Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 28, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Georgia

As of May 28th

  • Gov. Kemp held a press conference today at 4 p.m. The Governor will be extending the State of Emergency for a third time through July 12. Summer camps and schools can start May 31. Shelter in place for 65+ continues through June 12. From June 1, gatherings can have up to 25 people, 6 feet apart. Live entertainment venues will still be closed. Bars and nightclubs can open June 1 with many restrictions e.g. 35% total occupancy limit. Amusement parks can open June 12. Pro Sports can reopen June 1 if they are in compliance with their respective leagues.
  • Daily State Public Health Stats:
    • As of 9:00 a.m. today, Georgia has 44,932 confirmed cases as compared to 44,638 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, with 7,746 hospitalized patients as compared to 7,745 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, and 1,957 deaths as compared to 1,933 at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday. Over 523,000 tests have been administered.

Local:

Kansas

As of May 27th

Governor Kelly has reissued several Executive Orders following her new emergency declaration.  Those EOs can be found by clicking here.

Texas

As of May 27th 

The Governor of the State of Texas has issued an Proclamation expanding the enumerated list of covered services in Executive Order GA-23, including opening up waterparks, recreational sports, and food-court dining areas in malls.

Wisconsin

As of May 26th

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

  • 413 Current Hospital Admissions (139 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions reported decreased by  9 on Wednesday (-9) to 413, down from 422 reported on Tuesday.
      • -5 in SE WI, -4 in NW WI and -3 NE WI and +2 SC WI and +1 Western WI
    • The total number of ICU patients reported increased by 4 on Wednesday (+4) to 139 patients, up from 135 reported on Tuesday.
      • +7 in SE WI, +2 in SC WI, +1 Fox Valley and -5 NE WI and -1 NW WI
  • Cumulatively there have been 16,462 positive tests and 210,605 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 599 positive test results reported on Wednesday on 10,330 tests (5.8% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 539 in Wisconsin.
    • There were 22 deaths reported on Wednesday
  • 9,405 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (59%), 5,940 cases are still considered active (3%) and 517 patients have died (3%). (last updated by DHS on 5/26)

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

Wednesday Media Briefing

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

Governor Evers stressed in his opening remarks the importance of wearing a mask in public, especially when it is not possible to socially distance. The Governor said that he wears a mask while coming and going to the State Capitol, and that masks shouldn’t be a political statement.

Secretary-designee Palm in her opening remarks said that DHS is launching a new public awareness campaign with the message, “If you need a test, get a test” and encouraged people with any symptoms to get tested.

It was noted in the update that two new records were set; 599 positive cases (but 5.8% positive rate remained relatively stagnant) and the number of tests conducted in one day exceeded 10,000 for the first time.

Media questions of note:

  • Governor Evers was asked if he would be mandating that the public wear masks, and he said, noted the Supreme Court decision doesn’t allow for them to do that and is instead encouraging people to wear masks when they are out in public.
  • Governor Evers responded when asked about a lawmaker’s statement regarding some state employees who are not able to work from home and but are being paid to stay home, that he believes zero state employees are being paid to stay home and not work.
  • Secretary Palm said that she can’t say at this point whether new cases or the uptick in hospitalizations are tied to the Safer-At-Home restrictions being repealed two weeks, but the state will continue to monitor data.

The media briefing can be viewed here.

Gov. Evers Announces $200 Million “Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants” Program

Gov. Tony Evers today announced the launch of the “Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants” program, a $200 million effort aimed at helping local leaders address some of their most urgent and unique COVID-19 recovery needs. Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), Routes to Recovery Grants will be allocated to every Wisconsin county, city, village, town and federally recognized tribe. 

The effort is funded by $200 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars and will be administered by the DOA. Of the $200 million, $10 million will be allocated to Wisconsin’s tribal nations, with the remaining funds being distributed to every Wisconsin county, city, village and town.  

Routes to Recovery Grants for Wisconsin counties, cities, villages and towns will provide reimbursements for unbudgeted expenditures incurred this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the following categories:  

  • Emergency operations activities, including those related to public health, emergency services, and public safety response
  • Purchases of personal protective equipment
  • Cleaning/sanitizing supplies and services, including those related to elections administration
  • Temporary isolation housing for infected or at-risk individuals
  • Testing and contact tracing costs above those covered by existing State programs
  • FMLA and sick leave for public health and safety employees to take COVID-19 precautions
  • Meeting local match requirements for expenses submitted for reimbursement by FEMA, to the extent allowed by federal law

The determination of a local government’s Routes to Recovery Grant amount is a formula based on the jurisdiction’s population, as well as the priority of providing Wisconsin’s units of local government no less than $5,000, regardless of size of the population.

Link to press release.

Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform informational hearing on UI

The Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform, chaired by Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) held an informational hearing on Unemployment Insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who testified at the hearing were Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. According to Chairman Nass today’s hearing will be one of many that will occur over the next several months on the UI program.

Link to WisEye.

Following the hearing several committee members released statements on the status of the UI backlog;

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

“I appreciate Secretary Caleb Frostman and the other experts testifying today about the problems in the unemployment system,” said Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine). “The information we received was at times sobering and completely unacceptable, but it’s important that the information be publicized.”

Besides the unemployment claim backlog lasting for another 3-5 months, other discoveries at the committee hearing included:

  • The Department of Workforce Development unapologetic refusal to expand call center hours beyond 7am to 5pm
  • An apparent complete lack of communication between Governor Evers’ office and the Department of Workforce Development;
  • The Department of Workforce Development doing virtually nothing to prepare for the inevitable rise in unemployment benefits prior to Governor Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order, and reacting slowly to add staffing capabilities;
  • The Department of Workforce Development stating they didn’t begin programming to administer the supplemental 13-weeks of unemployment payment prior to a couple of days ago;

“I’ve been saying it for weeks. People need help now. Not weeks or months from now. They need it today, now.” said Wanggaard. “Not clearing the unemployment backlog until August or October is completely unacceptable. How is anyone supposed to last that long without any income?”

Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-) released the following statement:

“Lowering protections for Wisconsin workers was a theme of the Walker administration.

The Republican legislature’s effort to make it more difficult for laid-off workers to navigate the Unemployment system has really been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

When Scott Walker lost, the Republicans quickly convened a lame-duck session to limit Governor Evers’ power, including a prohibition preventing him from loosening Unemployment Insurance eligibility rules.

“The Republican plan is working exactly as expected. There are now more trip wires for workers to jump over in order to get Unemployment. As a result, it is taking some people longer to get their benefits.”

DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman issued the following statement on Wisconsin beginning to issue PUA payments:

Due to PUA being a brand-new federal program and in order to ensure accurate payments, DWD conducted additional testing prior to deployment. While understanding the potential impacts of a minor delay in deployment, -we felt it prudent and responsible to prevent any widespread issues that could cause even greater delays and hardship. We understand many claimants have been patiently waiting for PUA. Please know that DWD is committed to paying out eligible benefits as fast as possible.

It is important to note that PUA is not like our normal UI process, so it takes much longer to process an application. Most claimants have probably heard all about our antiquated, inflexible base benefits system, but it is important to explain how it affects our payment of PUA: When you apply and enter all of your information in the online portal, our staff has to take the information you enter and then manually enter it into our benefits system. Then we can begin processing your application, which involves a DWD staffer manually assessing your PUA eligibility, reviewing your 2019 income, and creating your new PUA monetary and weekly benefit rate. Once your application is fully processed, your dashboard will be updated with “Your PUA application has been processed…” and present a link to file PUA weekly claims.

We have received over 80,000 PUA applications since April 21. Now that our PUA platform is deployed, we have staff dedicated to processing these determinations and will continue to onboard more over the coming weeks. It will take some time, but please know we are working to process your application and send out eligible benefits as quickly as possible.

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers: