Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 20, 2020

Connecticut

As of May 19th

Governor Lamont signs 43rd executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Yesterday, Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the 43rd since he enacted the emergency declarations. Executive Order No. 7PP enacts the following provisions:

  1. Reopening Phase 1: Repeals several previously enacted executive orders to allow for the safe reopening of certain sectors of the economy on May 20, including for the reopening of outdoor dining, offices, retail and malls, museums and zoos, and outdoor recreation businesses.
  2. Enforcement of sector rules governing the reopening of businesses: Modifies certain statues and regulations to permit the enforcement of sector rules as certain businesses reopen on May 20, including for local and district health directors and municipal chief executive officers
  3. Extension of prohibition on large gatherings to June 20, 2020: Extends the prohibition of large gatherings in Executive Order Nos. 7D and 7N through June 20, 2020.
  4. Extension of restrictions on off-track betting, indoor fitness, and movie theaters to June 20
  5. Further clarification of limits on restaurants, bars, and private clubs – mixed drinks permitted for takeout delivery: Allows for the sale of mixed drinks for takeout and delivery by various liquor permittees under certain conditions.
  6. Limitation on the operation of day camps: Prohibits day camps, which were not already operating as of May 5, 2020, from beginning operations for the season until June 22, 2020.
  7. Enhanced health procedures for all day camps: Requires day camps to comply with the limitations on child group sizes and enhanced health procedure requirements placed on child care programs by Executive Order No. 7Q, and by orders of the commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood.
  8. Cancellation of resident camp operations: Prohibits the operation of resident camps for the duration of the civil preparedness and public health emergency.
  9. Limitation on the operation of summer and educational programs operated by local or regional boards of education: Prohibits summer school programs from beginning prior to July 6, 2020, unless earlier extended, modified, or terminated by the governor. The commissioner of the Department of Education is required to issue guidance on the limited operation of summer school programs that are permitted to engage in-person classes after that date.
  10. Suspension or modification of regulatory requirements to protect public health and safety: Permits the commissioner of the Department of Education to temporarily waive, modify, or suspend any regulatory requirements as he deems necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public health.

Data updates on COVID-19 testing in Connecticut

The following is a summary of the day-to-day newly reported data on cases, deaths, and tests in Connecticut.

Overall SummaryStatewide TotalChange Since Yesterday
Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases38,116+697
COVID-19-Associated Deaths3,449+41
Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19920-17
COVID-19 Test Reported177,679+7,072

Florida

As of April 18th

The Governor of the State of Florida has published an Executive Order that modifies 20-112, as modified by Executive Order 20-120, to bring all Florida counties into Full Phase 1.


Kansas

As of May 19th

SPARK Taskforce Announced

Governor Laura Kelly today announced the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce. The taskforce is charged with leading Kansas forward in recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. See the following press release for more information.

Phase II of the Plan to Reopen Kansas – Executive Order

We reported earlier today that Governor Kelly announced her plan to institute a modified “Phase II” plan as it relates to reopening the state. See the Executive Order that outlines that modified plan by clicking here.


Texas

As of May 20th

Governor Abbott conducted a news briefing at 2:00 pm today at the Texas Capitol and announced that Texas will enter the next phase (Phase II) of reopening in the coming days/weeks, except for the four counties around Amarillo, Texas (where there have been outbreaks among meat packing workers), and El Paso County. In those counties the May 22nd openings are delayed one week.

Governor Abbott and others implored Texans to continue to socially distance, hand-wash and take other precautions (especially for those 65+) even as Texas reopens further.

Today’s COVID Texas numbers per DSHS:

  •  47,784 confirmed cases
  •  1,336 fatalities
  •  25,570 estimated recovered
  •  693,276 total tested
  •  1,551 currently in TX hospitals
  • COVID+ cases in 222 of Texas’s 254 counties.

Today’s Phase II executive order and announcement open or further reopen:

 Immediate:

  • Personal care services (including tattoo and massage and cosmetology) can open today.

Child care centers other than youth camps can open

  • Businesses located in office buildings can open today to 10 employees or 25% of capacity, whichever is greater.

Beginning Friday, May 22 (May 29 for Amarillo and El Paso areas):

  • Restaurants can move to 50% capacity (not including outdoor capacity)

Bars, wineries and breweries can open to 25% capacity

  • Bowling alleys at 25% capacity
  • Aquariums, natural caverns and rodeos can open to 25% capacity
  • Amateur sporting events with no general public access so long as participants have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the event.

Beginning May 29:

  • Zoos can reopen outdoor areas at 25% capacity.

Beginning May 31:

  • Youth and summer camps, overnight camps, and professional sports can reopen with certain limitations.

Beginning June 1

  • Schools can offer summer school
  • Amusement parks and water parks remain closed.

Texans are still asked not to visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities.

ALSO, in recent days Texas has made the following announcements:

May 15: Governor Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) announced that local fire departments in Texas are partnering with local public health authorities to provide testing in nursing homes throughout the state. Costs associated with providing these tests are eligible for federal reimbursement.

May 14: Governor Abbott announced that Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received more than $3 million in federal funding to provide shelter and services to survivors of family and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. This federal funding will support the 78 HHSC-funded local family violence centers that provide survivors with immediate shelter, supportive services, and access to community-based programs. These funds are made available through the CARES Act.

May 13: Governor Abbott and TDEM announced that the federal government has extended seven community-based testing sites in Texas through June 30, 2020. These federally-supported, state-managed, and locally-executed sites include El Paso (1), Dallas (2), Houston (2), and Harris County (2). 

May 13: Governor Abbott announced the Texas National Guard has activated Facilities Disinfection Teams to support Texans in nursing homes. Six teams have already been mobilized to facilities across the state with more coming online. Each team is equipped with unique supplies such as advanced personal protective equipment, ionized sprayers, and vital oxide. The teams received training from the Texas Military Department 6th Civil Support Team, who specialize in man-made and natural disaster assessment and rapid response in hazardous environments.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen today sent a letter directing state agencies and institutions of higher education to each submit a plan identifying savings that will reduce respective general and general revenue related appropriations by five percent for the 2020-2021 biennium. 

This has become standard operating procedure in recent years whenever Texas faces a recession or revenue challenges, such as the 2000-2001 dot.com bust and the economic crisis in 2008.

Texas has two-year budget cycles and the Legislature will not be back in regular session until January 2021, at which time they will pass a budget for 2022-2023.

The twin-hit of the COVID shutdown and oil crash has hammered state revenues. Texas is starting to reopen, but clearly the 87th Texas Legislative session – which begins January 12, 2021 – will be challenging. 


Washington

As of May 18th

The Governor of the State of Washington has published a proclamation that extends Proclamation 20-49, which waives and suspends statutes and prohibits certain activities relating to garnishments of wages and other income to collect judgments for consumer debt throughout Washington State until the termination of the COVID-19 State of Emergency or 11:59 PM on May 21, 2020, whichever occurs first.


Wisconsin

As of May 19th

Updated numbers released on Tuesday:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Tuesday:

  • 398 Current Hospital Admissions (130 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions increased by 19 (+19) on Tuesday
      • (+13 in SE WI, +3 in SC WI, +2 in NW WI and +1 in W WI and NC WI, -1 in NE WI).
    • The total number of ICU patients increased by 3 (+3) on Tuesday
      • (+6 in SE WI, +1 in Fox Valley, +1 in NW WI and -3 NE WI, -1 W WI, -1 SC WI).
  • Cumulatively there have been 12,885 positive tests and 148,237 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 198 positive test results reported on Tuesday on 3,933 tests (5% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 467 in Wisconsin:
    • There were 8 deaths reported on Tuesday
  • 7,012 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (55%), 5,215 cases are still considered active (41%) and 459 patients have died (4%). (last updated by DHS on 5/18)

Sources: 

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

Gov. Evers Announces $1 Billion Statewide Effort to support COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, Operations, and Resources for Local Communities

Gov. Tony Evers today announced a $1 billion statewide effort to support COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, acquisition of needed supplies, emergency operations, and resources for local communities throughout Wisconsin. The effort is funded by $1.17 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars. 

“As I’ve said before, regardless of the political overtones of the past week, we still know what we need to do to box in this virus and help keep people safe,” Gov. Evers said. “Our statewide approach to containing the spread of COVID-19 will continue with robust testing and contact tracing efforts in all corners of Wisconsin, resources that ensure our critical workers have the equipment they need to do their jobs safely, and direct investments in local communities and health providers. Wisconsin’s Safer At Home order may have ended, but our all-out war on this virus has not.”

How the $1.17 billion is slated to be allocated:

  • $260 million for testing efforts
    • $202 million to provide COVID-19 test collection kits to Wisconsin hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, local public health departments, and others at no cost to ensure that everyone who needs a test receives a test.
    • Approximately $3 million in funding (30,000 grants) to 96 local and tribal public health departments
    • $45 million in funding to local public health departments, occupational health providers, home health agencies, and health systems to conduct COVID19 testing in congregate, community and occupational settings. 
  • $75 million for contact tracing
    • up to $50 million will be available to local and tribal public health departments to hire additional staff to perform disease investigation, contact tracing and monitoring.
  • $150 million for the acquisition of PPE.
  • $40 million towards the procurement of ventilators.
  • $445 million is being allocated to ensure Wisconsin hospital systems and communities are prepared to handle a surge of COVID19 patients over the summer and fall.
  • $200 million has been spent by state agencies across Wisconsin in support of getting emergency operations up and running and of providing important resources and assistance to local partners across the state.

Link to press release

Tuesday Media Briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center

Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk and Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Paul Knapp conducted their Tuesday Media Briefing from the State Emergency Operations Center.

Of note in the briefing were;

  • Discussion regarding Governor Evers’ $1.17 billion spending announcement, noting that the announcement puts dollar figures around work that has already taken place as well identifying the amount that is being reserved to handle a potential surge in cases in the Fall.
  • One change of note is the discussion that DHS is having with local public health department officials about contact tracing and the state shifting from hiring the 1,000 contact tracers as state employees, to leveraging the existing local public health infrastructure helping reach the 1,000 additional contact tracers by growing out their capacity and having the state infrastructure and state contact tracers as backup.
  • General Knapp was asked about the Politico story on the National Guard’s currently scheduled June 23rd end of deployment. General Knapp noted that Governor Evers and other governors has asked for an extension for that end of deployment to the end of July. But General Knapp noted that they are in the mode of knowing that they will need to wind down the deployment at some point and hand off responsibilities back to the state and local health departments that they have been doing.

The media briefing is available here.

OCI Issues Notice to Insurers on Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) issued a notice to insurers today aimed at clarifying federal requirements detailed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Testing for COVID-19 must be covered by private health insurance, including cost-sharing like co-pays for office, urgent care, and emergency department visits, said Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable.

“We need folks to know that testing for COVID-19 is available and can be accessed without any out-of-pocket costs,” said Commissioner Afable. “Under federal law, most insurers cannot require cost-sharing like co-pays for office, urgent care, or emergency department visits. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the disease, get tested.”

Link to full press release and notice to insurers.

Status of Local Authority Safer-At-Home Orders:

Based on news stories and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards website, https://www.walhdab.org/general/custom.asp?page=DraftOrders, here is the current list of health orders that have been rescinded and those that are in effect. This list changes frequently, so please check in with your local public health department for ultimate clarity.


Local Authority Health Orders
 that have been rescinded:

Local Authority Health Orders that are currently in place:

Local Authority Health Order in drafting:

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:






Cumulative numbers:


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 18, 2020

Florida

As of May 16th

The Governor of the State of Florida has published an executive order that the restriction in Section 2(A)(2) of Executive Order 20-112 which limited the opening of certain businesses no longer applies to Broward and Miami-Dade Counties with effect from May 18, 2020.


Georgia

As of May 18th

  • Daily State Public Health stats
    • As of 1:00 p.m. today, Georgia has 38,081 confirmed cases as compared to 37,147 at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, with 6,916 hospitalized patients as compared to 6,735 at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, and 1,642 deaths as compared to 1,592 at 1:00 p.m. Saturday.  Over 364,000 tests have been administered.
  • In-person advance voting begins today. More than 1.4 million Georgians have now requested mail-in ballots. R and D requests are much closer now.
  • The Falcons plan to reopen their facilities on Tuesday.
  • Election officials can begin opening absentee ballots eight days before Georgia’s June 9 primary, according to a State Election Board rule approved Monday to deal with a deluge of mailed-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The board voted unanimously to pass the emergency rule, which will help election officials handle record numbers absentee ballots. In previous elections, absentee ballots couldn’t be processed until election day.
  • Even though ballots can be opened in advance, election results in some races might not be known for several days after the primary because of the time needed to count absentee ballots.

Minnesota

As of May 18th

Termed the “Pandemic Session” by Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, the 2020 Regular Session adjourned Sine Die at midnight Sunday.  While the Minnesota Constitution requires the Legislature to adjourn today, the Constitution also prohibits the Legislature from passing any legislation on the last Monday of the biennial session. This resulted in a weekend of busy negotiations and attempts to resolve their priorities.  The Minnesota Legislature technically won’t return until January 5th, 2021. However, the Governor’s Peacetime Executive Order, which grants him the authority for all other COVID-19 Executive Orders expires on June 12th. If the Governor wishes to extend that order for an additional 30 days, when the Legislature is not in session, he must call the Legislature back. The Legislature does not have to approve the order – but must be given the opportunity to reject the order.  According to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the Governor has indicated he plans to bring them back on the 12th of June to meet this obligation.  At that time, it is likely the Legislature will also try to address a number of issues they were unable to resolve in the final days and hours of the Regular Session.

The 2020 Session, which started in mid-February, was initially focused on the passage of a bonding bill in excess of $1 billion, approval of state employee contracts, tax relief, federal tax conformity, investments in early childhood education and a handful of unresolved policy issues left over from the 2019 Session.  In late February, it was announced the state had a $1.5 billion budget surplus and roughly $2.5 billion saved away in the state’s budget reserves.  And then, COVID-19 changed everything.  The Minnesota House initially pushed for remote hearings, an extended recess and the implementation of many of the CDC’s recommendations for limiting the spread of the Coronavirus.  The Senate’s initial response was to try and maintain a working presence at the Capitol.  As we learned more about the virus, the Senate also began to implement their own policies and procedures to address the virus’s spread.  Zoom meetings, legislative participation in floor debates by phone and lengthy roll call votes made the process for considering legislation and passing bills extremely challenging and time consuming.  Legislative negotiations were also impacted when the Governor and Leaders were unable to meet in person making the back and forth process all that more difficult.  

Over the past few weeks, the legislative focus changed. Bills were passed allocating funds to address a number of COVID-19 challenges. The state’s surplus turned to a deficit.  Money the Legislature had hoped to use to fund new programs and projects disappeared.  The state’s financial uncertainty dramatically impacted the session’s early goals.  While the Legislature was able to work in a bi-partisan manner early in the crisis, as the session drew near to an end partisanship returned.   Over the weekend, the minority party in both bodies failed to provide votes necessary to reach the 3/5th vote necessary to commit the state to long-term debt and passage of a bonding bill. The GOP led Senate rejected the labor contracts negotiated by the Walz Administration, out of concerns related to the raises in the second year of the contract.  Negotiations also broke down over a potential tax bill and legislation establishing a process for distributing the state’s $1.8 billion in federal CARES money. 

As part of that Special Session, the Legislature will try once again to complete items they were unable to resolve before adjourning.  The bonding bill, approval of state worker contracts, a tax bill and oversight of federal funds disbursement from the CARES Act are all on the list of potential bills.  It is possible other items related to COVID-19 and policy provisions which were close to being resolved prior to the adjournment could also return. 

Today, is typically reserved for retirement speeches from members of the House and Senate who will not return in 2021.  As of this morning, 14 members of the Legislature have announced their retirement.  Some of those retirements to seek other offices, others to return to their hometowns.  The House has chosen to continue with the process on the floor this afternoon, however instead of a chamber packed with members and families, hugs and tears, members will address the body via ZOOM, over the phone and a few from the floor of the House Chamber.  The Senate, initially planned to conduct today’s session from the South Lawn of the Capitol.  Senator Gazelka hoped this would allow all members to be in attendance and participate.  However, facing some pushback the Senate has decided to hold their retirement speeches when the Legislature returns in June for the Special Session.  There are typically a few surprise retirements and we will provide a list in the coming days.


Missouri

As of May 15th

The 100th General Assembly (that’s 200 years) has concluded. We have seen a lot of strange sessions over the years. We’ve seen the Senate shut down for the entire final week because of a PQ. We’ve seen a Speaker of the House resign in scandal. We’ve seen a Governor endure a four-month legislative investigation. But this COVID-Session has been more disruptive than any of those.  Five critical weeks of the Session were erased as we all worked from home. One member of the General Assembly (Rep. Joe Runions) was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The legislature only ended up approving 51 bills. The General Assembly has averaged 133 bills passed for each of the last 10 years and 76 was their low output during that time.

Missouri has now reported ­­10,492 cases of coronavirus and 566 deaths. One week ago, we were at 9,410 cases and 449 deaths. All stay-at-home orders in Missouri will expire by the end of this weekend, although several local jurisdictions have social distancing guidelines that exceed those set at the state level. The Missouri Gaming Commission this week extended an order to keep riverboat casinos closed at least through May 31.

Following is the final outcome of the bills that shaped this Session.

TRULY AGREED AND FINALLY PASSED

Punitive Damages and Missouri Merchandising Practices Act

Sen. Bill White’s SB 591 would restrict punitive damage awards in personal injury cases and modifies provisions related to unlawful merchandising practices to limit frivolous lawsuits in those cases. The merits of this bill were brokered during a 20-hour filibuster of the asbestos tort reform bill.

CLEAN(er) Missouri

Sen. Dan Hegeman’s SJR 38 will ask voters this Fall to decide whether they want to: Bring back the bipartisan commission that has drawn Missouri state legislative maps in the past; move the priorities considered by the redistricting commission back to their previous order; ban all lobbyist gifts, and; lower campaign contribution limits.

Broadband Internet Grants & 5G Deployment

This proposal by Sen. Dan Hegeman and Rep. Louis Riggs extends the sunset provision of the Broadband Internet Grant program from 2021 to 2027. This program provides grants to local internet service providers to extend broadband to unserved and underserved areas – which are mostly found in rural parts of northern and southern Missouri. Gov. Mike Parson originally asked the legislature to appropriate $10 million for this program for the next fiscal year, but it ended up with no funding in final appropriations bills. Expectations are that funding will rebound after the economy recovers next years. The bill also granted another four years to cell phone companies to deploy 5G technology.

Natural Gas Utility Infrastructure

HB 2120 will remedy a recent ruling by the Western District Court of Appeals that said that natural gas companies cannot recover costs for the replacement of bare steel and cast-iron pipes. The Missouri Public Service Commission had long held that those pipes met the definition of “worn out or deteriorated” and, thus, allowed natural gas companies to recover costs for replacing them.

TTD/CID Reform

The General Assembly has received a lot of criticism during these last three weeks of session for ballooning small, simple bills in to large, omnibus bills that contain provisions well beyond the scope of the original bill. HB 1854 is an example of this. When the bill passed, it contained a provision that will make it significantly more difficult to create a new Transportation Development District or Community Improvement District. Under current law, the creation of one of these districts requires a favorable vote of the residents who reside within its boundaries. This bill will require a favorable vote of all of the residents of the municipality of with which the district is contained.

Hyperloop

This bill is a gesture meant to attract the development of Virgin’s Hyperloop test track to Missouri. The eventual goal would be the development of a track from Kansas City to St. Louis. This bill modifies provisions of the Missouri Public-Private Partnerships Transportation Act to include a tube transport system. The bill prohibits the hyperloop from ever utilizing eminent domain for its development or being placed in MODOT right-of-way. The State would not be able to expend money from the State Road Fund for its development.

NOT PASSED

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

After eight years of failed attempts, Missouri remains the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program. The bill’s outlook looked promising when the Senate’s Conservative Caucus reached a compromise with Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer and HB 1693’s sponsor, Rep. Holly Rehder, to craft a proposal that would allow for a privatized version of the PDMP that only doctors and pharmacists will be able to access. Law enforcement and other government officials will not have been able to access the program. However, the House’s Conservative Caucus was not on board. They united with Democrats, who didn’t like the watered-down version, to vote down the bill on the House floor during the final week of session.

Grain Belt Express

A highly unusual coalition of Democrats and members of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus united to block an attempt to stop the development of the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Speaker Elijah Haahr made stopping this project his top priority for the last two years. This project has already been approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission and affirmed by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Online Sales Tax

Missouri and Florida remain the only states, with a state-level sales tax, that have not ratified an online sales tax. SB 648, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig, would have required online vendors to collect and remit sales tax to the State if they have receipts from sales of at least $100,000 annually to Missouri consumers. The bill bogged down over Sen. Koenig’s proposal that would have offset the newly collected sales tax by adding a .11% reduction to the ongoing phase down of Missouri’s personal income tax – ultimately reducing Missouri’s personal income tax rate to 4.99%.

Video Lottery Terminals

This proposal would have legalized video lottery terminals in Missouri gas stations, truck stops, bars, and fraternal organizations. The proposal was opposed by the state’s casinos and legislators who don’t want to expand gaming.

Sports Betting

The legislature also failed in its attempt to legalize sports betting. This bill bogged down in a fight between casinos and some of the professional sports leagues who wanted to mandate that the casinos purchase official statistics from the leagues. The proposal also received opposition from legislators who don’t want to expand gaming.

Biodiesel Mandate

This proposal would have required diesel fuel sold in Missouri to contain at least 20% biodiesel blend – commonly made from soybean oil. This was a top priority of the Missouri Soybean Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau. Conservative members of both chambers fought against this proposal based on anti-free market principles.

Public Safety

Rep. Ron Hicks and Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz both had proposals that would have lifted the residency requirements for St. Louis City police officers. The House expanded the bill to lift residency requirements for police officers throughout Missouri. This is legislation failed to garner the support of the many Saint Louis City and County legislators which ultimately kept it from making the proposal to the Governor’s desk.

The House also considered a proposal that would have created a fund for police departments to use for witness relocations in murder cases. This legislation was intended to ensure that witnesses could be protected while waiting for a trial. Rep. Jon Patterson, the sponsor of the legislation, was hopeful that this would encourage more witnesses, especially in St. Louis and Kansas City, to come forward in violent crime cases.

Charter School Expansion

This proposal would have expanded charter schools to all counties with a charter form of government (St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jackson County, and Jefferson County) and all municipalities with over 30,000 residents. The legislation would also have closed charter schools that have underperformed for three out of five years. The legislation moved swiftly through the Senate’s committee process but was unable to gain traction after the legislature recessed for the Coronavirus outbreak.

Charter Funding Equity

This proposal would have made the public funding available for charter schools equal to the funding for district schools. Under the current funding formula, charter schools are underfunded because the definition of “local effort” in the funding formula has not kept up with what is actually considered “local effort.” This bill would have redefined “local effort” to ensure that all local dollars intended for charter schools do in fact go to charter schools. Currently in Kansas City, more than half of the students in public schools are in charter schools. This has resulted in a funding discrepancy based on the way funding flows from the state to the charter schools. While this is not yet a problem in St. Louis, it likely will be in two or three years. These two issues have resulted in a roughly $1,100 difference between a child educated in a Kansas City public school and a child educated in a Kansas City charter school. The Kansas City Public School District has publicly agreed that there is a discrepancy and that it should be addressed. However, KCPS did not support Rep. Richey’s legislation. It is expected that this legislation will be a priority during the 2021 session.

529 Savings Accounts Tax Credit

Sen. Mike Cierpiot’s SB 581 would have created a fund in the State Treasurer’s office to start Missouri MOST 529 accounts for low income students. Under this legislation, individuals and corporations that donated to the fund would have received a 100% tax credit for their donation. The funds would have then been used to establish Missouri MOST accounts for children who were living in a household earning up to 200% of the free and reduced-price lunch calculation.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Former Gov. Eric Greitens shut down Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program in 2017 in an effort to force compromise on reforms to the program. The legislature tried, and failed for the second year, to reform the program to entice Governor Parson to turn it back on. This bill would have placed a cap on the program equal to 72.5% of the amount of federal Low Income Housing tax credits annually allocated to Missouri, among other reforms. Gov. Parson could ask the Missouri Housing Development Commission to administratively institute reforms and turn the program back on at any time.

TIF Reform

Sen. Andrew Koenig had sought to reform (and reduce) the use of tax increment financing. SB 570 would have required third-party verification of a TIF district’s qualifications, limit the use of TIFs in retail developments, and prohibit TIF use in greenfields and floodplains – unless the floodplain is located within a port district or a levee drainage district created prior to the enactment of this law. The prohibition on floodplain use would not have applied to floodplains within Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties and the cities of Springfield and St. Joseph. All TIF usage would have been prohibited in floodplains located within St. Charles County. Ambulance districts, fire protection districts, and certain governing bodies operating a 911 center would have received a reimbursement from the TIF special allocation fund. The bill also would have allowed the City of St. Louis to deposit a portion of TIF revenues into a fund for infrastructure projects. The bill also contained language that would have allowed school districts to exclude their operating levy from TIF proceeds.

TIME Zones

Sen. Lincoln Hough tried to create the Targeted Industrial Manufacturing Enhancement Zones Act. This program would have allowed cities or counties to redirect withholding taxes generated by the creation of new jobs to be used to fund public infrastructure associated with the attraction of those jobs. The program had a $5 million cap and a 2024 sunset.


New Jersey

As of May 16th

The Governor of the State of New Jersey has published an executive order stating that beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores in the State may be open to the public as long as these spaces are used and maintained consistent with various restrictions and recommendations.

All restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, all bars, and all other holders of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges located on the public and private beaches, boardwalks, and lakeshores, including concessions, snack bars, and food trucks, remain limited to offering only food delivery and/or take-out services.

The Governor of the State of New Jersey has published an executive order permitting the resumption of non-essential construction, curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses, and gatherings in cars.


New York

As of May 15th

The Governor of the State of New York has published an executive order that directs, amongst other provisions, that the previous Executive Orders which together constitute “New York On PAUSE”, are continued until 11:59 p.m. on May 28, 2020, unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order.

However the reductions and restrictions on the in-person workforce at non-essential businesses or other entities no longer apply to Phase One industries in regions that meet the prescribed health and safety metrics.


North Carolina

As of May 18th

Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 18,512

Coronavirus deaths: 659

Currently hospitalized: 493

Completed tests: 248,944

Number recovered: 9,115

NC Counties affected: 99/100

Realtime COVID-19 Data for NC

North Carolina Churches Meet After Pandemic Restrictions are Blocked  (Raleigh News & Observer) Much of the debate in the last week over Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order centered on religious gatherings. His office sought to clarify the order limiting indoor services to 10 people, but Republican state senators objected, some county sheriffs said they would not enforce the rule, churchgoers rallied in protest, and a federal lawsuit was filed.  Governor Cooper’s office did not appeal the ruling.

Shoppers, Business Owners Anxious for Phase 2 Reopening, as COVID-19 Cases Spike  (WRAL) Over 800 new coronavirus cases were reported by the state over the weekend. The news comes as more testing is being done and as businesses continue to welcome customers while also practicing social distancing. Saturday’s numbers were the largest spike in cases the state has had since the pandemic began. 

NC Budget & Tax Center: COVID-19 Could Impact Economy for Decades  (WWAY) The NC Budget and Tax Center predicts North Carolina could see economic impacts from the coronavirus for years. The NC Budget and Tax Center hosted a briefing Friday on the state’s economic outlook ahead of the General Assembly’s session on Monday. Presenters discussed unprecedented job losses, disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities, and the likelihood of a prolonged downturn. 

Poultry Producer Closes Two Plants for COVID-19 Deep Cleaning  (WRAL) A poultry producer is temporarily closing a North Carolina plant for cleaning amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Tyson Foods spokesman Derek Burleson said one of two fresh meat plants at its Wilkesboro complex was closed from Thursday to Tuesday. A second fresh poultry plant at the site will continue limited operations. The closure, following another temporary closure for cleaning, will allow “additional deep cleaning” due to sick workers and quarantine-related absences.

If You Belong to One of These Groups, You Should Get Tested for Coronavirus  (WCNC) North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. issued guidance last Friday on who should get tested for COVID-19. 

NC Senate Committee Will Meet on Unemployment Oversight  (North State Journal) When the General Assembly returns on Monday, one closely watched committee hearing will be concerning unemployment benefits in North Carolina. Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) tweeted a link to a legislative website to provide comments from the public on experiences when filing for unemployment benefits. Brown’s tweet says “Have an unemployment insurance horror story? The N.C. Senate is holding an oversight meeting on Monday to hold Gov. Cooper’s unemployment insurance office accountable.”

New COVID-19 Restaurant Training Expected to Roll Out This Week  (WRAL) The training is the result of a partnership between the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, NC Department of Health and Human Service, Visit North Carolina and North Carolina State University and will address things like safety protocols, cleaning protocols, how to accomplish social distancing, how to move tables apart, how to correctly put on, take off and store facemasks.

Non-COVID News

Burr Decision Sends Shockwaves Through the Senate  (The Hill) Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) decision to temporarily step down as chairman of the Intelligence Committee sent shock waves through the US Senate. The announcement, made in a statement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell visibly shocked several of Burr’s colleagues, who appeared to be learning the news as reporters asked them about the decision. 

“Never Trumpers” Plan to Hold Their Own GOP Convention in Charlotte in August  (Charlotte Observer) Former NC Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr and former NC House Member Charles Jeter plan to join other Republicans at a convention in Charlotte this August — but not the one that will renominate President Donald Trump. Instead they’ll join a group called “Republicans for a New President.” Organized by Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran an independent campaign for president in 2016, the gathering is expected to bring together groups disaffected by the president, including Republicans for the Rule of Law and The Lincoln Project.

Should NC Lawmakers Turn Over Their E-mails in Voter ID Case?  (Raleigh News & Observer) State legislators accused of passing a 2018 voter ID law for racist reasons are now fighting efforts to force them to turn over documents like emails that could show what they discussed while writing that law. New voter ID rules were originally supposed to go into place for this year’s elections. But they were blocked during the March primaries after judges both in federal court and in state court found that lawmakers may have written the law with “racially discriminatory intent.”

Auditor Wood Blasts NCDOT’s Spending, Says Problems Date to Earlier Governors  (Business North Carolina) Were the pandemic not dominating the news, North Carolina’s newspapers would be filled with stories about the mismanagement at the N.C. Department of Transportation. Yet, State AuditorBeth Wood’s new report showing that NCDOT overspent its $5.9 billion budget by $742 million, or 12%, last year raised few ripples. The agency’s track record, coupled with sharp declines in gas tax revenue caused by the heavily shuttered economy, has major ramifications for the state’s construction industry.


Oregon

As of May 15th

In this week’s update: 

  • Oregon’s counties have started to re-open. This week, 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties were approved to enter Phase 1 of reopening. Learn about what that means below.  
  • The Legislature’s Joint Emergency Board met again to make general approvals of federal COVID-19 funding placements.  
  • The City of Portland held its first and only public hearing on the Mayor’s proposed budget.
  • As we head into the final few days of voting in Oregon, turnout remains on track with higher turnout years in the Metro area. Will the trend hold now that we’ve passed the mail-in deadline?  

Elections: 

  • Last week, early ballot returns were tracking just ahead of the historical averages in Multnomah CountyAfter a slight mid-week dip, we’re heading into the final weekend with turnout just shy of 30%. That’s similar to 2008’s figure on the Friday before election day, and ahead of 2016’s (Clackamas County is pacing ahead of 2016, too).  
    • Will we stay on pace with 2008 and hit 60% turnout? Or—now that the mailing deadline has passed—will there be a drop-off in voters who turn in a ballot on Monday and Tuesday? We’re predicting the latter but would love to be proven wrong.  
  • Statewide, turnout is tracking close to 2016’s pace; that primary ended up just shy of 54% turnout.  
  • Find a dropbox here (even though Multnomah County libraries are closed, the 24-hour book drop boxes are still collecting ballots). Get those ballots in by 8pm on Tuesday! 
  • Election night: Here’s the site for statewide and county-by-county results starting at 8pm. 
  • We’ll send a Wednesday morning update with all the latest on Election Night news.  

State:  

  • All but three of Oregon’s counties applied to reopen under Governor Kate Brown’s phased approach.  
    • Of those, all but two—Polk and Marion Counties—were approved to enter Phase 1, which allows limited reopening of businesses like restaurants and bars, and personal services.  
    • Across the state, most retailers were also allowed to reopen, under specific guidelines. Guidelines for other sectors, like summer day camps, gyms, and restaurants have also been issued.  
    • Three more counties—Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County—have not yet applied to enter phase 1. See the local section, below, for more background on the metro counties’ timelines.  
  • The Legislature will hold May Legislatives Days virtually this year, with the House Committees happening from May 22-29. Senate Committees will take place from June 1-5.  
  • The Oregon Legislative E-board met today and adopted two reports on how state and local governments allocate federal CARES Act funds. These report adoptions are largely for administrative purposes in order to disperse previously allocated federal funds.  
    • The first report outlined an agreement made by the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House on a high-level distribution of the state’s portion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund from the CARES Act into three distinct priority categories: State Expenses, Local and Tribal Governments, Reserves. A quick overview of this report can be found here.   
    • The second report increased the Federal Funds expenditure limits established for the Department of Administrative Services by $215,000,000 for funding made available to states through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. $100,000,000 of the Federal Funds expenditure limitation increase will be held and released as on a rolling basis for COVID-19 response costs eligible for reimbursement to local governments and tribes in Oregon, outside of the boundaries of Multnomah and Washington counties. A quick review of the report can be found here.   
  • Oregon’s next revenue forecast will be on May 20, delivered virtually to the House and Senate revenue committees. We are expecting to see a shortfall between $2 and $3 billion, out of a $23.7 billion combined General Fund and Lottery Fund biennial budget. 

Local: 

  • Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury pledged to share weekly updates on the County’s progress toward reopeningCurrently, constrained fiscal resources mean the County can’t yet meet benchmarks for contract tracing or supplies of PPE that underpin a monitored and controlled approach to reopening. Clackamas and Washington Counties are in a similar spot.  
  • Virtual public hearings on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s proposed budget started this week, with Portlanders who participated calling for more resources for renters and immigrants, and less for the Portland Police Bureau—specifically the gun violence reduction team, school resource officer program and transit police division.  
    • The Council’s first hearing before a budget vote is slated for June 10.  
  • Council also adopted labor agreements with the firefighters and police commanding officers’ unions this week, after both were amended to reduce costs to the city. A third union, representing 911 operators, did not agree to similar late-hour concessions; negotiations will continue.  

Upcoming Virtual Town Halls 

Many of our partners have been asking about the best way to connect with and engage elected officials right now. Many are moving engagement to virtual town halls; We’ll be keeping a running list of upcoming events here. 

  • Rep. Chris Gorsek will hold a virtual constituent coffee on Saturday, May 16th @ 1PM. Email gorsekfororegon@gmail.com to RSVP and receive the zoom link.  
  • Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty will hold a virtual townhall to talk about the mayor’s proposed 20-21 fiscal year budget. Reserve your spot through Commissioner Hardesty’s Facebook page

COVID-19 Update: 

  • Oregon now has 3,541 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as of 8:00am today, 5/15. There have been 137 deaths

At-a-Glance: Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits & Small Businesses 

CARES Act 

General Resources 


Tennessee

As of May 18th

CONFIRMED CASES: 18,011

FATALITIES: 301

HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,489

UNEMPLOYMENT: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is now processing Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), in addition to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). PEUC provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to eligible claimants. Individuals who have exhausted their Tennessee Unemployment Compensation claim, or their benefit year has ended, need to refile at www.Jobs4TN.gov to obtain the additional weeks of benefits provided through PEUC.

REOPENING: On Friday of this week, restaurants and retail businesses in 89 of 95 counties can return to full capacity as long as social distancing guidelines are adhered to, including 6 feet between tables. Also effective this Friday, large attractions like racetracks, amusement parks, waterparks, theaters, and large museums may reopen if they can effectively practice social distancing. Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments. Restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people remain in place for the time being.

MEMPHIS: Officials in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, announced today the beginning of Phase 2 which authorizes the reopening of “close contact” businesses such as spas, tattoo parlors, sports facilities and for “purposeful” gatherings of under 50 people. The move to Phase 2 of the reopening comes two weeks to the day after the first phase began countywide. The re-openings in Phase 2 come with specific measures for social distancing and capacity limits, such as dining facilities maintaining 50% capacity limit from Phase 1. Gyms and other physical fitness facilities can move from 25% capacity in Phase 1 to 50% of capacity in Phase 2.

MORE RESOURCES: Visit the Unified Command’s data dashboard HERE.

GUIDELINES: The Economic Recovery Group continues to issue both general and industry-specific guidelines to safely reopening HERE. They include manufacturing, office building, retail and restaurants, among others.


Virginia

As of May 15th

Total cases: 28,672

Hospitalizations: 3,657

Deaths: 977

The latest:

  • Non-essential businesses began opening Friday in areas of Virginia outside of Northern Virginia, City of Richmond and the Eastern Shore’s Accomack County.
  • The first phase of opening will last at least two weeks, and beaches will remain closed, except for fishing and exercising.
  • The governor said he will make an announcement about beach access next week ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

Non-essential businesses began reopening on a limited basis on Friday throughout much of Virginia under Phase 1 of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plans. In certain localities where officials requested more time to control the spread of COVID-19, Northam ordered non-essential businesses to remain closed.

While Northam had previously indicated Northern Virginia would remain closed until May 29, the governor faced increasing criticism from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who argued reopening too quickly would jeopardize the health of minority communities disproportionately affected by the virus.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, Northam issued an order prohibiting non-essential businesses from resuming activities on Friday in the City of Richmond and the Eastern Shore’s Accomack County, where an outbreak has affected workers at poultry processing facilities. Those localities were placed on the same delayed schedule as the Northern Virginia localities.

At a press conference on Friday, Northam explained his decision as deferring to local leaders’ requests and changing circumstances, and said he also would be willing to consider requests from localities that want to move quicker into the state’s Phase 2 of reopening. He also said he is in talks with local beach communities and anticipated making an announcement soon about the status of Virginia’s beaches for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Under Phase 1 guidelines, non-essential retail businesses and churches will be permitted to reopen at 50 percent of indoor capacity. Personal grooming businesses such as salons and barbershops will be able to serve customers by appointment only, and so long as staff and customers wear face masks, the governor said.

Wearing face masks, teleworking and practicing social distancing will remain recommended practices. Restaurants will be permitted to serve customers at half the outdoor seating capacity; indoor dining will remain prohibited. Beaches will be open for fishing and exercising only. Entertainment and amusement venues, as well as overnight summer camps, will remain closed. Public gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned.

The governor has said this phase would last at least two weeks.

Under Phase 2, limitations would be further eased and the cap on public gatherings would be raised to no more than 50 people.

The current restrictions on non-essential businesses, including restaurants and indoor recreation and entertainment businesses, will remain in effect in Northern Virginia, where local leaders requested the governor maintain tight restrictions. The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, is being amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home, Northam said. He encouraged older Virginians and others at higher risk of developing complications associated with infection to remain home as the state begins to reopen.

Public schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were already rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23.

Initial unemployment claims have begun to recede but remain historically high. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, more than 390,000 continued week unemployment claims had been filed in the week ending May 9. About two-thirds of the workers who’ve filed initial unemployment claims during the pandemic continued to file in the week ending May 9.


Wisconsin

As of May 18th

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Friday:

  • 364 Current Hospital Admissions (131 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions increased by 5 (+5) on Saturday and by 3 (+3) on Sunday.
    • The total number of ICU patients increased by 3 (+3) on Saturday and by 3 (+3) on Sunday.
  • Cumulatively there have been 12,543 positive tests and 139,764 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 502 positive test results reported on Saturday on 6,051 tests (8.3% positive rate).
    • There were 356 positive test results reported on Sunday on 5,824 tests (6.1% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 453 in Wisconsin:
    • There were 8 deaths reported on Saturday
    • There were 0 deaths reported on Sunday
  • 6,786 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (54%), 5,303 cases are still considered active (42%) and 453 patients have died (4%). (last updated by DHS on 5/17)

Sources: 

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

Badger Bounce Back Gating Criteria

Over the weekend half of Governor Tony Evers’ Badger Bounce Back gating criteria are now showing red, indicating the gating criteria is not being met for 3 indicators;

  • Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period.
  • Downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period.
  • Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period. (the new one)

All of the indicators are displaying a downward trend but DHS analysis suggests it is not statistically significant.

Weekend News Shows and COVID-19

Governor Evers on UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen

UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen hosted Governor Tony Evers on their Sunday program.  Of note from the interview;

  • The Governor said that he and Legislative leaders will meet this week, but wanted to be clear that the Administrative Rule process is a long and “archaic” process, and said it will be at least two weeks before we see something.
  • He said the meeting with lawmakers last week was “friendly,” but didn’t envision that there would be a “grand bargain.” He said Republicans control the process and can remove any provisions that they don’t agree with.
  • When asked something that would be positive coming out of the Administrative Rule process, the Governor suggested that having a communications plan, in the event of a surge, would be a positive, but didn’t envision any restrictions being reinstated through this process.
  • When asked if requiring everyone to wear masks was a good idea, the Governor responded that he believed it would be, but said that the Supreme Court made it “abundantly clear” they don’t have the power to require anyone to do anything. He suggested that businesses and individuals look to the WEDC Reopen Guidelines.
  • When asked about how long it will take Wisconsin to get back to normal, Governor Evers suggested at least half a year, or as some economists suggested a full-year, but that normal won’t be the old normal.

Link to video

Maj. Leader Steineke and Gov. Evers on Here & Now-WI Public Television

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steinke (R-Kaukauna) was interviewed by Fredericka Fryberg. Of note from the interview;

  • Majority Leader Steineke expressed disappointment that things got to this point, that the Supreme Court had to get involved, would have preferred to have negotiations.
  • When asked about the Governor’s Scope Statement and its similarity to the original “Safer-At-Home” order, and Steineke expressed concern that it continues to appear to be a statewide approach and not a regional approach. He hopes that the Governor changes that approach in the rules that are proposed.
  • When asked about the local authority health orders, Steineke said its well within the authority of those local governments and would rather see that approach than the statewide.

Link to video.

Governor Evers also appeared on the episode, of note from his interview was the following:

  • Governor Evers was disappointed in the decision of the Supreme Court and concerned about the gatherings that happened immediately after the ruling.
  • When asked about the Administrative Rule process, he reinforced that there isn’t going to be a grand bargain, because Republicans are happy with what now exists.
  • When asked about Joint Committee for Review Administrative Rules Co-Chair Steve Nass’s reaction to the scope statement, he said that he should wait to see the draft rule before commenting, because this is just a scope statement, however he noted that the Republicans have already said they don’t want any infringements on what has already opened up.
  • Governor Evers said he is hopeful that people continue to remain at open and limit their going out.

Link to video.

Gov. Evers and Maj. Leader Steineke on Capital City Sunday

Of note in Governor Evers’ interview with Emilee Fannon were the following:

  • Gov. Evers said reopening the schools in the Fall should be the goal, but there should also be a plan A, B and C. They are looking at potential plans of staggering in-person attendance, whereby students spend a limited amount of time in the classroom in smaller class sizes and the rest of the time attend online.
  • Regarding reopening UW campuses, he said that is more complicated than K-12 schools, and that they will need to make a decision soon on that.
  • When asked whether to host the DNC Convention, which was rescheduled to take place in Milwaukee in August, in person or virtually, Gov. Evers said it is probably a smarter decision to host it virtually.
  • He is encouraging that businesses that are re-opening or who are considering to re-open to utilize the WEDC re-opening guidelines.

Link to video.

Of note in Majority Leader Steineke’s interview with Emilee Fannon were the following:

  • Maj. Leader Steineke was hoping what happened with going from no restrictions to wide open would have been avoided if the Governor would have negotiated with the Legislature prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
  • He noted that the original of the “Safer-At-Home” order was to ensure hospitals were not overwhelmed and operating in crisis capacity, and since that has been established, businesses should be able to start re-opening, using the CDC guidelines to keep their customers and employees safe.
  • Leader Steinke said that everyone is expecting an increase in positive cases associated with reopening the economy, said that is to be expected at any point, whether it was on May 26th or now, but the point of the order was to prep the hospitals to be able to be ready for that surge.

Link to video.

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:





Cumulative Numbers:


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 14, 2020

Connecticut

As of May 13th

Governor Lamont signs 40th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Yesterday, Governor Lamont signed another executive order – the 40th since he enacted the emergency declarations. Executive Order No. 7MM enacts the following provisions:

  • Allows municipalities to expedite changes to their zoning rules or other ordinances to expand outdoor dining
  • Creates an expedited approval process for restaurants and other establishments that serve food to get fast-tracked permission to create or expand outdoor dining areas
  • Allows other businesses such as retail stores to get fast-tracked permission to sell goods on the sidewalk or in other outdoor areas, including shared spaces or spaces provided by municipalities
  • Allows restaurants and other businesses who already have liquor permits to serve alcohol only with food without applying for a separate patio or extension of use permit
  • Allows private clubs to sell alcohol only to their members for delivery or pickup
  • NOTE: A separate executive order will provide for the Phase I reopening of businesses and other activity, including those that are subject to yesterday’s order. All of the Phase I reopening activity will be subject to operating rules issued by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Data updates on COVID-19 testing in Connecticut

The following is a summary of the day-to-day newly reported data on cases, deaths, and tests in Connecticut.

