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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Arkansas

On Sunday, March 15, Governor Asa Hutchinson closed public schools statewide for the rest of this week, followed by spring break which is scheduled for next week.

The mandatory closures begin Tuesday, March 17, though districts statewide were authorized to begin Monday, March 16 if prepared and willing to do so, according to the Governor.

Normal classroom instruction will resume once spring break ends unless circumstances dictate the need for further action.

As of Friday, March 13 there were nine presumptive positive cases in Central Arkansas (Pulaski, Jefferson, Grant, and Saline counties). The first case of suspected community spread in Little Rock was announced in separate press conferences by Mayor Frank Scott and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

In the news

Kansas

As of Sunday, March 15, there were eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kansas. There has been one death. Five of the cases are in Johnson County. The death was in Wyandotte County. There have also been cases in Butler and Franklin Counties.

As of Thursday, March 12, Kansas State University, University of Kansas, Washburn University, and Emporia State University canceled classes through March 20, and began a “social distancing” component until further notice.

Various press conferences have been held. Most notably, on Wednesday, March 11, Governor Laura Kelly held a press conference alongside Kansas Department of Health and Environment Director, Dr. Lee Norman, and Major General Lee Tafanelli, with the Kansas Department of Emergency Management to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, in a Thursday, March 12 press conference, Kansas City Major Quinton Lucas issued a state of emergency, canceling all events with more than 1,000 people and halting non-essential travel for city employees.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday, March 11 upcoming action to provide $5,940,546 in funding to Kansas in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

In the news

Michigan

As of Thursday, March 12, 120 tests conducted by the state have come back negative, 12 tests have come back positive and 26 tests are pending. Some 554 individuals thus far in Michigan have been either referred for assessment and/or monitoring. Of these individuals 174 are under active monitoring. Information and updates on specific Michigan testing results is reported daily. It is likely estimated that Michigan will unquestionably see a spike in confirmed cases.

In response to the 12 confirmed cases in Michigan, the Governor ordered all public and private K-12 school buildings to be closed from Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. In addition, every university recently made the decision to suspend in-person classes and hold online classes. Private businesses across the state have also implemented preventative measures to reduce exposure by limiting access to large venues and/or encouraging work from home policies for employees. The Michigan Legislature has implemented similar best practices.

Michigan-based hospitals have indicated that they are prepared, equipped and confident to handle COVID-19. Outside of potentially some federal waivers, which are typically granted during national emergencies, hospitals have not requested any statutory changes to Michigan laws in order to adapt and respond to the current health emergency.

The Governor has announced that the Michigan Medicaid Program will waive all copays/cost sharing for COVID-19 testing. In addition, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center and has been coordinating with county health departments, hospitals and other medical providers throughout the state.

On Friday, March 13 the Governor issued Executive Order 05 of 2020 which prohibits gatherings of more than 250 people beginning March 13 through April 5 at 5 pm.

Minnesota

Last week Governor Tim Walz, the four legislative leaders and the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court met to discuss the management of the Capitol Complex and additional community mitigation strategies during the coronavirus pandemic. Immediately following that meeting the Minnesota House of Representatives canceled all scheduled hearings and commissions on the calendar for Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16. The Minnesota Senate also issued new guidance to Senate staff. The Senate guidance limits access to Senate offices to badged staff and members. Meetings with Senators will be limited to two escorted guests.

The Governor hosted a news conference with Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcom to release statewide Community Mitigation Strategies. Click here to view the Governor’s Press Conference.

House and Senate leaders are expected to announce further legislative guidance in the coming days. Leadership has also indicated no decisions have been made about what further steps may be taken following the Governor’s declaration. Leadership plans to continue discussions over the weekend with a meeting planned for Sunday. The Senate has a floor session scheduled for their normal Monday time of 11 am. The House is also scheduled to return for a floor session Monday at 11 am, which is earlier than their normal 3:30 pm meeting time. The Speaker of the House has indicated it is likely the Legislature will take a “hiatus” in an effort to mitigate any opportunity for COVID-19 to be spread among the Capitol Complex. In order for the Legislature to adjourn for more than three days, a Joint Resolution must be adopted by a majority of both the House and Senate. While rumors are rampant about what the Legislature might do next, it would seem plausible they would meet Monday and adjourn. Given their previously scheduled Easter/Passover Break of April 4 through 14 they could return in mid-April and complete their work prior to their Constitutional Deadline of May 18. It is also possible on Monday, the Legislature could grant the Governor some additional Pandemic or State of Emergency Powers.

Lost in all of the pandemic news, Governor Tim Walz released his Supplemental Budget. In late February, it appeared as though the State had a more than $1.5 billion surplus. Those projected funds are likely to disappear as the state’s economy reacts to the pandemic. The Governor proposed adding just $250 million in new spending and leaving the remaining surplus on the bottom line and in budget reserves. Given the growing uncertainty, it is likely the Legislature will need to focus the remainder of the 2020 Session on the completion of a bonding bill, limited spending and further addressing issues related to the COVID-19 impacts.

We are certainly in unchartered waters and things are extremely fluid in St. Paul. In the coming days as the schedule and legislative activity become clearer we will continue to provide updates. Please prepare for the cancelation of legislative meetings, hearings and extreme limitations on future days on the hill.

Tennessee

Starting Monday, March 16 the Tennessee Capitol and legislative office complex will be off limits.

Governor Bill Lee stated “COVID-19 is an evolving situation but we urge vulnerable populations, including those over age 60 and with chronic medical conditions to limit participation in mass gatherings and to take extra precautions for personal well-being like increased hand-washing.” With 26 confirmed cases in our state, we have issued further guidance to help communities mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Joint statement from House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Speaker Randy McNally:

Governor Lee continues to take a thoughtful approach to containing the possible spread of COVID-19. We applaud his steps to better protect the public’s health. Beginning Monday, March 16, we will limit access to the Cordell Hull Building out of an abundance of caution. Access is prohibited to everyone except elected members, staff and members of the media until further notice. However, the citizens of Tennessee will still be able to access the work they have elected us to do through the livestreaming services available on our website.

We must take any and all reasonable steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is imperative the public’s health be prioritized and economic disruption minimized. We will continue to evaluate this situation, remain in contact with Governor Lee, the state’s health leaders, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to determine whether additional action is needed.

Additional guidance from governor’s office

Mass Gatherings

Heading into the weekend, many Tennesseans will be making decisions regarding faith gatherings and church attendance. Congregations and groups are urged to consider alternatives to traditional services by utilizing livestreams, pre-recorded messages and other electronic means. 

While at this time, mass gatherings such as conferences or other large social events remain at the discretion of the organizer, we strongly discourage events of 250 people or more as an important step in limiting exposure to COVID-19. 

Schools

At this time, school districts have been advised to exercise discretion when canceling school for K-12 students. The state will provide further support for districts pursuing this action but urge districts to consider the prevalence of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their area. In partnership with districts, students who depend on school-provided meals will still receive this support, regardless of school closure.

State Employees, Business Travel 

Effective immediately, state employees who have been trained and certified to work from home within the state’s Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) program will work from home through March 31, 2020. Approximately 11,000 state employees are certified AWS employees and can begin work from home with no disruption to state business. 

Effective immediately, state employees have been instructed to cease all non-essential business travel through March 31, 2020. 

Tennessee State Capitol Closed to Visitors

The Tennessee State Capitol is closed to tours and visitors through March 31, 2020. Members of the media will continue to have access to the State Capitol building. 

Virginia

On Friday, March 13, Governor Ralph Northam ordered all public K-12 school divisions across Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks, effective Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. The state also has set up a dedicated COVID-19 public information hotline, and visitation at all state correctional facilities has been canceled indefinitely.

Thirty cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Virginia as of Friday, March 13, with ten resulting in hospitalization.

 Wisconsin

Governor Tony Evers, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Dr. Ryan Westegard (Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases at the Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease) and the Governor’s legal counsel Ryan Nilsestuen did a teleconference press conference this afternoon to announce a new order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more. Click here to view DHS order.

This order may include, but is not limited to mass gatherings at: public or private schools, auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, licensed pools, places of worship and religious gatherings.

Exempted are the following;

  1. Airports;
  2. Public, private, and charter schools only for non-instructional purposes, such as medication pickup, childcare services, providing meals, and when operating as polling places;
  3. Childcare locations (including those that operate within a facility that is otherwise prohibited), residential care centers, and group homes;
  4. Hotels and motels as long as the restaurant and bar guidelines, listed below in section 15, are followed;
  5. Military and National Guard facilities;
  6. Law enforcement, jails, and correctional facilities, including any facility operated by the Department of Corrections, and responses to natural disasters;
  7. Food pantries and shelter facilities, including day centers, for individuals and families;
  8. Detoxification centers;
  9. Residential buildings;
  10. Shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within arm’s length of one another for more than 10 minutes;
  11. Hospitals, medical facilities, and pharmacies;
  12. Long-term care and assisted living facilities, as long the facility follows all current Department of Health Services’ Recommendations for Prevention of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities.
  13. Libraries;
  14. Senior Centers only for the service of meals as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    1. Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar, stools, and ordering counters;
    1. Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    1. Prohibit consumers from self-dispensing all unpackaged foods.
  15. Restaurants and bars as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    1. Operate at 50 percent of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less;
    1. Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters;
    1. Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    1. Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food and beverages.
  16. Retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets) as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    1. If seating is offered, must operate at 50 percent of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less;
    1. Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters;
    1. Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    1. Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food.
  17. Office spaces and government service centers;
  18. Manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities;
  19. Public transportation;
  20. Utility facilities;
  21. Job centers; and
  22. Facilities operated by the Wisconsin Legislature and Wisconsin Court System.

The number of positive cases is up to 47 in Wisconsin. There have been 504 negative results and one patient who tested positive in Dane County has recovered.

Below is the current county breakdown of positive tests;

Wisconsin County Total Cases
Dane 10
Fond du Lac 11
Milwaukee 13
Outagamie 1
Pierce 1
Racine 1
Sheboygan 3
Waukesha 3
Winnebago 3
Wood 1
Total 47

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