Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – April 8, 2020

Arkansas

As of April 8th

The Arkansas General Assembly convened today at noon for the 2020 fiscal session. 

Connecticut

As of April 8th

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 875 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 7,781. To date, more than 29,036 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 1,308 patients have been hospitalized. The total statewide total number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is 277.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19-Associated Deaths
Fairfield County 4,136 613 132
Hartford County 1,045 243 48
Litchfield County 255 17 9
Middlesex County 150 26 7
New Haven County 1,664 390 60
New London County 85 12 4
Tolland County 111 4 13
Windham County 43 3 1
Pending address validation 292 0 3
Total 7,781 1,308 277

For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality and data broken down by age, gender, race, and other factors, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Lamont signs 23rd executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont yesterday signed another executive order – the 23rd 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. 7V enacts the following provisions:

  • Safe workplaces in essential businesses: Requires the Department of Economic and Community Development to work in consultation with the Department of Public Health on the development of legally binding statewide rules prescribing additional protective measures that every workplace in Connecticut deemed essential – and any other business or nonprofit allowed to remain open – must follow. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state.
  • Temporary permits for certain health care providers extended and fees waived: Waives the application fees for temporary permits for each of the health care professions that are administered by the Department of Public Health. It also extends the duration of the temporary permits for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency, unless otherwise modified.
  • Practice before licensure for certain health care profession applicants and graduates: Allows recent medical school and other medical profession graduates who are not yet licensed to participate in the state’s COVID-19 response for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency. This is necessary during the emergency period because the ability to take the required exams or other steps to receive a license have been suspended.
  • Practice before licensure for marital and family therapy associates: Allows those who have recently completed an accredited graduate degree program in marital and family therapy offered by a postgraduate clinical training program to practice without a license for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  • Practice before licensure for professional counselor associates: Allows recent graduates with a degree in clinical mental health counseling who are not yet licensed to practice as a professional counselor associate without obtaining a license for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergency.
  • Protection from civil liability for actions or omissions in support of the state’s COVID-19 response: Replaces the section of Executive Order No. 7U concerning protection from civil liability for actions or omissions in support of the state’s COVID-19 response with new language, which adds protection from liability for common law claims – in addition to the previously enacted protection from liability for statutory claims – for healthcare workers and providers.

Georgia

As of April 8th

Per the AJC Gov. Brian Kemp extended Georgia’s shelter in place order through the end of April and imposed new restrictions on senior care facilities Wednesday as he faced criticism from local officials who urged him to take more drastic steps to contain the coronavirus outbreak.  The governor extended the stay at home orders hours after he renewed a public health emergency declaration that grants him unprecedented authority to curb the pandemic. He said it gives him the tools we are going to need  to combat the highly contagious disease.  

Kemp also instituted new restrictions on senior care facilities, which have suffered disproportionately from a virus that preys on the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. Cases of the disease have been reported in at least 58 senior care facilities around the state.  A new executive order requires senior care facilities to take more steps to prevent the spread of the virus, including banning most visitors and requiring in-room dining services.  It also mandates the screening of residents for symptoms of the disease, such as fevers and respiratory issues. A separate order activated an additional 1,000 National Guard members, and he limited most short-term vacation rentals starting Thursday to prevent Georgia from becoming a “vacation destination” during the pandemic.

Governor Kemp will be speaking later this week regarding Easter Services.

The Public Health Emergency was extended through May 13 and the Stay at Home is extended through April 30.

Speaker Ralston sent a new letter to Secretary Raffensperger requesting the Primary delay to June 16.

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • State cases are up to 9,879 at noon today as compared to 9,156 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. We are now up to  deaths up 361 from 348 at 7 p.m. Tuesday.  1,980 patients are hospitalized as compared to 1,899 at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Dougherty, Fulton and Cobb Counties have the most cases in our State. 
  • 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.
  • 10 patients at PruittHealth Grandview have died of the coronavirus in Athens.
  • US Rep. Doug Collins said that NJ-based generic drug manufacturer Amneal Pharmaceuticals has contributed 200,000 doses of hydrochloroquine sulfate to the State DPH. 
  • Georgia Right to Life is urging Governor Kemp to shut down abortion clinic during the emergency.
  • March revenues were up 9.8 percent, year to date 2.1 percent.
  • State and federal prosecutors have formed a Georgia task force to tackle complaints of fraud connected to the pandemic.
  • Floyd Medical Center is in the process of converting the lower level of a parking deck on its campus to a 200 bed emergency facility in case the hospital’s capacity is overrun. “This is for a worst case scenario,” David Early, vice president of support services and operations at Floyd Medical Center, said. 

Iowa

As of April 7th

Iowa COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000

A day after issuing orders to close additional businesses and public spaces, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday morning announced the state had 1,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the first time Iowa’s number topped 1,000.

Reynolds has resisted issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, noting the high percentage of Iowa workers involved in providing essential services to the public such as food production and financial service workers.

Her series of public health emergency proclamations have ordered the closure of non-essential businesses such as bars, restaurants, and theaters until April 30. Businesses providing essential services, such as grocers and pharmacies, are allowed to remain open. A ban on gatherings of more than 10 people remains in place.

Reynolds has said Iowa’s approach gives officials the ability to use a targeted approach for areas of the state that had more confirmed cases or outbreaks.

The state’s approach earned the endorsement of top national infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci, who confirmed the closures and other measures instituted in Iowa essentially amounted to the shelter-in-place orders issued in other states.

