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

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Colorado

Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, today released the following statement announcing she has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus:

“This morning I received news that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. I was tested at UC Health after experiencing symptoms. While I have had a confirmed case of bronchitis for much of March, my doctors have told me that it’s likely I contracted COVID-19 in the last few days. I am staying quarantined at home, and my children and husband are self-isolating. We will all get through this together, and I look forward to seeing my friends, colleagues and constituents when I’m better and no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.”

The representative is at home as she recovers from the virus, and requests her privacy during this time.

Information on the outbreak of COVID-19 in Colorado can be found at this website.

Connecticut

  • Since yesterday, an additional 28 Connecticut residents tested positive, bringing the total positive cases reported in the state to 96.
  • Governor Lamont today signed another executive order taking actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, this one:
    • Closes large indoor malls and places of amusement (but not parks and open space areas) effective 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19;
    • Allows Medicaid to cover audio-only telehealth services;
    • Provides flexibility for critical legal functions regarding conservators and competency hearings to ensure the safety of nursing home patients; and
    • Exempts certain schools inside state facilities from school cancellation order.
  • Department of Public Health is providing a status update on Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Access Health CT is opening a special enrollment period for those who are uninsured.
  • Governor Lamont offers guidance for restaurants seeking clarification on take-out and delivery rules.
  • Governor Lamont directs the early release of certain state aid to municipalities.
  • Department of Labor closes main office and American Job Centers to in-person visits, encourage use of online services.
  • DEEP is requesting PURA take emergency actions to protect utility rate payers.
  • Department of Agriculture sent communications today affirming that farmers’ markets can remain open.
  • Department of Education is seeking a waver for standardized testing requirements, continues providing resources to support student learning during closures, assist in meals program.
  • Through a partnership with the state, a coalition of outdoor advertisers are donating electronic billboard space to spread public awareness about COVID-19.

Georgia 

  • Former BB&T and SunTrust branches, now Truist locations, will soon limit activity to drive-thru lanes and make in-lobby consultations by appointment only. 

Gov. Kemp, DPH Commissioner Toomey Briefing

  • At the Georgia State Capitol, Governor Kemp and Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey are giving a briefing on COVID-19 via Georgia Public Broadcasting livestream at Thursday, March 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Daily State Public Health stats

  • State cases are up to 287 from 197 yesterday.  We are now up to 10 deaths.  Fulton, Cobb and Bartow Counties have 129 or 45 percent of the cases.  If you add in DeKalb, Dougherty, Gwinnett and Cherokee Counties, these 7 counties account for 199 of the 287 cases or 69 percent of the cases. The Departments hot line number is +1 844 442 2681.
  • Allegedly, Phoebe Putney Hospital has announced a total of 43 positive results [doubled since 3/18] and 4 deaths [doubled since 3/18].
  • Senator Brandon Beach has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Senator Bruce Thompson has been hospitalized for several days and is still waiting on the test results.  Thankfully he has been upgraded.

LOCAL NEWS:

Closures

City of Forsyth

Marietta

Drive-through testing

Cobb and Clayton Counties; City of Albany; DeKalb County

Cobb and Clayton Counties and the city of Albany have limited drive through testing with DeKalb preparing for same. Click here for more information.

New York

Governor Cuomo announced during a March 19 press conference that he will be issuing an order to further reduce the workforce to 25 percent, which is a 75 percent mandatory reduction in the workforce.

He also announced the following:

  • 90 Day Mortgage relief, based on financial hardship. Waiving mortgage payments for 90 days.
  • Suspending foreclosures.
  • Waiving overdraft fees for ATMs and Credit Cards.
  • Reiterated commitment to keep NYC out of a stay-in-place order.

Wisconsin

Governor Evers Issues Emergency Order #7 to Department of Workforce Development regarding Unemployment Insurance

Emergency Order #7 waives the work search requirement and modifies the availability requirements for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.  Specifically;

  • Emergency Order #7 waives the requirement that UI claimants conduct at least four weekly work search actions during the COVID-19 emergency. This section of the order is retroactively effective to March 12, 2020.
  • Emergency Order #7 also ensures that claimants who are otherwise eligible but out of work due to COVID-19 are considered available for work and therefore eligible for benefits.

The order goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

DFI Issues Emergency Guidance on Character and Fitness Requirements for Payday and Licensed Lenders

Last night the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), at the direction of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, issued emergency guidance on “character and fitness requirements” for all payday and licensed lenders doing business in Wisconsin. 

In light of the financial distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, DFI cautioned payday and licensed lenders that increasing interest rates, fees, or any costs of borrowing in response to this crisis may result in license suspension or revocation. The department also encourages the reduction of rates and fees as low as operational expenses and sound lending practices allow. 

[Excerpted from the guidance document]

Wisconsin needs you to be a part of the solution for struggling families. Before this Department first granted you a license to operate in this State, we were required by law to assess the character and fitness of your business and its officers and directors.1 This crisis will put your character and fitness to the test.

Businesses with character recognize that this is a time for shared sacrifice, not financial exploitation. We recognize that the statutes that govern your businesses set no maximum limit on the interest you can charge, even when many are facing sudden financial distress. But fundamental human decency does. Therefore, effective immediately, this Department shall deem it an essential failure of your character and fitness if you increase your customary interest rates, fees, or any costs of borrowing in response to this crisis. 

We further urge you to reduce your rates and fees as low as operational expenses and sound lending practices allow. How you treat desperate people during this crisis will determine the long-term future of your industry and the status of your license to do business in this State. Engaging in any opportunistic and exploitative conduct will be deemed proof of your company’s underlying lack of character and general fitness—a fact that would’ve caused us to deny your license in the first place, had it been revealed at the time you applied for one. Willfully engage in such behavior, and your license to operate in this State will be suspended or revoked.

DFI Issues Emergency Guidance on Remote Notarization

Also, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) issued emergency guidance today pertaining to remote online notarization in Wisconsin.

“Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, remote online notarization is now authorized in this state, subject to several safeguards to ensure the integrity of the notarial process,” said DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld.

Remote online notarizations must be performed using technology providers that are regulated under standards that meet or exceed the safeguards set by Wisconsin Act 125. DFI has approved four remote online notarization providers thus far: Notarize.com and NotaryCam, which provide remote notary services to the general public, and Pavaso or Nexsys, which provide them for title companies and other real-estate transactions.

DFI has also issued several other guidance letters to Financial Institutions, Lenders and Credit Unions over the last week and have those posted on their homepage in the COVID-19 Information and Resources Section.

Department of Administration (DOA) Division of Facilities Development and Management announce Teleconference Bid Openings

The Department of Administration announced that until further notice, there will be no in-person bid openings for construction projects. Beginning March 19, 2020, DOA is implementing revised bidding procedures for all state construction projects with bid openings occurring in Madison, WI. These revisions are being made in response to Governor Evers’ declaration of a statewide public health emergency. DOA will be announcing bid openings via teleconference on the day bids are due. Details about the teleconference bid process is as follows:

  • Bidders will call a specified call-in number to hear bid results announced on the day bids are due. The number to call will soon be available on the “DOA List of Projects Out to Bid” website, which is: HERE
  • The teleconference line will be open at 1:45 p.m. CT and all bids will be opened after 2:00 p.m. CT.

More information on the new process can be found here

Industry and Department of Workforce Development working to donate any available N95 masks to local hospitals

Wisconsin’s Transportation Building Industry sent out a message to their membership urging them to donate any available supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), especially NIOSH 95 (N95) masks to local hospitals.

WTBA Members:

As I am sure you know, the COVID-19 outbreak is placing tremendous strain on Wisconsin health care’s supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). This includes quickly dwindling supplies of gowns, gloves, eye shields and, especially, face masks (specifically NIOSH 95 masks, or N95s). This equipment is critical to protecting our frontline health care workforce from infection when testing and treating for COVID-19, keeping our dedicated doctors, nurses, technicians and others there when we all need them most. WTBA has been asked to reach out to our members to help.

Because of surging usage and still inadequate supply, Vice President Mike Pence, at the White House briefing yesterday, asked all construction companies to donate unused/packaged N95 masks to their local hospitals and to limit ordering more:

“We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a White House press conference on Tuesday.

He continued, “Because of what the president asked to be included in legislation moving through the Congress today, those industrial masks that they use on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for healthcare workers to be protected from a respiratory disease.”

If you are able, we are asking that you contact your local hospital(s) to donate this vital equipment that will help protect our frontline healthcare workers during this unprecedented time.

Thank you,
Pat Goss, Executive Director, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association

In addition, Secretary Caleb Frostman has called on Wisconsin’s construction industry, labor organizations, and private industry to donate any available N95 masks to local hospitals.

Keeping WI Small Businesses Open

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Majority Leader Jim Steineke and many other lawmakers have been aggressively promoting on social media the need to support Wisconsin small businesses that are still open during this health emergency, and the importance of patronizing them and especially restaurants that are serving takeout and delivery options. The WI Restaurant Association is continuously updating a list of restaurants that are open on their website organized by County.

WMC “All Business” Webinar with Governor Evers and Cabinet

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has made their “All Businesses” Webinar on the state’s response to COVID-19 with Governor Tony Evers, Dep. DHS Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman and Wisconsin Economic Development Corp Secretary & CEO Missy Hughes available here.

This update is available online at https://capitolconsultants.net/wi-update-13-covid-19/

Past updates are now archived on our website:

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