Overall SummaryStatewide TotalChange Since Yesterday
Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases34,333+568
COVID-19-Associated Deaths3,041+33
Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-191,189-23
COVID-19 Test Reported138,424+5,916

Georgia

As of May 14th

  • Daily State Public Health stats [now released 9a, 1p and 7p daily]:
    • As of 11:15a today, Georgia has 35,793 confirmed cases as compared to 35,332 at 3:48p Wednesday, with 6,320 hospitalized patients as compared to 6,259 at 3:48p Wednesday, and 1,523 deaths as compared to 1,505 at 3:48p Wednesday. Over 285,000 tests have been administered.
  • Per State economist Jeffery Dorfman, GA may spend up to $1.5b from reserve funds by June 30.
  • Governor Kemp’s chief management officer will now serve as Dr. Toomey’s chief of staff to run the operations side of DPH.
  • The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold a joint virtual meeting on May 18 at 3p.

Local:

  • Housing sales in 11 metro Atlanta counties were down 25.8% from the same month a year ago.

Minnesota

As of May 14th

Last night, in a livestreamed address, Governor Walz announced the next phase of Minnesota’s fight against the Coronavirus. Minnesota’s current Stay at Home order, first put in place on March 28th, is set to expire at 11:59 pm on Sunday, May 17th. The Governor will allow that order to expire. Replacing his previous order is Executive Peacetime Order 20-56, termed “Stay Safe Minnesota”. The new order goes into effect at 12:00 am, Monday May 18th and will slowly begin to turn the dial and allow more small businesses and retailers to open. Order 20-56 will allow those customer facing retailers who have been providing curb-side service to now allow customers into their businesses, malls and other retailers will also be able to open their doors. The order will require these businesses to have documented and posted plans outlining employee and customer safety. These businesses will be limited to 50% of their Fire Marshal approved capacity and must practice social distancing.

The new order does not allow gyms, salons, bars, restaurants or places of amusement or entertainment to open. Governor Walz has directed his administration to provide guidance to those businesses by May 20th, with hopes of allowing them to start with restricted and limited access on June 1st. Large events and businesses where people gather in close proximity are still canceled or closed. These closings include public pools, common areas in malls, campgrounds and sporting events. The order does allow gatherings in places of worship, but limits those gatherings to no more than 10 individuals. The Governor’s order urges Minnesotans who can, to continue working from home and sheltering in place. The Governor also requests Minnesota residents to stay close to home and limit travel. The Governor’s order does allow for small gatherings of no more than 10 individuals in settings where social distancing must be maintained.

In addition to Executive Order 20-56, Stay Safe Minnesota, Governor Walz signed a number of additional executive orders and had them approved by the state’s Executive Council. The following is a complete list of the new Executive Orders.

  • Executive Order 20-53: This order extends the Governor’s Peacetime Emergency Declaration and continues the Governor’s ability to issue Executive Orders through June 12.
  • Executive Order 20-54: This order provides new protections for workers from retaliation and unsafe working conditions. The order creates a new level of protection during the COVID crisis for any employee who asks for accommodations to protect their own health.
  • Executive Order 20-55: This order focuses on protecting at-risk populations, urges certain groups to stay at home and provides for additional access to services and protections.
  • Executive Order 20-56: This order replaces Minnesota’s Stay at Home order as of May 18th, and begins to allow for the opening of Minnesota businesses and other activities.

Governor Walz provided a letter to Legislative Leaders regarding his 30-day extension of Minnesota’s Peacetime Emergency Declaration. In that letter, Governor Walz indicated he will call the Minnesota Legislature back for a Special Session prior to June 12th, if he determines another 30 extension is necessary.

As Minnesota businesses begin the process of opening their doors, I suggest you continue to monitor the Department of Employment and Economic Development website. DEED continues to update their guidance and provides a number of resources for Minnesota employers and employees. The following is a link to their most recent guidance.

MN DEED Guidance on Opening Businesses

Minnesota’s Updated COVID-19 Statistics

Confirmed Cases13,435 (1,600 healthcare workers)
Total Deaths confirmed663
Nursing Home/Long-term care deaths537
Hospitalizations (total)1,915
Hospitalizations (current)498
ICU Hospitalizations (current)203
Completed Tests128,752

In addition to yesterday’s Executive Orders, the Walz Administration also released the most recent COVID-19 Modeling they have been working on with the University of Minnesota. The modeling suggests the following Minnesota specific results over the next 12 months: range of deaths 16,000 – 44,000, a mean of deaths totaling 29,000 and a shocking 1,400 additional deaths by the end of the month. The peak is projected to take place on July 6th. The modeling also predicted a continuation of the current Stay and Shelter order through the end of the month would have little impact on the total number of deaths. The new model used the most recent data available to the University, two impacts on the modeling are related to Minnesota’s effectiveness of social distancing which has fallen to 38% from the originally predicted 50%, and the Stay at Home Order effectiveness which is now at 59.5% down from the original 80%.

As we approach May 18th and June 1st – there will likely be more questions than answers on how to proceed, please use us as a resource for helping to find answers to your specific questions. 


New York

As of May 13th

Hospitals:

  • Elective surgeries to continue in 12 more counties
    • Albany, Cayuga, Chemung, Columbia, Clinton, Cortland, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Renselaer, Schenectady, Warren

Reopening:

  • Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North County, and Southern Tier meet metrics for reopening
  • The governor reiterated Dr. Faucci’s warning about reopening too soon
    • Calibrate/control by monitoring diagnostic testing, antibody testing, hospitalizations rate and capacity, infection rate
    • Regional control group should manage, monitor, and ensure compliance with safety precautions
    • We must stay alert because we are still learning

Children and COVID-19:

  • DOH is investigating 102 cases of what may be rare COVID- related illness in children with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock like syndrome
  • Illness has taken lives of 5 year old boy, 7 year old boy, and 18 year old girl
  • 60% of children with symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 and 40% tested positive for the antibodies (14% positive for both). 71% of cases end up in ICU.
  • On Monday, DOH sent alert to 49 other state health departments and Dr. Zucker did nationwide call with health commissioner as part of NY’s role as leading national effort on new syndrome
  • 14 other states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington) Washington D.C, and Spain, France, England, Italy, and Switzerland have reported cases as well
  • Parents who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have reason to believe their child has been exposed should take heightened precautions and seek medical attention
  • Hospitals have been directed by DOH to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children presenting symptoms

Federal Assistance:

  • New York has a significant funding gap of $61B
  • Funding is necessary for essential workers, state testing and tracing, public infrastructures as economic stimulus

SALT Repeal

  • Costs $29B to NY
  • No corporate giveaways for layoffs
  • Governor Washington Op-Ed: “Make sure subsidies are tied to worker protections.”
  • Americans First Law: No corporate bailout if workers will be laid off
  • Will be introduced by congressional delegation

Texas

As of May 14th

The Governor of the State of Texas has issued a Proclamation renewing disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas.

This information is provided by Dentons powered by Libryo. Sign up for free access to the COVID-19 Regulation Tracker here.


Virginia

As of May 13th

Total cases: 26,746

Hospitalizations: 3,520

Deaths: 927

The latest:

  • Non-essential businesses will be permitted to reopen across Virginia – but not in Northern Virginia – on a limited basis starting Friday, May 15.
  • The first phase of opening will last at least two weeks, and beaches will remain closed, except for fishing and exercising.
  • In Northern Virginia localities, non-essential businesses will remain closed for at least two more weeks.

Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that the state will move forward with conditions that allow many non-essential businesses to reopen on Friday, May 15, but not in localities in Northern Virginia, where the outbreak has been more pronounced.

Elsewhere in Virginia, non-essential retail businesses and churches will be permitted to reopen at 50 percent of indoor capacity. Personal grooming businesses such as salons and barbershops will be able to serve customers by appointment only, and so long as staff and customers wear face masks, the governor said.

Wearing face masks, teleworking and practicing social distancing will remain recommended practices. Restaurants will be permitted to serve customers at half the outdoor seating capacity; indoor dining will remain prohibited. Beaches will be open for fishing and exercising only. Entertainment and amusement venues, as well as overnight summer camps, will remain closed. Public gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned.

Northam said this phase of reopening will last a minimum of two weeks, and officials will evaluate public health data before determining whether sufficient progress has been made to warrant further relaxing restrictions.

Data from Johns Hopkins University showed Virginia ranked No. 48 in the US in terms of testing rates, but Northam has said the state is increasing its testing capabilities. Those increased tests have revealed a decline in the percentage of positive cases in recent days. Virginia continues to restock its supplies of personal protective equipment, and hospital bed occupancies have remained stable. Hospitals, healthcare systems and medical and dental offices were allowed to resume outpatient, elective and non-emergency procedures on May 1.

The current restrictions on non-essential businesses, including restaurants and indoor recreation and entertainment businesses, will remain in effect in Northern Virginia, where local leaders requested the governor maintain tight restrictions. The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, is being amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home, Northam said. He encouraged older Virginians and others at higher risk of developing complications associated with infection to remain home as the state begins to reopen.

Public schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were already rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23.

Initial unemployment claims have begun to recede but remain historically high. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, more than 376,000 continued week unemployment claims had been filed in the week ending May 2. The figure amounts to more than 10 percent of the private-sector payroll in Virginia.


Wisconsin

As of May 14th

Counties that have adopted “Safer-At-Home” extension

Following the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision that declared that Emergency Order #28 (EO #28) is “unlawful, invalid and unenforceable,” several Wisconsin counties and municipalities have utilized their local authority to issue public health orders that adopt the provisions of EO #28 as well as the provisions contained in Emergency Orders #34 and #36 (the “Turn the Dial” orders that allowed for curbside pickup for retail and opening smaller retail operations to up to 5 patrons).

Those local authority orders tied to EO#28 remain in effect until 8:00 AM on Tuesday, May 26th. The City of Appleton’s order is in effect until May 20th. The city of Milwaukee and city of Menasha have orders with no expiration date and remain in effect until a superseding order is issued.

We will update if additional orders are issued in this afternoon’s update.

Other counties are encouraging businesses that choose to open their doors to follow the CDC guidelines and to consider using the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Waukesha County:

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow made the following statement after the Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down the “Safer at Home” order extension on May 13, 2020.

“The health and safety of the public is my top priority. We have already seen essential businesses take extraordinary steps to continue to provide service while keeping their employees and members of the public safe, and there’s no reason why other businesses can’t do the same.

“In light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, many businesses that have been closed will choose to open their doors tomorrow, and many others will choose to expand their operations. We trust our businesses will do so responsibly. All Waukesha County businesses should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting whenever possible. They should also consider the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and consult with their respective trade or business organizations to identify industry best practices to safely welcome back employees and customers.

“Waukesha County continues to have an active and aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The County’s Public Health Division, Emergency Operations Center, and other departments and divisions are working to keep residents as safe as possible while allowing our economy to recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Link to entire release

Eau Claire County:

The following statement was issue by Lieske Giese, Director of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department:

“In the wake of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling regarding the Safer-At-Home order, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department is consulting with state and local authorities about possible next steps. In the meantime, in the interests of preventing spread of COVID-19, we respectfully request that Eau Claire County residents voluntarily continue to follow safe social distancing practices.”

Link to release

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 12, 2020

Connecticut

As of May 11th

Governor Lamont Releases Rules for Businesses Under First Phase of Connecticut’s Reopening Plans Amid COVID-19

On Saturday, Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration has released documents detailing specific rules that eligible businesses falling under phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening plans must follow amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first phase – which includes restaurants; offices; hair salons and barbershops; retail stores; and outdoor museums and zoos – is currently planned to take effect beginning May 20.

The governor stressed that the decision to reopen during this phase rests with each individual business owner – they are not required to open if they do not choose, however if they do they must follow the rules as prescribed. The protocols were developed by Governor Lamont, members of his office, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with legislators and recommendations made by the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, which consists of several of the state’s leading medical experts and representatives of several business and industry groups.

Documents containing the rules for the first phase of reopening have been published on the state’s coronavirus website – ct.gov/coronavirus – and are available to download directly at these links:

All businesses subject to these rules will be required to self-certify prior to opening on May 20. The certification system will be online beginning next week.

Data updates on COVID-19 testing in Connecticut

The following is a summary of the day-to-day newly reported data on cases, deaths, and tests in Connecticut.

Overall SummaryStatewide TotalChange Since Yesterday
Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases33,554+570
COVID-19-Associated Deaths2,967+35
Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-191,242-59
COVID-19 Test Reported130,192+6,623

Georgia

As of May 12th

  • Daily State Public Health stats [now released 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily]:
    • As of 11:31 a.m. today, Georgia has 34,635 confirmed cases as compared to 33.927 at 4:25 p.m. Monday, with 6,130 hospitalized patients as compared to 6,105 at 4:25 p.m. Monday, and 1,461 deaths as compared to 1,441 at 4:25 p.m. Monday.  Over 262,000 tests have been administered.
  • Yesterday, GA reported the lowest number of ventilators and patients hospitalized for COVID since April 8.
  • Chief Justice Melton extended the judicial state of emergency through June 12.

Oregon

As of May 11th

In this week’s update: 

  • Governor Kate Brown announced detailed re-opening plans for Oregon. Each county will need to apply to re-open and will need to pass certain requirements in each phase. The earliest a county can begin Phase 1 is next Friday, May 15. We expect to see rural counties in Oregon apply. Multnomah County is not expected to apply until early June. (One update since Friday: 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties have submitted applications to begin reopening.)
  • Early ballot returns are tracking ahead of the recent historical averages in Multnomah County, and just behind average across the state.
  • Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released his new proposed budget; after the city prepared for a $75 million budget hit, Wheeler announced that he closed that gap by 90% through a mix of strategies including tapping City reserves and pausing some new programs.

Elections: 

  • Early ballot returns are tracking ahead of recent primaries in Multnomah County at nearly 11%, and just behind average across the state at 9.6%.
  • If Multnomah County keeps this pace, we could see turnout hit close to 60%—a level we haven’t reached in a primary since 2008. But it’s too soon to say; while Oregon’s new paid postage law and stay home are likely having an impact on early returns, we could be seeing the convenience of paid postage changing habits of *when* (rather than *if*) voters return their ballot. 

State:

  • Big news this week from Governor Kate Brown, who announced yesterday that Oregon will begin limited reopening as soon as May 15. See the “Documents & Guidances” section here for all of the current details. Highlights:
    • Governor Brown’s new guidance on reopening calls for the widespread use of face coverings, maintaining physical distance of six feet between individuals as much as possible, and following good hygiene and disinfection practices. 
    • Phase 1: Some counties will be eligible to begin limited reopening of additional business sectors beginning as early as May 15 if they have demonstrated they have met all prerequisites for reopening. Oregon counties can begin submitting applications on Friday, May 8.
      • Counties must: 
        • Show a decline in COVID-19 or have fewer than 5 hospitalizations
        • Have sufficient COVID-19 testing and contact tracing capability 
        • Establish plans for the isolation and quarantine of new cases 
        • Have the hospital capacity to handle any surge in COVID-19 cases 
        • Have enough personal protective equipment for health care workers 
      • Counties that meet all the above criteria will be eligible to enter Phase I of reopening on May 15, pending approval of their application by the Governor after recommendations from the Oregon Health Authority. In Phase I, counties can begin the limited reopening of the following sectors under specific safety guidelines: 
        • Restaurants and bars for sit-down service 
        • Personal care and services businesses, including barbers and salons 
        • In-person gatherings of up to 25 people 
    • Phase II: Counties must remain in Phase I for at least 21 days before becoming eligible to advance to Phase II. If counties begin to see significant increases in COVID-19 cases or community spread, the Oregon Health Authority will work with local public health officials to evaluate what actions should be taken. Significant growth in COVID-19 spread could necessitate a county moving back from Phase I to a stay-home status. More details on Phases II and III are forthcoming. 
    • The Governor also announced that large gatherings such as conventions, festivals, and major concerts and live audience sporting events will need to be cancelled at least through September. Restarting events of this size will require a reliable treatment or prevention, like a vaccine, which is many months off. Further guidance on large events will be provided in the coming months. 
  • Oregon’s next revenue forecast will be on May 20, delivered virtually to the House and Senate revenue committees. We are expecting to see a shortfall between $2 and $3 billion, out of a $23.7 billion combined General Fund and Lottery Fund biennial budget.
  • We are waiting to get more details on potential virtual May/June legislative committee days. We expect they will kick off sometime after the May 20 revenue forecast with a series of House committee hearings during the last part of May and into early June, followed by Senate committee hearings. Most of the hearings will feature topics related to the COVID crisis, but there could be other issues addressed as well. 

