lag behind many other states on the path to economic recovery.

“Before you can ever get to phase one, there are some thresholds you need to meet, Edwards said, explaining that the state needs metrics like hospitalization rates to show consistent improvement over a two week period.

“We don’t meet the threshold requirements, although we’re moving in that direction,” Edwards said. “I think by the time we get to May the 1st, we will be in that situation.”

Edwards said the White House plan will go hand-in-hand with guidelines expected to be released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the coming days.

He said Louisiana’s out-patient surgical centers and non-emergency medical clinics will reopen first, likely before the statewide stay-at-home order expires at the end of the month. Edwards said he and Courtney Phillips, the newly-installed secretary of the department of health, will provide additional details next week.

Edwards said President Trump made it clear that governors would have the authority to lift social distancing orders and reopen businesses at their own pace — a departure from comments the president made earlier this week that suggested he might unilaterally order Americans back to work.

Edwards said before any attempt is made to reopen the economy, the state will need more robust diagnostic surveillance and antibody testing coupled with aggressive contact tracing.

“I don’t think a single state today can say today that they have the amount of testing they want and need,” Edwards said. “We’re going to try to ramp up all of these types of testing.”

He said increased diagnostic testing capacity at in-state labs will mean fewer samples are shipped out of state, where transit times can delay results by several days. Rapid-testing will let doctors and public health workers better track and contain virus clusters. And antibody testing could identify a portion of the population who experienced mild symptoms and were never properly diagnosed. Edwards said those individuals may be protected from future infections and could more quickly reintegrate into society.

Regional Projections Show Louisiana Could Be Grappling with COVID-19 Until the End of the Year

Regional planning projections released by the Louisiana Department of Health show that while aggressive mitigation measures appear to be effectively flattening the COVID-19 curve, Louisiana could be grappling with the virus at least until the end of the year.

“Forecasting what is going to happen with COVID-19 in the state of Louisiana is challenging and nearly impossible,” said Interim Secretary of the Department of Health Stephen Russo. “Just as it is impossible to forecast the exact weather and temperature on a given day.”

“While these planning projections show our healthcare system may not be overwhelmed, they also show that we are not out of the woods,” said Assistant Secretary of the Office of Public Health Alex Billioux. “It’s important that we continue to do our part to protect ourselves and our families.”

“These planning projections are good news and it’s good news we all need to hear right now. It means we are moving in the right direction but we must stay on course,” said Secretary Russo. “There is significant concern that if we make sudden changes or stop social distancing that we will see another large spike and strain on our health care resources.”

For each region, there are three planning projections:

  • One shows infectious persons per day under four scenarios:
    • Red line: Baseline (no interventions)
    • Yellow line: Scenario the state was initially planning on
    • Blue line: Where we would be if we effectively practiced social distancing
    • Purple line: Where we would be if we effectively stayed at home
  • The second two planning projections show hospitalization and vent projections under two of the above scenarios. The black line is where Louisiana is as of April 16, based on conditions on the ground. This shows most regions are currently tracking at or below the lowest projected scenario, i.e., staying at home, thanks to the concerted efforts of our healthcare system.

Technical note on planning projections:

  • By definition, the model’s planning projections have changed and will continue to change.
  • Changes in planning projections should not be interpreted as inaccuracy of the models. Changes are largely driven by changing conditions on the ground.
  • Use of these planning projections to drive the state’s response will inherently change the results of the projections daily.

Next week, the Department of Health will release a comprehensive brief on its modeling to date.

Notice of Death April 19, 2020

Please note that the State Law limits number of people during the visitation period and attendance at the service to ten (10) or less and that social distancing be observed! This must be strictly enforced! Thank you in advance for your cooperation. It is designed for the safety of the family, our staff and the general public.

WINN:
Hazel Odell Coon
May 23, 1932 – April 17, 2020
Service held April 18

NATCHITOCHES:
Christine Rhea Manning
June 10, 1925 – April 18, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Mark Fox
April 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Eloise Armstrong
April 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Bernadine W. Peters
April 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Adell Sims Scott
April 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

L. V. Jackson
April 14, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Mary Isaac
March 31, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Florida Mae Brown
September 2, 1944 – March 19, 2020
Arrangements TBA

RED RIVER:
Celesta Faye Smith
December 18, 1939 – April 16, 2020
Service held April 18