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

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Georgia

As of May 8th

As of 4:25 p.m. today, Georgia has 32,126 confirmed cases as compared to 31,509 4:25 p.m. yesterday, with 5,957 hospitalized patients as compared to 5,846 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday, and 1,395 deaths as compared to 1,340 at 4:25 p.m. yesterday. Over 227,000 tests have been administered.

  • 4,149 nursing home and assisted living residents have been infected from the virus and more than 659 have died. The State’s count of infected long-term care workers has more than doubled since mid-April, reaching 1,824 as of Thursday.
  • Governor Kemp announced that anyone can now be tested for coronavirus.
  • Nearly 120,000 Georgians have voted already for the June 9 Primary.  About 5 percent of the early voters are new voters.
  • Only Kentucky and Hawaii have a higher percentage of workers filing unemployment claims than Georgia.
  • US HHS gave Georgia an additional US$12.2m to expand COVID-19 testing.

Missouri

As of May 8th

 Missouri is now reporting ­­9,410 cases of coronavirus and 449 deaths. One week ago, we were at 7,564 cases and 332 deaths.

The General Assembly has one week remaining for this legislative session. As each day goes by, there is an increasing number of people in the building and a decreasing number of them wearing face masks. The legislature has ventured way beyond budgetary and COVID-related items and seems intent now on passing as many bills as possible.

Stay at Home Orders

Missouri’s Stay at Home order was lifted on Monday, but 40 percent of the state’s population is still under a local order. Following are the remaining local orders and their expiration dates.

  • Moniteau County 5/10
  • Saline County 5/10
  • Maries County 5/11
  • Phelps County 5/11
  • Jackson County 5/15
  • Kansas City 5/15
  • Taney County 5/15
  • Pemiscot County 5/18
  • St. Louis City 5/18
  • St. Louis County 5/18
  • Polk County 5/24
  • Audrain County 5/31
  • Barry County 5/31
  • Clinton County 5/31
  • Harrison County 5/31
  • Lincoln County 5/31
  • Macon County 5/31
  • St. Joseph 5/31

Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

The General Assembly cut approximately $700 million from the $34 billion 2021 Fiscal Year budget. The budget will now be sent to the Governor for his review and approval.

  • Nearly every new decision item has been removed. ­Meaning very few new programs are being funded and there are almost no increases to existing programs.
  • Sen. Caleb Rowden and Budget Chair Dan Hegeman restored the 10% cut that the House made to Missouri’s colleges and universities. They used federal funding to fill the gap.
  • The K-12 foundation formula was fully funded.
  • State employees will not receive a planned 2% pay raise.
  • The largest cut in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education budget was to the education transportation line item. The House version of the budget had a $7 million cut and the Senate attempted to plug the hole with federal CARES Act money. It was later determined that the CARES Act funds could not be used for that purpose. As a result, the education transportation funding formula was underfunded by more than $5 million.
  • The Senate had included language in the budget to legalize up to 100 new pull-tab gambling machines across the state and to allow them in truck stops for the first time. The conference committee removed this new language from the budget.
  • In the Department of Economic Development, all funding was eliminated from the Rural Broadband Grant program, but $12 million of CARES Act funds were appropriated in the Office of Administration’s budget for other broadband initiatives.
  • The Missouri Technology Corporation received $1 million. The Missouri OneStart job training program was reduced from $14.2 million to $8.6 million. The House maintained a $750,000 increase for the Missouri Partnership, raising its funding to $3 million.

Tax Credit Pause

Citing budgetary concerns caused by the pandemic, the Missouri Department of Economic Development is using its discretionary authority to halt the authorizations of new tax credits. So far, they have only done this to the Amateur Sporting Tax Credit Program, but they could spread this to other programs if the state’s revenue situation worsens.

Thwarted Attempt to Block the Grain Belt Express

A highly unusual coalition of Democrats and members of the Senate’s Conservative Caucus united to block an attempt by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter to stop the development of the Grain Belt Express transmission line. Speaker Elijah Haahr has made stopping this project his top priority for the last two years. This project has already been approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission and affirmed by the Missouri Supreme Court. Sen. Bernskoetter conceded defeat and pulled the bill back when it became clear that the filibuster was too strong to outlast. Speaker Haahr is term-limited at the end of this year, so he has one week remaining to try to accomplish his goal.

Tennessee

As of May 8th

While the case count for today has been delayed due to technical issues, the total number of positive cases in the state as of yesterday was 14,096 with the most cases in Davidson County (Nashville-3,300) followed by Shelby County (Memphis-3,108). There have been 237 confirmed deaths in the state and 1,266 hospitalizations. 6,783 have recovered. The Unified Command’s data dashboard can be viewed HERE.

The Economic Recovery Group continues to issue both general and industry-specific guidelines to safely reopening HERE. They include manufacturing, office building, retail and restaurants, among others.

On Thursday, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 34 to allow for government bodies to hold meetings remotely until June 30 to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee. He also issued Executive Order No. 35 to allow for the reopening of small group, non-contact entertainment, and recreational venues according to new Economic Recovery Group guidelines.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development released the latest unemployment numbers on Thursday. For the week ending on May 2, the number of new claims was 37,319. This brings the total of active claims to 321,571. For comparison, on March 14, that number was 16,342.

It was announced today that Stuart McWhorter will be leaving the Administration to serve in an advisory role at Clemson University, his alma mater. McWhorther has most recently served as the head of the state’s Unified Command in response to COVID-19. He assumed that post after stepping down from the role of Commissioner of Finance & Administration. Butch Eley, who previously served as COO for the Administration, is the next Commissioner of F&A.

The Tennessee General Assembly is slated to reconvene on June 1. The House has indicated that it plans to hold committee hearings beginning on the week of May 25th. Their intent is to complete the legislative process that was placed on hold in March. The Senate on the other hand has indicated that they would prefer an more expedited wrap-up of session, focusing on pandemic-related items.

Virginia

As of May 8th

As of Friday, May 8:

Total cases: 22,342

Hospitalizations: 3,059

Deaths: 812

The latest:

  • Governor detailed plans for non-essential businesses to reopen on a limited basis starting Friday, May 15.
  • The first phase of opening will last at least two weeks, and beaches will remain closed, except for fishing and exercising.
  • Testing is increasing, and the percentage of positive cases continues to decline.

Gov. Ralph Northam offered more details on Friday about how the state intends to restart economic activity across the commonwealth, effective Friday, May 15, but cautioned that localities will have discretion to retain tighter restrictions where needed.

Non-essential retail businesses and churches will be permitted to reopen at 50 percent of indoor capacity. Personal grooming businesses such as salons and barbershops will be able to serve customers by appointment only, and so long as staff and customers wear face masks, the governor said.

Wearing face masks, teleworking and practicing social distancing will remain recommended practices. Restaurants will be permitted to serve customers at half the outdoor seating capacity; indoor dining will remain prohibited. Beaches will be open for fishing and exercising only. Entertainment and amusement venues, as well as overnight summer camps, will remain closed. Public gatherings of more than 10 people will continue to be banned.

Northam said this phase of reopening will last a minimum of two weeks, and officials will evaluate public health data before determining whether sufficient progress has been made to warrant further relaxing restrictions.

Data from Johns Hopkins University showed Virginia ranked No. 48 in the U.S. in terms of testing rates, but Northam has said the state is increasing its testing capabilities. Those increased tests have revealed a decline in the percentage of positive cases in recent days.  The governor also noted on Friday that Virginia is restocking its supplies of personal protective equipment, and hospital bed occupancies have remained stable. Hospitals, healthcare systems and medical and dental offices were allowed to resume outpatient, elective and non-emergency procedures on May 1.

The current restrictions on non-essential businesses, including restaurants and indoor recreation and entertainment businesses, were set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 7, but are being extend through May 14. The state’s stay-at-home order, in effect until June 10, is being amended to inform Virginians that they are safer at home, Northam said. He encouraged older Virginians and others at higher risk of developing complications associated with infection to remain home as the state begins to reopen.

Public schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Municipal elections scheduled for May 5 were already rescheduled to May 19, and congressional primaries from June 9 to June 23.

Initial unemployment claims have begun to recede but remain historically high. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, more than 376,000 continued week unemployment claims had been filed in the week ending May 2. The figure amounts to more than 10 percent of the private-sector payroll in Virginia.

Wisconsin

As of May 7th

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

  • 339 Current Hospital Admissions (107 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions is up 41 (+41) from Wednesday and the number of patients in ICU remained unchanged (0) from Wednesday.
  • There were 314 positive test results reported on Thursday. The percent positive test results out of total tests was 5.7%.
    • Cumulatively there have been 93,035 negative tests and 9,215 positive tests.
  • 12 deaths were reported on Wednesday for a total of 374 deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
  • 4,348 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered. (last updated by DHS on 5/6)

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

Assembly GOP Advocate for Regional Reopening

Members of the Assembly Republican caucus held three press conferences around the state this morning to advocate for a regional approach to reopening Wisconsin. GOP representatives stood with business owners in Appleton, Wausau and Chippewa Falls to explain why the state needs to reopen gradually and safely by region, pointing out there are areas of the state that aren’t as impacted by the coronavirus as others.

“Today’s press conferences show a small representation of the neighbors, workers, business owners and community members who are asking us to find ways to reopen the state in a safe manner,” said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna). “We know that a regional approach allows us to take measured steps toward accomplishing this goal without sacrificing the health and safety of Wisconsinites.”

“A regional reopening strategy not only makes sense, it is what several states are doing, including Illinois,” said Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). “You obviously shouldn’t treat Superior the same way you would treat Milwaukee.”

“This morning, I joined a number of my Assembly Republican colleagues at a regional press conference in Appleton to advocate for a regional reopening of our state’s economy,” said Rep. Nygren. “Standing side by side with us were business owners from Northeastern Wisconsin who are being negatively impacted by Governor Evers’s “safer at home” order. Together we are urging Governor Evers to abandon his one size-fits-all approach to reopening Wisconsin by adopting a regional plan of action like many other states around the nation.”

Link to Vos/Steineke release

Link to Nygren release

Link to Western Wisconsin Republican release

Link to video from Appleton press conference

State Senator David Hansen (D-Green Bay) criticized the press conference in the same region as his district and released the following statement;

“Today’s press conference at an Appleton dairy by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and area Assembly Republicans to call for regional re-opening at a time when Brown County is seeing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases is as dangerous as it is tone deaf. “Not one person speaking at their press conference was a health expert. Not one person there seems to understand that just because some parts of the state aren’t showing significant numbers of cases doesn’t mean there aren’t more cases than are known. Not one of them seems to care that re-opening those areas could lead to significant spikes in cases and overwhelm smaller, rural hospitals leading to needless loss of life.

Link to entire release

Governor Evers interview on Steve Scaffidi Show this morning

Governor Tony Evers, appearing on the Steve Scaffidi show on AM 620-WTMJ this morning said that he has concerns with abandoning the statewide approach to combatting COVID-19 and allowing for a regional approach to reopening Wisconsin. He said he won’t rule out opening some business operations on a regional basis, but is really focusing on what can be done to reopen all the counties at the same time.

Link to audio of the interview

Gov. Evers Continues to Expand Community Testing Programs, Announces New Online Tool

Gov. Tony Evers announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has launched a new online resource that makes it easier for the public to access testing sites throughout the state. This searchable map, available here, provides Wisconsinites with testing site locations, contact information, hours of operation, and guidance on how to schedule an appointment. 

“We’ve made great progress in expanding our testing capacity these last few weeks, and now we’re taking the next step to help connect Wisconsinites who have symptoms of COVID-19 to testing sites in their communities,” said Gov. Evers. “Everyone in the state who needs a test should be tested, and through the Badger Bounce Back Plan, we’re taking a comprehensive approach to make sure that’s the case.” 

Link to press release

WMC says  Wisconsin has reached Governor Evers’ criteria to reopen

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber, manufacturers association and safety council – concluded that based on the criteria set forth in Gov. Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan, the state could begin to reopen its economy today. In a press release they state an analysis of data from Gov. Tony Evers’ Administration and the Department of Health Services (DHS) show that Wisconsin has met all of the governor’s criteria to begin to reopen the state’s economy.

“Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order was put in place to flatten the curve on the state’s COVID-19 cases, but now we need to focus on flattening another curve: the state’s unemployment filings,” said Kurt Bauer, WMC President & CEO. “While the governor has not adopted WMC’s plans to reopen the economy, his own data and metrics now say we can move forward.”

Link to WMC press release and analysis

Legislative Council Memo on Act 185 provisions impacted by the expiration of the Governor’s public health emergency

2019 Wisconsin Act 185 was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and made numerous changes to state laws and programs, many of which apply for a limited period of time. This information memorandum briefly summarizes provisions of Act 185 that remain in effect only until the public health emergency declared by Executive Order (EO #72) expires on May 11, 2020, or a date specifically linked to expiration of the order.  The information memorandum does not describe Act 185 provisions that remain in effect indefinitely or those that expire on a date not explicitly linked to EO #72.

Link to memo

Updated Charts

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Cumulative Numbers: