Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the US – Latest State Updates – May 4, 2020

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Arkansas

As of May 1st

Salons, barbershops, cosmetology, massage therapy, body art, medical spas all may resume services on May 6th. Guidance will be provided by the Department of health to include guidelines disallowing more than 10 people in the facility or no more than 30 percent of stations in operation in larger facilities; at least 6 feet distance between stations; appointments only, no walk-ins; clients should wait in cars; hand washing and sanitizing between each appointment will be required and masks should be worn by staff and clients when practical.

Georgia

As of May 4th

  • Daily State Public Health stats:
    • As of 11:25 a.m. today, Georgia has 29,103 confirmed cases as compared to 27,496 Friday at 7:30 p.m., with 5,444 hospitalized patients as compared to 5,295 Friday at 4:25 p.m., and 1,204 deaths as compared to 1,166 Friday at 7:30 p.m.
  • A Georgia researcher believes the MMR vaccine may help with the virus.
  • Georgia small businesses have received an additional US$4.7b in PPP loans during the program’s second round, bringing the total to US$14.1b.
  • The State of Judicial emergency has been extended to June 12.
  • In most of our hotly contested Congressional races, there has been a significant increase in D absentee ballots.

Kansas

As of May 4th

The Legislative Coordinating Council has announced it will meet on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 3:00 PM CST. As the agenda states, the LCC will discuss and possibly take action on whether the Legislature will reconvene. The meeting can be live-streamed by clicking here.

North Carolina

As of May 4th

NC Coronavirus Update, as of 5/3

  • Laboratory confirmed Coronavirus cases: 11,664
  • Coronavirus deaths: 422
  • Currently hospitalized: 475
  • Completed tests: 143,385
  • NC Counties affected: 99/100
  • Realtime COVID-19 Data for NC

General Assembly Passes COVID-19 Relief Package

The North Carolina legislature came back last Tuesday for its first COVID-19 session with the task of deciding how to spend US$3.5 billion in new federal money. On Saturday, the House and Senate passed their plan unanimously, sending it to Governor Cooper where it awaits his signature. Leaders from both chambers reached a deal late Friday night on a US$1.57 billion spending plan containing millions in funding for education, health care, small business loans, food banks, medical research, testing and US$50 million for personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 relief and spending are split into two bills: S 704 COVID-19 Recovery Act, which includes policy changes related to the crisis, and H 1043 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, which lays out the spending. Detailed bill summaries are included here: S 704 COVID-19 Recovery Act, Bill Summary and H 1043 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, Bill Summary.

A few items initially included in one or the other chamber’s bills did not get passed. The House did not get the temporary Medicaid expansion for coronavirus patients included in their bill, but the final agreement increased funding for rural health and small business loans. The House’s language allowing restaurants to sell liquor drinks with to-go orders, such as beer and wine sales are allowed now, was removed by the Senate. A House proposal to require insurance companies to pay for telehealth doctor’s visits the same as face-to-face visits was also dropped from the final bill. A Senate proposal to increase the state’s weekly maximum on unemployment benefits was cut, though the federal US$600/week increase and extension on the duration of benefits remains in place. Lawmakers also declined a series of election policy changes and funding requests from the State Board of Elections, stating that they will deal with that later. Proposals that were cut could come back in individual bills when lawmakers gather later this month.

Liability immunity provisions survived negotiations. One covers health care workers, protecting them from civil and criminal liability as they provide COVID-19 treatment. Another protects businesses. It was pitched as a protection for businesses that have switched to making masks and other personal protective equipment, but it is broadly worded, covering any essential business whose employees or customers contract COVID-19.

The final bills approved Saturday authorize dentists to give COVID-19 tests and pharmacists to administer a vaccine when one is developed. The bills also lay out a detailed study by the North Carolina Area Health Education Center on North Carolina’s healthcare infrastructure relevant to pandemics, including whether the state has enough health care workers to handle surges and the impact on hospitals – particularly rural ones – of postponing elective procedures, as hospitals have for much of this crisis. The bills also delay the state Division of Motor Vehicles headquarters move from Raleigh to Rocky Mount, which was supposed to occur by Oct. 1. The bill changes various notarization and other process issues to cut down on face-to-face contact in routine government operations. Among other things, registers of deeds will be able to issue marriage licenses via remote audio-video communication instead of requiring the couple to come in person. Also included are extending driver’s license and tag expiration deadlines, waiving interest payments on state income and business taxes that were normally due in April and spending hundreds of millions of dollars on vaccine and treatment research, coronavirus testing and contact tracing and a bridge loan program for small businesses.

There are many education policy revisions, including waivers for end-of-year testing; reading tests given at the end of third grade are moved to the start of fourth grade; school report cards and the grades given to each school based on various metrics are suspended for this year. School systems are supposed to submit remote learning plans for the next school year by July 20 and the first day of school will be August 17. The school year will be 190 days, with at least five days of remote learning. Lawmakers disagreed over what to do with the state’s current mandate for schools to reduce class size in kindergarten through third grade, but the final bill requires schools to continue to change staffing and buildings to reduce class sizes. The House wanted to waive that requirement for a year.

The following summary (source: WRAL) gives the breakdown in funding.

COVID-19 research

  • US$15 million to the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute to develop a vaccine
  • US$29 million flowing through the NC Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for vaccine and treatment research, as well as community testing and other research
  • US$15 million to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, also for research
  • US$6 million to the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine for a rural-focused testing and treatment initiative
  • US$20 million to Wake Forest University Health Services to expand the antibody study Senate lawmakers already authorized for US$100,000

COVID-19 supplies and tracing

  • US$50 million to purchase supplies, including PPE, divided up between hospitals (50 percent), senior living facilities (15 percent), doctor’s offices (10 percent) and the state Department of Public Safety (25 percent) for the State Highway Patrol, the North Carolina National Guard and others as it sees fit. The policy bill lays out plans to create a long-term state stockpile of PPE.
  • US$25 million to expand testing and contact tracing through the Department of Health and Human Services. This money won’t be released until DHHS releases statistics the legislature wants to see, including data on underlying health conditions in people who die from COVID-19 and on people with the virus who are hospitalized, then released.

State and local government

  • US$70 million for state government operations, including overtime costs and supply needs at prisons, as well as for IT costs for remote needs and for temporary staff to help the state unemployment office
  • US$300 million for NCDOT, but only when the federal government revises its rules to allow it
  • US$20 million for state agencies, like the North Carolina Zoo, that have lost receipts due to virus-related closures. The federal government must update its rules first to allow that use.
  • US$150 million to replace lost revenue for local governments that have not already received direct funding from the federal government. This, too, relies on a change in federal policy.

School funding

  • US$75 million for school breakfast and lunch programs
  • US$1 million to improve internet connectivity for students by installing Wi-Fi routers in school buses. The money can be used to buy devices, but not for subscription costs.
  • US$30 million to be distributed to local school systems to buy computers and other electronic devices for students
  • US$5 million to purchase computers and other devices for school personnel
  • US$4.5 million for cybersecurity at schools
  • US$10 million for mental health and other services for students
  • US$70 million for supplemental summer learning programs, particularly reading and math programs for students from kindergarten through the fourth grade
  • US$3 million for “non-digital remote instruction” for students with limited internet access
  • US$15 million for grants to cover “extraordinary costs” in schools around the state
  • US$5 million targeting at-risk students and including “rigorous, quantitative performance measures” and “an evidence-based model with a proven track record of success”

Universities and colleges

  • US$25 million for community colleges
  • US$44 million for the state university system to move courses online
  • US$20 million in funding for private colleges

Social services and health programs

  • US$20 million to DHHS to support local health departments, increase nursing capacity and the number of community health workers and focus on infection control in nursing homes
  • US$6 million for food banks
  • US$25 million for adult, family and group homes in the state-county special assistance program
  • US$50 million for health programs in rural and underserved communities, including minority communities
  • US$5 million for the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics to distribute to its members
  • US$1.5 million to NC MedAssist, a program that helps offset prescription costs for poor people
  • US$5 million to the North Carolina Community Health Centers Association to cover treatment costs for its members
  • US$20 million for various needs at DHHS, including the purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs and US$12.6 million earmarked for LME/MCOs that work with disabled people
  • US$19 million through DHHS to help food banks, adult and child protective services, homeless and domestic violence shelters and other programs
  • US$1.8 million to the Old North State Medical Society to focus on African-American communities
  • US$2.24 million to provide a monthly supplement increase of US$100 for each child living in foster care
  • US$9 million for rural broadband programs

Hospital funding

  • US$65 million earmarked specifically for grants to rural hospitals and those in poorer counties around the state. Among other things, this money can be used to cover lost revenues from foregone elective procedures.
  • US$15 million for teaching hospitals in the state: Wake Forest Baptist, Duke, UNC, Vidant Medical and Central Harnett
  • US$15 million for a general hospital relief fund

Agriculture

  • US$15 million to kill and dispose of animals, if needed, due to food supply chain problems

Business

  • US$5 million to stimulate tourism, including for a program to “educate people on ways to travel in a safe and socially distant way”
  • US$125 million for a small-business loan program through Golden LEAF, providing up to US$50,000 per business. This program quickly doled out US$15 million when it was created.

(Source: NC Insider, WRAL, News & Observer, Carolina Public Press)

NC House to Return May 18

House Speaker Tim Moore said that over the next two weeks, the House COVID-19 committee would continue to meet and that the House would return on May 18 for a “normal” session. He said proxy voting would end, which means more House members would be in the chamber at once. Moore said rules about access to the Legislative Building would be reassessed at that point. Last week, only lawmakers, staff and credentialed press were allowed inside. Moore told reporters that during the time lawmakers are gone, they’ll see how things go with the state reopening and people going back to work.Moore said action on May 18 will be largely coronavirus-related, and even with in-person meetings, some social distancing may continue.

NC Releases Zip Code Data for COVID-19 (WRAL) The NC Department of Health and Human Services on Friday launched an interactive map on its website showing how many coronavirus cases and deaths have been reported in each ZIP code.

NC Judge Orders Prisons to Detail COVID-19 Protections (AP) A North Carolina judge has ordered public officials to turn over detailed information and what steps they are taking to prevent coronavirus outbreaks in state prisons. The ruling was issued late last week by Superior Court Judge Vinston Rozier. It comes in connection with a lawsuit filed by the state conference of the NAACP and other advocacy groups as prison officials deal with two major outbreaks of the virus.

NC Has Seven Benchmarks for Opening Up the State (Raleigh News & Observer) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and his administration say they are looking at seven pieces of data on a path toward re-opening the state’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic. The data are divided into two categories: four trends and three capacity considerations.

Shopping Malls in NC Expected to Reopen May 8 (AP) Several major shopping malls in North Carolina are expected to reopen on the same day Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order is scheduled to end.

Western NC Counties Adjust 2nd Primary Plans Due to Pandemic (Carolina Public Press) Several Western North Carolina counties are sharply cutting the number of polling places for the June 23 second primary in Congressional District 11. The counties, as well as the state Board of Elections, are also seeking additional rule changes and funding from the state legislature for election staffing, protective gear, cleaning supplies and mail-in ballot processing. This situation offers a potential preview for statewide changes that could be in order if the COVID-19 pandemic is not resolved in time for the general election.

Solar, Wind Energy Struggle as Coronavirus Takes Toll (AP) The U.S. renewable energy industry is reeling from the new coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed construction, put thousands of skilled laborers out of work and sowed doubts about solar and wind projects on the drawing board.

In locked-down California, some local agencies that issue permits for new work closed temporarily, and some solar companies furloughed installers. As many as 120,000 jobs in solar and 35,000 in wind could be lost, trade groups say.

Former NC Senator Tony Rand Dies (Charlotte Observer) Former North Carolina Sen. Tony Rand, a longtime power in North Carolina’s General Assembly, died of complications from cancer Friday morning. He was 80. Rand, a Democrat from Fayetteville, served 11 terms in the Senate, including as Senate majority leader. He was known for his wit and collegiality as well as his ability to get things done. “Tony Rand was one of the last Democratic power brokers,” said Rob Christensen, The News & Observer’s longtime political columnist, who continues to write about North Carolina political history. “He was a cigar-smoking, wise-cracking, old-school political operative.”

Oregon

As of May 1st

 In this week’s update on all things state and local that our team’s tracking:

  • Ballots are out! And so are voter guides.
  • That state Supreme Court ruling last week clearing the way for campaign finance limits? It didn’t resurrect the 2006 limits approved by voters via Measure 47, says the Secretary of State and Attorney General.
  • As other states start to re-open, Oregon shared more information on the approach to testing and contact tracing that could lead to initial reopening in rural counties as early as May 15.
  • Speaker Kotek released new committee assignments, the Governor apologized for delays in unemployment claim processing, and we’re counting down to the May 20 state revenue forecast.
  • And more!

Elections:

  • Ballots started landing in voters’ mailboxes this week and are due back by 8pm on May 19; this is the first year no postage is required to mail back an Oregon ballot. Between paid postage, the stay home order, and dissipated Democratic presidential nomination enthusiasm, all bets are off for predicting voter turnout. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the first ballot return figures early next week, to see whether they provide any insights.
  • In the Metro area, all major newspaper endorsements are out for local candidate and measure races, and statewide races. Catch up on their picks:
  • Oregonian
  • Willamette Week
  • Portland Mercury
  • Tribune

State:

  • Earlier this week, Speaker Tina Kotek released new committee assignments for the 2020 House Interim Committees. Of note, Rep. Janelle Bynum is the new House Judiciary Chair; Rep. Paul Holvey is returning to chair House Business and Labor and we have a new Housing Committee chaired by Rep. Julie Fahey.
  • On May 20, the House Revenue committee will meet virtually to receive the May revenue forecast. This forecast will begin to shed light on the effects of COVID on Oregon’s economy.
  • Governor Brown has asked all agencies to send her revised budgets with spending cut plans of up to 8.5%. The proposed cuts, which Gov. Kate Brown has directed state budget officials to compile by May 8, would add up to just under US$2 billion. They also would be felt more deeply, with just 14 months left in the 19-21 budget cycle to absorb cuts.
  • Earlier this week, Oregon’s Unemployment Department launched their system for self-employed and gig workers to apply for expanded unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program approved by Congress.
  • Also this week: Governor Kate Brown apologized via Twitter for the frustration and delays in processing Oregon’s surge of unemployment claims. “I’m committed to ensuring that eligible Oregonians receive the maximum benefits available, as quickly as possible. These benefits are critical during this stressful time,” she wrote.

Local:

  • Local campaign finance laws go into effect Monday: The Oregon Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Multnomah County voter-approved measure to limit campaign contributions to US$500. This week the City of Portland’s elections division announced starting this upcoming Monday, May 4, no candidates in Portland elections may receive campaign contributions over US$500.
  • City provides updates on critical land use projects: This week the Mayor’s office and City bureaus provided an update on smart growth land use projects, including Expanding Opportunities for Affordable Housing, Central City 2035, a new Land Use Expiration Date Extension Project, and the Residential Infill Project. Below are important upcoming dates for each of these projects:
  • Central City 2035 – May 28, City Council public hearing; June 4, record closes; June 24, City Council votes on re-adoption; July 1, second reading
  • Residential Infill Project – June 3, City Council presentation on amendments and public testimony; June 11, Council votes on amendments; June 18, Council votes on amended policy package
  • Land Use Expiration Date Extension Project – May 26, Portland Sustainability Commission hearing and recommendation; July 8, City Council public hearing; July 15, record closes; July 22, City Council votes
  • Expanding Opportunities for Affordable Housing – May 6, public Q & A with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; May 14, City Council presentation and public hearing
  • City boards and commissions reconvene: Some City boards and commissions that had cancelled agendas for March and April will begin virtually meeting in May, including the Portland Sustainability Commission, Portland Housing Advisory Commission, and Design Commission.
  • Additional upcoming local government items of note: May 7, Multnomah County Chair releases proposed budget and discuss at the County Board of Commissioners public meeting on the same day; May 12, Mayor’s proposed budget hearing (the proposed budget document is anticipated to be released May 6).

Upcoming Virtual Town Halls

Many of our partners have been asking about the best way to connect with and engage elected officials right now. Many are moving engagement to virtual town halls; We’ll be keeping a running list of upcoming events here.

  • Sen. Arnie Roblan & Rep. David Gomberg will join a tele-townhall with Coos County Commission Chair and State Senate Candidate, Melissa Cribbins. You can call in at (503) 217-4881 at 10:00AM on May 2, 2020.
  • Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran will host a virtual town hall on Saturday, May 2 @ 11AM. Link to town hall is here.
  • Sen. Lynn Findley, Rep. Daniel Bonham, & Rep. Mark Owens will host a virtual community conversation on Thursday, May 7 @ 5PM – 6PM. Registration is required.
  • Eugene/Springfield area legislators will host a virtual town hall on Oregon’s framework for re-opening on Tuesday, May 5 @ 5PM – 6:30PM. Registration is required.

COVID-19 Update:

At-a-Glance: Oregon News Related to COVID-19

  • Gov. Kate Brown Lays Out COVID-19 Testing And Contact Tracing As Keys To Reopening Oregon (OPB)
  • How Oregon’s statewide coronavirus study with 100,000 people will work (Oregonian)
  • Opinion: The racial disparity of COVID-19’s impacts are well-known. Oregon officials aren’t doing anything about it. (Oregonian Op-Ed)
  • New Group of Business and Commercial Property Owners Asks Gov. Kate Brown to Protect Them From Foreclosure (Willamette Week)
  • Oregon releases drafts for reopening restaurants, bars, and other businesses (KATU)
  • Oregon’s Already Fragile Childcare System Faces Uncertain Future (OPB)

Resources

Nonprofits & Small Businesses

CARES Act

General Resources

Wisconsin

As of April 4th

Updated numbers released from the weekend:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers over the weekend, of note are the following:

  • 348 Current Hospital Admissions (116 patients in ICU)
    • The hospital admissions are up 7 (+7) from Friday and the number of ICU patients is down 11 (-11).
  • There were 346 positive test results reported on Saturday and 304 reported on Sunday. The percent positive test results out of total tests was 10.3% on Saturday and 11.1% on Sunday.
    • Cumulatively there have been 77,997 negative tests and 7,964 positive tests.
  • 7 deaths were reported on Saturday and 5 were reported on Sunday for a total of 339 deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • 3,509 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered (last updated by DHS on 5/1)

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

Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear case challenging extension of Safer-At-Home Order

On Friday the Wisconsin State Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments on Tuesday at 10:00 am in the lawsuit that Republican Legislative Leaders filed. Republican leaders argued that state Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm exceeded her constitutional authority when she extended the Safer-At-Home order beyond the Governor’s 60-day emergency order.

The arguments will be covered on WisEye https://wiseye.org/schedule/

In their lawsuit, the Republican leaders asked the court to overturn the extension and give the Governor and Secretary Palm six days to submit an alternative “legal” order through the administrative rule-making process. On behalf of Secretary Palm, the Wisconsin Department of Justice had asked for the case to be dismissed, citing that the Secretary’s emergency order powers are “well established.”

Conservatives control the court currently by a 5-2 majority until Judge Jill Karofsky is sworn in. Justice Dan Kelly’s term, ends on July 31st and then there will be a tighter 4-3 conservative majority on the court.

Links to article on the Supreme Court taking up the case;

Assembly GOP Leaders Send Governor Meeting Request

The leaders of the Wisconsin State Assembly late Friday sent Governor Evers a letter requesting a meeting to discuss a unified, bipartisan approach to the state’s coronavirus pandemic response.

“In these times of crisis, we understand how difficult decisions like these are — but we are all in this together. That’s why it is our hope that we can begin direct conversations with you as soon as possible,” the leaders stated in their letter.

Assembly Republicans are looking to discuss reopening Wisconsin’s economy in a safe, targeted and regional way. This request follows a roughly seven hour informational meeting held by the Assembly Committee on State Affairs, chaired by Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander). The hearing provided an opportunity for lawmakers and the public to hear from small business owners and industry leaders about how the Safer at Home order is impacting their lives and livelihoods. The committee also explored safe reopening options including the “Back to Business” plan from the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. As a part of their letter, the leaders provided a summary of the hearing to the governor to help provide a foundation for future discussions.

“Right now, business owners are seeking any kind of guidance, clarity or timeline. Without any level of certainty, people are beginning to lose hope. With no end of the shutdown in the foreseeable future, there is a realistic chance that many businesses will close for good.”

The GOP leaders of the Assembly are requesting to meet with the governor early next week.

Link to Press Release

Link to Letter

Gov. Evers Announces Additional Community Testing Events in Northwest Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers today announced 9 additional community testing events in northwest Wisconsin. The State Emergency Operations Center, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Wisconsin Emergency Management, and Wisconsin National Guard are working with local health departments to create community testing events in places with a known lack of access to testing or where additional testing is needed because of high rates of COVID-19.

“Taking our lab capacity from the ability to perform zero COVID-19 tests in early March to more than 11,000 tests per day now is one of our success stories here in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Evers. “But capacity is not the same as utilization, so we have some work to do to ensure everyone who needs a test is getting one and to understand the full scope of this disease around Wisconsin. The state has been working hard to support local health departments throughout this crisis and we’re pleased to announce these additional community testing events in northwest Wisconsin. I urge anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 to go get tested at one of these events.”

Link to release.

Gov. Evers weekly update on WI Public Television’s “Here & Now”

On Friday, Governor Tony Evers appeared on Wisconsin Public Television’s “Here & Now” for his weekly update. Of note in the conversation were the following points of interest:

  • When asked about the uptick in positive test results and percent positives, the Governor noted that a good portion of the increase in positive tests had come from the increase in the amount of testing in Brown County and the outbreak there. He said not all of the increase is attributable to that, but suggested it did skew the numbers a bit higher for the last couple of days.
  • When asked about the increased testing capacity but the number of tests being conducted significantly trailing the capacity, the Governor said they want everyone who wants a test to be tested. He said there are enough tests and enough capacity to get everyone tested who needs to be tested, and he is encouraging providers to test everyone.
  • When asked about opening additional businesses to curb-side transactions this past week and whether it was based on metrics or criticism, the Governor said there was a decision made that the curb-side transactions could be controlled, so it was time.
  • The Governor noted the opening Wisconsin plans put forward by the business community have some good points but they need to include a public health component.

https://video.pbswisconsin.org/video/turning-dial-reopen-wisconsin/

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:

Cumulative Numbers: