310,000 Qualify for Unemployment in Louisiana Amid Outbreak

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — More than 310,000 people qualified for unemployment benefits in Louisiana amid the coronavirus fight as of last week, according to figures released Thursday by the state labor department .

The figure is an increase of about 10,000 from the previous week. For comparison, there were less than 14,000 for the comparable week last year, according to a department news release from Baton Rouge.

The number of people filing new claims for unemployment was 50,941 last week, well above the 2,009 who filed in the comparable week of 2019, reflecting the continuing effects of the outbreak on the economy.

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Meanwhile, there was more evidence of the virus’s toll on the culture-based tourism economy. This year’s French Quarter Festival and Satchmo Summerfest festival — both in New Orleans — were officially canceled Thursday, with organizers saying they plan to return next year.

Louisiana’s confirmed coronavirus cases now total more than 30,000 with more than 20,000 recovered, and more than 2,000 deaths. Hospitalizations dropped below 1,500 as of Wednesday, part of a long-term downward trend. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For others, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

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