Crawford G. Schneider

Author: Crawford G. Schneider

Email: crawford.schneider@dentons.com

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – April 3, 2020

Georgia

As of April 3rd

As of April 2nd 2020 the State of Georgia has 5,444 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has suffered 176 deaths. Yesterday, Governor Kemp issued a state-wide stay at home order via Executive Order to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Georgia. This most recent executive order rescinds and replaces the executive order issued on March 23rd and suspends any local ordinances passed since March 1st that were adopted with the stated purpose or effect of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. In short, this is operative law in the entire state.

Click here to read a summary of the executive order from our Georgia Public Policy team.

Kansas

As of April 2nd

The Legislative Coordinating Council met on 04/02/2020 at 2:00 PM to review, discuss and take possible action relating to issues addressed in the Governor’s Executive Orders 20-17 and any other Executive Orders issued after this agenda was posted pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution No. 5025.

Attendees: Representatives Ryckman, Hawkins, Finch and Sawyer and Senators Wagle, Denning and Hensley.

Rep. Ryckman: Called meeting today to review EO 20-17.

  • Tom Day, Director of Legislative Administrative Services
    • HCR 5025 available on kslegislature.org and EO 20-16 available on gov.ks.gov. No one in attendance but available to listen via livestream.  Agenda available prior to meeting at kslegislature.gov  Documents will be available on website after the meeting. Individuals will speak name before speaking to identify them self, including votes.  No public comments. LLC cannot recess to a closed or executive meeting.  Motions will be clearly stated, and votes announced. Chairperson can sign any binding documents on behalf of LLC.

Review, discussion and possible action relating to issues addressed in the Governor’s Executive Orders:

Executive Order 20-17 Temporary relief from certain unemployment insurance requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Jill Wolters, First Assistant Revisor of Statutes, Revisors Office
    • All employers operating in Kansas are required to provide notification of the potential availability of unemployment insurance benefits at the time of separation from employment. Such notification shall be in compliance with requirements established by the Secretary of Labor.
    • The waiting week requirement for unemployment benefits, provided for in K.S.A. 44-705(d), is temporarily waived for all claimants.
    • The requirement that claimants for unemployment benefits actively seek work each week, provided for in K.S.A. 44-705(c), is temporarily waived for all claimants.
    • All other laws, regulations, or rules relating to unemployment benefits remain in effect.
    • This order supersedes any contrary order by any local health department regarding unemployment benefits and should be read in conjunction with previous executive orders is superseded by this order.
    • This order became effective immediately and will remain in force until rescinded, until May 1, 2020 or until the statewide State of Disaster Emergency proclaimed on March 12, 2020, relating to COVID-19 expires, whichever is earlier. This order may be extended as circumstances dictate.

Questions/Comments

  • Sen. Denning: Wanted to make sure that people know the legislature removed the one-week requirement prior to federal government. In SB 27 which passed before they left had people getting paid in week 3 for week 1.  Federal government states it will be paid in week 1 so want to clarify they aren’t getting paid twice for week 1.
    • Jill Wolters: We are in discussion with Governor’s office that people only get paid for week 1 and not double dipping.
    • Rep.  Ryckman: Good point Senator Denning. Sounds like staff is trying to get an answer.
  • Sen. Denning:  Revisor Reimer emailed that SB27 will work with federal requirements.
  • Rep. Ryckman: We want people who can work to work safely.  Is it necessary for the federal requirements to continue to look for a job?
    • Sen. Denning: I work for a company that was asked to hard stop so we furloughed staff.  We will hire them back and don’t want them out looking for another.  They will apply for a 7A SBA loan. One of the requirements is you keep paying them.
  • Rep. Ryckman: There are companies looking for employees but can’t compete with the federal $600 a week plus state funds so I want to have this provision looked at to see if necessary.
  • Sen. Wagle: I was hopeful we would have Governor’s staff here.  My county commissioner contacted me and told me that people are coming to Wichita for elective abortions when the Governor is telling us to stay home. They requested a response from the Governor. Tags from cars are from out of state.  They have not received an answer from the Governor yet. Need PPE going to places that need it and not to this clinic.

Missouri

As of April 2nd

Missouri is now reporting 1,834 cases of coronavirus and 21 deaths. One week ago, we were at 502 cases and 8 deaths. Missouri recently experienced the largest percentage increase of new cases in the country. On Monday, April 6, Governor Parson’s social distancing order will expire. This order prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. We expect him to reauthorize this order tomorrow morning, Friday April 3. 

Stay at Home Orders 

Andrew, Bates, Caldwell, Chariton, Christian, Clinton, Crawford, Dade, Gasconade, Harrison, Howell, Johnson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Linn, Maries, Marion, Nodaway, Perry, Phelps, St. Charles, St. Francois, Stoddard, Taney, and Webster counties have joined the list, in the last week, of local jurisdictions in Missouri issuing Stay at Home orders. 

The following Missouri cities and counties have issued Stay at Home orders. You can find links to each of their individual orders here

  • Cities: Branson, Columbia, Hannibal, Kansas City, Maryville, Nixa, Ozark, Rolla, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis City, West Plains 
  • Counties: Andrew, Bates, Boone, Caldwell, Cass, Chariton, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Crawford, Dade, Gasconade, Greene, Harrison, Howell, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Linn, Maries, Marion, Nodaway, Perry, Phelps, Platte, Randolph, Ray, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Stoddard, Taney, Webster 

Governor Announces Budgetary Withholds 

Governor Parson announced $175,983,774 in withholds from the current fiscal year’s operating funds. You can find the complete list of 24 items here. Below are the 10 largest cuts. 

  • Four-Year Higher Education Institutions – $61,321,869 
  • Facilities Maintenance Reserve Fund Transfer – $54,220,625 
  • DNR Multipurpose Water Resource Program – $12,161,012 
  • Community Colleges – $11,605,267 
  • OA Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan Excess Authority – $7,129,018 
  • DED Division of Tourism – $6,479,780 
  • Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant Fund – $5,000,000 
  • Missouri One Start Job Program Development – $3,313,635 
  • Drug Treatment Courts – $2,995,616 
  • DED Missouri Technology Corporation – $2,910,000 

Missouri Unemployment Claims Skyrocket 

More than 104,000 Missourians filed new unemployment claims last week, recording a number 26 times higher than it was three weeks ago. 

The Legislature will Return to the Capitol Next Week 

The Missouri House and Senate will return to the Capitol next week to finish work on a supplemental spending bill for the current fiscal year. The House approved this measure on March 18. The bill approved by the House included $40 million for emergency coordination by the Department of Health and Senior Services. The Senate will increase this spending dramatically to account for money that the state will receive from the CARES Act and the House will approve the Senate version on the same day (Wednesday) that the Senate votes on it.  

The federal government is paying a larger share of the Medicaid program and sending direct aid to the states, with each state to receive at least $1.5 billion to support general budgets for costs ranging from public schools to prisons. 

The Senate will also approve the two-year extension of the FRA tax, which has already been approved by the House. This bill will allow Missouri hospitals to pull down an additional $2 billion in federal funding. 

Other Actions 

Governor Parson mobilized the National Guard to assist local and state civilian authorities respond to the pandemic. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is closing all or parts of five state parks through the end of April after officials said too many people packed in to those facilities last weekend.  

Governor Parson issued an Executive Order suspending penalties for conceal carry license renewals. 

Governor Parson directed the Department of Health and Senior Services to prohibit the operation of coin-operated amusement devices and slot machines. These machines, often referred to as “grey machines” because of their questionable legality, had been the subject legislative attempts to both classify them as illegal and remove them and legalize them. 

Several state agencies and the National Army Corps of Engineers are evaluating facilities that could be used as temporary hospitals if Missouri’s hospitals become overcrowded. Some of the sites that have been discussed include: the Edward Jones Dome, the Hearnes Center, Hy-Vee Arena, and the Show-Me Center. Gov. Parson has been careful to say that they are monitoring the situations at Missouri’s hospitals and will only use these sites if it looks like hospitals are going to become overcrowded. 

Candidate Filing Comes to a Close 

The deadline for candidates to file for office closed this week with little in the way of surprises. Eric Greitens did not file a primary challenge to Governor Parson, but Saundra McDowell, former Republican nominee for State Auditor, did. Her candidacy will have a very limited impact on the race. Rep. Matt Sain (D-Kansas City) was the only incumbent legislator who did not file for reelection. 

Oregon

As of April 2nd

Lots of updates today: Governor Brown announced that she will wait to call a special session until we see how the CARES Act meets Oregon’s needs. Speaker of the House Tina Kotek soon after announced that—though she supports the Governor’s decision—she will pursue convening Oregon’s Emergency Board to “provide some relief until the federal stimulus from the CARES Act reaches Oregonians’ pocketbooks.”  

Governor Brown also announced the launch of the Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator. More on that below.

In other news: Portland elected leaders sent a letter to state and federal officials asking that they waive rent and mortgage payments for individuals and businesses; estimated state allocations of the CARES Act are available and Oregon stands to get $1.6 billion; and Oregon’s confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise. 

State Updates:  

  • Governor Brown won’t be convening a special session any time soon: The Governor issued a press release today to say she is waiting to see how the CARES Act dollars meet Oregon’s needs before calling a session. “We want to make sure our scarce state dollars are focused on filling in gaps left by the federal stimulus package, not duplicating efforts. Once we have sufficient clarity about the federal stimulus, I will call a special session and ask lawmakers to take further action.”Read the full press release here.  
  • Emergency Board appears likely: Shortly after the Governor’s press release went out, Speaker of the House Tina Kotek issued a statement saying that she supports Governor Brown’s decision and will “work to get more support to Oregonians through Emergency Board funding.” Emergency Board funds will be limited, but Kotek says “they could be allocated strategically to provide some relief until the federal stimulus from the CARES Act reaches Oregonians’ pocketbooks.” 
    • Context: HB 5050 allocated $75,000,000 to the E-Board in 2019. March 9th action from the E-Board is here. The E-Board spent a total of $24,350,000 in 2019, so the remaining balance is around $50M.  
  • Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator: Governor Kate Brown announced the launch of a new tool that aims to connect small businesses to financial support and information they need to stay in business through the COVID-19 crisis. Business Oregon will lead the new Small Business Resource Navigator, with support from several state agencies including the Oregon Employment Department, the Oregon Secretary of State, and the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The Resource Navigator will include a hotline and a website containing comprehensive information on key programs for small businesses, available at oregon4biz.com, with access to: 
  • Small Business Association programs established by the recently passed federal CARES Act, including: the Paycheck Protection ProgramEconomic Injury Disaster Loans, and Debt Relief programs  
  • State of Oregon programs, including the Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund 
  • Local government programs, such as the South Central Oregon Economic Development Development District Economic Relief Loan Fund for Small Businesses 
  • More resources will be rapidly added to the Resource Navigator website on an ongoing basis 
  • A hotline and email will be available for small business owners to get more information on accessing financial support at the local, state, and federal levels 
  • Moratorium on commercial evictions, strengthened ban on residential evictions: Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 yesterday, which temporarily bans commercial evictions and strengthens the moratorium on residential evictions. Read the full order here

Local Updates: 

  • Wheeler, Eudaly, Fritz, and Hardesty call for waiving rent and mortgage payments: A letter signed Wednesday by Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioners Chloe Eudaly, Amanda Fritz and Jo Ann Hardesty calls on state and federal elected officials Wednesday to waive payments for those “substantially impacted by COVID-19” so renters, homeowners and business owners don’t accrue insurmountable debt while deferring their rent or mortgage payments. Read more here.  
  • May ballots will be out at the end of the month, and voters will be asked to weigh in on two local measures—for regional homeless services funding, and to renew Portland’s local gas tax. Willamette Week has more, noting “proponents say the need for the dollars is greater than ever.”  

COVID-19 Update: 

Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits & Small Businesses 

CARES Act 

General Resources 

Tennessee

As of April 2nd

The total number of positive cases in the state stands at 2,845 with the most cases now in Davidson County (Nashville-617) followed by Shelby County (Memphis-570). There are 32 confirmed deaths in the state and 263 hospitalizations.

More information from the COVID-19 Unified Command can be found HERE.

Health Response

Today, Gov. Lee signed Executive Order 23 requiring that Tennesseans stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities as data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state.

Data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation analyzed traffic patterns for March 2020. While safer at home measures and further restrictions on businesses showed a steep drop-off in vehicle movement from March 13-29, data beginning on March 30 indicates travel is trending upwards, again.

The executive order remains in effect until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Additional information is available here.

Today, FEMA approved Tennessee’s COVID-19 major disaster declaration. This accelerates efforts to expand statewide capacity by an additional 7,000 beds. The state is assessing sites across Tennessee to build capacity and create Alternate Healthcare Facilities.

  • The Music City Center in downtown Nashville will be transformed into a COVID Positive Non-Acute Alternate Healthcare Facility.  It will serve COVID patients who need hospital care, but do not require critical care. The current plan for the Music City Center is to provide more than 1600 Patient Care Spaces.
  • In Memphis, the Corps will be constructing a COVID positive Non-Acute Alternate Healthcare facility at Gateway Shopping Center. Additional sites in Memphis are being actively assessed to ensure capacity in this hotspot is built up quickly and efficiently. 
  • Chattanooga Convention Center and the Knoxville Expo Center will also serve as a COVID positive Non-Acute Alternate Healthcare facility.

In a conference call with legislators Wednesday, Gov. Lee indicated that his COVID-19 Unified Command is planning for a “surge” in the next 2-4 weeks that could overwhelm the state’s hospital systems. “We know based on modeling we’re looking at that we will have a bed shortage, both with hospital beds as well as ICU beds. We’re taking that very seriously,” Unified Command Director Stuart McWhorter said.

Economic Response

The Department of Labor & Workforce Development released the latest number of new unemployment claims filed for the Week ending March 28 (see graph below). Among the new claims, 32,246 came from northern Middle Tennessee and 20,025 came from East Tennessee. 

Cities’ Response

Two assessment center locations are currently active and serving the public in Nashville. Nashville’s police chief indicated that every day, MNPD has between 25 and 30 officers on self-quarantine awaiting coronavirus test results.  On Tuesday night alone, he said, they had two officers exposed who are now self-quarantined.

Nashville Post reports more than 160 employees of the three largest health systems in Middle Tennessee are self-isolating from COVID-19, with 112 of them still waiting for their test results. 

Memphis health officials today indicated that the county needed to double its bed capacity and increase the number of ICU beds by six to eight times in anticipation of the surge. They also indicated they will need three times the roughly 700 ventilators it currently has on hand.

Virginia

As of April 3rd

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered a hiring freeze at state agencies, elimination of agency discretionary spending and revisions to the biennial spending plan set to take effect on July 1 as the commonwealth continues to grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press conference Friday, Northam said a surge in unemployment has forced state officials to upgrade the state employment commission’s server capacity and expand call center staffing. More than 112,000 Virginians applied for unemployment benefits in the past week, more than doubling the previous week’s applications and an increase of more than 5,000 percent compared to the same period last year. Medicaid enrollment also has jumped; more than 400,000 Virginians have now enrolled in the state-run health insurance program.

The more densely populated Richmond, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions have shown the greatest numbers of job losses and COVID-19 cases. The governor said he had approved plans to build temporary hospital facilities at the Dulles Expo Center in Northern Virginia, as well as at the Richmond and Hampton Roads convention centers, to alleviate pressure on existing hospital facilities. Design and construction are expected to take six weeks, which would allow the first patients to be admitted at the temporary facilities in mid-May, just as the outbreak is expected to peak in Virginia, Northam said.

Meanwhile, the governor faces an April 11 deadline to veto or amend bills recently approved by the General Assembly. Among them are a series of business-oriented measures, including bills to hike the minimum wage and empower local government to allow public employees to engage in collective bargaining. Northam has said he is discussing the economic impacts of the bills with business and labor groups, as well as delegates and senators. State agency directors have been instructed to plan for budget cuts and avoid any new spending commitments in the fiscal year starting July 1.

House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn told the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Friday that legislators will reconvene on April 22 to consider the governor’s amendments or vetoes, as required under the state constitution, but not likely inside the Capitol. Her preference is to hold reconvened session outdoors, with a backup location indoors, although sites are still being evaluated.

Municipal elections in May and congressional primaries in June remain on schedule. Northam has encouraged all Virginians to vote by absentee ballot.

Virginia remains under a statewide stay-at-home order until June 10. Public schools are closed through the rest of the academic year; colleges and universities have transitioned to online instruction; correctional facilities have suspended visitation; most entertainment and recreational activities and businesses have been shut down; and restaurants and breweries have had to shift to delivery or drive-through to serve the public.

Northam plans to hold another press conference on Monday.

Georgia COVID-19 Update

Introduction

As of April 2nd 2020 the State of Georgia has 5,444 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has suffered 176 deaths. Yesterday, Governor Kemp issued a state-wide stay at home order via Executive Order to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Georgia. This most recent executive order rescinds and replaces the executive order issued on March 23rd and suspends any local ordinances passed since March 1st that were adopted with the stated purpose or effect of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. In short, this is operative law in the entire state. Highlights of the executive order include:

  1. State-wide stay at home order for all residents
  2. Restrictions on all visitors to those under stay at home orders
  3. Limiting all travel outside of the home unless fulfilling essential services as defined in the order
  4. Constraining business to minimum basic operations as defined in the order, but for Minimum Basic Business Operations and “critical infrastructure” as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security
  5. Prohibits dine-in service at restaurants and social clubs but permits takeout, curbside, pick-up and delivery services

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has been authorized to issue guidance to any business, corporation, organization or trade group regarding its status as critical infrastructure.

In regard to enforcement, the Georgia National Guard and Department of Public Safety are tasked with providing the resources as requested to assist with the enforcement of the Order. Moreover, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Safety, or any other state department or state officer deputized by the Governor or Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security are authorized to mandate the closure of any business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation or organization that does not comply with the Order for a period not to extend beyond the term of the Order.

