230 PM LRN News

61 additional COVID-19 deaths are reported in Louisiana today bringing the total number of fatalities from the disease to 1,601. Total confirmed cases are now over 26,000, but nearly 15,000 state residents who have tested positive have recovered and are no longer infectious.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo says debris from the Easter tornado may have traveled far, acts of kindness have traveled in from much further.  Kevin Barnhart has the story.

Cut 1 (31) “…I’m Kevin Barnhart.” 

The Dean Lee Research Center in Alexandria will need to be rebuilt after taking direct hit from a tornado on Wednesday night. LSU AgCenter Central Region Director Tara Smith says buildings east of Highway 71 suffered significant damage, some are a total loss. The wheat plots for research will also have to be re-built, but their cattle herd is safe. She says they working with other units in the Ag Center community to gain access to equipment so research continues

Cut 5 (06)  “…immediately.”

Governor Edwards says the state is ramping up COVID testing capacity with the goal of being able to perform 200,000 tests in a month by May. Edwards says the minimum testing capacity needed to enter Phase One of reopening the economy is 140-150,000 tests a month, and the state performed over 140,000 tests over the last six weeks.

Cut 11 (09) “…everyday”

Less than five percent of all tests completed in Louisiana have been done in state labs, but Edwards says they’re looking to improve that number.