Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – March 25, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Connecticut

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

Since yesterday’s update, an additional 203 Connecticut residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 618. To date, more than 5,300 tests have been conducted in Connecticut among both state and private laboratories. Approximately 71 people have been hospitalized and there have been another two fatalities, bringing the total number of fatalities due to complications of COVID-19 to 12.

A county-by-county breakdown includes:

County Laboratory Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Deaths
Fairfield County 384 23 7
Hartford County 88 17 2
Litchfield County 22 3 0
Middlesex County 8 4 0
New Haven County 89 19 0
New London County 6 1 0
Tolland County 19 4 3
Windham County 2 0 0
Total 618 71 12

For several additional charts and tables containing more data groups, including a town-by-town breakdown of positive cases in each municipality and a breakdown of cases and deaths among age groups, click here.

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

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the thirteenth 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. 7L enacts the following provisions:

  • Extends the cancellation of classes at public schools statewide through at least April 20: To promote and secure the safety and protection of children in schools related to the risks of COVID-19, the order extends the cancelation of classes at all public schools statewide through April 20, 2020. The governor notes that this date could possibly be extended further. Private schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
  • Orders the early opening of the fishing season, effective immediately
  • Suspends restrictions on the re-employment of retired municipal employees: To enable municipalities to meet critical staffing needs caused by COVID-19 with skilled and experienced employees who require little to no additional training, the order modifies state statutes to allow certain retired employees who are in the municipal retirement system to work without any hourly or durational limitation while also continuing to receive retirement allowances.
  • Exacts flexibility to maintain adequate medical marijuana access for patients: The order modifies the state’s medical marijuana program to improve patient access and address staffing shortages in facilities. This includes permitting patients to be certified via telehealth; extending expiration dates for patient and caregiver registrations; allowing dispensary facility staff to move work locations among facilities and, with approval of the state, make adjustments to staffing ratios; and waiving the fee normally charged if someone loses or misplaces their registration certificate.
  • Extends the time period for nursing home transfers: The order extends the time allowed for an applicant to transfer from a nursing home where they were temporarily placed after their nursing home closed from sixty days after their arrival at the new facility to “not later than one year following the date that such applicant was transferred from the nursing home where he or she previously resided.”
  • Enacts flexibility in availability and registration of vital records: The order authorizes the Commissioner of Public Health to conduct birth, death and marriage registration, in order to assist local registrars of vital statistics in carrying out their duties as may be required, and to issue any implementing orders she deems necessary.
  • Suspends in-person purchase of copies of vital records at the Department of Public Health: The order suspends the requirement that the purchase of vital records at the Department of Public Health be available in person, and limits those requests to online or mail.
  • Modifies the requirement that marriage licenses be obtained in the town where the marriage will be celebrated: As municipal offices around the state are closed or have selective hours due to the COVID-19 crisis, the order permits those seeking a marriage license to obtain it in a different municipality than where it will be celebrated.

Insurance Department calls on insurers to extend a grace period for premium payments during the COVID-19 crisis

Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) Commissioner Andrew N. Mais today sent a bulletin to every insurance company in the state calling on them to immediately institute a grace period for insurance premium payments in light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioner is requesting that all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies that offer any insurance coverage in Connecticut – including life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance – to immediately provide customers with a 60-day grace period without interest or penalty to pay their insurance premiums.

For more information, see the press release CID issued today.

Georgia

  • The Governor, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Mayor Bottoms and Homer Bryson [State EMA] will host a one hour townhall on TV at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
  • Through Tuesday, Georgia teacher pension system, which sends checks to 133,000 retired educators each month, has lost $15 billion in the wake of the stock market crash caused by the virus.
  • The power point Dr. del Rio shared with GMA etc. on Monday can be found at here.
  • Governor Kemp is nearing a decision on how long to extend an order closing schools to curb the spread of coronavirus, with less than a week to go on his mandate that Georgia’s public schools and colleges should be shuttered until March 31.

Daily State Public Health stats:

  • State cases are up to 1,247 as of noon as compared to 1,097 as of 7 p.m. Tuesday. We are now up to 40 deaths up from 328 at 7 p.m. yesterday. Fulton, DeKalb, Dougherty, Cobb and Bartow Counties have the most cases in our State.
  • The Departments hot line number is (844)442-2681.