Any person who violates the Order will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Notably, the Order, which goes into effect on Friday April 3, only extends until April 13th. That is, in part, due to the fact that the state of emergency, declared on March 14th, is only in place for a maximum of 30 days per OC.G.A. 38-3-51 9 (a). That being said, the resolution passed by the Georgia General Assembly did not place a time limit on further concurrence should the Governor extend the State of Emergency. However, it did assert their right to terminate the state of emergency at any time. As such, there is a good argument that the General Assembly has given the governor the power to renew after 30 days without the necessity of it reconvening to ratify the renewal. 

Executive Order to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Georgia

Per the April 2nd Executive Order All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia shall practice social distancing and sanitation in accordance with this Order and guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  1. No business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, organization, or county or municipal government is permitted to allow more than ten (10) persons to be gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or to be seated within six (6) feet of any other person. This does not apply to cohabitating persons outside of their homes, family units or roommates residing together in private homes, or entities defined as “Critical Infrastructure”
  2. All residents and visitors of the State of Georgia are required to shelter in place within their homes or places of residence, meaning remaining in their place of residence and taking every possible precaution to limit social interaction to prevent the spread or infection of COVID-19 to themselves or any other person, unless they are:
    • Conducting and participating in Essential Services
    •  Performing Necessary Travel
    • Are engaged in the performance of, or travel to and from, the performance of Minimum Basic Operations for a business, establishment, corporation, or organization not classified as Critical infrastructure; or
    • Are part of the workforce for Critical Infrastructure and are actively engaged in the performance of, or travel to and from their respective employment
  3.  Essential Services permitted pursuant to the provisions of this Order are limited to the following:
    • Obtaining necessary supplies and services for family or household members, such as food and supplies for household consumption and use, medical supplies or medication, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence. Preference should be given to online ordering, home delivery, and curbside pick-up services wherever possible as opposed to in-store shopping.
    • Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family or household members, such as seeking medical, behavioral health, or emergency services.
    • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities so long as a minimum distance of six (6) feet is maintained during such activities between all persons who are not occupants of the same household or residence.
  4. Necessary Travel permitted under this Order is limited to such travel as is required to conduct or participate in Essential Services, Minimum Basic Operations, or Critical Infrastructure as defined by this Order.
  5. Minimum Basic Operations are limited to:
    • The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of a business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization, provide services, manage inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions. Such minimum necessary activities include remaining open to the public subject to the restrictions of this Order.
    • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees or volunteers being able to work remotely from their residences or members or patrons being able to participate remotely from their residences.
    • Instances where employees are working outdoors without regular contact with other persons, such as delivery services, contractors, landscape businesses, and agricultural industry services.
  6. All businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations, or organizations that are not Critical Infrastructure shall only engage in Minimum Basic Operations as defined in this Order during the effective dates of this Order. Such entities shall also implement measures which mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among its workforce. Such measures shall include the following:
    • Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness, such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
    • Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
    • Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
    • Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
    • Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
    • Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
    • Permitting workers to take breaks and meals outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
    • Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
    • Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
    • Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
    • Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
    • Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
    • Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace;
    • Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen;
    • Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies;
    • Enforcing social distancing of non-cohabitating persons while present on such entity’s leased or owned property;
    • For retailers and service providers, providing for alternative points of sale outside of buildings, including curbside pick-up or delivery of products and/or services if an alternative point of sale is permitted under Georgia law;
    • Increasing physical space between workers and customers;
    • Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, and tools;
    • Increasing physical space between workers’ worksites to at least six (6) feet.
  7. The term “Critical Infrastructure” shall refer to businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations, and organizations as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security as “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” in guidance dated March 19, 2020, and revised on March 28, 2020, and those suppliers which provide essential goods and services to the critical infrastructure workforce as well as entities that provide legal services, home hospice, and non-profit corporations or non-profit organizations that offer food distribution or other health or mental health services. The operation of Critical Infrastructure shall not be impeded by county, municipal, or local ordinance. Critical Infrastructure that continues in-person operation during the effective dates of this Order shall implement measures which mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among its workforce. Such measures may include, but shall not be limited to:
    • Screening and evaluating workers who exhibit signs of illness,  such as a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, or shortness of breath;
    • Requiring workers who exhibit signs of illness to not report to work or to seek medical attention;
    • Enhancing sanitation of the workplace as appropriate;
    • Requiring hand washing or sanitation by workers at appropriate places within the business location;
    • Providing personal protective equipment as available and appropriate to the function and location of the worker within the business location;
    • Prohibiting gatherings of workers during working hours;
    • Permitting workers to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable;
    • Implementing teleworking for all possible workers;
    • Implementing staggered shifts for all possible workers;
    • Holding all meetings and conferences virtually, wherever possible;
    • Delivering intangible services remotely wherever possible;
    • Discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment;
    • Providing disinfectant and sanitation products for workers to clean their workspace, equipment, and tools;
    • Prohibiting handshaking and other unnecessary person-to-person contact in the workplace; and
    • Placing notices that encourage hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen; and
    • Suspending the use of Personal Identification Number (“PIN”) pads, PIN entry devices, electronic signature capture, and any other credit card receipt signature requirements to the extent such suspension is permitted by agreements with credit card companies and credit agencies.
  8. The Georgia Department of Economic Development is authorized to issue guidance to any business, corporation, organization, or industry trade group regarding its status as Critical Infrastructure. This guidance shall not require a finding of fact but shall be in writing and shall be considered a final agency action for the purpose of proceedings under Code Section 50-13-19.
  9. All restaurants and private social clubs shall cease providing dine-in services. Takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery are permitted in accordance with the provisions of this Order. This provision shall not limit the operation of dine-in services in hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities; however, to the extent possible, such facilities should offer in-room dining.
  10. All gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, theaters, live performance venues, operators of amusement rides as defined by Code Section 25-15-51, body art studios permitted pursuant to Code Section 31-4o-2, businesses registered pursuant to Code Sections 43¬10-11 and 43-10-18, estheticians as defined by Code Section 43-10¬1(8), hair designers as defined by Code Section 43-10-1(9), persons licensed to practice massage therapy pursuant to Code Section 43¬24A-8, and businesses which possess a license to operate as or otherwise meet the definition of “bar” as defined by Code Section 3¬1-2(2.1), shall cease in-person operations and shall close to the public while this Order is in effect.
  11. Persons required to shelter in place under any provision of this Order shall not receive visitors, except as follows:
    • Visitors providing medical, behavioral health, or emergency services or medical supplies or medication, including home hospice;
    • Visitors providing support for the person to conduct activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living;
    • Visitors providing necessary supplies and services, such as food and supplies for household consumption and use, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence; or
    • Visitors received during end-of-life circumstances.
  12. To the extent practicable under the circumstances, visitors shall maintain a minimum distance of six (6) feet between themselves and all other occupants of the person’s home or residence. Any visitors visiting for the sole purpose of delivering medication, supplies, or other tangible goods shall, to the extent practicable, deliver such items in a manner that does not require in-person contact or require the deliverer to enter the person’s home or residence.
  13. The provisions of this Order related to visitors listed in the immediately preceding paragraph shall be strictly enforced against nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, including inpatient hospice, assisted living communities, personal care homes, intermediate care homes, community living arrangements, and community integration homes.
  14. The Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Safety, or any other state department or state officer deputized by the Governor or the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency are, after providing reasonable notice, authorized to mandate the closure of any business, establishment, corporation, non-profit corporation, or organization not in compliance with this Order for a period not to extend beyond the term of this Order.
  15. Pursuant to Code Section 38-3-51, the powers of counties and cities conveyed in Titles 36 and 38, including those specific powers enumerated in Code Sections 36-5-22.1 and 36-35-3 are hereby suspended to the extent of suspending enforcement of any local ordinance or order adopted or issued since March 1, 2020, with the stated purpose or effect of responding to a public health state of emergency, ordering residents to shelter-in-place, ordering a quarantine, or combatting the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 that in any way conflicts, varies, or differs from the terms of this Order. Enforcement of all such ordinances and orders is hereby suspended and no county or municipality shall adopt any similar ordinance or order while this Order is in effect, except for such ordinances or orders as are designed to enforce compliance with this Order

Critical Infrastructure

The Executive Order exempts “Critical Infrastructure” from the shut-down order and stay at home provisions. “Critical Infrastructure” refers to businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations, and organizations as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security as “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” in guidance dated March 19, 2020, and revised on March 28, 2020. It also includes those suppliers which provide essential goods and services to the critical infrastructure workforce as well as entities that provide legal services, home hospice, and non-profit corporations or non-profit organizations that offer food distribution or other health or mental health services. The order makes it clear that the operation of Critical Infrastructure shall not be impeded by county, municipal, or local ordinance.

The US Department of Homeland Security Guidance that is referenced in the executive order exempts businesses in the following industries:

  • Health Care/Public Health
  • Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Energy (including electricity, petroleum, natural gas, natural gas liquids, propane and other liquid fuels)
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Other Community or Government Based Operations and Essential Functions
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Financial Services
  • Chemical
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Commercial Facilities
  • Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services
  • Hygiene Products and Services

Select Industry Profiles

Residential: The Department of Homeland Security exempts residential construction workers in relation to activities to ensure additional housing units that can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.

Commercial Facilities: Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions are exempt. Additionally, workers supporting ecommerce through distribution, warehouse, call center facilities, and other essential operational support functions and workers in hardware and building materials stores, consumer electronics, technology and appliances retail, and related merchant wholesalers and distributors – with reduced staff to ensure continued operations are exempt. Finally, those distributing, servicing, repairing, installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment are exempt.

Critical Manufacturing: Any manufacturing facility that produces materials necessary to sustain other “critical infrastructure” is exempt. This includes manufacturing facilities that produce materials for medical supply chains, industrial minerals and metals, critical chemicals, food and agriculture etc.

Transportation: The exemptions provided to the transportation industry are focused on maintaining logistical networks to sustain the critical industries. Additionally, mass public transit service workers are permitted to continue work as they provide a portion of the population with needed mobility.

Financial: Any workers need to provide, process and maintain systems for processing, verification, and recording of financial transactions and services, including payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; consumer and commercial lending; and capital markets activities.

Emergency Order Powers

As previously mentioned, the action taken by Governor Kemp in relation to COVID-19 today is pursuant to the State of Emergency Order issued on March 14th which was ratified by the General Assembly, two days later, on March 16th

Under O.C.G.A. §38-3-51, the Governor can declare a State of Emergency due to a health crisis but must also call the General Assembly into a special session “for the purpose of concurring with or terminating the public health emergency.”  The state of emergency remains in effect for 30 days unless expressly extended by the Governor.

Among the powers enumerated by O.C.G.A. §38-3-51, the state of emergency gives the governor considerable power to deal with our present health care crisis. For more information on the powers given to the Governor and Department of Health via the State of Emergency order see our March 14th Soapbox blog post, “Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Declares State of Emergency to Deal with Coronavirus Pandemic and Calls a Special Session of the General Assembly”.

DPH Administrative Orders

Pursuant to the Georgia Code and expanded powers granted under the Emergency declaration, the Department of Public Health issued two Administrative Orders, one on March 23rd and one on March 27th. Further regulatory announcements will likely come due to the latest stay at home executive order.

The March 23rd order addressed isolation and quarantine policies and procedures. Now that the Governor has put in place a state-wide stay at home order that applies to everyone, these administrative regulations are no long applicable.

Similarly, much of the March 27th administrative order is no longer relevant aside from administrative regulations on the staff of any Nursing, Long-Term Care Facilities and Early Child Education Programs, Non-profit food services and any other businesses licensed and monitored by DHS. Said regulations were reaffirmed and in some cases strengthened in the executive order.

Conclusion

The state-wide stay at home Order ends what was a local government driven process that resulted in a myriad of restrictions throughout the state. However, the Executive Order will certainly be followed up by regulations from the Department of Public Health and the publication of a process by which the Department of Economic Development will determine critical versus non-critical business in relation to the US Department of Homeland Security Guidance. As previously mentioned the Executive Order extends through April 13.

If you have any questions please contact the Dentons Public Policy Team.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – April 2, 2020

Connecticut

As of April 1st

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 429 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 3,557. To date, more than 16,600 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 766 patients have been hospitalized. The total statewide total number of fatalities is 85.

Among the new deaths to report is the first pediatric fatality linked to COVID-19 in Connecticut. This was a six-week-old baby in the Hartford area who was brought unresponsive to a Connecticut hospital late last week and could not be revived. Post-mortem testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive.

“The passing of this newborn is absolutely heartbreaking,” Governor Lamont said. “We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost linked to COVID-19. This virus attacks our most fragile populations without mercy, and we will definitely see some hard days ahead. This also stresses the importance of staying home and limiting your exposure to other people. Your life and the lives of those you love could literally depend on it. Our prayers are with this family at this difficult time.”

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 1,986 359 46
Hartford County 469 126 11
Litchfield County 131 11 1
Middlesex County 66 8 2
New Haven County 611 251 15
New London County 29 10 1
Tolland County 61 1 7
Windham County 19 0 0
Pending address validation 185 0 2
Total 3,557 766 85

For several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups, click here.

Governor Lamont signs 20th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the 20th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7S enacts the following provisions:

  • Safe stores mandatory statewide rules: Effective upon the opening of each retail establishment for the first time on April 3, 2020, every retail establishment in the state will be required to take additional protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 between and among customers, employees, and other persons such as delivery drivers and maintenance people. The order requires the commissioner of the Economic and Community Development to issue mandatory statewide rules prescribing such additional protective measures. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state and supersede and preempt any current or contemplated municipal order.
    • Immediately following Governor Lamont’s signing of this executive order, the Department of Economic and Community Development published the Safe Stores Rules on its website, outlining guidance for retail establishments. All stores must follow these rules beginning April 3.
  • 60-day grace period for premium payments, policy cancellations, and non-renewals of insurance policies: Beginning on April 1, 2020 for a period of 60 days, no insurer in Connecticut – including life, health, auto property, casualty, and other types – may lapse or terminate a covered insurance policy because a policyholder does not pay a premium or interest during this time. This grace period is not automatic. To be eligible, affected policyholders must provide additional information acceptable to their insurance carriers.
  • Extension of 30-day period of credit for liquor permittees: Modifies state law to permit the maximum period of credit for liquor permittees from certain creditors, including wholesalers and manufacturers, to be 90 days after the date of delivery for all permittees prohibited from engaging in on premise sales per Executive Order No. 7D.
  • Daily payment of certain taxes changed to weekly: Modifies the tax payment requirements for Sportech, the licensee authorized to operate off-track betting in Connecticut, from daily to weekly so that its employees aren’t required to appear in person daily.
  • Flexibility to amend Medicaid waivers and state plan: In order to allow continued access to critical services for Medicaid beneficiaries, the order waives public notice and legislative hearing requirements for the duration of the declared public health and civil preparedness emergencies to allow the Department of Social Services to seek expedited approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to submit Medicaid waivers; amend existing Medicaid waivers; submit Medicaid State Plan Amendments that would have required a waiver but for the Affordable Care Act; and obtain relief from various other federal requirements on an emergency basis.
  • Relief from certain municipal tax deadlines and collection efforts: Requires municipalities to enact one or both of two options for providing temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions, including that landlords agree extend commensurate forbearance to commercial, residential, or institutional tenants for the duration of the deferment.
  • Allow suspension of in-person voting requirements for critical and time sensitive municipal fiscal deadlines: Allows suspension of certain in-person votes of residents or taxpayers on certain fiscal decisions, in addition to the provisions in Executive Order No. 7I, for fiscal decisions needed to prevent property damage, protect public health and safety, or prevent significant financial loss, provided they comply with all open meeting requirements of Executive Order No. 7B.
  • Suspension of reapplication filing requirement for the homeowners’ elderly/disabled circuit breaker tax relief program and for the homeowners’ elderly/disabled freeze tax relief program: Allows recipients of this benefit to receive the benefit for the coming year without recertifying their eligibility.
  • Substitution of full inspection requirements pertaining to October 1, 2020 grand list revaluations: Allows 34 municipalities to continue with their scheduled 2020 revaluations, which are started up to a year in advance. The statute allows for Data Mailer Questionnaire to be mailed to the property owner when access is unobtainable; this eliminates having to request access, and allows for the revaluation to be completed via questionnaire.
  • Extension of deadline to file income and expense statement to August 15: Allows taxpayers additional time to complete their income and expense statements.
  • Suspension of non-judicial tax sales: Suspends foreclosures through non-judicial tax sales until 30 days after the end of the COVID-19 emergency.

Kansas

As of March 31st

The governor just enacted another Executive Order this evening, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.  Primarily, the EO relates to unemployment insurance requirements.  The full order can be found here.

Georgia

As of April 2nd

  • Governor Kemp announced this afternoon that school closures will last for the rest of this school year.  Gov.  Kemp will issue an Order tomorrow starting a state-wide shelter through April 13.
  • Per covid19.healthdata.org, it is anticipated that Georgia will have a shortage of 594 beds and 755 ICU beds with a peak on April 22 with 84 deaths on April 23.
  • Allegedly, at least 47 long-term facilities in GA have COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Georgia has between 2,400 – 3000 ventilators.

Daily State Public Health stats:

  • State cases are up to 5,348 at noon today as compared to 4,748 on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Georgia is now up to 163 deaths up from 154 at 7 p.m. Wednesday.  1,056 confirmed patients are hospitalized as compared to 1013 at 7 p.m. Wednesday. 
  • Dougherty, Fulton and Cobb Counties have the most cases in Georgia. 

North Carolina

As of March 31st

Mid-Week Update

Three new Executive Orders issued, North Carolina Department of Revenue Tax Relief Notice and updates to local actions.

Also this Week

On Monday, Executive Order 121, Gov. Cooper’s Stay at Home order, went into effect. During his Tuesday press conference, the Governor stressed the importance of following the guidelines the order lays out. As of Tuesday, North Carolina reported another 191 cases of coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 1,498 with 8 deaths (two deaths were residents of Virginia traveling through North Carolina).  The number of people hospitalized from the virus has grown to more than 135 and the median age for those who tested positive in NC is 46. DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen said that the state expects there to be a confirmed case in all 100 North Carolina counties in the coming days, or at least by the end of the week. Cohen also said that North Carolina has just received its third stockpile of much-needed supplies — including N95 masks, gloves, face shields and gowns — from the Strategic National Stockpile.

