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66% of those eligible seek Louisiana student meal aid

Louisiana

Catie Quinn, operations manager, gives food to a student at Paul Habans Charter School in New Orleans, Monday, March 16, 2020, after public schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — About two thirds of those who are eligible have signed up for a program aimed at making sure Louisiana children from low-income families can get healthy meals while schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic, the state education department said Wednesday.

The deadline for signing up for the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program is June 8. The federal program is aimed at families of children in prekindergarten through 12th grade who normally receive free or reduced-price meals at school.

Families can apply through a P-EBT portal on the Louisiana Department of Education website. The department said applications have been submitted on behalf of 403,731 children — about 66% of those eligible.

Louisiana schools have been closed since March 16 as the state fought the spread of the virus.

As testing for the disease caused by the new coronavirus continues, the state reported 41,133 new cases as of midday Wednesday, up from 40,746 on Tuesday. Thirty-five more deaths related to COVID-19 brought the death toll to 2,759.

More than 31,700 people have recovered, according to the state figures. And, hospitalizations continue to decline, falling to 617. That is the lowest total of hospitalizations since March 26, down from a peak of more than 2,100 on April 13, when Louisiana was considered a coronavirus hot spot.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and be life-threatening.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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