Local:

  • A company called Unacast claims the following reductions in travel due to social distancing:
    • Fulton         47%
    • Gwinnett       43%
    • DeKalb         36%
    • Cobb           46%

MARTA

  • A few MARTA employees may have tested positive for the virus. On Thursday, MARTA will begin boarding most bus passengers only from the rear of the bus and suspend fare payments on buses.

Hartsfield-Jackson International

  • Hartsfield Jackson passenger volume down 85 percent and flights down 65 percent this week from pre-COVID-19. Cargo is up!

Georgia Guard Medical Support Team

  • The first GA Guard Medical Support Team arrived at Grady this morning to train with and support the medical staff.

Montana

Montana Coronavirus Response Update

Since declaring a state of emergency in Montana relating to the coronavirus on March 12, 2020, Governor Bullock has issued a number of press advisories related to the pandemic:

Reported Cases

According to news reports and the state tracking site there are 53 confirmed cases in Montana as of March 25:

Press Coverage and Releases

See Gov. Bullock’s press releases listed above.

Press coverage is ubiquitous, but a broader emerging story is the effect that potential “shelter in place” orders could have on business operations, in particular what are referred to as “essential services.” For example, the nurses association in Montana has requested that Governor Bullock issue a statewide “shelter in place” order. Governor Bullock has resisted doing so based on the small number of cases in Montana. His spokesperson responded: “Some states with massive outbreaks have issued shelter-in-place. Gov. Bullock has taken the necessary and aggressive steps to work to slow the spread of the virus at this time. We don’t know how long any of the closures will last, but we do know that it will take at least a few weeks to evaluate how social distancing is working in limiting the spread of the virus in Montana.”

Local and Regional Actions

A number of counties have adopted emergency proclamations. Both the Montana Association of Counties and the Montana League of Cities and Towns have developed guidelines and other resources to guide local government response to the coronavirus situation.

School Closures

All schools have been ordered closed until April 10. See Governor Bullock’s announcement listed above.

Major Event Cancellations

There has been a wave of cancellations around the state. This article provides a snapshot of the magnitude.

Weblinks to State and Local Online Resources

Texas

At a news conference at 2:30 this afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said 65 Texas counties have been impacted by the new coronavirus. There have been 11 deaths and 715 positive tests. “You can expect the number of tests to continue to go up every day,” he said.

The governor announced a new executive order that requires hospitals to submit daily reports on bed capacity and COVID-19 tests.

The Governor announced that the newly established Supply Chain Strike Force has already secured more than $83 million of purchase orders for essential supplies. Additionally, the Governor announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will begin receiving 100,000 masks per day by the end of this week and the Supply Chain Strike Force will begin receiving an additional 100,000 masks per day by the end of next week—meaning the State of Texas will soon be receiving more than one million masks per week.

Texans can donate equipment and volunteer. Click here.

Governor Greg Abbott also directed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue guidance allowing restaurants to sell bulk retail products from restaurant supply chain distributors directly to consumers provided that such foods are in their original condition, packaging, or presented as received by the restaurant. Under this guidance, restaurants will be able to sell items like packaged meat, fruit and vegetables, and dry goods directly to the public to prepare and consume at home.

Abbott did not change from his March 19th executive order, which closed schools, bars, restaurants and gyms and urged Texans to maintain social distancing practices. “Stay home unless you need to be out,” he said at his news conference today.

Regarding a stricter Shelter-in-Place-Order, Abbott said he will continue to evaluate data and advice from health experts to determine whether there needs to be heightened standards and stricter enforcement of his directives.

Texas’s largest cities and counties have issued Shelter-in-Place or Stay-at-Home orders today. Most of these orders have exemptions for businesses and services deemed essential critical infrastructure by the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to KXAN TV, these Texas counties and cities have issues local shelter in place or stay at home ordinances.

Stay-at-home order issued (17 counties)

  • Bell County (Central Texas/Temple)
  • Bexar County (San Antonio)
  • Brazos County (TAMU/College Station)
  • Cameron County (South Texas)
  • Collin County (DFW)
  • Dallas County (Dallas)
  • Denton County (DFW)
  • El Paso County (El Paso)
  • Galveston County (Greater Houston area)
  • Harris County (Houston)
  • Hidalgo County (South Texas)
  • Hunt County (East of DFW)
  • Lampasas County (Central Texas/East of Fort Hood)
  • McLennan County (Waco)
  • Rockwall County (DFW)
  • Tarrant County (Fort Worth)
  • Travis County (Austin)
  • Williamson County (Greater Austin area)

Virginia

As of Wednesday, March 25, the state Department of Health reported 391 cases of COVID-19, with 59 resulting in hospitalization and nine deaths. The state confirmed 5,370 had been tested.

