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Louisiana to receive federal field hospitals for virus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's number of known coronavirus cases jumped 28% overnight. That prompted a stark warning from Gov. John Bel Edwards to his state's residents to stay home. The Democratic governor says Louisiana is now tied for the nation's second-highest rate of virus cases per capita. President Donald Trump has agreed to set up two federal field hospitals in Louisiana and send down public health staff to help with the worsening outbreak. Louisiana has surpassed 2,300 people known to be infected, with 86 residents dead from the virus. The state health department says a 17-year-old from New Orleans was among the latest deaths. That was the first in the state of someone under 18.


Louisiana names new leader of juvenile justice department

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a new leader of its juvenile justice agency that oversees youth lockup facilities and other programs for convicted youth offenders. It was an unexpected change at the agency's top job. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Wednesday evening that he has named Edward Dustin Bickham as interim deputy secretary for the Office of Juvenile Justice. Bickham took over from James Bueche. The governor's office says Bueche resigned from the Office of Juvenile Justice on Wednesday. No reason was offered for Bueche's abrupt departure. Bickham is a lawyer who worked for Department of Corrections for nearly 17 years, including as deputy warden at the Dixon Correctional Institute.


Police: Toddler, 3 others killed after car crashes into home

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a house, killing himself and three other people, including a 2-year-old boy. Baton Rouge police say the crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police say 28-year-old Jamarcus Harris was speeding when he lost control of the vehicle, striking a tree and a chain-link fence before colliding with a home. Police say Harris and 2-year-old Jamarcus Brown Jr. were both taken to a hospital, where they later died. A third passenger, 22-year-old Destiny Nelson, died at the scene. Police say a man inside the house, 56-year-old Patrick Dunn, was also pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.


Sheriff: Man charged with choking 60-year-old woman

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana say a man was arrested and accused of choking a 60-year-old woman and pushing her to ground. Robert Guerrero was charged with simple battery of a person with infirmities. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said they responded to a call Tuesday afternoon and found the woman with red marks on her neck and blood on her head. The woman told deputies Guerrero was arguing with another woman and she attempted to intervene by stepping between them. Booking documents said Guerrero pushed her to the concrete, then grabbed her by the neck and choked her. Documents say Guerrero told the woman he would kill her. It's unclear whether Guerrero has an attorney.


'The whole city laid off': US jobless claims climb sky high

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New unemployment benefit claims are rising to levels unseen in recent U.S. history as a result of coronavirus concerns. States have reported receiving tens of thousands of new claims for unemployment insurance last week. Officials figures are to be released Thursday, and some economists project that new claims could reach 3 million nationwide. Some laid-off workers have encountered delays in filing claims because of overloaded websites and phone systems. Some states are warning that it could take longer than the normal two to three weeks to receive unemployment payments because of the sudden surge in claims.


Louisiana man accused of killing associate enters plea

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man accused of killing his business partner has pleaded not guilty to murder and obstruction charges. News outlets report 43-year-old John Hardy Jr. entered the pleas Tuesday via video before a Bossier Parish judge. Hardy is accused in the death of his associate, 48-year-old Garrett Wilson. Wilson was reported missing in January. Human remains found a short time later were identified last month as Wilson. Police also say Hardy was arrested last month. He has a prior leg injury and was taken to a hospital. Police say he tried to overpower a deputy to escape from his hospital room. He is expected to face charges for that incident.


Court: Sheriff's settlement for man's death be made public

NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) — A federal court has ruled the amount of money paid to the family of a 22-year-old Louisiana man who died in a sheriff's patrol car must be made public. The Times-Picayune and the New Orleans Advocate report the unanimous ruling Monday by a federal appeals court will unseal how much taxpayer money was paid in a lawsuit against the Iberia Parish Sheriff in the death of Victor White III. White’s death was ruled a suicide after he died from a gunshot wound while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. The decision comes nearly two years after a judge refused attempts by local media outlets to unseal the settlement.


Increased testing shows ballooning virus cases in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is scrambling to ready makeshift hospitals and track down ventilators as the steady uptick of coronavirus cases continues. Increased testing capacity in the state is demonstrating what officials feared: a ballooning number of infected people that remains among the highest per-capita rates in the nation. The latest figures from Louisiana's health department Wednesday showed nearly 1,800 people in the state were confirmed to have the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. That's an increase of 400 from the previous day. Sixty-five Louisiana residents have died from the disease. President Donald Trump has granted a federal disaster declaration for the state.