North Carolina’s new stay-at-home order won’t show any conclusive effect on blunting the intensity of the new coronavirus for about two weeks, according to the state epidemiologist.  The incubation time between an individual being exposed to COVID-19 and getting sick can be up to 14 days, with an average of five to seven days. The uptick in laboratory-confirmed cases or other illness surveillance in the next several days will likely reflect the period before movement rules were put in place.

Governor Cooper signed an order Monday giving surplus property owned by the state to health care workers, schools and local governments to help them with the coronavirus pandemic and its impact. Items include personal protective equipment and computers. The order states that those items could be given to state agencies, first responders and schools.

On Tuesday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an additional executive order to prohibit utility companies from shutting off services to people who are unable to pay. The order states that electric, gas, water and wastewater services cannot be shut off for the next 60 days. It also encourages banks not to charge customers overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties.  In addition, Gov. Cooper said that telecommunications companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are “strongly urged to follow these same rules.” Cooper added that many companies have already committed to follow these guidelines even before the order was signed. He said there were too many companies to name, but commends them all for doing the right thing.

The North Carolina Department of Justice has temporarily stopped all its debt collection programs that attempt to recover a wide variety of overdue fees and payments to state government. The department will not issue demand letters or continue other debt collection activities for agencies including the Department of Environmental Quality, the University of North Carolina system, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Transportation. The collections range from environmental permitting fees to university student tuition to parking tickets.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue closed its headquarters Monday after learning an employee tested positive for COVID-19. A department news release said the employee is based in the Raleigh headquarters and was last in the building on March 21. Department officials said a large number of their employees were already working remotely. The building will undergo a thorough cleaning before reopening to on-site employees.

In other Department of Revenue news, North Carolinians and businesses worried about paying their taxes this spring will get more relief. Plus, state lawmakers from both parties, including the governor, support passing a new law to waive interest on late tax payments. Secretary of Revenue Ronald G. Penny announced Tuesday that the state is expanding tax relief as part of Governor Cooper’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state is already following the Internal Revenue Service’s lead in extending deadlines for both filing and payments for income taxes from April 15 to July 15.

There will be no penalties for late filing or payment of North Carolina sales and use and withholding taxes through July 15. Already announced by the state are no penalties for late filings and payments of individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates. There will be no penalties for failure to obtain a license, failure to file a return or failure to pay a tax that is due from March 15 through July 15. Other tax penalties will be waived if paid by July 15 for withholding tax, sales and use tax, scrap tire disposal tax, white goods disposal tax, motor vehicle lease and subscription tax, solid waste disposal tax, 911 Service Charge for Prepaid Telecommunications Service, dry-cleaning solvent tax, primary forest products tax and freight car line companies. A full list is available here.

While the late fees will be waived, taxpayers could still end up paying interest unless state lawmakers take action. Waiving interest from tax due dates cannot be changed by North Carolina Department of Revenue because of state law. The General Assembly would have to pass a bill, which the governor would have to sign, to make that happen. The current interest rate on late payments is 5 percent a year. State leaders from both political parties have said they want to add the interest waiver to tax relief plans.

North Carolina’s farmers are battling the global coronavirus pandemic, as the coronavirus is affecting their most important asset: the seasonal workforce imported from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Those migrant workers, according to advocates, are a vulnerable population who could feel compelled to work on North Carolina’s farms — whether or not their employers have taken steps to keep them safe.

As a major effort to reduce virus spread, the State Department had announced on March 17 that all routine visa processes in US embassies in Mexico would be suspended, allowing H-2A visas only for returning farmworkers who were issued them last year. This prompted local and federal lawmakers nationwide to speak out against the expected labor shortage from the absence of new, first-time workers. The State Department rescinded its decision on March 27 to allow for more non-US farmworkers to work American fields. While this helps the state and rest of the nation to avoid interruptions to food supply chains, the tens of thousands of seasonal farmworkers who will work Carolinian fields this season are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. “The guidance for the general public right now is to use social distancing and keeping distance from everybody, and so, for the case of farmworkers residing in labor camps, that’s basically impossible,” said Dr. Elizabeth Freeman Lambar of the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program within the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The vast majority of H-2A farmworkers share sleeping quarters, kitchens and bathrooms in barracks, old farmhouses and trailers provided to them by growers. Those who are US residents and follow seasons around different states, known specifically as “migrant” farmworkers, often live with their families. “The ability to minimize the risk of exposure is really difficult for farmworkers. “

The North Carolina Growers Association, in charge of bringing thousands of workers from Mexico, stated that they are abiding by Department of Health and Human Services guidelines which instruct farmers to quarantine sick workers and let them rest until they recover. The Association remains optimistic about the measures that will be taken to guard workers’ health and in turn, guard the flow of agricultural labor. The association said that it was up to each individual farmer to provide adequate housing and alternatives if quarantine is necessary. “If the grower has sufficient housing to isolate that individual with his housing, then we’ll do that,” a Growers Association official said. “If not, we’ll have to look at hotels or other housing.” The association stated they would pay for that housing. Asked about a health protocol in the wake of the evolving pandemic, the association said they do not have one that could be shared.

The North Carolina Medical Board voted last Friday to relax some regulations in an effort to make more doctors and medical professionals available to fight coronavirus. The board is postponing certain testing requirements that medical students typically must meet before beginning a residency program, as long as they have still completed medical school graduation requirements. Another action by the board will make it easier for healthcare organizations to reassign physician assistants to other practice areas. call to increase the supply of qualified medical professionals available to help. Also last Friday, the Medical Board approved new rules that it said will “reduce the occurrence of reported stockpiling or inappropriate prescribing of chloroquine, azithromycin and other medications, and ensure that these drugs are available to patients who need them.” Those are medications that some have suggested might treat coronavirus, but are essential for other conditions.

While national insurers are announcing they will waive copay and deductibles tied to COVID-19 treatments, the state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, says it is still reviewing options and looking for the best ways to serve its 3.8 million North Carolina customers. In response to a question about whether the company would be waiving treatment costs, Blue Cross officials saidthat the situation is “constantly changing” and it is “continually monitoring how to best serve our members in the face of COVID-19.”The statement comes just days after two of the country’s largest insurers – Humana and Cigna – announced they would cover the co-pay and deductibles for COVID-19 patients, including hospitalizations. Blue Cross did not directly respond to whether it was considering the same.

Executive Actions, Week of March 30th

Local Government Actions

Relevant Articles

Oregon

As of April 1st

The big news today is this afternoon’s issuance of Executive Order 20-13, which places a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions for nonpayment; strengthens the Governor’s previous ban on residential evictions; and prohibits landlords from charging renters late fees for nonpayment of rent during the moratorium. 

We’re also following when special session will be scheduled; providing some information on upcoming town halls with Sens. Merkley and Wyden; and reading about how things are going in Portland via an interview with Mayor Wheeler. All that and more below!

State Updates: 

  • Moratorium on commercial evictions, strengthened ban on residential evictions: Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-13 today, which temporarily bans commercial evictions and strengthens the moratorium on residential evictions. Read the full order here.
  • Senate President says “not this week” for special session: Yesterday evening, The Oregonian quoted Senate President Peter Courtney as saying that lawmakers “won’t have a special session this week” to vote on the 15 proposals from the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response. Sen. Courtney added that “there’s some speculation [Governor Brown will] wait until the [May 20 state tax revenue] forecast.” So, hang tight, and we’ll keep you posted.
  • DCBS releases FAQ on coronavirus emergency order: On March 25, DCBS issued an emergency order that required “all insurance companies to postpone policy cancellations and non-renewals, extend grace periods for premium payments, and extend deadlines for reporting claims.” They have now posted an extensive FAQ, should you have any questions or concerns. 

Local Updates:

  • Mayor Wheeler interview with Willamette Week: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler did a five question interview with Willamette Week out today, on the state of the city post-shutdown. He discusses how the stay-at-home order is going; support for people who can’t make mortgage payments; implementation of CARES Act funds; and the state of the city budget, which is projected to take a General Fund hit of US$40-100 million in the next fiscal year. 

COVID-19 Update:

Oregon News Related to COVID-19

Nonprofits & Small Businesses

CARES Act

General Resources

Tennessee

As of March 30th

The total number of positive cases in the state stands at 1,834 with the most cases now in Shelby County (Memphis-396) followed by Davidson County (Nashville-364). There are 13 confirmed deaths in the state. The COVID-19 Unified Command, which includes the Departments of Health and Military and TEMA, created a new website here.

Health Response

Today, Governor Lee issued Executive Order 22 which directs Tennesseans to stay at home unless engaging in essential activities. This also includes the closure of businesses and organizations that are not deemed essential. The Governor stressed that this order is not a “shelter in place” order, but strongly urges limited activity outside of the home. Those businesses deemed essential “should take steps to the greatest extent practicable to equip and permit employees to work from home, and employees and their customers should practice good hygiene…”

A list of businesses deemed “essential” can be found here.

Last week, Gov. Lee signed Executive Order 20 to ensure Tennessee can further mobilize health care workers to fight COVID-19. The executive order loosens restrictions around retired medical professionals, temporarily suspends continuing education requirements, and expands telemedicine efforts so that all licensed providers may utilize telemedicine during COVID-19 as long as they are practicing within their normal scope of practice.

Also today, the Tennessee Department of Health indicated that 67 percent of traditional ventilators are available for use across the state’s hospitals.

Economic Response

For the week ending March 21, 2020, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. The week prior, the state received 2,702 new unemployment claims. The latest figure represents a nearly 20 fold increase in week-to-week claims. The vast majority of new claims have come from northern Middle Tennessee.

The state is spearheading a public-private partnership to create the Tennessee Talent Exchange powered by Jobs4TN.gov. The goal of the exchange is to quickly match Tennesseans who are out of work due to COVID-19 with companies currently experiencing a surge in business and making immediate hires, like grocery stores and logistics companies. The Department of Labor & Workforce Development has modified the state’s workforce development website to quickly post job openings and match job seekers with employers.

Cities’ Response

Over the weekend, at least 74 residents at a Gallatin nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of those individuals have died. Additionally, 33 members of the Gallatin Center staff have tested positive and are now isolated at home. Nursing home residents and staff were taken to the hospital in two large evacuations, each taking several hours to conduct. On Friday, 23 residents were transported to Sumner Regional Medical Center. The state mobilized to arrange the transport of the residents through an ambulance strike team of EMS professionals from multiple jurisdictions. On Saturday, more than 20 National Guard personnel were deployed to the nursing home to assist the Center with COVID-19 testing for all residents and staff. Gallatin is in Sumner County and about 30 miles northeast of Nashville. Two weeks ago, Sumner County had one confirmed case. Today, they have 164 confirmed cases.

In Memphis on Thursday, the head of epidemiology for Shelby County, said stay-in-place orders are helping with the spread, but the county has not reached its plateau of cases yet. Today, the Mayor of Memphis announced that beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, the city is limiting access to city parks.

In Chattanooga today, Mayor Andy Berke announced the COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Fund (CSBSF).This fund will provide short-term working capital to businesses that are facing sudden and severe revenue shortfalls. The City has committed US$2.5 million to set up grant and loan programs that can help businesses in different ways — short-term rental assistance, continued payroll for displaced workers, or larger business expansion needs.

Texas

As of March 31st

Governor Abbott has a news conference moments ago in Austin with Lt Gov Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Dr. John Hellerstadt (DSHS) and Chief Nim Kidd. 

Gov. Abbott expanded/tightened his March 19 social distancing order, which closed schools, bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms, salons, tattoo parlors and the like.  Today’s executive order (attached), provides exemptions for “Essential services” consist[ing] of everything listed by the US Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0, plus religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). TDEM shall maintain an online list of essential services, as specified in this executive order and in any approved additions. Requests for additions should be directed to TDEM at EssentialServices@tdem.texas.gov or by visiting www.tdem.texas.gov/essential services.”

It goes on to say:

This executive order does not prohibit people from accessing essential services or engaging in essential daily activities, such as going to the grocery store or gas station, providing or obtaining other essential services, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging or bicycling, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to minimize in- person contact with people who are not in the same household.

In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, people shall not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

“In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall remain temporarily closed to in-person classroom attendance and shall not recommence before May 4, 2020.”

Virginia

As of April 1st

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam acknowledged that he is gathering input on whether adjustments are needed to multiple business-oriented legislative proposals approved by the General Assembly before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the state, national and global economies to a standstill.

Those bills – including measures to hike the minimum wage and empower local government to allow public employees to engage in collective bargaining – represented landmark achievements for Democrats, who assumed full control this year of the legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than 25 years.

At a press conference Wednesday to discuss the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, Northam said he is having discussions with business and labor groups, as well as delegates and senators, about the impacts of the bills ahead of his April 11 veto deadline.

Northam also said municipal elections in May and congressional primaries in June will go on as scheduled, and he said he will encourage Virginians to vote by absentee ballot. He described the elections as fundamental and essential democratic exercises.

The governor also noted that the US Army Corps of Engineers had reviewed 41 potential field hospital sites across Virginia and narrowed that list to sites in Fairfax, Hampton and the Richmond area. While Virginia has received a third shipment of additional personal protective equipment from the national stockpile, Northam said more is needed.

As of April 1, Virginia had recorded 1,484 positive cases of COVID-19, with 208 patients hospitalized and 34 deaths. Northam said the outbreak is expected to peak between late April and late May in Virginia.

Northam’s finance secretary, Aubrey Layne, sidestepped questions pertaining to public budget impacts and deferral of tax collections. The economic crisis, he said, would be dealt with after the public health crisis is under control.

Virginia remains under a statewide stay-at-home order until June 10. Public schools are closed through the rest of the academic year; colleges and universities have transitioned to online instruction; correctional facilities have suspended visitation; most entertainment and recreational activities and businesses have been shut down; and restaurants and breweries have had to shift to delivery or drive-through to serve the public.

Northam plans to hold another press conference on Friday.

West Virginia

As of April 1st

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced that they are going to move the West Virginia Primary Election to June 9 instead of May 12. He also said that West Virginia Schools will be closed until at least April 30. The previous date was April 20.

Wisconsin

As of April 2nd

On Wednesday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 1,550 in Wisconsin, up 199 from 1351 in Tuesday’s update.
  • 18,819 negative test results (17,375 negative test results were reported on Tuesday).
  • 24 patients have died in Wisconsin (16 deaths were reported on Tuesday)

Please note this date is taken from the 2 p.m. daily data reporting on the DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page. Several Wisconsin media outlets are reporting more rapidly updated information that they are pooling directly from the various county health departments. We will continue to use the DHS data for our updates, but wanted you to be aware of the variation in data and sources.

Governor Evers releases second package of COVID-19 related proposals

As negotiations between the Evers Administration and Legislative leaders continues on state action related to the COVID-19 health crisis, Governor Tony Evers announced “a second package of comprehensive legislative proposals that would provide critical investments in health services, support for essential workers, and assistance for Wisconsin families and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” This 2nd group of proposals is be viewed as “in addition” to the previous requests that were announced over the weekend.

According to a summary by the Governor’s Office, the second proposal (linked here) contains the following proposals, among others:

  • Increasing funding for Medicaid providers via supplemental payments and rate increases to support the healthcare system’s response to the public health emergency;
  • Establishing a fund to reduce providers’ uncompensated care costs targeting reimbursement for treatment-related costs for uninsured individuals;
  • Establishing a COVID-19 reinsurance program to reduce health insurance premiums;
  • Providing grant funding to provide food assistance and meal delivery;
  • Prohibiting utility cooperatives from disconnecting customers and prohibiting land-lord directed disconnections from rental units during a public health emergency;
  • Ensuring workers receive back payment for any lost unemployment insurance benefits as a result of the delay in suspending the one-week waiting period;
  • Providing supplemental payments to child care providers, if that provider needed to shut down during the public health emergency;
  • Allowing households to apply for heating assistance under the low-income energy assistance program anytime during the 2020 calendar year;
  • Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families;
  • Providing municipalities the flexibility to implement multiple installments of three or more payments for 2020 property taxes;
  • Waiving interest and penalties on delinquent property taxes included in the 2019 payable 2020 tax roll, on and after April 1, 2020;
  • Creating a fund through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association to provide 6 months of support for prevention of single-family foreclosures and providing refinancing opportunities to current borrowers; and
  • Providing grant funding for small businesses and workers through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

LFB Memo on State Funding Under CARES Act

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a memo to the State Legislature that addresses the fiscal effects of the CARES Act and the potential impact that it may have on Wisconsin government and in some instances, local governments and educational institutions. The memo includes a brief description of the provisions of the federal legislation and the funding that may be received under each item. LFB Director Bob Lang notes that, “In some instances, it has not yet been determined what the state’s share of the funding will be. If an estimated fiscal effect is available, it will be indicated in the summary of the provision.” Director Lang in the memo also noted “that although this memorandum describes provisions of the federal legislation based upon materials currently available, the administration of and funding of the Act will be known once guidelines from the federal government have been promulgated.” (Link to Memo)

Number of Positive Results by County

*Note previous Negative Test Result data released by DHS may have contained duplicative data or data related to out of state patients. We will clean up the chart as soon as DHS releases the updated information.

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here.

Click here for a comprehensive list of State of Wisconsin resources related to the public health emergency.

Stay up-to-date with all of our insights and guidance by visiting our US COVID-19 hub here.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – March 30, 2020

Connecticut

As of March 29th  

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since Friday’s update, the statewide total of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 has risen to 1,993. To date, more than 11,900 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 404 people have been hospitalized. There has been another fatality due to complications of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total number of fatalities to 34 (21 in Fairfield County, six in New Haven County, four in Tolland County, two in Hartford County, and one in Middlesex County).

It should be noted that the increase in hospitalizations reflected in today’s report reflects a change to provide the most up-to-date information from the Connecticut Hospital Association. The distribution by county is based on where hospitals are located, not where patients reside.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 1,245 189 21
Hartford County 276 67 2
Litchfield County 87 5 0
Middlesex County 38 1 1
New Haven County 280 137 6
New London County 20 4 0
Tolland County 40 0 4
Windham County 7 1 0
Total 1,993 404 34

For several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups, click here.

Major disaster declaration approved for Connecticut

Governor Lamont’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for the State of Connecticut in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was approved today, unlocking additional federal assistance programs for the state.

Today’s approval is for public assistance, meaning that impacted state agencies and municipalities in all eight counties will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the costs associated with their response and emergency protective measures. The governor’s other request for disaster assistance, including individual assistance that could provide Connecticut residents with a number of critical benefits, such as expanded unemployment assistance, food benefits, and child care assistance, remains under review by the White House.

For more information, read the press release Governor Lamont issued today.

Department of Public Health commissioner orders homeless population moved into less congested housing, directs development of temporary housing for certain first responders and health care workers

Pursuant to Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7P, which was issued yesterday evening, Department of Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell late Saturday night issued an order directing state, local, and private sector partners to transition the homeless population into alternative, less congested housing for the purpose of providing adequate social distancing between all individuals. The goal is to decompress the current population by providing less populated settings.

The order also requires the development of non-congregate temporary housing for first responders and health care workers who are at reasonable risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 and cannot return to their usual residence because of the risk of infecting other household members.

FEMA has notified the State of Connecticut that it will reimburse the state and municipalities for 75 percent of the costs related to the non-congregate housing for the homeless population, as well as first responders and health care workers.

For more information, read Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell’s order.

Georgia

As of March 30th

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • State cases are up to 2,809 at noon today as compared to 2,001 on Friday.  We are now up to 87 deaths up from 64 on Friday.  Fulton has 14 deaths, Dougherty 17 and Cobb nine. 707 confirmed patients are hospitalized as compared to 566 last Friday.  Fulton, Dougherty, DeKalb, Cobb and Bartow Counties have the most cases in our State. 
  • As of today, Phoebe reported nine additional deaths. Total positive results 586, 25 deaths at Phoebe Main and two deaths at Phoebe Sumter.
  • Governor Kemp announced Sunday that President Trump has declared a major disaster for all of Georgia, which allows federal agencies to provide direct assistance to the State.
  • Georgia’s port officials say the virus is having less of an impact than feared. Shipments are running 20 percent from a year ago, with signs of an upturn next month.  Chinese manufacturing is allegedly 85 percent of normal.
  • In non-COVID-19 news, Vidalia onions are available April 16.  Acreage is down from 12,000 acres to 9,400 acres.
  • Following a call between numerous Mayors and Commissioner Toomey, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul stated that approximately 50 Mayors are sending the Governor a letter requesting a state-wide stay-at-home order.
  • Per covid19.healthdata.org, it is anticipated that Georgia will have a shortage of 594 beds and 755 ICU beds with a peak on April 22 with 84 deaths on April 23.

Local

Kansas

As of March 28th  

On Saturday, Governor Kelly issued a statewide “Safer at Home” order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Maryland

As of March 30th

Governor Hogan Issues Stay-At-Home Order

At a press conference earlier today Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The order takes effect at 8 pm this evening. Under this order, no one is to leave their home for any reason other than essential work, to get food or other fundamental reason. Executive order and interpretive guidance can be found in links below.

Press Release
Executive Order
Interpretive Guidance

This order amends and restates the order that was issued on March 23, 2020 which closed all non-essential businesses. This order does not change the classification of essential businesses as outlined in this order. 

The prior interpretive guidance documents are in links below.

March 23 Interpretive Guidance
Additional Guidance March 23 – 7 pm
Additional Guidance March 24

North Carolina

As of March 30th

NC Coronavirus Cases Top 1100, With Two New Deaths. Stay at Home Order Starts Monday. (Raleigh News & Observer) A day before a statewide stay at home order is enacted in North Carolina, more than 1,100 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state. As of Sunday evening, 91 people were hospitalized with the virus across the state. Six North Carolina residents have died from COVID-19, while an additional person from Virginia died while traveling through the state.

NC Banks Take Steps to Relieve Pressure from Coronavirus Pandemic (Carolina Public Press) 
With small businesses and households stretched to the limits, large and small banks throughout North Carolina are taking steps to relieve economic pressure triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The N.C. Bankers Association said that large and small banks are analyzing the risk of each client and have developed a suite of approaches they can use to provide relief to businesses and individuals.

NC Elections Board Wants to Make Election Day a Holiday Because of Virus (WRAL) The State Board of Elections recommended more than a dozen changes to state election laws in response to COVID-19, including making Election Day a state holiday.

Restaurant Chefs Band Together to Make Meals for Unemployed (Winston-Salem Journal) As the COVID-19 outbreak puts people out of work, restaurant employees — many of whom are out of work themselves — are stepping up to help.

Tribes in NC Hunker Down to Endure Coronavirus Pandemic (Carolina Public Press) The new coronavirus has gripped the nation and nearly ground the economy to a standstill, while other regional tribes are taking actions of their own. Most tribes across the Carolinas have closed offices, and two of the state’s largest economic drivers, the two casinos operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, have closed while the tribe waits out the pandemic. The three counties where most of the Lumbee tribal members live, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland, reported five confirmed cases as of last Wednesday. 

Counties Without Coronavirus are Mostly Rural, Poor (AP) Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Of the counties without positive tests, 85% are in rural areas — from predominantly white communities in Appalachia and the Great Plains to majority Hispanic and Native American stretches of the American Southwest.

Rep. Mary Ann Black Passes Away (ABC 11) North Carolina Rep. MaryAnn Black, who prominently served in the Durham community died at the age of 76 on Thursday. Black, who was undergoing cancer treatment, represented the 29th District of Durham County since 2017. Black also served as a Durham County commissioner from 1990 to 2002.

Voter ID Ruling Remains as Appeals Court Nixes Rehearing (AP) A North Carolina appeals court rejected a request by Republican lawmakers for its full cadre of judges to rehear a challenge over implementing voter photo identification. The Court of Appeals denied the motion by the GOP legislative leaders. The lawmakers had asked that the entire court rehear questions considered by three of the court’s 15 judges in a lawsuit challenging the state’s December 2018 voter ID law.

Burr Faces Lawsuit as Fallout Continues Over His Sale of Up to US$1.7 Mil in Stock (Charlotte Observer) Fallout continued this week over revelations that US Sen. Richard Burr dumped up to US$1.7 million in stock after private briefings about the coronavirus, including a personal lawsuit against him. Politico reported the shareholder suit against Burr in US District Court for the District of Columbia even as the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week issued a stern warning against insider trading.

Census: Wake is Now North Carolina’s Largest County (AP) Wake County is now North Carolina’s largest county, the US Census Bureau said as its annual population estimates show the county containing Raleigh surpassing Mecklenburg County. The census said Wake County had an estimated 1,111,761 people as of July 1, with Mecklenburg close behind at 1,110,356.

Oregon

As of March 27th

The United States is now leading the world in confirmed cases of coronavirus and Oregon saw a dramatic uptick in confirmed cases five days into our shelter-in-place order. The good news? New modeling released yesterday by the Oregon Health Authority shows that if 9 out of 10 Oregonians stay home, our state’s hospital system appears just capable of handling the coronavirus cases expected in the coming month. So…stay home, save lives! 

State Updates:

  • Special session: Procedurally, Legislative leadership is deferring to the Governor to call a special session because it would be more expeditious than the Legislature calling itself into session (this would require that members are mailed letters soliciting their agreement to convene or not; they would have 14 days to respond). Some other things to note: 
  • The Legislature cannot conduct a virtual session if it calls itself into session. 
  • The Governor can call a virtual session only once per natural disaster/emergency. The session cannot exceed 30-days. 
  • The Governor can call a regular special session but it requires the physical presence of legislators in the Capitol 

With all this going on, we are unlikely to see the special session scheduled until late next week/early the following week, but things are changing by the hour. We’ll keep you updated! 

  • Deep dive into recommendations from JSCCVR: The JSCCVR has recommended moving forward on the below policy recommendations. Additionally, the committee identified 27 policy proposals that are not a part of the Co-Chairs’ recommendations. These policy proposals either needed more time to understand or implement, were not proposals to provide immediate relief, could be supplemented or resolved by forthcoming federal action, or have been resolved by executive action. All policies that the committee discussed can be found here, and the Co-Chair’s full letter can be read here

Housing & Shelter 

Proposal #1: Enhancement of Governor’s Executive Order and new provisions to ban residential and commercial evictions, late fees for partial payment for individuals/businesses impacted financially by COVID-19.  

  • Residential Evictions – Enhance Executive Order 20-11
  1. Must show an objective loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Prohibit late fees for inability to pay entire rent.
  3. Establish payment plans for those able to pay a portion of their rent.
  4. Method of assistance must be used to pay rent.
  • Commercial Evictions – Establish new provision
  1. Prohibit commercial evictions.
  2. Must show an objective loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Prohibit late fees for inability to pay entire rent.
  4. Establish payment plans for those able to pay a portion of their rent.
  • Duration – Greater of 90 days or length of the emergency declaration.

Proposal #2: Increase funding for rent and mortgage assistance via Emergency Housing Assistance and the Hardest Hit program. Allocation amount is still under discussion. Funding focused on support for the next 90-days (April/May/June). 

Proposal #31: Redraft of HB 4001C (2020) that will increase funding for increased shelter beds across the state and provides counties/cities more flexibility to establish rapid housing strategies in their communities.

Food & Community Benefits 

Proposal #3: Prevent delays in accessing benefits during the public health emergency. Expedite and continue current benefits for the greater of 90 days or the length of the emergency declaration:

  1. Provide additional support and flexibility to OHA and DHS to expedite SNAP benefits, TANF, and WIC.
  2. Waive in-person interviews, where possible.
  3. Expand recertification periods so renewals and paperwork during the declaration can be extended so benefits do not lapse, where possible.

Proposal #4: Support Oregon’s food bank network in purchasing food. Allocation amount is still under discussion. 

Family Supports 

Proposal #9: Ensure clear statutory authority to allow parents to use sick child leave, under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) to be home with their child in the event of a statewide public health emergency resulting in school or child-care closures.

Health Care Access 

Proposal #11: Ensure a path to reimbursement for providers and protect patients from surprise bills and access to all types of acute care.

  1. Protect Patients from Out-of-Network Charges.
  2. Expand network adequacy requirements to include “any willing provider”. 
  3. Require the commissioner to adopt a uniform rate.
  4. Duration – Length of the declaration.

Proposal #29: Enhancement of Governor’s Executive Order to increase network adequacy by temporarily expanding scope of practice for Physician Assistants.

Proposal #40: Hospitals currently pay provider taxes based on a rate that is specific to their hospital type – hospital types are determined by the number of beds as well as other factors. This provision ensures temporary bed additions on hospital property will not change the rate assessed.

Short-Term Employer Supports 

Proposal #19: Allocate additional funds to Business Oregon’s flexible strategic reserve fund and require grants and loans be generated for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rental assistance and utility costs must be among the qualifying uses for Business Oregon funds.

Proposal #26: The committee seeks to provide clarifications to the Corporate Activities Tax. Specifically, the committee seeks to redraft HB 4009-A Engrossed (2020) which makes clear for some businesses that they are not subject to the tax. Delaying the CAT tax, as proposed by many business groups, is not included in this package.

Proposal #33: Prohibit Residential and Commercial Foreclosures for the length of the emergency declaration.

Proposal #42: Provide regulatory relief for individuals by suspending required continuing education deadlines such as CLEs and license recertification or renewals due during the emergency declaration period. Provide an additional 30-days post- declaration to allow providers and licensed workforce the time to catch up and meet their licensure requirements.

Courts

Grant statutory authority to the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court during a statewide emergency and for 60 days thereafter to extend timelines in criminal and civil cases. 

  • Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council: The Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council has released a menu of options they are considering. The options fall into several categories: 
  • Business financial assistance tools 
  • Business technical assistance approaches 
  • Individual assistance approaches 
  • Maritime workforce taskforce recommendations 
  • Corporate activities tax delay? Business groups from around the state wrote lawmakers yesterday urging them to delay the state’s new corporate activities tax for six months to help them “preserve cash and avoid layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.” Delaying the tax by six months implies a hit to state revenues of more than US$500 million, though the estimated receipts are certain to be less with the current business slowdown. Read more here.

COVID-19 Update: 

Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits 

Small Business 

CARES Act 

General Resources 

Texas

As of March 29th  

Governor Abbott conducted a news conference Sunday afternoon along with US Army Corps of Engineers Brig. General Paul Owen, Major General Tracy Norris of the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, and Supply Chain Strike Force member and former State Representative John Zerwas, MD.

Gov. Abbott said 25,483 Texans have been tested for the coronavirus. Of them, 2,552 tested positive. Texas now has cases in 118 of 254 counties, he said. There have been 34 deaths “that have a connection to COVID-19” in Texas, he said.

There is no change in Abbott’s March 19th social distancing order, which closed schools, bars, restaurants and gyms. Abbott was asked by a reporter whether the many requests he’s receiving from different business sectors – asking that their employees be deemed essential – is a factor in his not ordering a statewide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. “About 75% of the state of Texas is under the umbrella of what would be categorized as a stay-at-home policy,” Abbott said, referring the local orders and what percentage of state population they cover. “This is all driven by science, data and medical assessment.”

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Abbott made the following announcements/executive orders:

  1. Pop Up Hospital at KBH Convention Center in Dallas: Abbott announced Sunday afternoon that the state’s first pop-up hospital for COVID-19 patients will be erected by at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. The US Army Corps of Engineers will lead the effort, assisted by the Texas National Guard. The corps initially will create 250 beds, but will be able to house as many as 1,400 beds if needed. The state will begin looking for sites for pop-up hospitals in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso — wherever “COVID-19 has spread the highest” in Texas.
  2. New and expanded travel restrictions: Abbott also broadened his executive order requiring out-of-state air travelers from COVID-19 hot spots to self- quarantine in Texas for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. Travel by road from any location in the state of Louisiana into Texas will require 14-day self-quarantine.Exceptions include commercial, military and first responder travel. Executive order 12 attached.

Also, air travelers from Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and any site in California and Washington state will have to self-quarantine for 14 days in Texas, just like those quarantines he announced last week for those fliers coming from greater New York City and New Orleans.

  1. End to jail release for dangerous felons: Abbott issued an executive order calls ending the release of dangerous felons from jails in Texas, saying inappropriate release of some jail prisoners complicates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Executive order 13 attached.

On Saturday, Abbott made these announcements:

  1. HHSC Request Of Section 1135 Waiver To Support Health Care Workforce In Medicaid Program: If approved, the federal flexibilities would include:
  2. Allowing fully trained, qualified nurse aides to provide home health and hospice services even if they have not been employed and paid as an aide within the preceding 24 months, which will help expand the eligible pool of direct care workers and help providers facing any critical staffing shortages.
  3. Allowing non-clinical staff to provide feeding assistance to residents in nursing facilities without completing the required 16-hour training course. Since group meals are no longer served due to social distancing, additional feeding assistants are needed for one-on-one assistance. These assistants would be supervised and assigned only to non-complex cases.
  4. Allowing individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Home and Community-based Services and Intermediate Care Facility programs to temporarily receive their same services in either setting. This will give providers greater flexibility to meet staffing and resource challenges while continuing to provide critical services in both programs.
  5. Removing Licensing Barriers For Advance Practice Registered Nurses: Abbott waived certain regulations allowing for an expedited licensing reactivation process for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in Texas. Under these waivers, an APRN with a license that has been inactive for more than two years, but less than four years, will not have to pay a reactivation fee, complete continuing education credits, or complete the current practice requirements. For APRNs with a license that has been inactive for more than four years, the reactivation fee and continuing education requirements will be waived.

Virginia

As of March 30th

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Monday, March 30, effective immediately and remaining in place until June 10.

The order is the latest in a series of escalating efforts by state government to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the commonwealth. As of March 30, Virginia officials reported 1,020 cases of COVID-19, with 136 resulting in hospitalization and 25 deaths. The state confirmed 12,038 had been tested.

Under the latest order, Executive Order No. 55, essential businesses are permitted to remain open. However, all Virginians are required to stay home unless they need medical attention, or if they need to go to work, care for family or household members, or obtain food, prescriptions and other essential goods and services.

Northam ordered public beaches to close and all in-person instruction and in-person classes at Virginia colleges and universities to cease, a move likely targeted at the private Liberty University, where students recently returned from spring break. Most other higher education institutions had already transitioned to distance learning for the duration of the spring semester.

Outdoor activities, such as exercising, are still permitted so long as social distancing guidelines are observed.

Northam previously ordered all K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year and mandated indoor recreation and entertainment businesses close through April 23 as part of a sweeping plan to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 23, Northam issued Executive Order No. 53, which ordered restaurants, farmer’s markets, wineries and breweries to close to the public except to serve patrons via take-out or delivery. The order built on previous orders to ban public gatherings of 10 or more people, shut down Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices and suspend visitation at state correctional facilities.

Economic impacts associated with closures and cancellations are just beginning to be calculated but in some instances have been described as catastrophic. Northam previously announced an expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits and opened access to federal disaster loans for small businesses.

The governor’s administration also released a FAQ guide regarding Executive Order No. 53.

Wisconsin

As of March 29th  

On Saturday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 989 in Wisconsin, up from 842 in Friday’s update.
  • 15,232 negative test results (13,140 were reported on Friday, an additional 1,557 negative tests).
  • 13 patients have died in Wisconsin (no change from Friday)

Please note this date is taken from the 2 PM daily data reporting on the DHS COVID-19 Outbreak pageSeveral Wisconsin media outlets are reporting more rapidly updated information that they are pooling directly from the various county health departments.

Fox 6 in Milwaukee was reporting last evening the following updated Wisconsin data:

  • 1,041 confirmed cases (541 in Milwaukee compared to 489 in the DHS update)
  • 17 deaths (9 in Milwaukee compared to 5 in the DHS update)

We will continue to use the DHS data for our updates, but wanted you to be aware of the variation in data and sources.

CARES Act: Coronavirus Relief Fund

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau did an analysis of the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). This provision would appropriate a total of US$150 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments. According to the LFB analysis;

Based on its 2019 population, the state of Wisconsin could receive an estimated US$2,258 million in federal funds. Wisconsin has three units of local government which have populations of greater than 500,000: the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and Dane County. Based on those governments’ share of the total population of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee could receive an estimated US$102.7 million, Milwaukee County could receive an estimated US$164.5 million, and Dane County could receive an estimated US$93.4 million. In total, this amounts to US$360.6 million, or approximately 16% of the state’s total estimated federal aid amount. The rest of the federal funds (US$1,897.4 million) would be available to the state government.

The memo further explains what the likely US$1.9 billion coming to the state of Wisconsin could be used for;

The bill specifies that the funds are only to be used for necessary expenditures incurred in response to the public health emergency, which were not accounted for in the government’s most recent budget, and were incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020.

The memo also noted the LFB is awaiting further guidance on the following questions related to the use of the funds;

The following issues related to the coronavirus relief fund requirements may need further guidance: (a) whether states may use relief fund payments to fill in revenue gaps caused by slowing state revenues as a result of the public health emergency; (b) whether the federal funds will be allowed to be used to reimburse costs incurred in addressing the coronavirus public health emergency that were made after March 1, 2020, but prior to the bill’s enactment; and (c) whether a state can use the funds provided to the state to cover eligible expenditures of local governments that do not exceed 500,000 in population.

Governor Evers and Legislature spar on state response to COVID-19

Throughout the past week there has been a back and forth between Governor Evers’ Administration and the Republican-controlled Legislature. The Governor has urged the Legislature to meet to take action on provisions related to the relief effort and the Republican leadership has pushed back on the Governor’s request, asking the Governor to wait until the CAREs Act was signed into law and there was a clearer picture of the federal resources being provided to the State.

The majority of that back and forth had taken place privately, but a series of those communications were released on Saturday. Summaries of the back and forth can be found here;

Wispolitics.com also posted the communications from Saturday between Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Governor Evers’ chief of staff Maggie Gau;

Below is a summary of the proposed legislation that the Evers Administration had put forward.

In the closing line of their letter to Governor Evers’ the Legislative leaders noted that they look forward in the coming days to negotiating requests that have been made by members of the Legislature and the Governor’s Administration to deal with the crisis, that “that balance the needs of those in our healthcare and public health sectors as well as those who have been severely hurt economically because of the shutdown that you have ordered.”

Links to proposed legislation (via The WheelerReport):

  • LRB-5920 (the package summarized below)
  • LRB-5940 (resolution extending public health emergency indefinitely)
  • Background on the legislative package from Evers Administration

Highlights of Evers Administration Proposed package;

  • Note since this was shared with the Legislative leaders last Monday, the Evers Administration has moved forward with some items via Executive Orders.
  • Reminder these are proposals, and unless enacted via Executive Order, they have not been enacted

Department of Health Services related;

  • US$17 million in flexible grant funds to support local public health agencies
  • Sum sufficient GPR funding for general resources and position authority for the Department of Health Services during public health emergency.
  • US$10 million in staffing for the Division of Public Health
  • Waiving requirement that DHS submit waivers and SPAs to Joint Finance for approval during a public health emergency.
  • Authorizes DHS to suspend compliance with provisions of Medicaid statutes to satisfy criteria to qualify for an increased FMAP.

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance related provisions;

  • Prohibiting coverage discrimination based on COVID-19.
  • Requires that insurers cover all telehealth services that would be covered were the services provided in-person.
  • Prohibiting the cancellation of insurance policies during COVID-19.
  • Mandating coverage for testing, diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and vaccines related to COVID- 19.
  • Prohibiting cost-sharing and prior authorization for testing, diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and vaccines related to COVID-19.
  • Prohibits surprise and balance billing for care related to COVID-19 and out-of-network care that is a result of a preferred provider being unavailable due to the public health emergency.
  • Prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization or imposing a quantity limit on certain prescription drugs during a public health emergency.
  • Liability insurance for certain health care providers temporarily practicing in Wisconsin during a public health emergency. Without statutory changes physicians and nurse anesthetists temporarily practicing in Wisconsin during a public health emergency are at financial risk without the ability to file with the OCI a certificate of insurance for a liability policy.

Department of Safety and Professional Services related provisions;

  • Allow pharmacists to extend most Rx refills by 30 days during a public health emergency, where it is safe to do so.
  • Allow out-of-state health professionals to work in Wisconsin during a public health emergency.
  • Allow temporary credentials for former healthcare providers during a public health emergency.
  • Exempt certain health care provider credentials from renewal deadlines.

Department of Administration related provisions;

  • US$100 million in grants to providers over the biennium. These grants would provide additional resources that are needed on the frontlines of our healthcare facilities to ensure access to critical supplies and equipment and the necessary deployment of certain activities and personnel.
  • US$200 million in additional spending by DOA, at its discretion, to fulfill its responsibility in the facilitation of coordination among governmental bodies, support of emergency operations, facilities and IT costs, and personnel costs directly related to the emergency.
  • Increase the general obligation refunding bond limit by US$725 million to improve the state’s flexibility to achieve savings through refinancing.
  • Authorize the DOA Secretary to transfer state employees among agencies during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Providing the Division of Personnel Management with additional flexibility during the public health emergency.
  • US$20 million in local government assistance
  • US$7.5 million for a 1% increase in County and Municipal aids in 2020

Department of Children and Families related provisions:

  • US$100 million TANF package;
    • Expand WI Shares, the state’s childcare subsidy program, during the public health emergency.
    • Expand the Job Access Loan Program- US$1,600 loans for individuals facing an immediate financial crisis
    • Expand the W-2 program to provide US$653 per month under W-2 for individuals facing an immediate financial crisis.
    • Expand the Emergency Assistance program during the public health emergency to provide up to US$1,200 per month to individuals who suffer an income loss because of COVID-19.
    • Provide short-term cash payments for essential needs during the public health emergency (housing, transportation, medical costs)
    • Cover increased administrative costs
  • US$25 million GPR package;
    • Create a grant program to provide hazard pay to child care providers that remain open
    • Create a grant program to help health care professionals and essential workers to pay for child care during the emergency

Department of Employee Trust Funds related provisions;

  • Allow rehiring of retired annuitants during public health emergency and reinstatement of licensure.

Department of Workforce Development related provisions;

  • Repeal the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance

Department of Public Instruction related provisions;

  • Grant DPI authority to waive state requirements for schools if closed by DHS and waive report card requirements for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Require public school employees continue to be paid at their regular rate if schools are closed by DHS.

Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection related provisions;

  • Enacting a statewide moratorium for residential and commercial evictions

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation related provisions;

  • Retain US$25 million scheduled to lapse to the general fund.

Election related provisions;

  • Suspend voter identification requirements during a public health emergency.
  • Extending electronic voter registration to the same day to request an absentee ballot by mail and providing funding to update the voter registration system.
  • Allowing absentee voting for any election during a public health emergency, requiring the postmark by election date, and waiving the witness requirement.
  • Authorize DOA to print absentee ballots for local governments

Other provisions;

  • Requesting the adoption of a joint resolution by the Legislature extending the public health emergency indefinitely, versus the Governor’s current ability to act under a 60-day limit unless extend by a legislative joint resolution.
  • Waive in-person meeting requirements during a public health emergency
  • Waive all mandated deadlines during a public health emergency

Number of Positive Results by County

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here

Click here for a comprehensive list of State of Wisconsin resources related to the public health emergency.

Stay up-to-date with all of our insights and guidance by visiting our US COVID-19 hub here.

State election and voting changes/updates

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the country, large gatherings and group activities have increasingly been altered, postponed or cancelled altogether. The voting process is no different. After several states delayed primaries, there has been continued preparation for the possibility that the 2020 presidential election season will look vastly different than normal. The Dentons team, along with our Dentons 50 partners, will continue to track elections developments throughout the year. As a primer, below is state by state overview of the next planned election, mail-in voting status and COVID-19 specific updates. Please contact us with any questions.

STATE UPCOMING ELECTIONS AS = As Scheduled PP = Previously Postponed MAIL VOTING STATUS Specific Exception = 1 Time Change No Special Exceptions Yet = Absentee Requirements not Relaxed COVID-19 UPDATES Link to Release/Order Dictating
Election Changes
Alabama July 14, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Merrill Press Release
Alaska August 18, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting DOE Press Release
Arizona August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Hobbs Press Release
Arkansas March 31, 2020 (AS: Primary Runoff) Limited (2x year) Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) SOS Thurston Press Release
California May 12, 2020 (AS: CD 25 Special General; State SD 28 Special General) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Padilla Press Release
Colorado June 30, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOS Griswald Info Center
Connecticut June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Merrill Press Release
Delaware June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) September 15, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SEC Albence Press Release
Florida August 18, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Lee Press Releases
Georgia May 19, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary; AS: Primary Election) July 21, 2020 (AS: Primary RunoffElection) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Raffensperger Press Release
Hawaii August 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOE News Releases
Idaho May 19, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Denny Press Release
Illinois November General Election No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SBE Press Release
Indiana June 2, 2020 (PP: Primary Election) Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Lawson Press Release
Iowa June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Pate Press Release
Kansas August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Schwab Press Release
Kentucky June 23, 2020 (PP: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Adams Press Release
Louisiana June 20, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) July 25, 2020 (PP: Municipal Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Ardoin Press Release
Maine June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Dunlap News Center
Maryland April 28, 2020 (AS: CD7 Special General) June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref.; AS: Primary Election) 4/28: All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) 6/2: No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting BOE Chair Cogan Statement
Massachusetts May 19, 2020 (PP: Senate Specials) June 2, 2020 (PP: House Specials) September 1, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/19 & 6/30: Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) 9/1: Prerequisite Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) SOC Galvin Press Release
Michigan May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Election) August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting (All Mail Pending) SOS Benson Press Release
Minnesota August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting (Changes Pending) SOS Simon Press Release
Mississippi April 21, 2020 (AS: State HD 88 Special Election) June 23, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Watson Press Release
Missouri June 2, 2020 (PP: Municipal Election) August 4, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Ashcroft Press Release
Montana June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Stapleton Update Election Calendar
Nebraska May 12, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Evnan Press Release
Nevada June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) SOS Cegavske Press Release
New Hampshire September 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Gardner Press Releases
New Jersey May 12, 2020 (PP: Municipal & Special Elections) June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/12: All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) 6/2: No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting Gov. Murphy Press Release
New Mexico June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Oliver Press Release
New York June 23, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary; AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
BOE Website
North Carolina June 23, 2020 (PP: CD11 Primary) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting BOE ED Bell Recommendations
North Dakota June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Jaegar Vote Portal
Ohio April 27, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. & Primary Election) All Mail Voting (Specific Exception) SOS Larose Press Release
Oklahoma April 7, 2020 (PP: Local Elections) June 30, 2020: (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting EBS Ziriax Press Release
Oregon May 19, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
All Mail Voting SOS Clarno Press Release
Pennsylvania April 28, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Boockvar Press Release
Rhode Island June 2, 2020 (PP: Pres. Pref. Primary) September 8, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Gorbea Press Release
South Carolina ? May 1, 2020 (PP: Municipal Elections) June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SEC Press Releases
South Dakota June 2, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Barnett Press Release
Tennessee August 6, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
SOS Hargett News
Texas July 14, 2020 (PP: Primary Runoff) Prerequisite Absentee
(No Special Exceptions Yet)
Gov. Abbot Declaration
Utah June 30, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) All Mail Voting (In Person Optional) Gov. Herbert Press Release
Vermont August 11, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Condos Press Release
Virginia May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Elections) June 9, 2020 (AS: Primary Election) 5/5: Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) 9/1: Prerequisite Absentee (No Special Exceptions Yet) DOE Release
Washington August 4, 2020 (Primary Election) All Mail Voting SOS Wyman Press Release
West Virginia April 28, 2020 (AS: Special
Election) – Change Pending
May 12, 2020 (AS: Primary
Election)
Absentee/Mail Voting Permitted (Specific Exception) SOS Warner Press Release
Wisconsin April 7, 2020 (AS: Spring Election) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting ECA Wolfe Press Release
Wyoming May 5, 2020 (AS: Municipal Elections) August 18, 2020 (AS: PrimaryElection) No Excuse Absentee/Mail Voting SOS Buchanan Media Releases

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – March 27, 2020

Arkansas

On the 26th, Governor Hutchinson announced a proposal to protect and support health care professionals, the public, and providers. The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) is submitting a Medicaid Section 1115 Demonstration Project (“waiver”) to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The waiver will provide US$116 million in additional Medicaid funding to support a number of initiatives to protect Arkansas health care workers and their patients and to support health care providers. Out of 335 positive cases, 14 are children, 108 are over 65 years of age, and 213 are between the ages of 19 and 64. 41 people are hospitalized as of Thursday, with 13 on mechanical ventilation.

Colorado

The Governor issued a “Stay at Home Executive Order” as well as an “Amended Public Health Order.”

Connecticut

Executive Order No. 7N enacts the following provisions:

  • Restricts all social and recreational gatherings to no more than five people: The order modifies the governor’s earlier executive order placing limits on the amount of people who can participate in social and recreational gatherings and reduces that number to no more than five people, through at least April 30, 2020 unless otherwise modified. This order includes, but is not limited to, community, civic, leisure, or sporting events; parades; concerns; festivals; plays or live performances; conventions and similar activities; except that religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings will remain subject only to the prohibition of 50 persons or more. This does not apply to government operations, private workplaces, retail establishments, or other activities that are not social or recreational gatherings.
  • Restricts restaurant payment and pickup operations: Where reasonably practicable, the order requires restaurants, eating establishments, and any bars that remain open for sales of food for off-premise consumption to limit entrance of customers or third party delivery personnel into their locations to the minimum extent necessary to pick up and/or pay for orders, use touchless payment systems, and require remote ordering and payment. The order does not require businesses to acquire or use ordering or payment technology that they do not already have, doesn’t prohibit drive-through ordering and pickup, and doesn’t prohibit in-person payment or cash payment where this is no reasonable alternative. Previously issued guidance for hospital and business cafeterias remains in effect.
  • Further restricts retail operations: The order requires all retail establishments that have been allowed to remain open and permit customers inside to take appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure customers maintain six feet of distance between each other and to manage any resulting lines to maintain such distance while people are waiting to enter. It also requires these establishments, where reasonably practical, to employ touchless payment technology if they already have such technology available and the customer has such technology available.
  • Requires firearm transactions to be conducted by appointment only: The order requires all retail businesses that sell firearms, ammunition, and other similar components or supplies to conduct all transactions by appointment only in order to limit person-to-person contact as much as possible, effective immediately. Appointments must be limited in order to allow a six-foot distance between any customers and staff in a store, and only customers conducting such transactions will be allowed in the store.
  • Suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags: The order temporarily suspends certain state statutes in order to suspend any tax on single-use plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses.
  • Prohibits employers from requiring employees to place items in customers’ reusable bags: The order prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.
  • Suspends 21-month limit on Temporary Family Assistance: The order modifies certain statutes and regulations to exclude from the 21-month time limit on receipt of Temporary Family Assistance all months of such assistance received during the public health and civil preparedness emergency. Suspending the time limit for this program will help families get the time and resources they need to get back on their path to self-sufficiency after the emergency is over.
  • Suspends school testing assessments for the 2019-2020 school year: Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major disruption on schools, the order waives all annual student assessment testing requirements for the current school year.

Governor Lamont Submits Request for Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a presidential major disaster declaration resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the State of Connecticut.

The governor is requesting public assistance for all eight of the state’s counties. This includes all four supplemental assistance programs under the Individual Assistance Program, including Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling program, Disaster Case Management, and Disaster Legal Services. Additionally, he is requesting Individuals and Households Program Other Needs Categories of Child Care Assistance and Funeral Assistance.

If the assistance is approved, Connecticut residents may have access to additional resources to support childcare, crisis counseling, and other needs identified as a result of the pandemic.

Governor Lamont Launches Emergency No-Interest Loan Program for Connecticut Small Businesses and Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for one-year, no-interest loans of up to US$75,000 under the launch of a new program administered by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will make US$25 million available to Connecticut businesses and nonprofits that have 100 or fewer employees to assist with cash flow. Loan amounts are up to the lesser of either three months operating expenses and/or US$75,000.

Provisions and eligibility requirements include:

  • Zero percent interest rate;
  • 12-month term with six-month extension per request;
  • Personal guaranty and credit score required;
  • Approval contingent upon business being profitable prior to March 10, 2020 and no adverse personal credit reports 60 days past due for the last 6 months; and
  • Ineligible companies include those involved in real estate, multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, cannabis, and firearms.


All eligibility and application information can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website at ct.gov/coronavirus.

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

As of March 26, 2020, a total of 1012 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Cases have been reported in all 8 Connecticut counties. One hundred and twenty-five patients were hospitalized, and 21 residents have died (13 in Fairfield County, 3 in Tolland County, 2 in Hartford County, 2 in New Haven County, and 1 in Middlesex County).

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 607 49 13
Hartford County 138 27 2
Litchfield County 44 3 0
Middlesex County 18 5 1
New Haven County 156 34 2
New London County 13 2 0
Tolland County 33 5 3
Windham County 3 0 0
Total 1012 125 21

For several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Georgia

March 27, 2020

  • State cases are up to 2,001 at noon today as compared to 1,643 at 7 p.m. Thursday.  We are now up to 64 deaths up from 56 at 7 p.m . Thursday. 566 confirmed patients are hospitalized.  Fulton, Dougherty, DeKalb, Cobb and Bartow Counties have the most cases in Georgia. 
  • The Department’s hot line number is +1 844 442 2681.
  • 12,140 people filed for unemployment benefits between March 15 and 21, up from 5,445 the week before.
  • Speaker Ralston stated this morning on Bill Nigut’s radio show that the Legislature must reconsider the teacher pay raise and income tax cut.
  • State Rep. Matthew Gambill is the first House member to disclose a positive test result for the virus.
  • The State is sending a National Guard medical support team to Phoebe Putney.  Phoebe reported its death toll from the virus is now 16, an increase of four in the past day.  The hospital still has 31 virus patients, and another 95 suspected cases in the hospital waiting for test results.
  • A lawsuit was filed by the Libertarian Party and Green Party requesting the signature requirement to be reduced because of social distancing guidelines.

March 26, 2020

Daily State Public Health stats:

  • State cases are up to 1,525 at noon as compared to 1,387 as of 7 p.m. Wednesday.  We are now up to 48 deaths up from 47 at 7 p.m. Wednesday.  473 confirmed patients are hospitalized.  Fulton, Dougherty, DeKalb, Cobb and Bartow Counties have the most cases in Georgia. 

Townhall – Thursday at 8 p.m. ET

  • The Governor, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Mayor Bottoms and Homer Bryson [State EMA] hosted a one hour townhall on TV at 8p on Thursday.

Testing

  • GA’s public health lab and private companies have processed approximately 6200 kits, compared to more than 10,000 in NC and 11,000 in TN.  5,000 test kits provided by the federal government  kits were recently deployed in Albany and Cherokee County.  The State also received 1,550 kits this week from private suppliers.
  • Phoebe has tested 173 patients with positive results, 12 deaths and 796 people awaiting results.

Confirmed cases

  • Senator Lester Jackson of Savannah has become the 5th State Senator to test positive for the virus.
  • Roughly one-third of Georgia’s confirmed COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

Fraud and legal malpractice

  • Appellate Judge Christian Coomer being is accused of fraud and legal malpractice. See details here.

Traffic impact

  • Per GDOT, statewide interstate traffic is down 22 percent, freight traffic up 5 percent, morning interstate rush hour down 47 percent.

Schools

  • Governor Kemp has issued a new Order closing K-12 through April 24 [previously it was through March 31].

Georgia Primary

  • Speaker Ralston wants the GA Primary to be delayed until at least June 23.

Labor Commissioner

  • The Governor signed an Executive Order today permitting Labor Commissioner to issue two new emergency rules.  The first extends unemployment from 14 to 26 weeks.  The second rule permit an individual to seek part-time employment and make up to $300 a week and still claim full unemployment benefits.

Local:

City of Atlanta

  • Mayor Bottoms launched a text service for up to date info and resources.  Just text ATLCOVID19 to 888777.

Cobb County

  • Cobb County Chairman Mike Boyce signed an Emergency Order allowing Sterigenics to temporarily resume operations.

Dobbins

  • All Grand Princess cruise ship passengers who were quarantined at Dobbins have left. Seven of them are still at the former Radisson Hotel.

Kansas

Please see a report from today’s Legislative Coordinating Council meeting. The Council reviewed two recent Executive Orders issued by the Governor. Links to the Orders are included in the report below.

Introduction.  The Legislative Coordinating Council met on 3/24/2020 at 2:00 PM to review, discuss and take possible action relating to issues addressed in the Governor’s Executive Orders 20-14 and 20-15 and any other Executive Orders issued after this agenda was posted pursuant to House Concurrent Resolution No. 5025.

Attendees: Representatives Ryckman, Hawkins, Finch and Sawyer and Senators Wagle, Denning and Hensley.

  • Tom Day, Director of Legislative Administrative Services
    • HCR 5025 available on website and EO 20-14 and 20-15 available on gov.ks.gov. No one in attendance but available to listen via livestream.  Agenda available prior to meeting on website. Documents will be available on website after the meeting. There are nine in the room and following section 2a of E.O. 20-14. Individuals will speak name before speaking to identify them self, including votes.  No public comments. LLC cannot recess to a closed or private room.  Motions will be clearly stated, and votes announced. Chairperson can sign and documents on behalf of LLC.

Review, discussion and possible action relating to issues addressed in the Governor’s Executive Orders:

Executive Order 20-14 Temporarily prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more people to limit the spread of COVID-19 and rescinding Executive Order 20-04

  • Jill Wolters, First Assistant Revisor of Statutes, Revisors Office
    • Effective at 12:01 p.m. March 25, 2020, all public or private mass gatherings, as defined below, are prohibited in Kansas.
      • The phrase “mass gathering” as used in this order means any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that brings together 10 or more people in a confined space at the same time.
      •   The prohibition includes, but is not limited to, mass gatherings at: auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers and licensed pools.
    • The following activities or facilities are exempt from the prohibition of this order:
      • Meetings or proceedings of the Kansas Senate or Kansas House of Representatives and their legislative committees;
      • Operations or facilities of the US Government.
      • Religious gatherings, as long as attendees can engage in appropriate social distancing.
      • Funerals or memorial services or ceremonies, as long as attendees can engage in appropriate social distancing;
      • Airports;
      • Public, private, or charter schools for instructional purposes, for non-instructional purposes – such as medication pickup, childcare services, providing meals and when operating polling places;
      •  Childcare locations, residential care centers and group homes;
      • Hotels and motels, as long as restaurant and bar guidelines, listed below in subparagraph t, are followed;
      • Military and National Guard facilities;
      • Law enforcement, jail, or correctional facilities.
      • Any facility being used as part of a government or community response to a natural disaster;
      • Food pantries and shelter facilities, including day centers for individuals and families;
      • Detoxification centers;
      • Apartment or other multi-family residential buildings, except the prohibitions of paragraph 1.
      • Shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are not within arm’s length of one another for more than 10 minutes;
      • Hospitals, medical facilities and pharmacies;
      • Long-term care and assisted living facilities, as long as the facility follows all current Dept. of Health Services Recommendations for Prevention of COVID-19;
      • Libraries;
      • Senior Centers, but only for the service of meals and follow these 2 requirements:
        • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools and ordering counter; and
        • Cease self-service of unpackaged foods
      • Restaurants and bars, but only if the requirements listed below are followed:
        • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools and ordering counter; and
        • Cease self-service of unpackaged foods
      • Retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets) as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
        • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools and ordering counter; and
        • Cease self-service of unpackaged foods
      • Office spaces and government service centers;
      • Manufacturing, processing distribution and production facilities;
      • Public transportation;
      • Utility facilities;
      • Job centers; and
      • Facilities operated by state or municipal courts.
    • All public gatherings that bring together or likely to bring together fewer than 10 people in a single room or confined space at the same time should:
      • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between people; and
      • Follow all other public health recommendations issued by the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment and all county and municipal health codes.
    • The order supersedes any less restrictive order by any health department and should read in conjunction with previous order responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any less restrictive provision in previous executive orders is superseded by this order. Local “stay home” orders that are more restrictive, E.O. 20-07 and E.O. 20-15, and other restrictive local or executive orders are not affected by this order.
    • E.O. 20-024 is rescinded.

Questions/Discussion:

Sen. Wagle: Is anyone from Governor office in the room?

                Rep. Ryckman: Yes, discussed family gatherings and a clarification will be sent out on how this applies.

Executive Order 20-15 Establishing the Kansas Essential Function Framework for COVID-19 response efforts.

  • Jill Wolters, First Assistant Revisor of Statutes, Revisors Office
    • This order supersedes and overrides the provisions of any local “stay home” or similar order that fails to exempt the Kansas Essential Functions Framework (KEFF) essential functions listed in paragraph 11.
    • This order should be read in conjunction with previous executive orders responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any contrary provision in previous E.O.s is superseded by this order.
    • All local “stay home” or similar orders prohibiting citizens from leaving their homes in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 must follow the KEPP established in this order and explained below. No such order may require enforcement by state authorities.
    • KEFF is a framework for identifying and continuing essential functions that must remain operation during a local “stay home” order to maintain critical services and infrastructure during the COVID_19 pandemic. The goal of KEFF is to provide for the continuation of essential functions while allowing local authorities to limit sustained personal interactions as necessary to protect the public health and safety.
    • KEFF was developed with reference to national critical function guidelines established for pandemic and other disaster response efforts.
    • KEFF focuses on four functional areas: Connect, Distribute, Manage, and Supply. KEFF organizes each area into a taxonomy so that each function can be easily referenced but also expanded when more detail is desired by the implementing governing body.
      • This order does not prevent a local issuing authority from adding essential functions or specific subcategories appropriate for its jurisdiction to the KEFF essential functions listed in paragraph 11.
    • Local authorities issuing “stay home” orders should distribute the KEFF framework to companies and other organizations in their jurisdiction.
    • A company or other organization in a jurisdiction subject to a “stay home” order that may qualify under one of the essential functions listed in paragraph 11 should contact the local issuing authority and request an exemption from restrictions of the local order for its personnel. Exemptions for essential functions listed in paragraph 11 must be granted as directed under paragraph 11 must be granted as directed under paragraph 11. If the exemption is granted, the company or other organization may continue the essential functions so exempted.
    • In its request, the company or organization should identify by number the categories of essential functions it performs and provide any brief necessary explanation to establish that it performs those functions.
    • The local issuing authority should quickly determine which, if any, functions of the requesting company or organization are exempt from the local order and inform the requesting company or other organization of the determination.
    • Local issuing authorities must grant – and do not have the discretion to deny – exemptions from the restrictions of any local “stay home” order to requesting companies or other organizations for the performance of the following essential functions:
  • The KEFF list of businesses and organizations can be reviewed below paragraph 11 in E.O. 20- 15.

Questions/Discussion:

  • Sen. Denning: When reading the document saw production and delivery of electricity was listed but didn’t see reference to natural gas. Can we get clarification? Accounting, Janitorial, employee benefits, are they included in the codes. Please clarify that those are included.
    • Will Lawrence, Governor’s Chief of Staff.  Those items job descriptions fall under those included. Drafting a document to clarify. This is for counties to have consistency in defining “stay home” orders across the state.

Adjourned

Minnesota

Walz Administration Updates

This afternoon, Governor Walz issued an order most Minnesotans have been expecting for days. Effective Friday, March 27th at 11:59 pm, Minnesota residents are ordered to “Stay at Home” until Friday, April 10th at 5 pm. The Executive Order 20-20 provides exemptions for Critical Sectors, as defined in the US Department of Homeland Security CISA Guidance and a number of additional categories. Attached is the Order 20-20 along with a document provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which lists Critical Industries by NAICS Code. Order 20-20 provides exemptions for the following activities: Relocation to ensure safety, Health and safety activities, Outdoor activities, Necessary supplies and services, Essential intra and inter state travel, care of others and displacement.

The following webpage has been created by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to assist employers and employees in determining whether their business or job is an essential service. The website also provides a process for businesses to request an exemption to the Governor’s order.

DEED Critical Industry

The most important take away from today’s announcement – if you can continue your business operations remotely, you can keep your business open. If you need help trying to navigate the Governor’s Order, or the process for requesting an exemption please let me know.

The Governor also announced he has amended two previous executive orders. Executive Order 20-18, amends the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04 and extends the closing of bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment facilities until 5 pm on May 1st. Executive Order 20-19, amends the Governor’s Executive Order 20-01, and extends school closings until May 4th. This order also directs all schools to begin implementing “distance learning”.

Other items of interest announced during the Governor’s now daily 2pm press event

  • Unemployment claims now exceed 164,000, women have been dis-proportionally impacted according to a DEED analysis of the filings.
  • 287 confirmed cases, 26 hospitalizations and 1 death. 6,365 tests have been conducted.
  • A violation of the “Stay at Home” order is punishable by a US$1,000 fine or imprisonment of not more than 90 days.

Legislative Updates

On Thursday, the Minnesota Legislature will return to St. Paul for a brief session. The House is set to start at noon and the Senate plans to start at 2 pm. House and Senate Committees have been holding informal working group meetings for the past week. Issue area leads and Committee Chairs have been limiting participation in the discussions to keep from triggering Minnesota’s open meeting laws. The discussions have been conducted by conference calls and Zoom. After substantial backlash from Minnesota reporters, the House released the following webpage with details regarding legislative activity during the recess.

Minnesota House COVID-19 Updates

House and Senate Leadership have promised to post the COVID-19 bill scheduled for Thursday’s debate once it is finalized. Leadership is also working on plans for managing the floor sessions, while also recognizing the Minnesota Department of Health’s social distancing guidelines. The House has announced there will be no public access to the second floor of the Capitol during the session. Reporter access will also be limited, and there are no plans for the Legislature to hold any hearings on what is projected to be a massive piece of legislation with a price tag that may near US$350 million.

The House and Senate Sessions will be available online at the following links.

House Floor Session

Senate Floor Session

These are challenging times for all us, we are trying our best to keep everyone updated in an environment that changes numerous times each and every day. We are also working to separate rumor from fact and get you the most complete picture of every announcement. If you have unique questions, want more information regarding anything taking place in St. Paul or across Minnesota, please let me know.  

Missouri

When we wrote this report one week ago Missouri had 24 cases of the Coronavirus and one death. We now have 504 cases and 8 deaths. The pandemic escalated quickly and so has the government response.

One Missouri legislator, Rep. Joe Runions, and one employee of the Department of Economic Development have contracted the virus. All state office buildings, including the Capitol, are closed to the public through, at least, April 6. 

Stay at Home Orders 

Governor Parson has thus far resisted requests, including one from the Missouri state Medical Association, to issue a statewide Stay at Home order. He has banned gatherings of more than 10 people and directed bars and restaurants to limit service to delivery and pickup orders. 

Every Stay at Home order that we have seen has used the US Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response as the core of their list of businesses and workers deemed essential, with some variations. 

The following Missouri cities and counties have issued their own Stay at Home orders. You can find links to each of their individual orders here.

  • Cities: Branson, Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, St. Louis City 
  • Counties: Boone, Cass, Clay, Cole, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Platte, Randolph, Ray, St. Louis 

We are aware of instances in both St. Louis and Springfield where drivers have been pulled over by the police and asked to show documentation that they had been deemed an essential worker. Employees travelling in the jurisdictions listed above should be equipped with this documentation. 

Other Actions 

Governor Parson requested a federal disaster declaration in Missouri to help respond to the pandemic. The Governor is requesting assistance from two FEMA programs: Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling and the Public Assistance Program. The first would help newly unemployed individuals; the second would assist local governments and nonprofit agencies responding to the pandemic. 

Governor Parson granted until July 15 to pay income taxes and file tax returns, including estimated payments for this year, without penalty. 

The Missouri Supreme Court suspended all in-person proceedings in appellate and circuit courts through April 17. This includes all associate, family, juvenile, municipal, and probate divisions. 

Missouri State Budget

The second half of the 2020 legislative session will not at all resemble the usual flurry of activity that leads to the passage of 180-200 bills. The General Assembly will use whatever time they have remaining before their May 15 adjournment to address three priorities: the FY2020 supplemental budget, the extension of the FRA tax, and the FY2021 budget. There is also a possibility that a legislative relief effort may be drafted to address the health and economic impact of the pandemic. 

FY2020 Supplemental Budget 

A supplemental budget bill is passed nearly every year to allow the legislature and Governor to work together to address unforeseen issues in the current year’s operating budget. Given the current economic situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the General Assembly gives the governor the authority to spend federal aid that is on its way from Congress, is critical and must be done in the supplemental budget. Although a date has not been set for the House and Senate to return to work on the supplemental budget, a decision is expected early next week on a return date.

FY2021 Operating Budget 

As was reported last week, the Missouri House of Representatives did not give final approval to its version of the Fiscal Year 2021 state operating budget. It remains unclear when the House will come back to complete its work on the operating budget. The Constitutional deadline for finishing the FY21 budget is May 8. However, Fiscal Year 2020 does not end until June 30th. Therefore, if the legislature is unable to finish its work on the FY21 budget, a special session could be called for May/June to complete that budget. 

The CARES Act 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, HR 748) was passed by the Senate late on Wednesday night and has been delivered to the House for action on Friday. A copy of the CARES Act, HR 748, may be found here

Bill Passage 

Speaker Pelosi will not attempt passage by unanimous consent but has provided assurance that members want to return to the House for debate and vote. The bill is expected to pass, and the President has already indicated his willingness to sign it as early as this weekend. The US$2 trillion bill is considered “Phase 3” of Congressional action taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic. An additional US$4 trillion in authority was provided to the Federal Reserve to further enhance their ability to ensure liquidity and credit in the markets laying the groundwork for a quick recovery at the point the virus is defeated. 

Strategy  

The approach to the package includes a combination of tactics: increasing appropriations to existing federal programs while loosening any existing program restrictions that would act as a barrier to efficient use to address COVID-19 impacts; creating new programs and direct payments to get money into the hands of businesses and families as quickly as possible to address the abrupt income losses; and supplementing amounts previously provided under the Phase 1 and 2 coronavirus response bills to address more updated information.  

Bill Structure and Content 

The bill is divided into two Divisions: Division A – Keeping Workers Paid and Employed, Health Care System Enhancements, and Economic Stabilization and Division B – Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations. Division A is organized by Sections that include: Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act; Assistance for American Workers, Families and Businesses; Supporting America’s Health Care System in the Fight Against the Coronavirus; Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the United States Economy; Coronavirus Relief Funds, and Miscellaneous Provisions. 

Appropriations 

A breakdown of the appropriations by Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee may be found here.  

A breakdown of appropriations by familiar federal program may be found here.

The main highlights of those appropriations can be grouped by activity: 

  •  US$117 billion for Hospitals and Veterans Health Care 
  •  US$45 billion for the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund 
  •  US$16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile 
  •  US$4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control 
  •  US$11 billion for Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics and other Medical Needs 

The staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee reports a significant portion of the emergency supplemental goes to state and local governments for administration to their communities. 

Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act 

This section of the bill approaches the desire to keeping employees on the job and paid in a variety of ways by creating and expanding loans, loan guarantees, loan subsidies grants, secondary market guarantee sales and existing debt relief for a variety of eligible employers who agree to keep their employees on the payroll. The main vehicle for the new Paycheck Protection Program and the other tools identified in this section of the bill is the SBA and their 800+ certified lenders. The traditional eligibility factors and the eligibility criteria and processing are relaxed. The bill also authorizes the SBA to support the infrastructure of their resource partners, the Small Business (Technology) Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers to expand their training, technical assistance and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses. It expands the eligibility for entities applying under the SBA Economic Injury Loans and amends criteria under the Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcy laws. 

A more detailed description of the content for the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act may be found here. 

Assistance for American Workers, Families, and Businesses 

This section of the bill addresses unemployment assistance for displaced workers including those not typically covered by unemployment insurance (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history and others) who are unable to work because of the coronavirus. The bill provides an emergency increase in unemployment benefits and provides temporary full funding allotment to cover the first week for states who choose to implement this provision. The provisions allow for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation through December 31, 2020 for those who remain unemployed after the state benefits are no longer available. The section also provides for “short-term compensation programs” directed at the employer and the state. 

The assistance also addresses rebates for individuals and families with adjusted gross incomes up to US$75,000 (US$150,000 married) with payments up to US$1200 per adult and an additional US$500 per child. This applies to persons with zero income and who may receive other means tested support from the federal government. 

The bill addresses provisions for retirement funds, required minimum distributions, charitable contributions, and certain employer payments of student loans. 

Support directed at businesses include employee retention credits, delay of payment of payroll taxes, treatment of operating losses, business interest, qualified improvement property, and a temporary exemption from excise tax for alcohol produced for hand sanitizer. 

A more detailed description of the content for the Assistance for American Workers, Families and Businesses may be found here. 

Supporting America’s Health Care System in the Fight Against Coronavirus 

This section of the bill addresses the supply chain and national stockpile for medical supplies and reiterates the treatment of respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures.  

The section requires the FDA to expedite the review of drug applications and to address measures to prevent drug and medical device shortages.  

The section also defines eligibility and access to health care for COVID-19 patients as well as the coverage of testing for the virus.  

Support directed at health care providers covers supplemental financing, telehealth and technologies, rural healthcare services, and assures liability protection for volunteers. And innovations in health are also supported through assistance with research and development and manufacturing scale-up. 

Education provisions are also covered in this section including campus-based aid waivers, allowance for the continued payments under work-study and a variety of waivers and allowances for students and student loans. 

Labor provisions include limitations on paid leave and paid sick leave among other waivers and finance provisions address health savings accounts, prescription medication, Medicare and Medicaid rules and allowances. 

Health and Human Services are addressed through new TANF extensions. 

A more detailed description of the content for the Supporting America’s Health Care System in the Fight Against Coronavirus may be found here. 

Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the United States Economy 

This section of the bill focuses on the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve’s loans, loan guarantees and investments to eligible businesses, states and municipalities and directs certain opportunities to hard hit industries such as passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers and businesses important to maintaining national security. The opportunities include limitations on employee compensation, conflict of interest, continued operations, and establishes an oversight board. 

The section also addresses expanding liquidity in credit unions and banks, and temporary relief for troubled debt restructuring. It includes prohibitions of mortgage foreclosures for a period of time on all federally backed mortgage loans and addresses the forbearance of residential mortgage loan payments for multifamily properties with federally backed loans as well as temporary moratoriums on eviction filings. 

Aviation employees are addressed with a relief package dedicated to their salaries, wages and benefits for passenger carriers, cargo carriers and airline contractors. 

The Coronavirus Relief Fund provides US$150 billion to states, territories and tribal governments to use for expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency in the face of revenue declines to be allocated by population proportions with a minimum of US$1.25 billion for states with relatively small populations.

A more detailed description of the content for the Supporting America’s Health Care System in the Fight Against Coronavirus may be found here. 

Montana

Gov. Bullock issued a “stay at home” directive late yesterday. View here.

Oregon

State Updates:

  • Recommendations from JSCCVR: The co-chairs of the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response have sent their list of recommendations to Legislative leadership. We’ll be providing a deeper overview tomorrow, however the proposals fall into these main buckets:
  • Housing and shelter: ban on residential evictions, increase in rent and mortgage assistance, increase homeless shelter beds 
  • Food and community benefit: SNAP, WIC, TANF, food bank investments
  • Family support: expanded access to sick child leave  
  • Health care access: protections from out-of-network charges, expanding network capacity
  • Short term employer support: ban on commercial evictions and foreclosures, increased funding for business grants and low-interest loans
  • Courts: Provide greater flexibility to Oregon Chief Justice on statutory timelines 

The co-chairs also alluded to additional proposals they may act on in the future after federal legislation is fully implemented or after further policy development has occurred.

  • Special session: No word yet on the special session that seems likely to be scheduled for next week. Stay tuned! 
  • Oregon Growth Board/CDFI Stabilization: The Oregon Growth Board met today to discuss stabilization of Community Financial Development Institutions (CDFI) and took the following actions:
  • Made policy change to the Investment Policy Statement that allows the Oregon Growth Board to award grants
  • Forgave outstanding Oregon Growth Fund loans or convert loans to grants. MESO ( US$125,000); Community Lending Work ( US$250,000); & Craft3 ( US$225,000) 
  • Awarded grant amount of US$700,000 to the Oregon Community Foundation Small Business Stabilization Fund targeted at deploying capital to CDFI 

Local Updates: 

  • Portland City Council work sessions postponed indefinitely: City of Portland budget work sessions have been cancelled and are unlikely to be rescheduled. In lieu of budget work sessions, bureau budget presentations are available online.
  • Portland budget town halls likely cancelled: Similarly, it is unlikely the public town halls on the City of Portland budget will proceed in April and it is unlikely that the Spring Budget Monitoring Process (BMP) or the over-expenditure ordinance will proceed as normal. The City is exploring using virtual sessions to fulfill requirements for a hearing of the Mayor’s proposed budget in May and possibly budget adoption. The City Budget Office is asking for the community to weigh in on the bureau requested budgets through an online form. Submitted comments are provided to Council offices weekly. 
  • Small business relief: In addition to the US$1 million allocation from General Fund contingency to the Small Business Relief Fund yesterday, Prosper Portland has matched an additional US$1 million of their existing resources for business relief in the form of grants and loans (link to Prosper Portland below) for quick disbursal.

COVID-19 Update: 

  • We now have 316 confirmed cases in Oregon as of 8 a.m. today (up from 266 yesterday), and 11 deaths.
  • A surge of testing should be happening in the next week, as 4,000 testing swabs have just been delivered to the state by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, reported by OPB.

Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits 

Small Business 

  • The Oregon Community Recovery Fund was launched yesterday by the Oregon Community Foundation with a focus on providing funds for: 
  • Addressing the increased need for childcare during school and day care closures 
  • Support for hard hit small businesses 
  • Addressing social isolation of seniors and others during social distancing 
  • Providing educational opportunities for kids out of school 
  • Access to the internet for people who do not have it, but need to work from home 

CARES Act 

General Resources 

Tennessee

The following items are in regard to the State of Tennessee’s response to COVID-19. The total number of positive cases in the state stands at 784 with the majority in Davidson County (Nashville-188) and Shelby County (Memphis-117). There are 3 confirmed deaths in the state.

Health Response

As of today, the CDC has pledged US$10 million for Tennessee’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Tennessee has purchased additional testing capacity and supplies per guidance from the CDC.

On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee extended his recommended school closure period to April 24. Additionally, 23,000 state workers who have been working from home have been instructed to keep doing so until April 24. They had previously been scheduled to return to work at the end of the month.

The governor has mobilized the National Guard to assist with the state’s pandemic response. Lee said 250 guard members have been called up, including 150 who are medically trained. They will be assigned to assist with 35 remote assessment sights around the state as the virus spreads to more rural counties.

Economic Response

On Tuesday, the Governor also announced that the state’s deadline for filing corporate franchise and excise taxes will be extended from April to July 15.

The Department of Human Services has deployed the US$10 million emergency response and recovery grants for existing child care facilities. A church, gym, or non-profit can open an emergency temporary child care facility by registering with the Department of Human Services. Additional information can be found here. Gov. Lee has directed the Department of Human Services to personally reach out to each existing child care facility in the state to help organizations secure supplies.

Unemployment Information from the TN Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development:

For Employers

For Workers

Cities’ Response

Metro Nashville has closed portions of public parks, including playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and dog parks. Parks, greenways, trails and golf courses will remain open, however social distancing is expected and required.

Metro Nashville Public Health Department officials today also launched a COVID-19 telephone hotline with nurses and other public health professionals available to answer questions, provide the latest information about COVID-19, and assist Davidson County residents with the assessment process. The hotline can be reached by dialing 615-862-7777, and will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

In Memphis, officials noted today that while there is no curfew, the “Safer at Home” order is legally enforceable, and that they will take every measure available to enforce it. This includes possibly issuing misdemeanor citations, revoking beer permits, and closures of businesses under nuisance abatement ordinances.

Texas

At a news conference today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made two new announcements regarding COVID-19 today. There is No Change in Gov Abbott’s March 19 statewide COVID order, which closed schools, gyms, bars and restaurants.

Gov. Greg Abbott began his briefing by updating the state on testing. As of today, Texas has 21,424 tests. Less than 10 percent of the people tested for COVID-19 test positive. COVID 19 has now been identified in 92 of Texas’s 254 counties. Texas has 1,396 cases reported and 18 deaths to date.

Today’s New Order (attached): Executive Order Mandating 14-Day Quarantine For Travelers Arriving From New York Tri-State Area, New Orleans

Executive Order mandating a self-quarantine of 14 days for individuals traveling to Texas as their final destination through an airport from the Tri-State Area of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut as well as the city of New Orleans, Louisiana.

This Executive Order is consistent with the guidance of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). During this period, a quarantined person shall not allow visitors into or out of the designated quarantine location, other than a physician or healthcare provider, and cannot visit any public spaces.

Mandatory self-quarantines will last a period of 14 days or for the duration of a person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. Those entering Texas as their final destination from the designated areas will use a form from DPS to designate their quarantine location. DPS special agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance. Failure to comply with this order is considered a criminal offense that is punishable by up to a US$1,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Item #2: Governor Abbott Announces HHSC Request Of 1135 Medicaid Waiver

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has submitted a Section 1135 Medicaid Waiver to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). If approved, this would grant Texas flexibility in administering Medicaid while the state continues to respond to COVID-19. 

If approved, the federal flexibilities would include:

  • Temporarily extending existing prior authorizations for services so that Texans can get the care they need without delay.
  • Extending deadlines for state fair hearings and appeals.
  • Allowing services to be performed by telehealth, telemedicine, or telephonic contact.
  • Extending current medical necessity, service authorizations, and level of care authorizations for Medicaid programs.
  • Allowing the state to waive any requirements that require the signature of a physician, durable medical equipment provider, or Medicaid recipient.
  • Streamlining provider enrollment for out-of-state and new providers to increase the number of providers in Texas, which will ensure continued access to care.
  • Waiving requirements that health care professionals be licensed in the state in which they are providing services, so long as they have equivalent licensing in another state.

HHSC will also be seeking additional regulatory flexibilities through the Section 1135 Medicaid waiver related to federal requirements for long-term care providers, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based services programs, and hospitals.

If granted, this Section 1135 Medicaid waiver flexibilities would remain in place for as long as necessary during the public health emergency.

Also today, the Public Utility Commission of Texas approved a series of measures intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 hardships on power, water and sewer customers across the state (attached). The 3 PUCT Commissioners voted unanimously to issue orders which will temporarily suspend a series of rules pertaining to the provisions for utility industry participants to disconnect service for non-payment.

They also created the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, a funding mechanism through which Retail Electric Providers (REPs) may recover a reasonable portion of the cost of providing those uninterrupted services to customers facing financial hardship. REPs in the ERCOT market must suspend late fees and offer deferred payment plans to residential customers in danger of disconnection.

Customers at risk of disconnection because of COVID-19-related unemployment should first contact their Retail Electric Provider to request a deferred payment plan. Information will be forthcoming on how to enroll in the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program under which service disconnections can suspended for up to six months.

REPs who forego disconnecting customers certified as experiencing COVID19-related hardship will be empowered to request reimbursement from the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, which will be funded by the proceeds of a 33 cent per megawatt hour charge billed monthly by Transmission and Distribution Utilities. (For a Texas household that typically uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, the charge on their bill would be an additional 33 cents.)

In addition, Texas water and sewer utilities and integrated electric utilities outside of the ERCOT market (specifically Entergy, El Paso Electric, SPS and SWEPCO) whose rates are set by the PUC, may not charge late fees or disconnect customers for non-payment during the emergency.

Vermont

Click here for Vermont COVID-19 response update.

Click here to view Addendum 6 to Executive Order 01-20.

Virginia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered all K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year and mandated indoor recreation and entertainment businesses close through April 23 as part of a sweeping effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth.

The measures, announced Monday, March 23, as part of Executive Order No. 53, build upon previous efforts to ban public gatherings of 10 or more people, shut down Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices and suspend visitation at state correctional facilities. Restaurants, farmer’s markets, wineries and breweries were ordered to close to the public, effective at the end of Tuesday, March 24, but may continue to serve patrons via take-out or delivery, according to the executive order.

As of Thursday, March 26, the state Department of Health reported 460 cases of COVID-19, with 65 resulting in hospitalization and 13 deaths. The state confirmed 6,189 had been tested.

The first case of COVID-19 in Virginia was reported on March 7; Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on March 12. Public K-12 schools have been closed since March 16, and nearly every college and university in Virginia has sent students home, closed campus buildings and transitioned to online learning for the rest of the spring semester. Spring sports seasons and commencement exercises have been canceled.

Economic impacts associated with closures and cancellations are just beginning to be calculated but in some instances have been described as catastrophic. Last week, Northam announced an expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits and opened access to federal disaster loans for small businesses.

The governor’s administration also released a FAQ guide regarding Executive Order No. 53 but said additional guidance would be forthcoming.

Wisconsin

On Thursday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 707 in Wisconsin, up from 583 in Wednesday’s update.
  • 11,583 negative test results (10,089 were reported on Wednesday).
  • 8 patients have died in Wisconsin (up 2 from Wednesday)

A new county by county map break down is at the end of this update as well as timeline of positive and negative test results.

Source: DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page

DHS Hosts Facebook Live to Answer Questions related to Safer At Home

Link to Facebook video; https://www.facebook.com/DHSWI/videos/1412848268876513/

Secretary Palm started the Facebook Live session updating on the current number of positive and negative test results in Wisconsin, and the number of deaths. Palm noted that modelling by DHS experts, based on data from what has been seen globally, suggests that if Wisconsin continues on its current path, without implementing the Governor’s “Safer at Home” order, we would likely see 22,000 Wisconsinites infected by April 8th, which could result in 440 to 1,550 deaths. Palm noted that staying at home is the best tool we have to prevent the spread of the virus, protect health care workers and ensure that the health care system capacity is not overwhelmed.

Through the course of the conversation Sec. Palm and Dr. Westergaard answered several questions regarding the Stay at Home Order. Answers to the majority of the questions raised could be found on the Governor’s Office Safer at Home FAQs page.

WMC Releases COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Agenda

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) released its COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Agenda on Thursday “aimed at providing economic assistance to those in need; a reprieve of costly and burdensome regulations on businesses stepping up during this public health emergency; and getting people back to work quickly following this crisis.”

Here is a brief summary of WMC’s agenda from their press release:

  • Provide liquidity for businesses through tax credits and payment deferments
  • Enact liability protections to allow businesses to safeguard employees and other essential visitors at their facilities
  • Temporarily pause Dept. of Revenue audits that are incredibly disruptive to business operations
  • Prohibit unemployment benefit withdrawals from counting against an employer’s experience rating
  • Prioritize COVID-19 testing for employees working in essential industries like health care, manufacturing and energy
  • Provide families with financial assistance through tax credits and unemployment insurance waivers
  • Provide families with increased flexibility for tax payments
  • Provide flexibility for employees by temporarily waiving continuing education requirements

The full Relief & Recovery Agenda can be viewed by clicking here.

DWD: Employers Providing Essential Services Need Workers

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has created a webpage to connect job seekers to the in-demand jobs posted on JobCenterofWisconsin.com. These jobs include healthcare occupations like registered nurse and pharmacist, but also transportation and material moving occupations, such as laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, and light truck or delivery service drivers who help transport supplies, food, and other products that still need to be delivered to grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitals.

Wisconsinjobcenter.org/lookforjobs/in-demand.htm  to connect to in-demand jobs in Wisconsin.

Employers looking to connect with job seekers can post positions for free on JobCenterof Wisconsin.com, Wisconsin’s free online job search tool.

Number of Positive Results by County

We are transitioning from the use of tables to graphics. If you need the data in tables, please let us know.

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

  • Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here
  • COVID-19 State of Wisconsin Resources here

Stay up-to-date with all of our insights and guidance by visiting our US COVID-19 hub here.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – March 25, 2020

Connecticut

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 203 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 618. To date, more than 5,300 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 71 people have been hospitalized and there have been another two fatalities, bringing the total number of fatalities due to complications of COVID-19 to 12.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 384 23 7
Hartford County 88 17 2
Litchfield County 22 3 0
Middlesex County 8 4 0
New Haven County 89 19 0
New London County 6 1 0
Tolland County 19 4 3
Windham County 2 0 0
Total 618 71 12

For several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups, click here.

Governor Lamont signs thirteenth executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the thirteenth since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7L enacts the following provisions:

  • Extends the cancellation of classes at public schools statewide through at least April 20: To promote and secure the safety and protection of children in schools related to the risks of COVID-19, the order extends the cancelation of classes at all public schools statewide through April 20, 2020. The governor notes that this date could possibly be extended further. Private schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
  • Orders the early opening of the fishing season, effective immediately
  • Suspends restrictions on the re-employment of retired municipal employees: To enable municipalities to meet critical staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training, the order modifies state statutes to allow certain retired employees who are in the municipal retirement system to work without any hourly or durational limitation while also continuing to receive retirement allowances.
  • Exacts flexibility to maintain adequate medical marijuana access for patients: The order modifies the state’s medical marijuana program to improve patient access and address staffing shortages in facilities. This includes permitting patients to be certified via telehealth; extending expiration dates for patient and caregiver registrations; allowing dispensary facility staff to move work locations among facilities and, with approval of the state, make adjustments to staffing ratios; and waiving the fee normally charged if someone loses or misplaces their registration certificate.
  • Extends the time period for nursing home transfers: The order extends the time allowed for an applicant to transfer from a nursing home where they were temporarily placed after their nursing home closed from sixty days after their arrival at the new facility to “not later than one year following the date that such applicant was transferred from the nursing home where he or she previously resided.”
  • Enacts flexibility in availability and registration of vital records: The order authorizes the Commissioner of Public Health to conduct birth, death and marriage registration, in order to assist local registrars of vital statistics in carrying out their duties as may be required, and to issue any implementing orders she deems necessary.
  • Suspends in-person purchase of copies of vital records at the Department of Public Health: The order suspends the requirement that the purchase of vital records at the Department of Public Health be available in person, and limits those requests to online or mail.
  • Modifies the requirement that marriage licenses be obtained in the town where the marriage will be celebrated: As municipal offices around the state are closed or have selective hours due to the COVID-19 crisis, the order permits those seeking a marriage license to obtain it in a different municipality than where it will be celebrated.

Insurance Department calls on insurers to extend a grace period for premium payments during the COVID-19 crisis

Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Andrew N. Mais today sent a bulletin to every insurance company in the state calling on them to immediately institute a grace period for insurance premium payments in light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioner is requesting that all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies that offer any insurance coverage in Connecticut – including life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance – to immediately provide customers with a 60-day grace period without interest or penalty to pay their insurance premiums.

For more information, see the press release CID issued today.

Georgia

  • The Governor, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Mayor Bottoms and Homer Bryson [State EMA] will host a one hour townhall on TV at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
  • Through Tuesday, Georgia teacher pension system, which sends checks to 133,000 retired educators each month, has lost $15 billion in the wake of the stock market crash caused by the virus.
  • The power point Dr. del Rio shared with GMA etc. on Monday can be found at here.
  • Governor Kemp is nearing a decision on how long to extend an order closing schools to curb the spread of coronavirus, with less than a week to go on his mandate that Georgia’s public schools and colleges should be shuttered until March 31.

Daily State Public Health stats:

  • State cases are up to 1,247 as of noon as compared to 1,097 as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. We are now up to 40 deaths up from 328 at 7 p.m. yesterday. Fulton, DeKalb, Dougherty, Cobb and Bartow Counties have the most cases in our State.
  • The Departments hot line number is (844)442-2681.

Local:

  • A company called Unacast claims the following reductions in travel due to social distancing:
    • Fulton         47%
    • Gwinnett       43%
    • DeKalb         36%
    • Cobb           46%

MARTA

  • A few MARTA employees may have tested positive for the virus. On Thursday, MARTA will begin boarding most bus passengers only from the rear of the bus and suspend fare payments on buses.

Hartsfield-Jackson International

  • Hartsfield Jackson passenger volume down 85 percent and flights down 65 percent this week from pre-COVID-19. Cargo is up!

Georgia Guard Medical Support Team

  • The first GA Guard Medical Support Team arrived at Grady this morning to train with and support the medical staff.

Montana

Montana Coronavirus Response Update

Since declaring a state of emergency in Montana relating to the coronavirus on March 12, 2020, Governor Bullock has issued a number of press advisories related to the pandemic:

Reported Cases

According to news reports and the state tracking site there are 53 confirmed cases in Montana as of March 25:

Press Coverage and Releases

See Gov. Bullock’s press releases listed above.

Press coverage is ubiquitous, but a broader emerging story is the effect that potential “shelter in place” orders could have on business operations, in particular what are referred to as “essential services.” For example, the nurses association in Montana has requested that Governor Bullock issue a statewide “shelter in place” order. Governor Bullock has resisted doing so based on the small number of cases in Montana. His spokesperson responded: “Some states with massive outbreaks have issued shelter-in-place. Gov. Bullock has taken the necessary and aggressive steps to work to slow the spread of the virus at this time. We don’t know how long any of the closures will last, but we do know that it will take at least a few weeks to evaluate how social distancing is working in limiting the spread of the virus in Montana.”

Local and Regional Actions

A number of counties have adopted emergency proclamations. Both the Montana Association of Counties and the Montana League of Cities and Towns have developed guidelines and other resources to guide local government response to the coronavirus situation.

School Closures

All schools have been ordered closed until April 10. See Governor Bullock’s announcement listed above.

Major Event Cancellations

There has been a wave of cancellations around the state. This article provides a snapshot of the magnitude.

Weblinks to State and Local Online Resources

Texas

At a news conference at 2:30 this afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said 65 Texas counties have been impacted by the new coronavirus. There have been 11 deaths and 715 positive tests. “You can expect the number of tests to continue to go up every day,” he said.

The governor announced a new executive order that requires hospitals to submit daily reports on bed capacity and COVID-19 tests.

The Governor announced that the newly established Supply Chain Strike Force has already secured more than $83 million of purchase orders for essential supplies. Additionally, the Governor announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will begin receiving 100,000 masks per day by the end of this week and the Supply Chain Strike Force will begin receiving an additional 100,000 masks per day by the end of next week—meaning the State of Texas will soon be receiving more than one million masks per week.

Texans can donate equipment and volunteer. Click here.

Governor Greg Abbott also directed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue guidance allowing restaurants to sell bulk retail products from restaurant supply chain distributors directly to consumers provided that such foods are in their original condition, packaging, or presented as received by the restaurant. Under this guidance, restaurants will be able to sell items like packaged meat, fruit and vegetables, and dry goods directly to the public to prepare and consume at home.

Abbott did not change from his March 19th executive order, which closed schools, bars, restaurants and gyms and urged Texans to maintain social distancing practices. “Stay home unless you need to be out,” he said at his news conference today.

Regarding a stricter Shelter-in-Place-Order, Abbott said he will continue to evaluate data and advice from health experts to determine whether there needs to be heightened standards and stricter enforcement of his directives.

Texas’s largest cities and counties have issued Shelter-in-Place or Stay-at-Home orders today. Most of these orders have exemptions for businesses and services deemed essential critical infrastructure by the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to KXAN TV, these Texas counties and cities have issues local shelter in place or stay at home ordinances.

Stay-at-home order issued (17 counties)

  • Bell County (Central Texas/Temple)
  • Bexar County (San Antonio)
  • Brazos County (TAMU/College Station)
  • Cameron County (South Texas)
  • Collin County (DFW)
  • Dallas County (Dallas)
  • Denton County (DFW)
  • El Paso County (El Paso)
  • Galveston County (Greater Houston area)
  • Harris County (Houston)
  • Hidalgo County (South Texas)
  • Hunt County (East of DFW)
  • Lampasas County (Central Texas/East of Fort Hood)
  • McLennan County (Waco)
  • Rockwall County (DFW)
  • Tarrant County (Fort Worth)
  • Travis County (Austin)
  • Williamson County (Greater Austin area)

Virginia

As of Wednesday, March 25, the state Department of Health reported 391 cases of COVID-19, with 59 resulting in hospitalization and nine deaths. The state confirmed 5,370 had been tested.

Wisconsin

On Wednesday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 585 in Wisconsin, up from 457 in Tuesday’s update.
  • 10,089 negative test results (8,237 were reported on Tuesday).
  • Six patients have died in Wisconsin (up one from Tuesday)

The county by county break down is at the end of this update

Source: DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page

Legislative Leaders Held a Media Availability

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) held a joint media availability to discuss Wisconsin’s public health emergency, and the Legislative perspective on the actions being taken both by the federal and the state government.

The video is available here.

They took questions from the media, below ;

April 7th Spring Election:

  • Speaker Vos said that he agrees with Governor Evers’ decision to keep the Election on April 7th.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald said he is monitoring it closely, and recognizes the concerns that are being raised, but doesn’t see changing the date at this point, especially given over 100,000 absentee ballots that have been returned.
  • Speaker Vos also said he does not support the “mail-in only” Election that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is requesting. Speaker Vos said clerks are being creative and finding ways to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers like only allowing a certain number of electors, give away pens so there is no sharing of pens, handing out free sanitizer, etc… Speaker Vos also pointed to the amount of time that it took the State of Washington to become a “mail-in only” state, the amount of time it took to put the program in place and to keep the confidence of the electorate. It is not something you can do 2 weeks before an election.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald said there a certain group of citizens who have the expectation of being able to vote in person and won’t participate in the process in a different way that they are not familiar with. There is no time for communication to educate voters on this change before the election.
  • When asked about repealing the witness requirement for absentee ballots for the public health emergency, the lawmakers said they were not interested in changing the statutes and are aware that people are being creative in getting witnesses to sign their ballots, including calling their lawmakers to be a witness.

Ability for Legislature for Revoke the Public Health Emergency

  • Speaker Vos said that the Governor has 60 days to use his authority under the Public Health Emergency. Beyond that 60 days they would need to see a really good reason to keep the declaration in place.
  • When asked if they would use their Legislative authority via a Joint Resolution to rescind the Public Health Emergency the leaders said they have not discussed or looked at possibility of revoking 60-day emergency powers related to the coronavirus pandemic

Uncertain economic environment

  • Sen. Fitzgerald said the businesses he is talking to are looking for anyway to keep their employees because just weeks ago it was difficult to hire.

Virtual Session

  • Speaker Vos, said will conduct a session as safe as possible. Pointed out that grocers and hospitals are still able to do their jobs in person, and think that the Legislature can meet that way, with exceptions for those who have compromised immune systems or have to be quarantined or have been quarantined. On topics he would consider for a Special Session, one would be addressing licenses that are expiring during the emergency that need to be renewed for food processors and other industries, so production is not stopped during the emergency.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald believes there may be legislation necessary to address items or funding that are part of the federal legislative package so they state can access funds or resources.

Safer at Home order

  • Sen. Fitzgerald noted he was disappointed with the communication ahead of the order and the position that it put businesses in his district.
  • Speaker Vos said that the Governor has more information than Legislature has, so he said they need to trust that Governor Evers is making decisions based on that information. He noted that most workers live pay check to paycheck and businesses are similarly low on operating reserves, so the longer this goes on, the less chance that those businesses will be reopening after this.
  • Speaker Vos said it was good that Governor Evers gave an end date to his Safer at Home order, because it gives businesses a chance to plan.

Federal Aid Package

  • Sen. Fitzgerald, a candidate for congress, said he would have absolutely voted for the federal aid package.

Legislature prepares to hold a virtual session

The Wisconsin State Journal had a story this morning on a dress rehearsal held in anticipation of Wisconsin’s first-ever virtual session.  Wisconsin law allows the Legislature to meet virtually, which Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) notes in the story could, once a couple tweaks are made, could happen at any time to address COVID-19 related legislation.

Number of Positive Results by County

  • Bayfield-1
  • Brown– 3 Calumet-1 Chippewa-1 Columbia-5
  • Dane– 88 (+16) 1 Dodge -3 Douglas-4 Dunn-1 Eau Claire-5 (+1) Fond du Lac– 18 1
  • Grant-1
  • Green-1
  • Jefferson-5 (+1)
  • Kenosha– 14 (+1) La Crosse- 10 (+5) Marathon-1 Milwaukee– 290 (+71) 3
  • Monroe-1
  • Outagamie-4 (+2)
  • Ozaukee-20 (+4) 1
  • Pierce- 3
  • Racine-7 (+2)
  • Rock-4 (+1)
  • Sauk-6 (+2)
  • Sheboygan- 7 (+1)
  • St. Croix-4
  • Walworth-5 (+1) Washington- 21 (+4) Waukesha– 42 (+11)
  • Winnebago- 5
  • Wood- 1
  • Total: 585 (6)

Comprehensive List of Actions Taken by the State of Wisconsin

Executive Orders

Executive Order 72 (March 12th, 2020)   Governor Evers Executive Order declaring a health emergency in response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus  

Emergency Health Orders

Order #1 (March 13th, 2020)   Order the closure of all public and private Wisconsin schools for purposes of pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  
Order #2 (March 14th, 2020)   Allows WisDOT to issue permits and waive fees for the delivery of groceries.  
Order #3 (March 15th, 2020)   Orders the suspension of certain Department of Children and Families administrative rules related to child care, foster care, residential care and in-home facilities  
Order #4 (March 16th, 2020) Order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 people or more.
Order #5 (March 17th, 2020) Order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more
Order #6 (March 18th, 2020) Order restricting the size of childcare settings
Order #7 (March 18th, 2020) Order to the Department of Workforce Development regarding Unemployment Insurance
Order #8 (March 20th, 2020) Update to Order #5 on Ban on Mass Gatherings
Order #9 (March 20th, 2020) Order to the Department of Corrections
Order #10 (March 21st, 2020) Department of Public Instruction Administrative Rule Suspension and Emergency Orders
Order #11 (March 21st, 2020) Public Service Commission Administrative Rule Suspension
Order #12 (March 24th, 2020) Safer at Home Order

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Bulletins related to COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coverage Request  (March 6th, 2020)   The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) is issuing this Bulletin to assist individuals and entities regulated by OCI regarding the provision of insurance-related services during this urgent Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health challenge. In order to protect the public health, insurers, self-funded plans, pharmacy benefit managers and cooperative health plans (collectively, Health Plan Issuers) are requested to identify and remove barriers to testing and treatment for COVID-19. OCI requests Health Plan Issuers that offer health care plans to Wisconsin residents to take the following immediate measures related to the potential impact of COVID-19.  
Regulatory Flexibility Regarding COVID-19 (March 15th, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers regarding managing corporate governance issues and filing deadlines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Proctoring of Online Courses (March 19th, 2020) This bulletin outlines the temporary changes OCI is making to WI requirements for delivering online courses and online course proctoring.  
Complying with Regulatory Requirements during the Public Health Emergency (March 20th, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers regarding compliance with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Coverage for Delivery Drivers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (March 23rd, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers and restaurant regarding insurance coverage for delivery drivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Department of Administration

Teleconference Bid Openings   (March 18th, 2020)   Until further notice, no in-person bid openings for construction projects will be conducted in Madison. Beginning March 19, 2020, the Department of Administration (DOA) is implementing revised bidding procedures for all state construction projects with bid openings occurring in Madison, WI. These revisions are being made in response to Governor Evers’ declaration of a statewide public health emergency.  

Department of Transportation

Go Online for DMV Services   (March 16th, 2020)   Wisconsin DMV reminds customers that the majority of people do not need to visit a DMV for vehicle services. Renewing license plates, changing address, titling a new vehicle, ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card and more can all be done online at wisconsindmv.gov  
Driver licenses that expire during COVID-19 public health emergency automatically extended 60 days   (March 18th, 2020) Driver licenses and CDLs that expire during this public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days. Late fees will be waived. The driver record, visible to law enforcement, will show the extension and that the driver license is valid. All driver skills tests are being cancelled as of March 18 until further notice. ​Customers are being notified that Administrative Suspension hearings will be offered by telephone (or paper), not in-person.
WisDOT public construction meetings are on hold (March 19th, 2020) ​Effective immediately, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is temporarily suspending all public involvement meetings and open houses for design and construction projects.
Rest areas remain open to support truckers (March 20th, 2020) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is keeping its 28 rest areas under normal operation to support truckers during a critical time for moving supplies.  
DMV Extends emissions testing timeline (March 23, 2020) The extension affects vehicles Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha counties and makes the following changes: Customers who have a routine vehicle registration renewal date after March 12 and require an emission test will have 90 days from their renewal date to complete an emission test and maintain valid registration.    Customers who obtained a new vehicle registration this year (January 26-March 12) will need to complete an emission test by June 10 to maintain valid registration. Customers who apply for, or obtained, new registration after March 12 (when the Governor’s emergency Executive Order took effect) will have 90 days from their date of registration to complete an emission test and maintain valid registration. This gives customers another 45 days to complete the original requirement.  

Department of Workforce Development

Unemployment Insurance Claims Data   (March 20th, 2020)   The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) launched a new webpage that displays preliminary numbers related to unemployment claims received by DWD’s Unemployment Insurance Division (UI). The displayed data currently includes the preliminary number of unemployment applications filed each day in the week, as well as last year’s counts for the same day and week for comparison. The preliminary number of unemployment weekly claims filed each day will be included as of Monday, March 23, 2020. The preliminary numbers will be updated daily.  

Department of Natural Resources

Fees waived for Wisconsin State Parks & Trails   (March 24th, 2020)   In light of Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order, item 11.c. recognizes outdoor activity as essential. As such, all State Parks, Trails and Forests remain open and all fees are now waived. The public should stay as close to home as possible and in their community. Parks, law enforcement and property staff will also continue to provide routine sweeps of state park system properties.  

Public Service Commission

PSC Tells Wisconsin Utilities to Suspend Disconnections for Nonpayment During Public Health Emergency   (March 13th, 2020)   The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to an occupied dwelling that has been disconnected.
PSC Awards $24 million in State Broadband Expansion Grants   (March 19th, 2020) ThePublic Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) met and awarded $24 Million in Broadband Expansion grants. The 72 new grants will extend high-speed internet access to as many as 3,182 business locations and 46,537 residential locations, including 39,778 locations that are currently unserved.

Department of Health Services: ForwardHealth Alerts & Updates

  • ForwardHealth Alerts are short, targeted publications designed to disseminate the latest COVID-19 information to providers quickly. They may contain news, policy, or resources deemed critical or helpful for providers. Providers will receive messaging letting them know when Alerts have been published that may impact them, and all Alerts relating to COVID-19 will be linked from this page.
  • ForwardHealth Updates announce changes in policy and coverage, prior authorization requirements, and claim submission requirements. Links to all published Updates relating to COVID-19 will be available on this page, as well as being listed on the ForwardHealth Updates page of the ForwardHealth Portal.
Alert 001 ForwardHealth Accepted Procedure Codes From Eligible Providers Who Test Patients for COVID-19
Alert 002 Temporary Policy Changes for Personal Care Providers  
Alert 003 Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Services
Alert 004 Tribal and Non-Tribal Federally Qualified Health Centers Billing Guidance for Telehealth Policy Changes in ForwardHealth Update 2020-09
Alert 005 Temporary Changes to Narcotic Treatment Services
ForwardHealth  Update 2020-09 Changes to ForwardHealth Telehealth Policies for Covered Services, Originating Sites, and Federally Qualified Health Centers
ForwardHealth Update 2020-11 COVID-19 Information for Pharmacies
ForwardHealth Update 2020-12 Temporary Changes to Telehealth Policy and Clarifications for Behavioral Health and Targeted Case Management Providers  

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Small Business 20/20 Program     The Small Business 20/20 Program provides grant funds to approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Approved CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19.
Businesses that are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but WEDC will work to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available.
Strategies for Small Businesses to Navigate COVID-19 Challenges Downtown District and Business Coronavirus Response: Ideas and Resources.  
Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin’s request for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to access low-interest federal disaster loans. Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, businesses may qualify for up to $2 million in loans to cover losses resulting from the pandemic. The interest rate on the loans is 3.75% for for-profit businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Participants may be able to extend payments for up to 30 years.

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

  • COVID-19 Updates are archived here.
  • Comprehensive list of state of Wisconsin to the public health emergency here

Stay up-to-date with all of our insights and guidance by visiting our US COVID-19 hub here.