Wisconsin

On Wednesday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 585 in Wisconsin, up from 457 in Tuesday’s update.
  • 10,089 negative test results (8,237 were reported on Tuesday).
  • Six patients have died in Wisconsin (up one from Tuesday)

The county by county break down is at the end of this update

Source: DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page

Legislative Leaders Held a Media Availability

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) held a joint media availability to discuss Wisconsin’s public health emergency, and the Legislative perspective on the actions being taken both by the federal and the state government.

The video is available here.

They took questions from the media, below ;

April 7th Spring Election:

  • Speaker Vos said that he agrees with Governor Evers’ decision to keep the Election on April 7th.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald said he is monitoring it closely, and recognizes the concerns that are being raised, but doesn’t see changing the date at this point, especially given over 100,000 absentee ballots that have been returned.
  • Speaker Vos also said he does not support the “mail-in only” Election that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is requesting. Speaker Vos said clerks are being creative and finding ways to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers like only allowing a certain number of electors, give away pens so there is no sharing of pens, handing out free sanitizer, etc… Speaker Vos also pointed to the amount of time that it took the State of Washington to become a “mail-in only” state, the amount of time it took to put the program in place and to keep the confidence of the electorate. It is not something you can do 2 weeks before an election.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald said there a certain group of citizens who have the expectation of being able to vote in person and won’t participate in the process in a different way that they are not familiar with. There is no time for communication to educate voters on this change before the election.
  • When asked about repealing the witness requirement for absentee ballots for the public health emergency, the lawmakers said they were not interested in changing the statutes and are aware that people are being creative in getting witnesses to sign their ballots, including calling their lawmakers to be a witness.

Ability for Legislature for Revoke the Public Health Emergency

  • Speaker Vos said that the Governor has 60 days to use his authority under the Public Health Emergency. Beyond that 60 days they would need to see a really good reason to keep the declaration in place.
  • When asked if they would use their Legislative authority via a Joint Resolution to rescind the Public Health Emergency the leaders said they have not discussed or looked at possibility of revoking 60-day emergency powers related to the coronavirus pandemic

Uncertain economic environment

  • Sen. Fitzgerald said the businesses he is talking to are looking for anyway to keep their employees because just weeks ago it was difficult to hire.

Virtual Session

  • Speaker Vos, said will conduct a session as safe as possible. Pointed out that grocers and hospitals are still able to do their jobs in person, and think that the Legislature can meet that way, with exceptions for those who have compromised immune systems or have to be quarantined or have been quarantined. On topics he would consider for a Special Session, one would be addressing licenses that are expiring during the emergency that need to be renewed for food processors and other industries, so production is not stopped during the emergency.
  • Sen. Fitzgerald believes there may be legislation necessary to address items or funding that are part of the federal legislative package so they state can access funds or resources.

Safer at Home order

  • Sen. Fitzgerald noted he was disappointed with the communication ahead of the order and the position that it put businesses in his district.
  • Speaker Vos said that the Governor has more information than Legislature has, so he said they need to trust that Governor Evers is making decisions based on that information. He noted that most workers live pay check to paycheck and businesses are similarly low on operating reserves, so the longer this goes on, the less chance that those businesses will be reopening after this.
  • Speaker Vos said it was good that Governor Evers gave an end date to his Safer at Home order, because it gives businesses a chance to plan.

Federal Aid Package

  • Sen. Fitzgerald, a candidate for congress, said he would have absolutely voted for the federal aid package.

Legislature prepares to hold a virtual session

The Wisconsin State Journal had a story this morning on a dress rehearsal held in anticipation of Wisconsin’s first-ever virtual session.  Wisconsin law allows the Legislature to meet virtually, which Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) notes in the story could, once a couple tweaks are made, could happen at any time to address COVID-19 related legislation.

