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

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Arkansas

As of April 8th

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

Connecticut

As of April 8th

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

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

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

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

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

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

Governor Lamont yesterday signed another executive order – the 23rd since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

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

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

Georgia

As of April 8th

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

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

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

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

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

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • State cases are up to 9,879 at noon today as compared to 9,156 on Tuesday at 7 p.m. We are now up to  deaths up 361 from 348 at 7 p.m. Tuesday.  1,980 patients are hospitalized as compared to 1,899 at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Dougherty, Fulton and Cobb Counties have the most cases in our State. 
  • Per covid19.healthdata.org, it is anticipated that Georgia will have a shortage of 594 beds and 755 ICU beds with a peak on April 22 with 84 deaths on April 23.
  • 10 patients at PruittHealth Grandview have died of the coronavirus in Athens.
  • US Rep. Doug Collins said that NJ-based generic drug manufacturer Amneal Pharmaceuticals has contributed 200,000 doses of hydrochloroquine sulfate to the State DPH. 
  • Georgia Right to Life is urging Governor Kemp to shut down abortion clinic during the emergency.
  • March revenues were up 9.8 percent, year to date 2.1 percent.
  • State and federal prosecutors have formed a Georgia task force to tackle complaints of fraud connected to the pandemic.
  • Floyd Medical Center is in the process of converting the lower level of a parking deck on its campus to a 200 bed emergency facility in case the hospital’s capacity is overrun. “This is for a worst case scenario,” David Early, vice president of support services and operations at Floyd Medical Center, said. 

Iowa

As of April 7th

Iowa COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000

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

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

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

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

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

Iowa Legislature delayed due COVID-19, reconvening April 30 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kansas

As of April 7th

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

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

Texas

As of April 8th

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

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

Gov. Abbott reported the latest COVID numbers:    

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

Two notable facts:     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the recent Gov. announcements and executive orders:

Governor Abbott Prepares State Resources As Severe Weather Approaches Texas

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

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

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

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

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

Governor Abbott Waives Certain Pharmacy Regulations To Increase Workforce Capabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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