Gov. Edwards’ May 18 update: State departments face $80 million in budget cuts

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY)- May 18, 2020 UPDATE: The state is bracing for budget cuts in every department, including his own, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. 

During Monday’s press briefing, Edwards said $80 million in funds must be severed as Louisiana deals with a crippled economy due to COVID-19 and the reeling oil and gas industry.

Lawmakers are eyeing nearly two percent in cuts to every department, including the state Department of Health and Hospitals. 

This week, DHH began reporting the names of nursing homes with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their facilities.  

A statewide crisis hotline has been established as a source of counseling for Louisianans who may be dealing with stress caused by the national health crisis. 

 You can text REACHOUT to 741741 to reach a trained crisis counselor. 

Edwards said over the next two weeks, the state will continue to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases as it considers its next steps in reopen its economy.

You can watch the entire May 18, 2020, press briefing here:

May 15, 2020 UPDATE: During Friday’s press briefing, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana families affected by the halt of school lunch programs are eligible for federal assistance through a program called the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT. 

Roughly 611,430 children, pk-12 grade, are eligible for the food benefits for breakfast and lunch that would have been provided at school.  

The louisianabelieves.com site is where to apply. The benefits will be issued through electronic cards.  

Edwards said over the next few weeks health officials will be closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases as the state begins its first phase of reopening portions of the economy.  

You can read the Phase 1 Proclamation here.  

On Monday, May 18, Department of Motor Vehicle offices will reopen. Visit expresslane.org for more information. 

The state’s COVID-19 hotline is 1-844-244-7871. The reply number contact tracers will use is 877-766-2130.

As of Friday, 290 contact tracers have been hired statewide. Lafayette and New Orleans have been deemed two contact tracing sites.

The state continues to ramp up testing and contact tracing. Like the rest of the country, Edwards said life in Louisiana won’t feel fully normal until a vaccine is available.  

“We are not going to let our guard down,” Edwards said.

You can watch the full May 15 press conference below:

May 13, 2020 UPDATE: A spike in more than 600 cases, is “not quite what it seems,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. 

Three labs are just now reporting a backlog of a few weeks-worth of tested cases to the Department of Health and Hospitals. The state is working with private labs to receive electronic reports daily so statewide numbers are more accurately reflected, Edwards said.

During Wednesday’s press briefing, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announced that all state parks, with the exception of three including Chicot State Park, will be re-opening on Friday to Louisiana residents only. 

Booking reservations from out of state are being canceled, Nungesser said. Instead, Louisianans will be offered “lagniappe” in the form of a “book three nights and get one night free” deal, he said.

Eighteen historical sites and non-state museums will reopen this weekend. Learn more at louisianastatemuseum.org.

Edwards said the state must continue to find ways to strike the right balance to follow federal health safety guidelines while opening the state’s economy.  

As of Wednesday, more than 8,500 businesses have registered with opensafely.la.gov in an effort to comply with guidelines and to receive updates if those guidelines change.  

On Thursday, the governor will sign a proclamation to begin the first phase of reopening the state’s economy. The state’s stay-at-home order will be lifted on May 15. 

UPDATE: Beginning Friday, May 15, Louisiana will move to Phase 1 of reopening through June 5th. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards will sign a detailed proclamation on Thursday, he said during Monday’s press briefing.

The state will monitor the number of COVID-19 cases during the 21-day period as the stay-at-home order remains temporarily lifted. 

According to the state Department of Health and Hospitals the following will be reopen at 25% capacity:

  • Churches
  • Solo and non-contact sports
  • Barbers and salons
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums (no tactile exhibits)
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • In mall, only stores with exterior entrances
  • Restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes, bars and breweries with LDH food permit-takeout, delivery and dine-in seating only
  • Theaters
  • Casinos and video poker
  • Racetracks (not open to spectators)

Safe distancing guidelines and wearing masks in the public places are still remain strongly recommended by the CDC and state medical officials, as there are concerns over spikes in new cases.

“This is not mission accomplished. We still have our eyes all over Louisiana,” Edwards said. “Everyone still has their part to play.”

The state continues to ramp up testing with a 200,000 per-month goal, which Edwards said he expects will be met with federal assistance. Contact tracing is

More info for businesses can be found at opensafely.la.gov/

Watch the full May 11, 2020, press briefing below:

ORIGINAL: Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to announce Monday if Louisiana can begin phased re-openings.

Edwards said to expect an announcement on whether he will extend the stay-at-home order on Monday, May 11, during his 2:30 p.m. press briefing.

The governor’s stay-at-home order expires Friday, May 15.

Some businesses will be allowed to reopen in a limited capacity the following day unless the order is extended.

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