Number of Positive Results by County

  • Bayfield-1
  • Brown– 3 Calumet-1 Chippewa-1 Columbia-5
  • Dane– 88 (+16) 1 Dodge -3 Douglas-4 Dunn-1 Eau Claire-5 (+1) Fond du Lac– 18 1
  • Grant-1
  • Green-1
  • Jefferson-5 (+1)
  • Kenosha– 14 (+1) La Crosse- 10 (+5) Marathon-1 Milwaukee– 290 (+71) 3
  • Monroe-1
  • Outagamie-4 (+2)
  • Ozaukee-20 (+4) 1
  • Pierce- 3
  • Racine-7 (+2)
  • Rock-4 (+1)
  • Sauk-6 (+2)
  • Sheboygan- 7 (+1)
  • St. Croix-4
  • Walworth-5 (+1) Washington- 21 (+4) Waukesha– 42 (+11)
  • Winnebago- 5
  • Wood- 1
  • Total: 585 (6)

Comprehensive List of Actions Taken by the State of Wisconsin

Executive Orders

Executive Order 72 (March 12th, 2020)   Governor Evers Executive Order declaring a health emergency in response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus  

Emergency Health Orders

Order #1 (March 13th, 2020)   Order the closure of all public and private Wisconsin schools for purposes of pupil instruction and extracurricular activities, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020.  
Order #2 (March 14th, 2020)   Allows WisDOT to issue permits and waive fees for the delivery of groceries.  
Order #3 (March 15th, 2020)   Orders the suspension of certain Department of Children and Families administrative rules related to child care, foster care, residential care and in-home facilities  
Order #4 (March 16th, 2020) Order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 people or more.
Order #5 (March 17th, 2020) Order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more
Order #6 (March 18th, 2020) Order restricting the size of childcare settings
Order #7 (March 18th, 2020) Order to the Department of Workforce Development regarding Unemployment Insurance
Order #8 (March 20th, 2020) Update to Order #5 on Ban on Mass Gatherings
Order #9 (March 20th, 2020) Order to the Department of Corrections
Order #10 (March 21st, 2020) Department of Public Instruction Administrative Rule Suspension and Emergency Orders
Order #11 (March 21st, 2020) Public Service Commission Administrative Rule Suspension
Order #12 (March 24th, 2020) Safer at Home Order

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Bulletins related to COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coverage Request  (March 6th, 2020)   The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) is issuing this Bulletin to assist individuals and entities regulated by OCI regarding the provision of insurance-related services during this urgent Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health challenge. In order to protect the public health, insurers, self-funded plans, pharmacy benefit managers and cooperative health plans (collectively, Health Plan Issuers) are requested to identify and remove barriers to testing and treatment for COVID-19. OCI requests Health Plan Issuers that offer health care plans to Wisconsin residents to take the following immediate measures related to the potential impact of COVID-19.  
Regulatory Flexibility Regarding COVID-19 (March 15th, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers regarding managing corporate governance issues and filing deadlines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Proctoring of Online Courses (March 19th, 2020) This bulletin outlines the temporary changes OCI is making to WI requirements for delivering online courses and online course proctoring.  
Complying with Regulatory Requirements during the Public Health Emergency (March 20th, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers regarding compliance with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Coverage for Delivery Drivers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (March 23rd, 2020) This bulletin provides guidance to insurers and restaurant regarding insurance coverage for delivery drivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Department of Administration

Teleconference Bid Openings   (March 18th, 2020)   Until further notice, no in-person bid openings for construction projects will be conducted in Madison. Beginning March 19, 2020, the Department of Administration (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.  

Department of Transportation

Go Online for DMV Services   (March 16th, 2020)   Wisconsin DMV reminds customers that the majority of people do not need to visit a DMV for vehicle services. Renewing license plates, changing address, titling a new vehicle, ordering a duplicate driver license or ID card and more can all be done online at wisconsindmv.gov  
Driver licenses that expire during COVID-19 public health emergency automatically extended 60 days   (March 18th, 2020) Driver licenses and CDLs that expire during this public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days. Late fees will be waived. The driver record, visible to law enforcement, will show the extension and that the driver license is valid. All driver skills tests are being cancelled as of March 18 until further notice. ​Customers are being notified that Administrative Suspension hearings will be offered by telephone (or paper), not in-person.
WisDOT public construction meetings are on hold (March 19th, 2020) ​Effective immediately, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is temporarily suspending all public involvement meetings and open houses for design and construction projects.
Rest areas remain open to support truckers (March 20th, 2020) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is keeping its 28 rest areas under normal operation to support truckers during a critical time for moving supplies.  
DMV Extends emissions testing timeline (March 23, 2020) The extension affects vehicles Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waukesha counties and makes the following changes: Customers who have a routine vehicle registration renewal date after March 12 and require an emission test will have 90 days from their renewal date to complete an emission test and maintain valid registration.    Customers who obtained a new vehicle registration this year (January 26-March 12) will need to complete an emission test by June 10 to maintain valid registration. Customers who apply for, or obtained, new registration after March 12 (when the Governor’s emergency Executive Order took effect) will have 90 days from their date of registration to complete an emission test and maintain valid registration. This gives customers another 45 days to complete the original requirement.  

Department of Workforce Development

Unemployment Insurance Claims Data   (March 20th, 2020)   The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) launched a new webpage that displays preliminary numbers related to unemployment claims received by DWD’s Unemployment Insurance Division (UI). The displayed data currently includes the preliminary number of unemployment applications filed each day in the week, as well as last year’s counts for the same day and week for comparison. The preliminary number of unemployment weekly claims filed each day will be included as of Monday, March 23, 2020. The preliminary numbers will be updated daily.  

Department of Natural Resources

Fees waived for Wisconsin State Parks & Trails   (March 24th, 2020)   In light of Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order, item 11.c. recognizes outdoor activity as essential. As such, all State Parks, Trails and Forests remain open and all fees are now waived. The public should stay as close to home as possible and in their community. Parks, law enforcement and property staff will also continue to provide routine sweeps of state park system properties.  

Public Service Commission

PSC Tells Wisconsin Utilities to Suspend Disconnections for Nonpayment During Public Health Emergency   (March 13th, 2020)   The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to an occupied dwelling that has been disconnected.
PSC Awards $24 million in State Broadband Expansion Grants   (March 19th, 2020) ThePublic Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) met and awarded $24 Million in Broadband Expansion grants. The 72 new grants will extend high-speed internet access to as many as 3,182 business locations and 46,537 residential locations, including 39,778 locations that are currently unserved.

Department of Health Services: ForwardHealth Alerts & Updates

  • ForwardHealth Alerts are short, targeted publications designed to disseminate the latest COVID-19 information to providers quickly. They may contain news, policy, or resources deemed critical or helpful for providers. Providers will receive messaging letting them know when Alerts have been published that may impact them, and all Alerts relating to COVID-19 will be linked from this page.
  • ForwardHealth Updates announce changes in policy and coverage, prior authorization requirements, and claim submission requirements. Links to all published Updates relating to COVID-19 will be available on this page, as well as being listed on the ForwardHealth Updates page of the ForwardHealth Portal.
Alert 001 ForwardHealth Accepted Procedure Codes From Eligible Providers Who Test Patients for COVID-19
Alert 002 Temporary Policy Changes for Personal Care Providers  
Alert 003 Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Services
Alert 004 Tribal and Non-Tribal Federally Qualified Health Centers Billing Guidance for Telehealth Policy Changes in ForwardHealth Update 2020-09
Alert 005 Temporary Changes to Narcotic Treatment Services
ForwardHealth  Update 2020-09 Changes to ForwardHealth Telehealth Policies for Covered Services, Originating Sites, and Federally Qualified Health Centers
ForwardHealth Update 2020-11 COVID-19 Information for Pharmacies
ForwardHealth Update 2020-12 Temporary Changes to Telehealth Policy and Clarifications for Behavioral Health and Targeted Case Management Providers  

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Small Business 20/20 Program     The Small Business 20/20 Program provides grant funds to approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Approved CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19.
Businesses that are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but WEDC will work to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available.
Strategies for Small Businesses to Navigate COVID-19 Challenges Downtown District and Business Coronavirus Response: Ideas and Resources.  
Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved Wisconsin’s request for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to access low-interest federal disaster loans. Under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, businesses may qualify for up to $2 million in loans to cover losses resulting from the pandemic. The interest rate on the loans is 3.75% for for-profit businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Participants may be able to extend payments for up to 30 years.

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

  • COVID-19 Updates are archived here.
  • Comprehensive list of state of Wisconsin to the public health emergency here

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