Local: 

  • With the coronavirus pandemic putting an unprecedented strain on the city of Portland’s finances, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released his new proposed budget today.
  • After the city prepared for a $75 million budget hit, Wheeler announced that he closed that gap by 90% through a mix of strategies including tapping City reserves and pausing some new programs. He says the moves spare the City from drastic bureau cuts and layoffs. Here are some of the highlights:
    • Homeless services: Under the proposed budget, the city would continue funding the Joint Office of Homeless Services at its current level of $6.2 million. 
    • Parks: Portland’s parks bureau is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 with no fees coming in from their usual activities and facilities. Under the proposed budget, the city would fund the operation and maintenance costs at 21 parks sites slated to open this year. 
    • Rent Assistance: According to the mayor’s proposal, the Portland Housing Bureau has received a little over $5 million from the federal coronavirus relief package. Roughly $4 million of it would be used to provide three months of rent support for 1,300 households. 
    • Low-income Portlanders: The proposed budget promises $455,000 to fund groups that don’t have access to the government’s stimulus check and may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. The bulk of that money would be split between Equity Corps of Oregon, the state’s effort to provide legal defense for immigrants and refugees in immigration court, and the state’s new Oregon Workers Relief Fund, meant to assist workers who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance. The Street Roots Vendor Assistance Fund would receive $5,000, which is providing money and assistance to people experiencing homelessness. 

Upcoming Virtual Town Halls 

Many of our partners have been asking about the best way to connect with and engage elected officials right now. Many are moving engagement to virtual town halls; We’ll be keeping a running list of upcoming events here. 

COVID-19 Update: 

At-a-Glance: Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits & Small Businesses 

CARES Act 

General Resources 

Tennessee

As of May 12th

  • CONFIRMED CASES: 16,111
  • FATALITIES: 265
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,363
  • RECOVERED: 8,336

STATE BUDGET: The Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration announced today that Tennessee’s revenue plummeted in April, leaving a $693.8 million deficit in the state budget. Overall state revenues for April dipped to $1.3 billion, down nearly 40% from last year, the state said in a Tuesday, May 12, 2020 release. Year-to-date revenues, August through April, are $88.1 million less than the budgeted estimate. The growth rate for nine months is negative 0.89 percent.

FEDERAL: US Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) will remain in self-quarantine in Tennessee for the next two weeks after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. The senator tested negative last week and didn’t have any symptoms. Alexander chairs the Senate Health Committee and oversaw today’s hearing of the Administration’s top Coronavirus task force members via teleconference.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce indicated this week that an employee’s refusal to return to work when there is available employment could potentially disqualify claimants from receiving TUC benefits. Under federal law, workers who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 who can work, and do not qualify for any other Unemployment Insurance provisions through the state or under the CARES Act, must return to work if called back. More information for employees and employers can be found at www.tn.gov/workforce. Employers will also find a “Refusal to Work Form” on the website. They can use this form to notify the Department of an employee’s refusal to return the work. The Department will investigate the claim to determine if the employee is no longer eligible for unemployment benefits because they are able and available to earn income.

STAFF CHANGE: Gov. Bill Lee has named Brandon Gibson as the state’s new chief operating officer. Gibson, a former state appeals judge, previously served as a senior adviser to the governor. Gibson led the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, among others. She succeeds Butch Eley, who is now the commissioner of the Department of Finance & Administration.

NASHVILLE: Restaurants and retail stores were allowed to reopen Monday as Metro government begins the first phase of the county’s eight-week reopening plan. As part of the primary phase, businesses will be required to screen all employees for COVID-19 and supply masks for workers coming in contact with others. The facilities must operate at 50 percent capacity and enforce six-foot social distancing efforts, along with initiating enhanced cleaning protocols. 

EDUCATION: Former Governor Bill Haslam and wife Crissy announced today a new statewide Tennessee Tutoring Corps to provide summer learning opportunities for rising K-6th grade students whose education has been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Tutoring Corps, which will run from June to August, aims to recruit at least 1,000 qualified college students to serve as tutors to students entering K-6 grade this fall. Eighteen Boys & Girls Clubs organizations representing nearly 90 clubs across the state will join with locally-run, youth-serving nonprofits in several counties to help facilitate the program. TTC is a pilot project that will be evaluated for effectiveness and feasibility in considering future opportunities. More information is available at http://www.tntutoringcorps.orgwww.tntutoringcorps.org.

MORE RESOURCES: Visit the Unified Command’s data dashboard HERE.

GUIDELINES: The Economic Recovery Group continues to issue both general and industry-specific guidelines to safely reopening HERE. They include manufacturing, office building, retail and restaurants, among others.

Wisconsin

As of May 11th

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Monday:

  • 340 Current Hospital Admissions (117 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions increased by 8 (+8) on Monday.
    • The total number of ICU patients increased from 113 on Sunday to 117 (+4) on Monday.
  • Cumulatively there have been 10,418 positive tests and 108,033 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 199 positive test results reported on Monday on 3,069 tests (6.5% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 409 in Wisconsin:
    • There were 9 deaths reported on Monday
  • 4,348 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered. (last updated by DHS on 5/6)

Sources: 

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

Gating Criteria

With the case indicator of “Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period” turning green for the first time today, 5 of the 6 gating criteria have turned green at one point during the last week. The only indicator that has not turned green yet is the symptom indicator of “Downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period.”

Source: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/prepare.htm

Monday Media Briefing

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary-designee Missy Hughes, DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard, and Ryan Nilsestuen, Chief Legal Counsel held a briefing for the media today.

Governor Evers started the briefing off with updates on the signing of Executive Order #36, which would allow stand-alone small retailers and outdoor movie theaters to reopen and the opening of two new community testing sites in Milwaukee and Madison. (More on both of those below).

Secretary Palm updated on the redeployment of over 400 state employees as contact tracers and the beginning of interviewing over 3,000 applicants to become contact tracers.

Secretary Hughes briefly updated on the guidance documents that were released for businesses as they prepare to reopen, especially the guidance for small retailers.

Media questions of note:

  • Regarding contact tracers, Sec. Palm noted that they are still seeking contact tracer applicants. The posting is still available on WisJobs, and they are especially interested in applicants who are multi-lingual.
  • When asked about the type of retailers they were targeting with EO #36, Governor Evers noted they are targeting small retailers, the 14,000 businesses with 90,000 employees who sell goods not services. This does not include barbers or other service retailers, nor bars and taverns. He also stressed this was not targeted at a larger retailers like Kohl’s Department store because of the limit of 5 customers in the store at a time.
  • The Governor was asked about turning the dial further and what businesses are potentially next, and he suggested that Wisconsin has largely been open with the exception of amusement, tourism, bars and restaurants and that Wisconsin will likely follow the lead of other states in how they handled reopening those establishments, with limited capacity and social distancing requirements. He did not indicate that opening those businesses would be imminent.

You can watch the briefing online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx36IXDyr9M&t=2751s

Gov. Evers Announces Another Turn of the Dial for Wisconsin Businesses

Gov. Tony Evers today announced another turn of the dial on Safer at Home to add even more opportunities for Wisconsin businesses to get back to work in a safe and responsible way.

Emergency Order #36, signed today by Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, allows all standalone or strip-mall based retail stores to offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time while maintaining required social distancing practices. Additionally, the Emergency Order signed today allows drive-in theaters to operate with some restrictions. All businesses must continue to follow all safety precautions and guidelines as outlined in the Safer at Home order

“In addition to added flexibilities and steps we have already taken for businesses, this is another disciplined turn of the dial that will allow Wisconsin’s business owners to safely get back to work and Wisconsin consumers to support their favorite local spots,” said Gov. Evers. “Both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety, so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families, and communities safe and healthy.” 

Today’s order builds upon the Safer at Home order and the last turn of the dial through Emergency Order #34, which together allowed golf courses to operate, aesthetic and optional lawn and construction services provided by a single employee, curbside pick-up for public libraries, and every business to provide deliveries, mailings, and curbside pick-up and drop-off services.

Emergency Order #36 is available here and goes into effect immediately. If you have questions regarding Emergency Order #36, please review the frequently asked questions document available here

Link to release

Legislative Reaction to Emergency Order #36

Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement after the latest emergency order.

“It’s another day and another confusing emergency order. We’ve flattened the curve by being careful and using common sense. With more testing, we’re seeing a smaller percentage of positive cases. This shutdown has put half a million people out of work. It’s time to get everyone back to work in every part of the state.”

Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Sturtevant) released the following statement:

“I’m glad Governor Evers and Secretary-Designee Palm have turned the dial a little on the vise they are using to strangle Wisconsin’s economy. But this limited, overdue release of the government’s iron grip on Wisconsin employees and business continues to show the error of Evers’ one-size-fits-all approach to the pandemic from day one.

“For the 36th time, Governor Evers is crushing huge areas of the state where coronavirus isn’t overwhelming anything, including hospitals. There are regions of the state have had so few or sporadic cases of coronavirus that determining a trend line is statistically impossible. It’s past time to open those regions up. If the Governor doesn’t believe people are traveling to those areas already, he needs to get out of Madison.”

Sen. Minority Leader Janet Bewley (D-Mason) released the following statement:

“I appreciate Governor Evers’ and DHS Secretary Palm’s steady, pragmatic leadership throughout this public health crisis. With the assistance of public health officials at DHS and economic development partners at WEDC, we can begin to the turn the dial to safely reopen our economy. This has been a difficult time for many families across Wisconsin. As a state we are all in this together and by continuing to practice safety measures and social distancing we can limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement:

“This is another important step forward. As we meet the public health standards necessary for certain retail businesses to reopen, everyone will need to remain focused on safety. It is important to open up businesses safely with clear standards they can understand and implement. While I am pleased Wisconsinites will be able to once again support their favorite local businesses, we have a long way to go and we will only be as successful as everyone’s willingness to look out for each other and continue practicing social distancing and wear masks.”

Gov. Evers Announces New Community Testing Sites Being Held in Milwaukee and Madison

Gov. Tony Evers announced that starting today the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin National Guard will be supporting two new community-based testing sites in Milwaukee and in Madison. This is part of a series of efforts by the DHS and the Wisconsin National Guard to work with local health departments to create community testing sites in places with a known lack of access to testing or known community spread. These test sites are open to all residents, including essential workers, and will provide free drive-thru or walk-up testing. 

“Increased testing and contact tracing are core elements of our Badger Bounce Back plan and are critical to slowing the spread and boxing in COVID-19,” said Gov. Evers. “I urge anyone who needs a test to go get tested at one of these sites and help protect your community and family from this virus.” 

Link to release

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:






Cumulative Numbers:


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

Georgia

As of May 8th

As of 4:25 p.m. today, Georgia has 32,126 confirmed cases as compared to 31,509 4:25 p.m. yesterday, with 5,957 hospitalized patients as compared to 5,846 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday, and 1,395 deaths as compared to 1,340 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday. Over 227,000 tests have been administered.

  • 4,149 nursing home and assisted living residents have been infected from the virus and more than 659 have died. The State’s count of infected long-term care workers has more than doubled since mid-April, reaching 1,824 as of Thursday.
  • Governor Kemp announced that anyone can now be tested for coronavirus.
  • Nearly 120,000 Georgians have voted already for the June 9 Primary.  About 5 percent of the early voters are new voters.
  • Only Kentucky and Hawaii have a higher percentage of workers filing unemployment claims than Georgia.
  • US HHS gave Georgia an additional US$12.2m to expand COVID-19 testing.

Missouri

As of May 8th

 Missouri is now reporting ­­9,410 cases of coronavirus and 449 deaths. One week ago, we were at 7,564 cases and 332 deaths.

The General Assembly has one week remaining for this legislative session. As each day goes by, there is an increasing number of people in the building and a decreasing number of them wearing face masks. The legislature has ventured way beyond budgetary and COVID-related items and seems intent now on passing as many bills as possible.

Stay at Home Orders

Missouri’s Stay at Home order was lifted on Monday, but 40 percent of the state’s population is still under a local order. Following are the remaining local orders and their expiration dates.

  • Moniteau County 5/10
  • Saline County 5/10
  • Maries County 5/11
  • Phelps County 5/11
  • Jackson County 5/15
  • Kansas City 5/15
  • Taney County 5/15
  • Pemiscot County 5/18
  • St. Louis City 5/18
  • St. Louis County 5/18
  • Polk County 5/24
  • Audrain County 5/31
  • Barry County 5/31
  • Clinton County 5/31
  • Harrison County 5/31
  • Lincoln County 5/31
  • Macon County 5/31
  • St. Joseph 5/31

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

The General Assembly cut approximately $700 million from the $34 billion 2021 Fiscal Year budget. The budget will now be sent to the Governor for his review and approval.

  • Nearly every new decision item has been removed. ­Meaning very few new programs are being funded and there are almost no increases to existing programs.
  • Sen. Caleb Rowden and Budget Chair Dan Hegeman restored the 10% cut that the House made to Missouri’s colleges and universities. They used federal funding to fill the gap.
  • The K-12 foundation formula was fully funded.
  • State employees will not receive a planned 2% pay raise.
  • The largest cut in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget was to the education transportation line item. The House version of the budget had a $7 million cut and the Senate attempted to plug the hole with federal CARES Act money. It was later determined that the CARES Act funds could not be used for that purpose. As a result, the education transportation funding formula was underfunded by more than $5 million.
  • The Senate had included language in the budget to legalize up to 100 new pull-tab gambling machines across the state and to allow them in truck stops for the first time. The conference committee removed this new language from the budget.
  • In the Department of Economic Development, all funding was eliminated from the Rural Broadband Grant program, but $12 million of CARES Act funds were appropriated in the Office of Administration’s budget for other broadband initiatives.
  • The Missouri Technology Corporation received $1 million. The Missouri OneStart job training program was reduced from $14.2 million to $8.6 million. The House maintained a $750,000 increase for the Missouri Partnership, raising its funding to $3 million.

Tax Credit Pause

Citing budgetary concerns caused by the pandemic, the Missouri Department of Economic Development is using its discretionary authority to halt the authorizations of new tax credits. So far, they have only done this to the Amateur Sporting Tax Credit Program, but they could spread this to other programs if the state’s revenue situation worsens.

Thwarted Attempt to Block the Grain Belt Express

A highly unusual coalition of Democrats and members of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus united to block an attempt by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter to stop the development of the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Speaker Elijah Haahr has made stopping this project his top priority for the last two years. This project has already been approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission and affirmed by the Missouri Supreme Court. Sen. Bernskoetter conceded defeat and pulled the bill back when it became clear that the filibuster was too strong to outlast. Speaker Haahr is term-limited at the end of this year, so he has one week remaining to try to accomplish his goal.

Tennessee

As of May 8th

While the case count for today has been delayed due to technical issues, the total number of positive cases in the state as of yesterday was 14,096 with the most cases in Davidson County (Nashville-3,300) followed by Shelby County (Memphis-3,108). There have been 237 confirmed deaths in the state and 1,266 hospitalizations. 6,783 have recovered. The Unified Command’s data dashboard can be viewed HERE.

The Economic Recovery Group continues to issue both general and industry-specific guidelines to safely reopening HERE. They include manufacturing, office building, retail and restaurants, among others.

On Thursday, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 34 to allow for government bodies to hold meetings remotely until June 30 to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee. He also issued Executive Order No. 35 to allow for the reopening of small group, non-contact entertainment, and recreational venues according to new Economic Recovery Group guidelines.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development released the latest unemployment numbers on Thursday. For the week ending on May 2, the number of new claims was 37,319. This brings the total of active claims to 321,571. For comparison, on March 14, that number was 16,342.

It was announced today that Stuart McWhorter will be leaving the Administration to serve in an advisory role at Clemson University, his alma mater. McWhorther has most recently served as the head of the state’s Unified Command in response to COVID-19. He assumed that post after stepping down from the role of Commissioner of Finance & Administration. Butch Eley, who previously served as COO for the Administration, is the next Commissioner of F&A.

The Tennessee General Assembly is slated to reconvene on June 1. The House has indicated that it plans to hold committee hearings beginning on the week of May 25th. Their intent is to complete the legislative process that was placed on hold in March. The Senate on the other hand has indicated that they would prefer an more expedited wrap-up of session, focusing on pandemic-related items.

Virginia

As of May 8th

As of Friday, May 8:

Total cases: 22,342

Hospitalizations: 3,059

Deaths: 812

The latest:

  • Governor detailed plans for non-essential businesses to reopen on a limited basis starting Friday, May 15.
  • The first phase of opening will last at least two weeks, and beaches will remain closed, except for fishing and exercising.
  • Testing is increasing, and the percentage of positive cases continues to decline.

Gov. Ralph Northam offered more details on Friday about how the state intends to restart economic activity across the commonwealth, effective Friday, May 15, but cautioned that localities will have discretion to retain tighter restrictions where needed.

Non-essential retail businesses and churches will be permitted to reopen at 50 percent of indoor capacity. Personal grooming businesses such as salons and barbershops will be able to serve customers by appointment only, and so long as staff and customers wear face masks, the governor said.

Wearing face masks, teleworking and practicing social distancing will remain recommended practices. Restaurants will be permitted to serve customers at half the outdoor seating capacity; indoor dining will remain prohibited. Beaches will be open for fishing and exercising only. Entertainment and amusement venues, as well as overnight summer camps, will remain closed. Public gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned.

Northam said this phase of reopening will last a minimum of two weeks, and officials will evaluate public health data before determining whether sufficient progress has been made to warrant further relaxing restrictions.

Data from Johns Hopkins University showed Virginia ranked No. 48 in the U.S. in terms of testing rates, but Northam has said the state is increasing its testing capabilities. Those increased tests have revealed a decline in the percentage of positive cases in recent days.  The governor also noted on Friday that Virginia is restocking its supplies of personal protective equipment, and hospital bed occupancies have remained stable. Hospitals, healthcare systems and medical and dental offices were allowed to resume outpatient, elective and non-emergency procedures on May 1.

The current restrictions on non-essential businesses, including restaurants and indoor recreation and entertainment businesses, were set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 7, but are being extend through May 14. The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, is being amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home, Northam said. He encouraged older Virginians and others at higher risk of developing complications associated with infection to remain home as the state begins to reopen.

Public schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were already rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23.

Initial unemployment claims have begun to recede but remain historically high. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, more than 376,000 continued week unemployment claims had been filed in the week ending May 2. The figure amounts to more than 10 percent of the private-sector payroll in Virginia.

Wisconsin

As of May 7th

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Thursday:

  • 339 Current Hospital Admissions (107 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions is up 41 (+41) from Wednesday and the number of patients in ICU remained unchanged (0) from Wednesday.
  • There were 314 positive test results reported on Thursday. The percent positive test results out of total tests was 5.7%.
    • Cumulatively there have been 93,035 negative tests and 9,215 positive tests.
  • 12 deaths were reported on Wednesday for a total of 374 deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • 4,348 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered. (last updated by DHS on 5/6)

Sources: 

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

Assembly GOP Advocate for Regional Reopening

Members of the Assembly Republican caucus held three press conferences around the state this morning to advocate for a regional approach to reopening Wisconsin. GOP representatives stood with business owners in Appleton, Wausau and Chippewa Falls to explain why the state needs to reopen gradually and safely by region, pointing out there are areas of the state that aren’t as impacted by the coronavirus as others.

“Today’s press conferences show a small representation of the neighbors, workers, business owners and community members who are asking us to find ways to reopen the state in a safe manner,” said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna). “We know that a regional approach allows us to take measured steps toward accomplishing this goal without sacrificing the health and safety of Wisconsinites.”

“A regional reopening strategy not only makes sense, it is what several states are doing, including Illinois,” said Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). “You obviously shouldn’t treat Superior the same way you would treat Milwaukee.”

“This morning, I joined a number of my Assembly Republican colleagues at a regional press conference in Appleton to advocate for a regional reopening of our state’s economy,” said Rep. Nygren. “Standing side by side with us were business owners from Northeastern Wisconsin who are being negatively impacted by Governor Evers’s “safer at home” order. Together we are urging Governor Evers to abandon his one size-fits-all approach to reopening Wisconsin by adopting a regional plan of action like many other states around the nation.”

Link to Vos/Steineke release

Link to Nygren release

Link to Western Wisconsin Republican release

Link to video from Appleton press conference

State Senator David Hansen (D-Green Bay) criticized the press conference in the same region as his district and released the following statement;

“Today’s press conference at an Appleton dairy by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and area Assembly Republicans to call for regional re-opening at a time when Brown County is seeing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases is as dangerous as it is tone deaf. “Not one person speaking at their press conference was a health expert. Not one person there seems to understand that just because some parts of the state aren’t showing significant numbers of cases doesn’t mean there aren’t more cases than are known. Not one of them seems to care that re-opening those areas could lead to significant spikes in cases and overwhelm smaller, rural hospitals leading to needless loss of life.

Link to entire release

Governor Evers interview on Steve Scaffidi Show this morning

Governor Tony Evers, appearing on the Steve Scaffidi show on AM 620-WTMJ this morning said that he has concerns with abandoning the statewide approach to combatting COVID-19 and allowing for a regional approach to reopening Wisconsin. He said he won’t rule out opening some business operations on a regional basis, but is really focusing on what can be done to reopen all the counties at the same time.

Link to audio of the interview

Gov. Evers Continues to Expand Community Testing Programs, Announces New Online Tool

Gov. Tony Evers announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has launched a new online resource that makes it easier for the public to access testing sites throughout the state. This searchable map, available here, provides Wisconsinites with testing site locations, contact information, hours of operation, and guidance on how to schedule an appointment. 

“We’ve made great progress in expanding our testing capacity these last few weeks, and now we’re taking the next step to help connect Wisconsinites who have symptoms of COVID-19 to testing sites in their communities,” said Gov. Evers. “Everyone in the state who needs a test should be tested, and through the Badger Bounce Back Plan, we’re taking a comprehensive approach to make sure that’s the case.” 

Link to press release

WMC says  Wisconsin has reached Governor Evers’ criteria to reopen

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber, manufacturers association and safety council – concluded that based on the criteria set forth in Gov. Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan, the state could begin to reopen its economy today. In a press release they state an analysis of data from Gov. Tony Evers’ Administration and the Department of Health Services (DHS) show that Wisconsin has met all of the governor’s criteria to begin to reopen the state’s economy.

“Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order was put in place to flatten the curve on the state’s COVID-19 cases, but now we need to focus on flattening another curve: the state’s unemployment filings,” said Kurt Bauer, WMC President & CEO. “While the governor has not adopted WMC’s plans to reopen the economy, his own data and metrics now say we can move forward.”

Link to WMC press release and analysis

Legislative Council Memo on Act 185 provisions impacted by the expiration of the Governor’s public health emergency

2019 Wisconsin Act 185 was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and made numerous changes to state laws and programs, many of which apply for a limited period of time. This information memorandum briefly summarizes provisions of Act 185 that remain in effect only until the public health emergency declared by Executive Order (EO #72) expires on May 11, 2020, or a date specifically linked to expiration of the order.  The information memorandum does not describe Act 185 provisions that remain in effect indefinitely or those that expire on a date not explicitly linked to EO #72.

Link to memo

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:


Cumulative Numbers:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 7, 2020

Arkansas

As of May 7th

Worship services are encouraged to stay online but the state will be releasing guidance for in-person services. As it relates to large outdoor venues, a 12-foot distance between performers or players with fewer than 50 players/performers and less than 50 in the crowd are permitted as long as there is six-foot distancing between attendees, face coverings and sanitation.

Georgia

As of May 7th

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • As of 11:25 a.m. today, Georgia has 31,260 confirmed cases as compared to 30,706 4:25 p.m. yesterday, with 5,804 hospitalized patients as compared to 5,770 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday, and 1,335 deaths as compared to 1,311 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday. Over 217,000 tests have been administered.
  • Smartphone data shows out-of-state visitors flocked to GA as restaurants and other businesses reopened.
  • State and private labs in GA have more than doubled the total number of tests they’ve processed in the last two weeks.
  • The GBI has opened a criminal investigation involving allegations of fraud against Court of Appeals Judge Christian Coomer.

Local:

  • The Gwinnett School District has revised its plans for staff and teachers to return on-site.
  • Cobb County’s remaining parks will reopen Monday, with playgrounds and restrooms still closed. No organized athletic activities will be allowed.

Kansas

As of May 7th

After yesterday’s announcement that the Kansas Legislature will return on May 21st for a single day of work to finish up the 2020 Legislative Session, we set about to try and gather “intel” on what specifically House and Senate Leadership’s plan was.   We believe the Senate will permit a limited number of Committees to work prior to the 21st, and take up only a few “absolute must do in 2020” bills/topics:

  • Commerce Committee
    • Investigate shortcomings with the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance system
  • Judiciary Committee
    • COVID liability immunity
    • Kansas Open Records Act
    • Governor’s Executive Powers
  • Assessment & Taxation Committee
    • Property tax transparency
    • Property tax filing extension
  • Financial Institutions and Insurance
    • Select insurance bills that have passed the House committee (KID)
    • Banking loan deposit bill

North Carolina

As of May 5th

Update

  • Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 12,758
  • Coronavirus deaths: 484
  • Currently hospitalized: 516
  • Completed tests: 164,482
  • NC Counties affected: 99/100
  • Realtime COVID-19 Data for NC

Highlights

The Governor, along with legislative leadership from both parties and both chambers, signed the two bills passed by the legislature over the weekend. The enacted bills are linked below. 

Governor Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday that allows the state to move into Phase One of lifting statewide restrictions that he said have slowed the coronavirus spread. The new order takes effect starting Friday, May 8th.

Executive Order 138, Easing Restrictions on Travel, Business and Mass Gatherings Phase 1, May 5

Update

Governor Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday that allows the state to move into Phase One of lifting statewide restrictions that have slowed the coronavirus spread. The new order takes effect starting Friday at 5 pm. Cooper said the stay-at-home order will remain in place but will allow more reasons to leave from home and will remove the distinction between essential and non-essential businesses. 

Phase 1 allows shopping at stores including clothing, sporting goods and housewares. Those open stores will have to have customer and employee social distancing, extra cleaning, screen employees for symptoms, accommodate vulnerable workers and “provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation.” The state will also encourage employers to use teleworking. Businesses that open can only be occupied at 50 percent capacity. Bars, personal care businesses like hair and nail salons, entertainment venues and gyms will still be prohibited from opening. Restaurants may continue serving customers with to-go orders and delivery, but no in-house seating will be allowed in Phase 1. People will be allowed to socialize with non-family members once again. Small outdoor gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed. Childcare centers will be reopened but must follow strict cleaning guidelines. 

The executive order allowing the state to move into Phase 1 runs through May 22. The Governor said that if the trends move in a negative direction, restrictions could return.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NC DHHS, said the state has hit three of the four benchmarks in trending related to the virus to allow for an easing of restrictions. The number of patients being seen with COVID-19 symptoms by health care workers, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and the percent of tests coming back positive are all declining or leveling off. The number of confirmed cases continues to rise, but Cohen attributes that to an increase in testing. 

The N.C. Chamber and Senate leader Phil Berger both prefer a speedier reopening than what the Governor outlined. The Chamber released its  “Relaunching North Carolina” plan, which calls for reopening restaurants, personal care businesses and churches during Phase 1 with social distancing restrictions. Bars would be the only businesses required to wait for Phase 2. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a news release that the Governor’s Phase 1 plan is largely a continuation of the existing lockdown and questioned how a blanket, one-size-fits-all statewide order justified. He stated, “I’m concerned that Governor Cooper is ignoring more reasonable approaches and the experiences of the majority of states.” 

Executive Actions, Week of May 4th

Executive Order 138, Easing Restrictions on Travel, Business and Mass Gatherings Phase 1, May 5

Legislative Actions, Week of May 4th

COVID-19 Laws

North Carolina Agencies/Programs

Relevant Articles

Minnesota

As of May 5th

The Minnesota Office of Management and Budget has just released their rare mid-session and mid-year updated forecast.  MMB Leaders will present their findings at a 2 pm press event.  The budget projections are for the current biennium or Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.  According to their release “Minnesota’s budget and economic outlook has significantly worsened since the coronavirus pandemic.”  The state is now projecting a $2.426 billion deficit, which is nearly a $4 billion change from the February Forecast.  The state is projecting revenues to fall $3.611 billion and appropriations to increase by $391 million from the February announcement.  The state continues to maintain a $2.359 billion budget reserve which can be used to help mitigate the impact to the state’s budget.  We will provide further details as they become available throughout the day.

The MMB Presentation can be viewed on the Governor’s YouTube channel using the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7CPBsekv_4u34kIVqaVtDA

Link to MMB Budget Documents

While the budget has worsened, the state’s COVID cases are also beginning to spike.  Here are the latest numbers as of 12pm on May 4th. 

  • New Cases 617
  • Total confirmed cases 7,851
  • New deaths 27
  • Total deaths 455 (368 – nursing homes/long-term care)
  • Hospitalizations 434
  • ICU hospitalizations 182
  • Total Tests 89,009
  • New tests 1,837 (last 24 hours)

Texas

As of May 5th

Governor Abbott conducted a news briefing at 2:30 pm today, joined by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson and Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath. 

Today’s COVID Texas numbers per DSHS:

  • 33,369 confirmed cases (6,967 in Harris County/Houston)
  • 906 fatalities
  • 16,791 estimated recovered 
  • 427,210 total tested
  • 1,888 currently in TX hospitals
  • COVID+ cases in 216 of Texas’s 254 counties. 
  • Texas PPE from state and federal sources now amount to:   53.5 million masks
  • 2.5 million face shields
  • 777 million gloves
  • 14.5 million gowns

MOBILE TESTING:  The Texas National Guard continues to staff mobile testing facilities, and have served 158 Texas counties collecting 11,648 specimens  and fielding 41,410 calls with approx. 1,400 Texas military force personnel are engaged.   

SURGE RESPOSE TEAMS: TDEM, HHSC, TMF and others (including Texas non-profit BCFS Health and Human Services) have organized 47 Surge Response Teams to serve nursing homes, prisons, meat packing plants and other potential hot spots.   

The teams will help address PPE, testing, health care capabilities and health and social distancing challenges at these facilities.

The Texas National Guard is also creating Facility Disinfections Teams using 250 soldiers to assist with training, PPE and cleaning.  This is modelled after a successful program in the State of Georgia.

REOPENINGS AND MODIFICATIONS TO PRIOR EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

  • Funerals, memorials, burials and weddings may all be conducted using the same guidance that Texas has previously issues for church services (such as social distancing and alternating seats/rows).  At risk populations (esp. 65+) are urges to participate remotely/online or have organizers set aside special areas for at-risk participants. 

Guidance manual: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/images/admin/2020/Press/Revised%20Guidance%20for%20Houses%20of%20Worship%20During%20the%20COVID-19%20Crisis%20-%20Final.pdf

  • Wedding receptions should be treated like restaurants.  Using 25% capacity and distancing.
  • Parks, lakes and beaches: Masks are recommended and 6 ft social distancing.
  • Salons, barbers, nail salons, tanning and cosmetology providers can reopen Friday, May 8th.   Texas has a handbook recommending safe practices for these providers, including the use of masks, 1:1 customer/haircutter ratios, social distancing or outside for waiting areas. 
  • Gyms can open May 18th with safe distancing, the use of full-hand/finger gloves, and disinfecting equipment before and after each use (including customer-brought items like yoga mats).  Showers and locker rooms should remain closed.
  • Bars: The state is still working on plans to reopen bars.  They will remain closed for now.   
  • Non-essential manufacturers and office buildings: May reopen May 18th with 25% occupancy, staggered shifts and other protective measures.
  • School graduations: TEA will be publishing guidance for graduation and school promotion ceremonies that will include:

TX Economy Note: Last week (May 1), The Texas Comptroller announced that Texas sales tax revenues in April were $2.6 billion, down 9.3% from April 2019, the steepest decline since January 2010.  Comptroller Hegar expects steeper declines in the coming months.  Remittances from oil and gas also fell significantly.    

Virginia

As of May 7th

 The latest in Virginia, as of Monday, May 4:

Total cases: 19,492

Hospitalizations: 2,700

Deaths: 684

The latest:

  • Governor announces plans to allow non-essential businesses to reopen on a limited basis starting on Friday, May 15.
  • The first phase of opening will last at least two to four weeks before restrictions are further loosened.
  • As testing has increased, Virginia has posted a declining percentage of positive cases.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that he intends to let non-essential businesses reopen on a limited basis statewide, effective Friday, May 15, after nearly two months of heavy restrictions designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The current restrictions on non-essential businesses, including restaurants and indoor recreation and entertainment businesses, are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 7, but Northam said he will extend that order through May 14 to collect another week’s worth of public health data. The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, will be amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home, Northam said.

Hospitals, healthcare systems and medical and dental offices were allowed to resume outpatient, elective and non-emergency procedures on Friday, May 1.

The scheduled reopening on May 15 will preserve existing restrictions banning gatherings of more than 10 people, and face masks will still be recommended in public. Northam said Virginians should continue to practice social distancing and telework if possible. There will be additional requirements for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, and restaurants will be restricted to serving a fraction of their dine-in capacity, as will gyms, hair salons and barbershops. Public schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were already rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23.

If the threat of spreading infection continues to decline, the second phase of reopening will consist of gradual loosening of restrictions, including a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, and continued social distancing.

The governor credited heavy public restrictions for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and said the commonwealth has made significant strides in stabilizing its supplies of personal protective equipment and available hospital beds. Testing capacity has also surged, and officials have witnessed the percentage of positive tests decline steadily in recent days.

Northam rejected suggestions that the state adopt a regional approach to restarting economic activity, emphasizing instead that the commonwealth remain united through the crisis. Some in western parts of the state, where reported COVID-19 cases have been comparatively small, have expressed frustrations as neighboring states such as Tennessee move quicker to let businesses reopen.

Initial unemployment claims have soared in Virginia since the pandemic was declared in mid-March. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, more than 340,000 continued week unemployment claims had been filed in the week ending April 25. The figure amounts to more than 10 percent of the private-sector payroll in Virginia.

Wisconsin

As of April 6th

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Wednesday:

  • 298 Current Hospital Admissions (107 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions is down 11 (-11) from Tuesday and the number of patients in ICU is up 16 (+16) from Tuesday, all of which were in the Southeast Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) region .
  • There were 335 positive test results reported on Wednesday. The percent positive test results out of total tests was 8%.
    • Cumulatively there have been 87,826 negative tests and 8,901 positive tests.
  • 9 deaths were reported on Wednesday for a total of 362 deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • 4,348 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered. (last updated by DHS on 5/6)

Sources: 

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

WI Health News COVID-19 Update with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos  

Of note from the webinar were the following;

  • When asked about the Supreme Court case, Speaker Vos noted that the case isn’t about fighting the virus but about the roles of the different branches of government. He said they gave Gov. Evers a great deal of latitude in responding to the pandemic during the 60-days that the Governor is given to respond to the pandemic. They assumed that the 60-days was the period of time that the Governor could act unilaterally, but beyond those 60-days would be the time that the Legislature would be consulted with and brought into the solution moving forward. Unlike where that is happening in other states, that has not happened in Wisconsin.
  • The Speaker was asked if the Court rules in the Legislature’s favor, how is he confident that the Legislature and the Governor can work together on Emergency Health Orders. The Speaker said that there shouldn’t be a Democratic or Republican plan to fight the virus, there should be a Wisconsin plan that the whole state can support.
  • When asked who he receive input from, Speaker Vos said he has spoken with the Wisconsin Hospital Association, those that running nursing homes, public health officials and those in the private sector from everyone from natural medicine to those who run ambulatory surgical centers.
  • When asked who needs to be at the table for these discussions, Speaker Vos pointed to public health, hospitals, nursing homes and the business community, because they will have to implement what is decided.
  • Speaker Vos reiterated his call for a regional approach and pointed to other midwestern states that are implementing that approach. Speaker Vos said “Let’s start to turn the dial, as opposed to treating every part of the state like it is Milwaukee. Because if we wait for Milwaukee and Brown County to be the indicator, it’s going to be a long time potentially before Wisconsin can open up.”

Link to WisconsinEye video

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Update on General Fund Tax Collections:

Legislative Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang updated the Wisconsin State Legislature on the status of April 2020 General Fund Tax collections today and noted that as anticipated, due to the coronavirus pandemic, April tax collections were significantly less than compared to April 2019;

[Excerpt]… Tax collections in the month of April, 2020, were $1,145 million. This is $870 million below collections of April, 2019. And, for the 10 months of the current fiscal year, collections are $313 million below those over the same 10 months of 2018-19.

Lang noted that the extent of the impact will not be known until after the pandemic extended July 15 filing deadline for income and franchise taxes, but he did note that there are some items that might mitigate the decline in the 2019-20 balance. Those items are;

  1. It is unlikely that the $189 million transfer to the budget stabilization fund identified in the January 23 report will occur. That $189 million will remain in the general fund and enhance the 2019-20 balance.
  2. Last week, DOA Secretary Brennan announced that certain state operations GPR appropriations will be required to lapse 5% to the general fund in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Secretary indicated that $70 million will lapse under this directive.
  3. Under the federal CARES Act, the state will receive $2 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). Funding is to be used for expenditures made in response to the pandemic. The federal guidelines for the CRF indicate that these funds cannot be used to replace state revenue shortfalls. There are, however, ongoing discussions that the guidelines may be modified or that additional federal funds will be made available under subsequent legislation to allow for the replacement of revenue shortfalls.
  4. It is estimated that the budget stabilization fund will have a balance of $655 million at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. Legislation is required in order to access any amounts in the stabilization fund.

Link to LFB Memo

Former US Senate Candidate Eric Hovde launches statewide tv ad to “Open Wisconsin”

Former 2012 US Senate candidate and businessman Eric Hovde today announced the launch of a statewide television ad focused on “Wisconsin’s ongoing lockdown.” In the ad, Hovde poses a series of questions that to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers that “the citizens of Wisconsin deserve to have answered.”

 According to the release, which lists Governor Scott Walker’s former 2018 campaign manager Joe Fadness as the contact, Open Wisconsin Today is the first project of Our Future Matters, a new 501(c)(4) organization comprised of people who care about the future of America. Hovde is frequently mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for the US Senate and Governor.

Link to ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwTNP1Fu6R4&feature=emb_logo

Link to release

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:




Cumulative Numbers:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 4, 2020

Arkansas

As of May 1st

Salons, barbershops, cosmetology, massage therapy, body art, medical spas all may resume services on May 6th. Guidance will be provided by the Department of health to include guidelines disallowing more than 10 people in the facility or no more than 30 percent of stations in operation in larger facilities; at least 6 feet distance between stations; appointments only, no walk-ins; clients should wait in cars; hand washing and sanitizing between each appointment will be required and masks should be worn by staff and clients when practical.

Georgia

As of May 4th

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • As of 11:25 a.m. today, Georgia has 29,103 confirmed cases as compared to 27,496 Friday at 7:30 p.m., with 5,444 hospitalized patients as compared to 5,295 Friday at 4:25 p.m., and 1,204 deaths as compared to 1,166 Friday at 7:30 p.m.
  • A Georgia researcher believes the MMR vaccine may help with the virus.
  • Georgia small businesses have received an additional US$4.7b in PPP loans during the program’s second round, bringing the total to US$14.1b.
  • The State of Judicial emergency has been extended to June 12.
  • In most of our hotly contested Congressional races, there has been a significant increase in D absentee ballots.

Kansas

As of May 4th

The Legislative Coordinating Council has announced it will meet on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:00 PM CST. As the agenda states, the LCC will discuss and possibly take action on whether the Legislature will reconvene. The meeting can be live-streamed by clicking here.

North Carolina

As of May 4th

NC Coronavirus Update, as of 5/3

  • Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 11,664
  • Coronavirus deaths: 422
  • Currently hospitalized: 475
  • Completed tests: 143,385
  • NC Counties affected: 99/100
  • Realtime COVID-19 Data for NC

General Assembly Passes COVID-19 Relief Package

The North Carolina legislature came back last Tuesday for its first COVID-19 session with the task of deciding how to spend US$3.5 billion in new federal money. On Saturday, the House and Senate passed their plan unanimously, sending it to Governor Cooper where it awaits his signature. Leaders from both chambers reached a deal late Friday night on a US$1.57 billion spending plan containing millions in funding for education, health care, small business loans, food banks, medical research, testing and US$50 million for personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 relief and spending are split into two bills: S 704 COVID-19 Recovery Act, which includes policy changes related to the crisis, and H 1043 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, which lays out the spending. Detailed bill summaries are included here: S 704 COVID-19 Recovery Act, Bill Summary and H 1043 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, Bill Summary.

A few items initially included in one or the other chamber’s bills did not get passed. The House did not get the temporary Medicaid expansion for coronavirus patients included in their bill, but the final agreement increased funding for rural health and small business loans. The House’s language allowing restaurants to sell liquor drinks with to-go orders, such as beer and wine sales are allowed now, was removed by the Senate. A House proposal to require insurance companies to pay for telehealth doctor’s visits the same as face-to-face visits was also dropped from the final bill. A Senate proposal to increase the state’s weekly maximum on unemployment benefits was cut, though the federal US$600/week increase and extension on the duration of benefits remains in place. Lawmakers also declined a series of election policy changes and funding requests from the State Board of Elections, stating that they will deal with that later. Proposals that were cut could come back in individual bills when lawmakers gather later this month.

Liability immunity provisions survived negotiations. One covers health care workers, protecting them from civil and criminal liability as they provide COVID-19 treatment. Another protects businesses. It was pitched as a protection for businesses that have switched to making masks and other personal protective equipment, but it is broadly worded, covering any essential business whose employees or customers contract COVID-19.

The final bills approved Saturday authorize dentists to give COVID-19 tests and pharmacists to administer a vaccine when one is developed. The bills also lay out a detailed study by the North Carolina Area Health Education Center on North Carolina’s healthcare infrastructure relevant to pandemics, including whether the state has enough health care workers to handle surges and the impact on hospitals – particularly rural ones – of postponing elective procedures, as hospitals have for much of this crisis. The bills also delay the state Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters move from Raleigh to Rocky Mount, which was supposed to occur by Oct. 1. The bill changes various notarization and other process issues to cut down on face-to-face contact in routine government operations. Among other things, registers of deeds will be able to issue marriage licenses via remote audio-video communication instead of requiring the couple to come in person. Also included are extending driver’s license and tag expiration deadlines, waiving interest payments on state income and business taxes that were normally due in April and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on vaccine and treatment research, coronavirus testing and contact tracing and a bridge loan program for small businesses.

There are many education policy revisions, including waivers for end-of-year testing; reading tests given at the end of third grade are moved to the start of fourth grade; school report cards and the grades given to each school based on various metrics are suspended for this year. School systems are supposed to submit remote learning plans for the next school year by July 20 and the first day of school will be August 17. The school year will be 190 days, with at least five days of remote learning. Lawmakers disagreed over what to do with the state’s current mandate for schools to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade, but the final bill requires schools to continue to change staffing and buildings to reduce class sizes. The House wanted to waive that requirement for a year.

The following summary (source: WRAL) gives the breakdown in funding.

COVID-19 research

  • US$15 million to the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute to develop a vaccine
  • US$29 million flowing through the NC Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for vaccine and treatment research, as well as community testing and other research
  • US$15 million to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, also for research
  • US$6 million to the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine for a rural-focused testing and treatment initiative
  • US$20 million to Wake Forest University Health Services to expand the antibody study Senate lawmakers already authorized for US$100,000

COVID-19 supplies and tracing

  • US$50 million to purchase supplies, including PPE, divided up between hospitals (50 percent), senior living facilities (15 percent), doctor’s offices (10 percent) and the state Department of Public Safety (25 percent) for the State Highway Patrol, the North Carolina National Guard and others as it sees fit. The policy bill lays out plans to create a long-term state stockpile of PPE.
  • US$25 million to expand testing and contact tracing through the Department of Health and Human Services. This money won’t be released until DHHS releases statistics the legislature wants to see, including data on underlying health conditions in people who die from COVID-19 and on people with the virus who are hospitalized, then released.

State and local government

  • US$70 million for state government operations, including overtime costs and supply needs at prisons, as well as for IT costs for remote needs and for temporary staff to help the state unemployment office
  • US$300 million for NCDOT, but only when the federal government revises its rules to allow it
  • US$20 million for state agencies, like the North Carolina Zoo, that have lost receipts due to virus-related closures. The federal government must update its rules first to allow that use.
  • US$150 million to replace lost revenue for local governments that have not already received direct funding from the federal government. This, too, relies on a change in federal policy.

School funding

  • US$75 million for school breakfast and lunch programs
  • US$1 million to improve internet connectivity for students by installing Wi-Fi routers in school buses. The money can be used to buy devices, but not for subscription costs.
  • US$30 million to be distributed to local school systems to buy computers and other electronic devices for students
  • US$5 million to purchase computers and other devices for school personnel
  • US$4.5 million for cybersecurity at schools
  • US$10 million for mental health and other services for students
  • US$70 million for supplemental summer learning programs, particularly reading and math programs for students from kindergarten through the fourth grade
  • US$3 million for “non-digital remote instruction” for students with limited internet access
  • US$15 million for grants to cover “extraordinary costs” in schools around the state
  • US$5 million targeting at-risk students and including “rigorous, quantitative performance measures” and “an evidence-based model with a proven track record of success”

Universities and colleges

  • US$25 million for community colleges
  • US$44 million for the state university system to move courses online
  • US$20 million in funding for private colleges

Social services and health programs

  • US$20 million to DHHS to support local health departments, increase nursing capacity and the number of community health workers and focus on infection control in nursing homes
  • US$6 million for food banks
  • US$25 million for adult, family and group homes in the state-county special assistance program
  • US$50 million for health programs in rural and underserved communities, including minority communities
  • US$5 million for the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to distribute to its members
  • US$1.5 million to NC MedAssist, a program that helps offset prescription costs for poor people
  • US$5 million to the North Carolina Community Health Centers Association to cover treatment costs for its members
  • US$20 million for various needs at DHHS, including the purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs and US$12.6 million earmarked for LME/MCOs that work with disabled people
  • US$19 million through DHHS to help food banks, adult and child protective services, homeless and domestic violence shelters and other programs
  • US$1.8 million to the Old North State Medical Society to focus on African-American communities
  • US$2.24 million to provide a monthly supplement increase of US$100 for each child living in foster care
  • US$9 million for rural broadband programs

Hospital funding

  • US$65 million earmarked specifically for grants to rural hospitals and those in poorer counties around the state. Among other things, this money can be used to cover lost revenues from foregone elective procedures.
  • US$15 million for teaching hospitals in the state: Wake Forest Baptist, Duke, UNC, Vidant Medical and Central Harnett
  • US$15 million for a general hospital relief fund

Agriculture

  • US$15 million to kill and dispose of animals, if needed, due to food supply chain problems

Business

  • US$5 million to stimulate tourism, including for a program to “educate people on ways to travel in a safe and socially distant way”
  • US$125 million for a small-business loan program through Golden LEAF, providing up to US$50,000 per business. This program quickly doled out US$15 million when it was created.

(Source: NC Insider, WRAL, News & Observer, Carolina Public Press)

NC House to Return May 18

House Speaker Tim Moore said that over the next two weeks, the House COVID-19 committee would continue to meet and that the House would return on May 18 for a “normal” session. He said proxy voting would end, which means more House members would be in the chamber at once. Moore said rules about access to the Legislative Building would be reassessed at that point. Last week, only lawmakers, staff and credentialed press were allowed inside. Moore told reporters that during the time lawmakers are gone, they’ll see how things go with the state reopening and people going back to work.Moore said action on May 18 will be largely coronavirus-related, and even with in-person meetings, some social distancing may continue.

NC Releases Zip Code Data for COVID-19 (WRAL) The NC Department of Health and Human Services on Friday launched an interactive map on its website showing how many coronavirus cases and deaths have been reported in each ZIP code.

NC Judge Orders Prisons to Detail COVID-19 Protections (AP) A North Carolina judge has ordered public officials to turn over detailed information and what steps they are taking to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in state prisons. The ruling was issued late last week by Superior Court Judge Vinston Rozier. It comes in connection with a lawsuit filed by the state conference of the NAACP and other advocacy groups as prison officials deal with two major outbreaks of the virus.

NC Has Seven Benchmarks for Opening Up the State (Raleigh News & Observer) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and his administration say they are looking at seven pieces of data on a path toward re-opening the state’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The data are divided into two categories: four trends and three capacity considerations.

Shopping Malls in NC Expected to Reopen May 8 (AP) Several major shopping malls in North Carolina are expected to reopen on the same day Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order is scheduled to end.

Western NC Counties Adjust 2nd Primary Plans Due to Pandemic (Carolina Public Press) Several Western North Carolina counties are sharply cutting the number of polling places for the June 23 second primary in Congressional District 11. The counties, as well as the state Board of Elections, are also seeking additional rule changes and funding from the state legislature for election staffing, protective gear, cleaning supplies and mail-in ballot processing. This situation offers a potential preview for statewide changes that could be in order if the COVID-19 pandemic is not resolved in time for the general election.

Solar, Wind Energy Struggle as Coronavirus Takes Toll (AP) The U.S. renewable energy industry is reeling from the new coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed construction, put thousands of skilled laborers out of work and sowed doubts about solar and wind projects on the drawing board.

In locked-down California, some local agencies that issue permits for new work closed temporarily, and some solar companies furloughed installers. As many as 120,000 jobs in solar and 35,000 in wind could be lost, trade groups say.

Former NC Senator Tony Rand Dies (Charlotte Observer) Former North Carolina Sen. Tony Rand, a longtime power in North Carolina’s General Assembly, died of complications from cancer Friday morning. He was 80. Rand, a Democrat from Fayetteville, served 11 terms in the Senate, including as Senate majority leader. He was known for his wit and collegiality as well as his ability to get things done. “Tony Rand was one of the last Democratic power brokers,” said Rob Christensen, The News & Observer’s longtime political columnist, who continues to write about North Carolina political history. “He was a cigar-smoking, wise-cracking, old-school political operative.”

Oregon

As of May 1st

 In this week’s update on all things state and local that our team’s tracking:

  • Ballots are out! And so are voter guides.
  • That state Supreme Court ruling last week clearing the way for campaign finance limits? It didn’t resurrect the 2006 limits approved by voters via Measure 47, says the Secretary of State and Attorney General.
  • As other states start to re-open, Oregon shared more information on the approach to testing and contact tracing that could lead to initial reopening in rural counties as early as May 15.
  • Speaker Kotek released new committee assignments, the Governor apologized for delays in unemployment claim processing, and we’re counting down to the May 20 state revenue forecast.
  • And more!

Elections:

  • Ballots started landing in voters’ mailboxes this week and are due back by 8pm on May 19; this is the first year no postage is required to mail back an Oregon ballot. Between paid postage, the stay home order, and dissipated Democratic presidential nomination enthusiasm, all bets are off for predicting voter turnout. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the first ballot return figures early next week, to see whether they provide any insights.
  • In the Metro area, all major newspaper endorsements are out for local candidate and measure races, and statewide races. Catch up on their picks:
  • Oregonian
  • Willamette Week
  • Portland Mercury
  • Tribune

State:

  • Earlier this week, Speaker Tina Kotek released new committee assignments for the 2020 House Interim Committees. Of note, Rep. Janelle Bynum is the new House Judiciary Chair; Rep. Paul Holvey is returning to chair House Business and Labor and we have a new Housing Committee chaired by Rep. Julie Fahey.
  • On May 20, the House Revenue committee will meet virtually to receive the May revenue forecast. This forecast will begin to shed light on the effects of COVID on Oregon’s economy.
  • Governor Brown has asked all agencies to send her revised budgets with spending cut plans of up to 8.5%. The proposed cuts, which Gov. Kate Brown has directed state budget officials to compile by May 8, would add up to just under US$2 billion. They also would be felt more deeply, with just 14 months left in the 19-21 budget cycle to absorb cuts.
  • Earlier this week, Oregon’s Unemployment Department launched their system for self-employed and gig workers to apply for expanded unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program approved by Congress.
  • Also this week: Governor Kate Brown apologized via Twitter for the frustration and delays in processing Oregon’s surge of unemployment claims. “I’m committed to ensuring that eligible Oregonians receive the maximum benefits available, as quickly as possible. These benefits are critical during this stressful time,” she wrote.

Local:

  • Local campaign finance laws go into effect Monday: The Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Multnomah County voter-approved measure to limit campaign contributions to US$500. This week the City of Portland’s elections division announced starting this upcoming Monday, May 4, no candidates in Portland elections may receive campaign contributions over US$500.
  • City provides updates on critical land use projects: This week the Mayor’s office and City bureaus provided an update on smart growth land use projects, including Expanding Opportunities for Affordable Housing, Central City 2035, a new Land Use Expiration Date Extension Project, and the Residential Infill Project. Below are important upcoming dates for each of these projects:
  • Central City 2035 – May 28, City Council public hearing; June 4, record closes; June 24, City Council votes on re-adoption; July 1, second reading
  • Residential Infill Project – June 3, City Council presentation on amendments and public testimony; June 11, Council votes on amendments; June 18, Council votes on amended policy package
  • Land Use Expiration Date Extension Project – May 26, Portland Sustainability Commission hearing and recommendation; July 8, City Council public hearing; July 15, record closes; July 22, City Council votes
  • Expanding Opportunities for Affordable Housing – May 6, public Q & A with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; May 14, City Council presentation and public hearing
  • City boards and commissions reconvene: Some City boards and commissions that had cancelled agendas for March and April will begin virtually meeting in May, including the Portland Sustainability Commission, Portland Housing Advisory Commission, and Design Commission.
  • Additional upcoming local government items of note: May 7, Multnomah County Chair releases proposed budget and discuss at the County Board of Commissioners public meeting on the same day; May 12, Mayor’s proposed budget hearing (the proposed budget document is anticipated to be released May 6).

Upcoming Virtual Town Halls

Many of our partners have been asking about the best way to connect with and engage elected officials right now. Many are moving engagement to virtual town halls; We’ll be keeping a running list of upcoming events here.

  • Sen. Arnie Roblan & Rep. David Gomberg will join a tele-townhall with Coos County Commission Chair and State Senate Candidate, Melissa Cribbins. You can call in at (503) 217-4881 at 10:00AM on May 2, 2020.
  • Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran will host a virtual town hall on Saturday, May 2 @ 11AM. Link to town hall is here.
  • Sen. Lynn Findley, Rep. Daniel Bonham, & Rep. Mark Owens will host a virtual community conversation on Thursday, May 7 @ 5PM – 6PM. Registration is required.
  • Eugene/Springfield area legislators will host a virtual town hall on Oregon’s framework for re-opening on Tuesday, May 5 @ 5PM – 6:30PM. Registration is required.

COVID-19 Update:

At-a-Glance: Oregon News Related to COVID-19

  • Gov. Kate Brown Lays Out COVID-19 Testing And Contact Tracing As Keys To Reopening Oregon (OPB)
  • How Oregon’s statewide coronavirus study with 100,000 people will work (Oregonian)
  • Opinion: The racial disparity of COVID-19’s impacts are well-known. Oregon officials aren’t doing anything about it. (Oregonian Op-Ed)
  • New Group of Business and Commercial Property Owners Asks Gov. Kate Brown to Protect Them From Foreclosure (Willamette Week)
  • Oregon releases drafts for reopening restaurants, bars, and other businesses (KATU)
  • Oregon’s Already Fragile Childcare System Faces Uncertain Future (OPB)

Resources

Nonprofits & Small Businesses

CARES Act

General Resources

Wisconsin

As of April 4th

Updated numbers released from the weekend:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers over the weekend, of note are the following:

  • 348 Current Hospital Admissions (116 patients in ICU)
    • The hospital admissions are up 7 (+7) from Friday and the number of ICU patients is down 11 (-11).
  • There were 346 positive test results reported on Saturday and 304 reported on Sunday. The percent positive test results out of total tests was 10.3% on Saturday and 11.1% on Sunday.
    • Cumulatively there have been 77,997 negative tests and 7,964 positive tests.
  • 7 deaths were reported on Saturday and 5 were reported on Sunday for a total of 339 deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • 3,509 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered (last updated by DHS on 5/1)

Sources:

Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear case challenging extension of Safer-At-Home Order

On Friday the Wisconsin State Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments on Tuesday at 10:00 am in the lawsuit that Republican Legislative Leaders filed. Republican leaders argued that state Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm exceeded her constitutional authority when she extended the Safer-At-Home order beyond the Governor’s 60-day emergency order.

The arguments will be covered on WisEye https://wiseye.org/schedule/

In their lawsuit, the Republican leaders asked the court to overturn the extension and give the Governor and Secretary Palm six days to submit an alternative “legal” order through the administrative rule-making process. On behalf of Secretary Palm, the Wisconsin Department of Justice had asked for the case to be dismissed, citing that the Secretary’s emergency order powers are “well established.”

Conservatives control the court currently by a 5-2 majority until Judge Jill Karofsky is sworn in. Justice Dan Kelly’s term, ends on July 31st and then there will be a tighter 4-3 conservative majority on the court.

Links to article on the Supreme Court taking up the case;

Assembly GOP Leaders Send Governor Meeting Request

The leaders of the Wisconsin State Assembly late Friday sent Governor Evers a letter requesting a meeting to discuss a unified, bipartisan approach to the state’s coronavirus pandemic response.

“In these times of crisis, we understand how difficult decisions like these are — but we are all in this together. That’s why it is our hope that we can begin direct conversations with you as soon as possible,” the leaders stated in their letter.

Assembly Republicans are looking to discuss reopening Wisconsin’s economy in a safe, targeted and regional way. This request follows a roughly seven hour informational meeting held by the Assembly Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander). The hearing provided an opportunity for lawmakers and the public to hear from small business owners and industry leaders about how the Safer at Home order is impacting their lives and livelihoods. The committee also explored safe reopening options including the “Back to Business” plan from the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. As a part of their letter, the leaders provided a summary of the hearing to the governor to help provide a foundation for future discussions.

“Right now, business owners are seeking any kind of guidance, clarity or timeline. Without any level of certainty, people are beginning to lose hope. With no end of the shutdown in the foreseeable future, there is a realistic chance that many businesses will close for good.”

The GOP leaders of the Assembly are requesting to meet with the governor early next week.

Link to Press Release

Link to Letter

Gov. Evers Announces Additional Community Testing Events in Northwest Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers today announced 9 additional community testing events in northwest Wisconsin. The State Emergency Operations Center, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Wisconsin Emergency Management, and Wisconsin National Guard are working with local health departments to create community testing events in places with a known lack of access to testing or where additional testing is needed because of high rates of COVID-19.

“Taking our lab capacity from the ability to perform zero COVID-19 tests in early March to more than 11,000 tests per day now is one of our success stories here in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Evers. “But capacity is not the same as utilization, so we have some work to do to ensure everyone who needs a test is getting one and to understand the full scope of this disease around Wisconsin. The state has been working hard to support local health departments throughout this crisis and we’re pleased to announce these additional community testing events in northwest Wisconsin. I urge anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 to go get tested at one of these events.”

Link to release.

Gov. Evers weekly update on WI Public Television’s “Here & Now”

On Friday, Governor Tony Evers appeared on Wisconsin Public Television’s “Here & Now” for his weekly update. Of note in the conversation were the following points of interest:

  • When asked about the uptick in positive test results and percent positives, the Governor noted that a good portion of the increase in positive tests had come from the increase in the amount of testing in Brown County and the outbreak there. He said not all of the increase is attributable to that, but suggested it did skew the numbers a bit higher for the last couple of days.
  • When asked about the increased testing capacity but the number of tests being conducted significantly trailing the capacity, the Governor said they want everyone who wants a test to be tested. He said there are enough tests and enough capacity to get everyone tested who needs to be tested, and he is encouraging providers to test everyone.
  • When asked about opening additional businesses to curb-side transactions this past week and whether it was based on metrics or criticism, the Governor said there was a decision made that the curb-side transactions could be controlled, so it was time.
  • The Governor noted the opening Wisconsin plans put forward by the business community have some good points but they need to include a public health component.

https://video.pbswisconsin.org/video/turning-dial-reopen-wisconsin/

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers: