Virus roundup … 

• Take the stairs, not the elevator, down from your hotel room. Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks to your cookout. Use hand sanitizer after banking at an ATM. Call ahead to restaurants and nail salons to make sure staff are wearing face coverings. And no high-fives—or even elbow bumps—at the gym. These are some of the tips in long-awaited guidance from U.S. health officials about how to reduce risk of coronavirus infection for Americans who are attempting some semblance of normal life.

• The Federal Reserve is promising to use its “full range of tools” to pull the country out of a recession brought on by a global pandemic, signaling that it would keep interest rates low through 2022. In its semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress, the central bank said Friday that the COVID-19 outbreak was causing “tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world.” 

• Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health reported 523 new COVID-19 cases today, and nine deaths, bringing the state’s total to 44,995 positive cases and 2,883 deaths.

• Research from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and UL-Monroe research shows that an HIV drug could be a possible coronavirus treatment.

• Louisiana fell short of its goal to test all the state’s nursing home residents and employees for the coronavirus by the end of May, raising questions about whether testing plans aimed at keeping tabs on those most vulnerable to the pandemic are achievable. Nearly 78% of Louisiana’s 23,445 nursing home residents have been tested for COVID-19, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the state health department.

• U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy today announced $15.2 million in federal funding to Louisiana hospitals to provide them with the resources needed to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more stories on how the coronavirus is impacting the Baton Rouge business community. See a roundup of resources available to those impacted by the pandemic. Click here to see a 225 magazine list of local restaurants offering patio seating or indoor dining during phase two of reopening. 

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