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

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Georgia

As of April 3rd

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

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

Kansas

As of April 2nd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions/Comments

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

Missouri

As of April 2nd

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

Stay at Home Orders 

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

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

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

Governor Announces Budgetary Withholds 

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

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

Missouri Unemployment Claims Skyrocket 

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

The Legislature will Return to the Capitol Next Week 

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

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

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

Other Actions 

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

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

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

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

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

Candidate Filing Comes to a Close 

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

Oregon

As of April 2nd

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

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

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

State Updates:  

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

Local Updates: 

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

COVID-19 Update: 

Oregon News Related to COVID-19 

Resources 

Nonprofits & Small Businesses 

CARES Act 

General Resources 

Tennessee

As of April 2nd

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

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

Health Response

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

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

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

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

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

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

Economic Response

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

Cities’ Response

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

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

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

Virginia

As of April 3rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northam plans to hold another press conference on Monday.