Iowa Legislature delayed due COVID-19, reconvening April 30 

The Iowa Legislature has paused its session because of coronavirus and is not scheduled to reconvene until April 30. The Legislative Council, made up of top state leaders, is scheduled to meet Thursday via conference call to take a formal vote on the session’s delay. 

Still on the agenda for lawmakers when they return is approving a budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1. Iowa is expected to receive $1.25 billion from the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill, which should help cushion the blow of additional health care costs and declining state revenues.

Although a number of policy bills remain unfinished, it’s expected lawmakers would only take up the budget and a few key priorities when they return. Top leaders have acknowledged the Invest in Iowa tax reform package, which includes income tax cuts and a one-cent sales tax increase, will not advance in the Legislature this year.

Despite the pause in session action, the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee still met virtually Friday over Zoom, the videoconferencing system that has skyrocketed in popularity with the pandemic.

Schools continue delays, state’s largest district cancels rest of semester

The delay in the legislative session aligns with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ guidance that K-12 schools remain closed through April 30 as school districts around the state move classroom instruction online.

In a media briefing Friday, Reynolds said officials will “hold out hope” the state would slow the growth of new cases and would be able to finish out the school semester.

Des Moines Public Schools, the state’s largest district, announced they would not be reconvening classes for the remainder of the school year, citing concerns about health risks of bringing students back at a time when virus cases were expected to peak.

Kansas

As of April 7th

Ahead of a busy week and weekend of religious activities, Governor Kelly issued Executive Order #20-18.  The order would limit public, religious gatherings to 10 or fewer people.  The full press release can be found here.  The actual Order can be found here.  The Legislative Coordinating Council will be reviewing the Order tomorrow afternoon. 

Additionally, please see the following release from the Kansas Department of Health & Environment.  This updates the state’s quarantine list.  Additionally, the state’s Department of Health & Environment Resource Center can be found here

Texas

As of April 8th

Governor Abbott conducted a news conference at the Texas Capitol at Noon today joined by Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Chief Nim Kidd, head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System.  Current shelter-in-place and travel restrictions remain unchanged. 

Gov. Abbott cited a recent phone conference with 1,100 local officials, which was joined by Congressman Kevin Brady who discussed federal relief efforts. 

Gov. Abbott reported the latest COVID numbers:    

  • 9,353 COVID-19 positive cases
  • 177 fatalities
  • 1,491 hospitalized cases
  • 96,258 tests to date w/ about 10% positive among those tested.

Two notable facts:     

1. Today, the rate of the COVID+ numbers doubling in Texas is about every 6 days, down from every 3 days one month ago.  This implies the spread is slowing and that distancing/mitigation efforts are working. 

2. Harris County (Houston area) is the state’s hot spot with 2,146 of the state’s 9,353 cases.  Abbott noted that VP Pence recently asked about Harris Co. and any unmet needs.

Governor Abbott provided an update on recent executive orders aimed at improving access to health care (see below).  He announced today:

  • Walgreens locations will soon begin drive thru testing utilizing Abbott Lab’s 15-minute test.  They estimate being able to administer 3,000 tests per day.
  • TOYOTA and supplier Reyes Hayashi Automotive LLC are  producing face shields local and state health care workers.
  • Prestige AmeriTech, a Fort Worth-area manufacturer of PPE has added an extra shifts that includes National Guard members to ramp up its production of face masks and shields.

Gov. Abbott addressed recent challenges with the Texas Workforce Commission’s Unemployment Insurance claims process.  The number of calls to TWC’s UI line has increased from an average of 120,000 per day to a high of 1.7 calls on March 26th.

The Texas Workforce Commission has processed 600,000 claims in 2 weeks with hundreds of added staff and 250 Texas House and Senate staffers who are pitching into help. 

Gov. Abbott advised anyone who has recently been denied a UI claim to reapply. 

Here are the recent Gov. announcements and executive orders:

Governor Abbott Prepares State Resources As Severe Weather Approaches Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today placed numerous resources on standby across the state in anticipation of severe weather (hail + tornadoes) expected to impact Central Texas on Wednesday. 

Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce Emergency Rule To Allow Off-Site Outpatient End Stage Renal Disease Facilities

Governor Greg Abbott yesterday announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has adopted an emergency rule to allow end stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities to treat patients more effectively during the COVID-19 response. This emergency rule provides increased flexibility to providers to serve dialysis patients. This will be helpful in providing appropriate social distancing and/or provide locations for patients that have tested positive for COVID-19 at a location separate from other dialysis patients to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.

This emergency rule will allow currently licensed ESRD facilities to operate off-site outpatient facilities without obtaining a new license at the following:

  • An ESRD that is no longer licensed that closed within the past 36 months;
  • A mobile, transportable, or relocatable medical unit;
  • A physician’s office;
  • An ambulatory surgical center or freestanding emergency medical care facility that is no longer licensed that closed within the past 36 months.

Governor Abbott Waives Certain Pharmacy Regulations To Increase Workforce Capabilities

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has temporarily waived certain regulatory requirements to increase the job capacities of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns. Under the Governor’s waiver, pharmacy technicians can now accept prescription drug orders over the phone — a responsibility typically reserved for pharmacists.

The Governor’s waiver also allows pharmacy technicians to transfer or receive a transfer of original prescription information on behalf of patients. These two waivers can be utilized at the discretion of pharmacists. Additionally, Governor Abbott has waived certain regulations allowing pharmacy interns to assist pharmacists without the designation of preceptor. 

Governor Abbott Announces Texas Military Department, Prestige Ameritech Partnership To Increase Mask Production

24-Hour Operation Will Produce 2 Million Masks Per Week For Health Care Workers

The Governor announced a new partnership between the Texas Military Department (TMD) and Prestige Ameritech to increase the production of face masks for health care workers. Prestige Ameritech’s 24-hour operation at their headquarters near Fort Worth will be staffed in part by members of the Texas National Guard 36th Infantry Division and will produce 2 million masks per week. Prestige Ameritech is a designer and manufacturer of disposable medical devices and the automated machinery that produces them. The company is the United States’ largest domestic surgical mask manufacturer. Prestige Ameritech’s headquarters and 220,000 square foot manufacturing facility are located near Fort Worth. 

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 – April 7, 2020

Arkansas

As of April 6th

GENERAL INFORMATION:

  • STATE OF EMERGENCY: YES (since 3/11/2020)
  • AR Major Disaster Declaration, Gov signed 3/31
  • AR COUNTIES (75) WITH CONFIRMED CASES: 65
  • NUMBER CONFIRMED CASES, BY AGE GROUP:
    • 1-18: 2.3%
    • 19-64: 71.63% (four of the deaths this age group)
    • 65+: 25.7% (12 of the deaths this age group)
  • NUMBER CONFIRMED CASES, BY GENDER:
    • Female: 60%
    • Male: 40%
  • HOSPITALIZED: 74 WITH VENTILATOR: 22
  •  NURSING HOME CASES: 59 (was 64, five deaths)

OTHER INFORMATION:

  • SCHOOLS CLOSURE: extended through end of school year
  • UNEMP BENEFITS UPDATE: 66,000 claims processed; likely 100,000 claims by end of week
  • US$ FOR SMALL BUSINESS: 80 AEDC Bridge Loans have gone out totaling US$1.7 million; SBA Loans are beginning to go out.
  • STATE/ NATIONAL PARKS: As of 4/3, state parks will allow day visits only and close overflow parking areas; Buffalo River Nat’l Park – closed
  • TELEMEDICINE: Regulations eased; major insurers expanding telemedicine benefits
  • PUBLIC /SOCIAL GATHERINGS: Advised: 10 or less with appropriate social distancing
  • RESTAURANTS AND BARS: Carry-out or delivery only
  • ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Restaurants and package stores may deliver
  • CURFEWS: City-wide curfews, Little Rock and Pine Bluff: 9PM-5AM
  • PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE): US$75m dedicated to PPE; The state has a need for assistance with international transport of PPE.
  • Hospitals: US$10m in state economic assistance grants for rural hospitals

Total Confirmed 4/5: 830

New since 4/5: +45

Total Confirmed Positive to Date: 875*

(122 of total confirmed are healthcare workers)

Total Deaths 4/5: 16

New since 4/5: 0

Total Deaths to Date: 16

*As of 1:30 pm today; This number continues to change.

SCHOOLS REMAIN CLOSED: Arkansas schools will remain closed for onsite instruction for the end of the school year. Schools will continue with AMI instruction into May as well as digital learning. Dept. of Education will provide additional help with AMI planning to districts who need it.

Good Deed: The State of AR is sending 5 ventilators to the State of Louisiana to help with COVID-19 patients as the numbers in LA escalate.

Delaware

As of April 6th

The latest Delaware COVID-19 case statistics, cumulatively since April 4th include:

  • 783 total laboratory-confirmed cases: 496
  •  in New Castle County, 128 in Kent County, and 159 in Sussex County.
  • Age range: 1 to 97
  • Currently hospitalized: 140 ; Critically ill: 47
  • Delawareans recovered: 1
  • 6,851negative cases*

*Data on negative cases are preliminary, based on negative results reported to DPH by state and commercial laboratories performing analysis.

In total, 15 Delawareans have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. There have been a total of eight deaths related to long-term care facilities, including seven in New Castle County (six at Little Sisters of the Poor) and one in Sussex County.

The Division of Public Health (DPH) Lab today received a shipment of 5,000 rapid test kits from Nashville-based Pinnacle BioLabs. The kits will be used primarily to test health care workers, first-responders, and residents of long-term care facilities where outbreaks are suspected. Results can be provided in 5 to 15 minutes. After validation is completed, DPH expects to begin using the rapid test kits early next week.

Georgia

As of April 7th

Governor Kemp, Commissioner Toomey, Director Homer Bryson and Adjutant General Tom Carden will hold a briefing at Liberty Plaza Wednesday at 4 p.m.

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • State cases are up to 8,818 at noon today as compared to 7,558 on Monday at 7 p.m.  We are now up to 329 deaths up from 294 at 7 p.m.  Monday.  1,774 confirmed patients are hospitalized as compared to 1,393 at 7 p.m.  Monday. Dougherty, Fulton and Cobb Counties have the most cases in our State. 
  • 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.
  • On Monday, officials confirmed 75 new deaths from the virus.  A week earlier, fatalities in GA totaled 100.  Projections are for 1,500 additional deaths by April 21.
  • Commissioners from 12 North Georgia counties are asking Governor Kemp to close state parks in the area.
  • Governor Kemp is expected to extend the public health emergency this week.
  • A church in Statesboro defied the Governor EO, leading to the pastor and four congregants receiving citations from GSP.
  • Piedmont Hospital will open the new Marcus tower on Monday, April 13.
  • Georgia Secretary of State is hearing concerns from Counties regarding having sufficient poll workers for the May 19 Primary election.
  • Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King has been deployed to NJ to help set up a makeshift medical facility.
  • State officials are quietly preparing to establish three large emergency hospitals across Georgia, including the GWCC, the Savannah Convention Center and an unspecified location in Macon.
  • Liquor store managers report a spike in sales.  One local store in Marietta has reported a 25 percent increase in sales.

Wisconsin

As of April 7th

Wisconsin April 7th Spring Election Moves Forward

Just before 1:00 PM on Monday (April 6th), Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #74, suspending in-person voting for the April 7 spring election, moving in-person voting to June 9, 2020. The order also directs the Legislature to meet in special session on Tues., April 7, 2020 to address the election date. If the Legislature does not enact legislation to change the new election date, in-person voting will occur on June 9, 2020. All ballots already cast in the 2020 Spring election will remain valid and will be tallied in conjunction with the new in-person voting date. Executive Order #74 is available here.

In signing the Executive Order, Governor Evers released the following statement;

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow’s election. Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy. I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part—just as the rest of us are—to help keep people healthy and safe,” said Gov. Evers. “But as municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today.”

Following the Executive Order, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) released the following statement:

“We are immediately challenging this executive order in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.

“The clerks of this state should stand ready to proceed with the election. The governor’s executive order is clearly an unconstitutional overreach.

“This is another last minute flip-flop from the governor on the April 7th election. The governor himself has repeatedly acknowledged he can’t move the election. Just last week a federal judge said he did not have the power to cancel the election and Governor Evers doesn’t either. Governor Evers can’t unilaterally run the state.”

Attorneys for the Legislature argued to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in requesting the court stop the Governor’s Executive Order and declare it unlawful;

“This case involves an invasion by the Executive into the Legislative arena: setting the time, place, and manner of elections, as well as the terms of local officials. Prompt resolution of this legal dispute is categorically within the public interest because the Governor’s action significantly interferes with an ongoing election and will disenfranchise countless voters. And this case presents questions of statutory and constitutional interpretation, which do not require fact-finding by this Court.”

Just before 3:00 PM the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Legislature on a 4-2 vote in not moving the Election date, with Justice Dan Kelly, who is up for election on April 7th, not participating. The portion of the Executive Order which allows the Governor to call the Legislature into Special Session at 2:00 PM to act upon legislation setting a new in-person voting date for the 2020 Spring election remained active, however, since the Election is moving forward that call is no longer relevant.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the provisions of Executive Order No. 74 are hereby enjoined in their entirety, with the sole exception of the provision bearing the number 2 on page four of Executive Order No. 74, which “[r]equire[s] the convening of a special session of the Legislature at the Capitol in the City of Madison, to commence at 2:00 p.m. on April 7, 2020, solely to consider and act upon legislation to set a new in-person voting date for the 2020 Spring election”;

Governor Evers released the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling:

“There are few things we hold more sacred and that are more American than the right to vote. People have bled, fought, and died for the right to vote in this country. But tomorrow in Wisconsin, thousands will wake up and have to choose between exercising their right to vote and staying healthy and safe. In this time of historic crisis, it is a shame that two branches of government in this state chose to pass the buck instead of taking responsibility for the health and safety of the people we were elected to serve.”

Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling;

“We agree with the state Supreme Court’s ruling that affirms the separation of powers spelled out in our Constitution. The state’s highest court has spoken: the governor can’t unilaterally move the date of the election.

“We are proud that Wisconsinites have come together to meet the challenges that this pandemic has created. The safety and health of our citizens have always been our highest concern; that’s why we advocated for everyone to vote absentee. Wisconsin has responded in droves. Over a million ballots have been requested for tomorrow’s election. We continue to believe that citizens should be able to exercise their right to vote at the polls on Election Day, should they choose to do so.

“We want to thank the hardworking clerks around the state who have been working around the clock to ensure a safe and fair election. We also appreciate the assistance of the National Guard members who have been activated to play an important support role.

“This election will proceed as planned.”

In addition to the action by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court also weighed in on actions related to the Wisconsin’s April 7th Spring Election. The Supreme Court clarified in their order that in order for an absentee ballot to be counted in this year’s April 7th Spring Election, a voter’s absentee ballot must either;

  1. postmarked by election day, April 7, 2020, and received by April 13, 2020, at 4:00 p.m., or
  2. hand-delivered as provided under state law by April 7, 2020, at 8:00 p.m.

Of note in the Supreme Court’s opinion were the following points:

  • In this Court, all agree that the deadline for the municipal clerks to receive absentee ballots has been extended from Tuesday, April 7, to Monday, April 13. That extension, which is not challenged in this Court, has afforded Wisconsin voters several extra days in which to mail their absentee ballots. The sole question before the Court is whether absentee ballots now must be mailed and postmarked by election day, Tuesday, April 7, as state law would necessarily require, or instead may be mailed and postmarked after election day, so long as they are received by Monday, April 13.
  • … five days before the scheduled election, the District Court unilaterally ordered that absentee ballots mailed and postmarked after election day, April 7, still be counted so long as they are received by April 13. Extending the date by which ballots may be cast by voters—not just received by the municipal clerks but cast by voters— for an additional six days after the scheduled election day fundamentally alters the nature of the election.
  • The unusual nature of the District Court’s order allowing ballots to be mailed and postmarked after election day is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that the District Court had to issue a subsequent order enjoining the public release of any election results for six days after election day. In doing so, the District Court in essence enjoined nonparties to this lawsuit. It is highly questionable, moreover, that this attempt to suppress disclosure of the election results for six days after election day would work.
  • the dissent’s rhetoric is entirely misplaced and completely overlooks the fact that the deadline for receiving ballots was already extended to accommodate Wisconsin voters, from April 7 to April 13. Again, that extension has the effect of extending the date for a voter to mail the ballot from, in effect, Saturday, April 4, to Tuesday, April 7. That extension was designed to ensure that the voters of Wisconsin can cast their ballots and have their votes count. That is the relief that the plaintiffs actually requested in their preliminary injunction motions. The District Court on its own ordered yet an additional extension, which would allow voters to mail their ballots after election day, which is extraordinary relief and would fundamentally alter the nature of the election by allowing voting for six additional days after the election.

In her dissent to the majority’s opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote;

  • The majority of this Court declares that this case presents a “narrow, technical question.” Ante, at 1. That is wrong. The question here is whether tens of thousands of Wisconsin citizens can vote safely in the midst of a pandemic. Under the District Court’s order, they would be able to do so. Even if they receive their absentee ballot in the days immediately following election day, they could return it. With the majority’s stay in place, that will not be possible

In the light of today’s court rulings, the Wisconsin Election Commission released the following reminders for Wisconsin voters for April 7th:

1. Voters with absentee ballots must return them or mail them on Election Day.

2. Because of poll worker shortages, your polling place may have changed due to consolidation. Before heading out to vote, please double-check your polling location at myvote.wi.gov. Click “Find My Polling Place.”

3. Wash your hands before heading to your polling place on Election Day. Hand hygiene is essential for a safe voting experience for everyone at the polls. Also, wash or sanitize your hands again when arriving at your polling place and before voting. A 70% alcohol spray solution will be available at most polling places.

4. Things will look different at your polling place. Social distancing and public health related changes have been made to each polling place for this election.

5. Please be patient when voting at the polls. The public health procedures being used will slow down some parts of the process when you have to interact with poll workers.

6. You may be asked to line up outside your polling place or voting area to ensure only a safe number of voters are in the voting area at one time.

7. Social distancing is essential even at your polling place on Election Day. There will be procedures in place to allow for six feet between voters and poll workers to ensure a safe voting experience for everyone.

8. Please keep your face-to-face interactions brief with both poll workers and other voters. We want to limit the risk for everyone in the process on Election Day.

9. If you are ill and still need to vote on Election Day, curbside voting options are available.

10. If you received an absentee ballot, you can return it at your polling place on Election Day if you have not yet returned it to your municipal clerk’s office.

Wisconsin National Guard mobilized to help on Election Day

More than 2,400 Citizen Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard mobilized to state active duty Sunday and stand ready to serve as poll workers in Wisconsin’s election, if needed.

Guard members completed Wisconsin Elections Commission-provided training for poll workers and other roles at a polling station. WEC developed a series of training videos for chief inspectors, election inspectors, voter registration and new roles like helping with line management and polling station hygiene. The training takes two-to-three hours to complete

The Wisconsin National Guard also assisted the WEC in the weeks and days leading up to the election by procuring and distributing items necessary to ensure safe and sanitary polling sites around the state such as hand sanitizer, wipes, spray bottles, and more. (link to release)

Governor Evers holds COVID-19 Briefing and Media Availability

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers was joined by Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard, and Ryan Nilsestuen, Chief Legal Counsel in the Office of the Governor for their Monday media briefing on the status of COVID-19 pandemic and Wisconsin’s reaction.

The Governor began his remarks with a discussion of his reasoning for signing Executive Order #74 (discussed above) in moving the Spring Election date.

Secretary-designee Palm opened her remarks with the reasoning behind recommending to the Governor that the election be postponed. She noted that in-person voting would without question increase the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

Secretary Palm also released updated case numbers for the state of Wisconsin, but reminded in her remarks that these numbers represent real people who are battling or have succumbed to the virus and the people, families and communities that have been impacted;

  • 173 new positive cases (2,440 total for the pandemic in Wisconsin)
  • 44 new hospitalizations (668 total hospitalizations- represents 28% of those who have tested positive)
  • 77 deaths (up 9 from Sunday’s report of 68 deaths)
  • 26,574 negative test results (25,169 negative test results were reported on Sunday)

Secretary Palm also noted that Wisconsin has 12 active labs running COVID-19 tests, increasing the number of tests that could be conducted each day to nearly 3,600.

Video of the briefing can be found here:

Updated DHS testing numbers from Monday:

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 – April 6, 2020

Connecticut

As of April 6th

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since the last update, an additional 399 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 5,675. To date, more than 23,270 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 1,142 patients have been hospitalized. The total statewide total number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is 189.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Hospitalizations Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19-Associated Deaths
Fairfield County 3,050 531 96
Hartford County 751 189 29
Litchfield County 197 15 6
Middlesex County 110 19 5
New Haven County 1,162 372 36
New London County 57 10 4
Tolland County 94 3 11
Windham County 32 3 1
Pending address validation 222 0 1
Total 5,675 1,142 189

For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality and data broken down by age, gender, race, and other factors, visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Lamont signs 22nd executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont yesterday signed another executive order – the 22nd 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. 7U enacts the following provisions:

  • Protection from civil liability for actions or omissions in support of the state’s COVID-19 response: Protects health care professionals and health care facilities, including nursing homes and field hospitals, from lawsuits for acts or omissions undertaken in good faith in support of the state’s COVID-19 response. State statutes already provide similar protections for other first responders, including police, firefighters, and EMS.
  • Financial protections for the uninsured and people covered by insurance who receive out-of-network health care services during the public health emergency: Protects those who are uninsured and those who are insured and are treated by an out-of-network emergency services health care provider from surprise bills and other significant costs. This will ensure that individuals receiving care are not being financially burdened.

Georgia

As of April 6th

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • State cases are up to 7,314 at noon today as compared to 5,967 on Friday at 7p.m.  We are now up to 229 deaths up from 198 at 7 p.m. Friday.  1,332 confirmed patients are hospitalized as compared to 1,222 at 7 p.m. Friday.  Dougherty, Fulton and Cobb Counties have the most cases in Georgia. 
  • 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.
  • Rockdale Sheriff Eric Levett on Friday declared that he tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Georgia Tech is hosting a drive through test site for all who are pre-screened.  CVS is operating the site with Abbott lab’s test it, permitting a 30 minute test result.

Kansas

As of April 4th

  • COVID-19
    • Charted number of COVID-19 cases in Kansas and projections.
    • Cases are doubling every 7-9 days; they were doubling every three days.
    • Anticipate peak of cases to occur between April 10-14. This is considered the infectious peak.
    • Cases will then last 14-21 more days, causing hospital admissions to ramp up until April 24.
    • Worst hasn’t arrived yet for Kansas hospitals. Anticipate 20 percent per week increase for hospital admissions.
    • Testing has expanded with several private companies, including Quest in Kansas.
    • KU has a new test, Avid that can be done very quickly as well. This will assist in saving on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and get people quarantined sooner.
    • President Trump has requested 3M ramp up production of gloves and mask.
    • Social Distancing Scoreboard. This website is not receiving information from the state of Kansas but is getting data from GPS data tracking on people’s phones. Can see reports on their website: unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard
  • April Consensus Revenue Estimates
    • The April consensus revenue estimates to be down US$350 – US$481 million when they report – this is only an educated guess based on Denning’s calculations.
    • Kansas took the federal lead and extended tax filing date from April 15 to July 15. This will be in the new fiscal year and impact revenues for FY2020.
  • Medicaid
    • Federal government increasing their Medicaid share by six percent. This is US$50 million quarterly for Kansas and US$200 million annually.
    • Kansas will be able to decrease their portion by the six percent.
    • Expect Medicaid applications to increase.
  • Oil and Gas Prices
    • Crude oil prices have decreased impacting Kansas revenues.
    • April 1, 2018 US$55.25 per barrel
    • April 1, 2019 US$51.75 per barrel
    • April 1, 2020 US$10.50 per barrel
    • Major impact on Kansas producers.
  • Unemployment Benefits
    • SB 27 had two major pieces impacting unemployment benefits.
      • Removed the one week waiting period.
      • Increased from 16 week to 26 weeks number of payments. Sunsets in April 2021.
    • Federal legislation removed the one week waiting period and federal government will cover the first week.
    • Governor Kelly Executive Order 20-17 has language that removes requirement to report weekly job search. This is because many employers furloughed employees and want to hire them back so don’t want them out job searching. Also, to follow social distancing guidelines. After emergency is declared over, report job search will be again required.
    • Kansas providing maximum of US$488 unemployment benefit a week based on prior income.
    • Federal government providing flat US$600 a week, through end of July.
    • Together that has the potential to be US$50,000 annually for someone on unemployment insurance.
  • State Buildings
    • Governor Kelly announced Friday that State buildings will remain closed to the public but requesting certain agencies to bring staff back on April 6 for needed services.
  • President Trump
    • On March 25 President Trump approved Kansas 1135 waiver.
    • This relaxes Medicaid pre-authorization requirements.
    • This is not Medicaid expansion.
  • Governor Kelly is signing the transportation plan this afternoon
  • Return of Legislature
    • Legislature is scheduled to return April 27. Doubt this will happen if we still in crisis. May be early May.
    • Sine Die is May 21 and that is a hard date.
    • If they don’t return prior to May 21 could be called back in a Special Session, if needed.

Minnesota

As of April 6th

The Minnesota Legislature will return tomorrow to quickly pass legislation related COVID-19. The bill will provide Worker’s Compensation to First Responders and Healthcare Providers who contract the Coronavirus while working. The House and Senate also announced a change to their Easter/Passover Break and numerous committees have scheduled remote hearings this week.

Missouri

As of April 3rd

Statewide Stay at Home Order

Governor Parson has just issued a Stay at Home Order for the entire State of Missouri through April 24. The order will begin on Monday. Missouri’s order is similar to one recently issued by Texas and uses 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 basis for its list of essential businesses.

Stay at Home orders issued by local governments cannot be more lenient, but can be more restrictive than the state order. Businesses can appeal their “essential” designation with the Department of Economic Development. Essential retail stores of 10,000 square feet or less will be restricted to maximum occupancy of 25 percent of their fire code limit. Essential retail stores of 10,000 square feet or more will be restricted to maximum occupancy of 10 percent of their fire code limit.

North Carolina

As of April 6th

Coronavirus Update

North Carolina’s number of reported COVID-19 cases continued to increase Sunday as the state identified 183 new cases in 89 counties. North Carolina has at least 2,648 cases of coronavirus as of Sunday afternoon, and 38 people have died, according to public health officials. The state reported its biggest single-day surge in COVID-19 infections on Saturday — a nearly 15 percent increase from the day before. North Carolina DHHS reports 261 people hospitalized across the state.

Reported Coronavirus Cases in NC Jumped Nearly 15 Percent on Saturday (Raleigh News & Observer) The number of COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday morning jumped from 2,093 on Friday around 11 a.m. to 2,402 in 88 counties. The 309 new cases mark the largest one-day surge as the novel coronavirus spreads to more counties in the state.

Changes Underway After Jobless Claim Deluge Overwhelms NC System (NC Public Press) North Carolina was already in the midst of a historic surge in jobless claims when Gov. Roy Cooper closed all bars and restaurants to in-person service on March 18. Roughly two weeks later, an unprecedented number of North Carolinians have applied for unemployment. The torrent of unemployment applications has yet to cease, as numbers surged far beyond any other time in North Carolina history. Since March 16, more than 353,480 people have applied for unemployment benefits.

State Treasurer Released from Hospital After Treatment for COVID-19 (WRAL) State Treasurer Dale Folwell has been released from the hospital after five days treatment for COVID-19 symptoms, the Treasurer’s Office said Friday. He was never placed on a ventilator “or otherwise incapacitated,” the Treasurer’s Office said in a statement.

“We’ve Got to Do Better”. Cell Phone Data May Reveal Whether Stay at Home Order Works (Raleigh News & Observer) North Carolina and most of its counties aren’t seeing large enough reductions in social movements as the state attempts to restrict people’s mobility to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to data from a company that tracks human movements. Nearly a week into a statewide stay-at-home order, health officials say North Carolina residents need to do a much better job at heeding the statewide order halting most movements.

Chief Justice Beasley Postpones Court Proceedings Until June (North State Journal) North Caroline Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order to postpone court proceedings until June 1, 2020. The full order contains seven emergency directives. The order directs clerks of court to post notices at court facilities discouraging entry by those infected with COVID-19 and authorizes court proceedings to be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions.

Other News

US Sen. Richard Burr Stock Trade Probed by Justice Department, SEC (Winston Salem Journal) US Sen. Richard Burr is facing two potential federal probes into stock sales made a week before the stock market began its sharp coronavirus-related decline Feb. 20.

US Rep. Mark Meadows Resigns Seat, Starts at White House Tuesday (Blue Ridge Now) Rep. Mark Meadows is resigning his congressional seat effective 5 p.m. today as he assumes the post of White House chief of staff. Even while he held his House seat over the last several weeks, the North Carolina Republican has been the de facto chief of staff. Meadows represented Trump in Senate negotiations on the US$2.2 trillion economic rescue package to lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and he has been a regular presence in the White House in recent weeks.

North Carolina Senate Race Emerges as 2020 Bellweather (The Hill) Sen. Thom Tillis’s (R-NC) seat has emerged as a bellwether in the race for control of the Senate. Over the past week, the two leading Democratic and Republican super PACs focusing on Senate campaigns have poured a combined US$47 million into fall advertising reservations in North Carolina, far more than they have invested in any other Senate battleground state.

Texas

As of April 6th

This afternoon, Governor Abbott conducted a news conference at from a Texas DPS warehouse in Austin.  It was primarily an update on Texas PPE supplies.  Gov. Abbott was joined by Dr. John Hellerstedt, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Chief Nim Kidd, head of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System.  Current shelter-in-place and travel restrictions remain unchanged.  Texas DPS is enforcing the travel restrictions for flights from certain municipalities and states.

Gov. Abbott also mentioned that he’s recently participated in phone calls with VP Pence, other US Governors, HHS/CMS, FEMA and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

As of today, there are 7,276 positive COVID-19 cases in Texas, 140 fatalities, 85,357 people who have been tested and 1,153 hospitalizations.  For context, LAST SUNDAY/ March 29th those numbers were 2,552 positives, 34 deaths, and 25,483 tests administered. 

Governor Abbott provided a region-by-region breakdown of supplies that have been distributed over the past week — including masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and coveralls. The Governor also discussed the distribution process for PPE in Texas.  He cited 1.6 million masks, 209,000 face shields, 2.7m gloves, 160,000 gowns, 7,500 coveralls… and 2.5m masks on the way. 

On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott temporarily waived certain regulations to expand the health care workforce to assist with Texas’ COVID-19 response. Under this waiver, Physician Assistants (PA), Medical Physicists, Perfusionists, and Respiratory Care candidates for licensure who have completed all other requirements may enter the workforce under a n emergency license working under supervision prior to taking the final licensure examination. The Governor’s waiver also provides for emergency licensees to undergo name-based background checks in place of fingerprint checks while fingerprint checks are unavailable due to the crisis.

Additionally, the Governor’s waiver allows more flexibility between physicians and the PAs and Advance Practice Registered Nurses they supervise including allowing for oral prescriptive delegation agreements to enable rapid deployment of those practitioners during the emergency.

On Saturday, Governor Abbott Conducted a Phone Call With Anthony Fauci, MD, Of White House Coronavirus Task Force.  The Governor and Dr. Fauci discussed the importance of adhering to federal guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Governor then detailed the uniform standard among Texans to stay home unless performing an essential service or activity as well as other actions the state of Texas has taken to combat the virus. Dr. Fauci stated that this uniform standard, along with other actions implemented by Texas, will help achieve the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting public health. The Governor and Dr. Fauci discussed the trajectory of COVID-19 in Texas and the importance of continued social distancing through April 30th. The Governor and Dr. Fauci also discussed the expansion of testing in Texas. The Governor concluded the conversation by reiterating Texas’ commitment to working with the federal government during the COVID-19 response and by thanking Dr. Fauci for his leadership and advice.

On Friday, Governor Abbott held a press conference to provide an update on Texas hospital capacity. He and state experts explained the state’s preparations to bring additional facilities online to provide supplementary healthcare capacity if needed. Hospital bed availability in Texas has increased by more than 140 percent since March 18th. Click here for more information.

Actions Taken to Expand Hospital Capacity:

March 22nd: Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order to expand hospital bed capacity. Under this order, the Governor directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient. The order also suspends certain regulations to allow for increased occupancy of hospital rooms.

March 24th: Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring Texas hospitals to submit daily reports of hospital bed capacity to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

March 25th: Governor Abbott temporarily waived certain hospital licensing rules and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) adopted an emergency rule to meet Texas’ need for additional hospital capacity.

March 29th: Governor Abbott announced a joint effort between the state, the Texas Military Department (TMD), and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to identify and equip additional locations to serve as health care facilities in the event that hospital capacity is exhausted. The Governor announced the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas as the first of these sites.

Wisconsin

As of April 6th

Emergency Orders by the Governor

On Friday, Governor Tony Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm signed Emergency Orders #19, #20 and #21. Those emergency orders do the following:

Emergency Order #19, relates to allowing the disclosure of certain health information to first responders and other public safety workers if they are responding to an address of an individual that the Local Health Officer knows has tested positive for COVID-19.

Emergency Order #20, relates to modifying Emergency Order #16, to add some additional reporting and notification requirements regarding a provider who is operating under a temporary provider license.

Emergency Order #21, relating to suspending specific Administrative Rules at the Department of Health Services. Those rules were targeted at the following providers or services;

  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Hospices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Nurse Aide Training Programs
  • Feeding Assistant Programs
  • Community Based Residential Facilities
  • Adult Family Homes
  • Narcotic Treatment Service for Opiate Addiction

COVID-19 Media Briefing:

Governor Tony Evers, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard will hold a briefing and media Q&A at 1:30 PM today. It can be viewed live at: youtu.be/Esli3blev7w

Assembly Republicans send letter to Governor Evers on priorities for CARES Act funding

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and his Assembly Republican colleagues sent Governor Evers a letter over the weekend outlining how they hope the state’s share of the US$2.2 billion in federal funding from the CARES act will be distributed. Specifically highlighted in the letter are the following:

  • They ask that federal resources should be prioritized for the needs of hospitals and healthcare facilities.
  • They voice “strong opposition” to classifying abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, as an essential service and “firmly insist” that no federal stimulus money go directly or indirectly to abortion providers.
  • They reiterate their support for repealing the one-week waiting period for unemployment and will look to take it up as soon as the Legislature convenes.
  • They would like the Governor to consider building in unemployment assistance for business owners and direct any other resources available to help business owners and farmers stay afloat in these difficult times.
  • They ask that the state provide assistance to our local governments, if allowed under the purview of the federal stimulus bill.
  • For the homeless population they would like vouchers provided so that local governments can find alternate housing for those who lack shelter as well as finding ways to support food pantries.
  • In looking ahead to the next biennial budget (State Agency budget requests are due to the Governor by September 15th), the Assembly Republicans ask the Governor to “use every tool at your disposal, including the state offices of Inspector General within your administration, to be as mindful as possible in your spending decisions.” They also caution in their letter against considering tax increases or “other economically detrimental policies.”
  • And they close by asking the Governor to “work with Wisconsin churches and temples to allow them to hold Easter or Passover services, even if it’s outside.”

Updated DHS testing numbers from the weekend:

*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.

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 – 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.

COVID-19 – Funding Update – FEMA Grants

On March 30, 2020, President Trump declared a major disaster in Pennsylvania, which allows additional federal funding to be dispersed to the Commonwealth. Grants are available for the following:

  • State, local, tribal and territorial governments.
  • Eligible private nonprofit (PNP) organizations with an IRS effective ruling letter granting tax exemption under section 501(c), (d), or (e), including hospitals and related facilities, clinics, long-term care facilities, and outpatient facilities. Definition of an eligible PNP can be found here. Attached is a chart that is helpful to determine PNP eligibility as well.

FEMA is simplifying the process so applicants may directly apply for assistance through the PA Grants Portal. The registration requires basic information to quickly set up your organization’s account and process your request for FEMA Public Assistance Funding. Once completed the account and request will be submitted to the state/territory Emergency Management representative and FEMA for review and approval. The process to register is very simple. Once registration is reviewed and eligibility is approved, a PA representative will be in touch on processing the application. Costs must be directly tied to the performance of eligible work, documented, and reasonable in nature and amount. Examples of eligible costs include:

  • For emergency work:
  • Overtime labor for budgeted employees and straight-time and overtime labor for unbudgeted employees;
  • Backfill employee labor, Call-back pay, Night-time pay, Weekend differential pay, Stand-by time;
  • Necessary equipment;
  • Necessary supplies and materials.

Please contact us if you have questions, we are happy to guide you through this process.