Birmingham: Health officials in the state’s largest county on Sunday ordered the closure of nonessential businesses, including hair salons and many retail stores, to curtail the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases in the state grew to more than 155. Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson said he was issuing the amended order to clarify what businesses should and should not be open. Clothing stores, barber shops, gyms, hair salons and department stores are among those that should close beginning at 5 p.m. Monday. Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and hardware and office supply stores are among those that can remain open but should maintain social distancing practices. “I want to be very clear. This is a matter of life and death,” Wilson said in a Sunday night message. “I need your help, using good judgment, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Ketchikan: The city is considering whether to allow cruise ships to dock there while waiting out the global ocean cruise suspension because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. The Ketchikan City Council discussed allowing cruise operators to pay for space and services at its downtown berths during the nearly industrywide suspension, The Ketchikan Daily News reports. At least one cruise line approached the city about docking multiple ships at the berths, Ketchikan Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon said. Cruise Line International Association, accounting for 95% of the market, announced March 13 that its member lines planned to suspend cruises for 30 days. “It’s kind of like 9/11 with the airplanes,” Corporon said. “The infrastructure wasn’t there to land all the airplanes at once. (It’s) similar here. The infrastructure isn’t in place to have all the cruise ships in port.”
Phoenix: Cases of COVID-19 have spiked more than 50% in one day, the state Department of Health reported Monday. It confirmed 235 cases in the state, up from 152 on Sunday. Two men, one in his 70s and one in his 50s, have died. Both had underlying conditions. The spike came as Banner Health opened several coronavirus testing sites in the state. The Arizona-based health care provider announced that three drive-up sites in metro Phoenix and one in Tucson were up and running. More were in the works. People who believe they may need testing must first call a hotline to talk to medical personnel. If they are found to meet the criteria, they will be assigned an appointment time at a drive-thru site. Once at the site, clinic staff will take a swab from a patient’s nose. The entire process takes between five and 20 minutes.
Mountain Home: The Arkansas Community Foundation is accepting proposals for $1,000 mini-grants for organizations responding to the immediate needs of vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will help organizations maintain their operations and respond to increased demand from clients during this first phase of pandemic relief. Nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status, churches, hospitals, schools or government entities based anywhere in Arkansas are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to organizations that provide human services and emergency assistance; primarily serve vulnerable populations, including children who are out of school and families without child care, people who have lost a source of income due to the pandemic, people who are at high risk medically, people who are homeless or incarcerated, and individuals who lack paid sick leave or health insurance; and disseminate factual safety and response information to vulnerable communities such as non-English speaking residents, rural residents, senior citizens, etc.
Los Angeles: Sunshine lured crowds to beaches and parks Sunday despite a statewide stay-at-home order, prompting more closures as officials announced plans to ramp up testing procedures for the coronavirus. Santa Monica closed seaside parking lots to discourage people from visiting its famous strand, and Los Angeles was expected to do the same starting Monday in neighboring Venice Beach to curb the virus’s spread. Most people on the sand took care to heed guidelines to stay 6 feet away from others. But spacing became an issue in popular areas like the Venice boardwalk, causing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to chide visitors for being “too close together, too often.” Dozens of Los Angeles-area parks, trails and facilities overseen by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority were closed down Sunday. In the San Francisco Bay Area, authorities shut Drakes Beach, Agate Beach and other popular coastal spots, including Point Reyes Lighthouse and Chimney Rock Headlands.
Denver: Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday ordered non-critical businesses to cut the number of employees working together in offices and other workplaces by at least half. He also urged state residents to also do their part to reduce their potential exposure to the coronavirus by doing things like only shopping once a week and jogging less frequently and at different hours. Polis said the state will set an example, with more than half of its employees who do not work in round-the-clock operations, like prisons, working from home starting Monday. He urged private employers to decrease workplace density by allowing telecommuting when possible or staggering shifts if it’s not. The order for private employers will take effect Tuesday with exceptions for several industries, including health care, manufacturing, banking and infrastructure.
Farmington: The state’s first triage tent for treating those believed to be infected with the coronavirus was set up outside the emergency department at UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital. UConn Health says the tent is not a testing center but will be used if the expected surge in COVID-19 patients occurs to give hospital staff additional workspace. Patients who are stable will be sent home and educated on how to quarantine there. If doctors determine they need more testing, treatment or admission, they will be sent inside the hospital to be treated in an isolation area. The hospital also has a separate drive-by testing site, which is open by appointment only. Meanwhile, New Haven officials say they have concerns about how a homeless man who tested positive for COVID-19 and was under a quarantine order at Yale New Haven Hospital was able to walk away before being found more than eight hours later in Milford.
Dover: Dover Air Force Base has issued a shelter-in-place order effective Tuesday. The order, issued by 436th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Matthew Jones, means all Dover Air Force Base personnel must shelter in their place of residence unless obtaining food, caring for an immediate relative, participating in outdoor activities such as walking or running, or seeking necessary health care. Additionally, all personnel must practice social distancing of at least 6 feet or more. “While I know these measures provide a great deal of inconvenience, they are the safest course of action to ensure COVID-19 spread is limited and Team Dover remains safe,” Jones said in a statement. People are still allowed on base, as long as they have Department of Defense identification. Also, the commissary is operating on a blocked schedule, said Technical Sgt., Chuck “Dragline” Broadway, a base spokesman.
District of Columbia
Washington: Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered D.C. police and members of D.C. National Guard to limit people’s access to the National Mall’s Tidal Basin cherry blossom trees until further notice, WUSA-TV reports. Restricted access went into effect Sunday for the Tidal Basin, along with several street closures, to ensure social distancing and prevent further community transmission of COVID-19, Bowser said in a news release. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic are also being restricted in the area of the National Mall. Metro officials have closed two nearby stations, Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery, to discourage people from heading down. The Trust for the National Mall is livestreaming the trees on its “Bloomcam” so people can see them from the comfort of their home. The National Arboretum is also open. It has many varieties of cherry trees, magnolias and wide-open spaces perfect for social distancing.
Fort Lauderdale: Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that he wants to avoid imposing a statewide lockdown like many other states have done, saying he still believes targeting the counties hardest hit by the coronavirus for the most extreme measures is the preferable path. DeSantis said about a third of Florida’s 67 counties have no confirmed cases, and another third have few, so he doesn’t yet see the need to impose a near-shutdown on their businesses as has been imposed in large counties such as Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, where the disease has spread into the community. Most of the counties with few or no infections are smaller ones along the state’s northern borders or surrounding Lake Okeechobee. DeSantis said he doesn’t want to cause unnecessary financial hardship or create unintended consequences such as people fleeing the state and spreading the disease.
Atlanta: Counties continued to place restrictions on businesses and gatherings Monday, as cases of the new coronavirus increased. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered schools shut but has refrained from taking stronger steps like ordering restaurants and nonessential businesses to close, instead leaving the decision to local governments. By noon Monday, confirmed cases in the state rose to 772, up from the 620 cases the state was reporting Sunday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The death toll remained at 25. Metro Atlanta’s DeKalb County, which has 75 confirmed cases, is the latest county to order restrictions aimed at helping to slow the spread of the virus. DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond issued an executive order Monday that prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people, closes playgrounds and asks all residents to shelter in place “as much as possible.”
Honolulu: All walk-in locations for the Hawaii Democratic presidential primary that were scheduled for April 4 have been canceled. An additional round of mail-in ballots will be added for those who are registered to vote with the state of Hawaii and are enrolled in the Democratic Party by April 4. Results will be released in late May.
Boise: With more than five dozen confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state Monday, agencies, businesses and schools continued to work to slow the spread of the illness. Boise State University urged students to move away from dormitory-style housing if they can and – like the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and other higher education institutions across Idaho – has moved all classes online. Officials with the West Ada Public Schools District, the largest in the state, are working on a remote learning plan in case schools need to be closed for an extended period. Central District Health, which serves the Boise region, on Sunday asked any Ada County residents who have recently traveled to Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey or surrounding areas to shelter in place for two weeks, and health officials in eastern Idaho asked residents who traveled to the same area to call for further instructions.
Chicago: Ten people were shot during weekend attacks on Chicago’s South and West sides, despite a statewide order that took effect requiring people to stay indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the 10 people who was shot died, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Last year, four people were killed and 10 others wounded in shootings over the course of the same weekend. “Our response is identical to what it was a year ago,” police spokesman Anthony Gugielmi told the newspaper. “We will not diminish our ability to respond to violence in the city because we have a crime fight that we’re in right now, and every single day it’s very important to us to try to make the city safer.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to stay at home took effect Saturday evening. The directive, which will last through April 7, requires the state’s 12.6 million residents to remain in their homes, except for essentials.
Indianapolis: Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered residents to remain at home for two weeks starting Wednesday, except for workers in essential industries or needed trips for groceries and medicine, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Holcomb’s order, which mirrors orders in adjacent states, begins at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and ends April 6, but he said it could be extended if needed for the state’s 6.8 million residents. Holcomb said the next two weeks “are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the disease caused by the coronavirus. “Get groceries only when you need them, and only buy what you need.” The governor’s office said residents who are asked to report to work during the two-week period but who believe that business is not essential should discuss that with their employer.
Des Moines: Authorities have been taking steps to cut the number of inmates in the state’s prisons and jails, citing concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus. The disease it causes, COVID-19, has yet to be confirmed in any Iowa prison or jail, officials said. But it poses a particular menace to overcrowded prisons and jails, ACLU spokeswoman Veronica Fowler said. “There is no ability to self-distance. Meanwhile, people are coming into the jail all the time. People are coming in, coming out. You really have just a tinderbox for COVID-19 to spread rapidly,” Fowler said. The Iowa Corrections Department is expediting the placement of about 700 prisoners who are approved for parole or work release, according to spokesman Cord Overton. Maj. Bryce Schmidt, Scott County Jail administrator, said a judge has reduced terms for some elderly inmates, some inmates with respiratory issues and some close to finishing their sentences.
Topeka: Shelter-in-place orders are about to take effect for about a third of the state’s population to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and more could soon follow. Douglas County, which includes the college town of Lawrence, announced its order will take effect Tuesday. That will match soon-to-take-effect orders that were issued in neighboring Kansas City-area counties, including Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties. People will still be allowed to leave their homes for essential needs, such as health care and grocery store visits. In Sedgwick County, government staffers were drafting an order for people in the state’s largest city, Wichita, to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, even though the county’s top public health official says it is not necessary now, The Wichita Eagle reports.
Frankfort: Gov. Andy Beshear on Sunday ordered nonessential retail businesses to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Beshear said the move is effective at 8 p.m. Monday and includes businesses such as entertainment, clothing, bookstores, jewelry stores and car dealerships. He said auto repair and parts shops are exempt, and businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores, liquor stores and gas stations will remain open. “This is the next step that we need to take to reduce the contacts to Kentuckians until we defeat this virus,” the Democratic governor said. Beshear also said he is mandating that all hospitals cease elective procedures, and the vast majority already have. Some other states have ordered residents to shelter in their homes, but Beshear said that has not been discussed. “Shelter in place evokes emotions in us that (there is) a deadly chemical spill near our house or even an active shooter,” Beshear said. “It says get in your house and board it up until we call you. That’s not the way that we will address this coronavirus.”
Baton Rouge: The number of state residents confirmed to be infected with coronavirus spiked Monday to nearly 1,200 people, and the virus’s death toll grew dramatically overnight, in a troubling trend that had Gov. John Bel Edwards enacting a statewide “stay-at-home” order and planning a televised plea that evening for people to comply. At least 34 residents have died from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus, according to Louisiana’s health department, up from 20 confirmed deaths a day earlier. Edwards ordered his state’s 4.6 million residents to voluntarily stay at home starting at 5 p.m. Monday unless they need to carry out essential tasks such as getting food or medicine. First responders and workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other critical operations are exempt from the directive, which will remain in effect until at least April 12.
Bath: A shipbuilder at Bath Iron Works has tested positive for the new coronavirus, and others who came into contact with the worker will have to self-quarantine, the company said. The shipyard’s medical staff is working with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety of the workforce, and the Navy shipbuilder continued manufacturing Monday. The worker was last at the shipyard March 13, the company said. The shipyard in Bath, along with Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a submarine repair yard in Kittery, Maine, serves a critical national security function under the president’s guidelines. All told, nearly 90 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, according to the Maine CDC.
Frederick: Liquor sales are booming in parts of the state as the coronavirus spreads. Renee Zacharias, manager of Ballenger Beer and Spirits, told the Frederick News Post over the weekend that business is triple what it usually is this time of year. She said customers have said they’re stockpiling beer and liquor in case stores are shuttered as they have been in other states. For example, Pennsylvania ordered liquor stores to close last week. Cotton Rudy, co-owner of Rudy’s Welding Service and Cold Beer in Middletown, said business has increased about 50%. “I think because of the coronavirus, we ran out of everclear alcohol because people have been using it as hand sanitizer,” Rudy said.
Boston: Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all nonessential businesses to close by Tuesday afternoon and remain closed until at least April 7 in an effort to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus. The Republican governor also said Monday that the state Department of Health has issued a stay-at-home advisory but stressed that it wasn’t a shelter-in-place order. “Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities,” he said at a news conference. “We’re asking everyone to use their common sense, think about the impact this virus is having on the sick and elderly, and to limit their interactions with other people.” He said it was OK to take a walk at the park while keeping appropriate social distancing but advised against pickup basketball and touch football games. Although medical marijuana facilities will be allowed to stay open, recreational pot shops are considered nonessential and must close, he said.
Lansing: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with exemptions for certain workers, outdoor exercise, and trips to the grocery store or hospital. Whitmer warned of dire results akin to those seen in Italy if people don’t follow her order. More than 1 million Michigan residents, she said, could need a hospital bed if the virus isn’t controlled. “We have about 25,000 acute beds in Michigan. Think about that,” the governor said. COVID-19 deaths in the state have climbed to at least 15, and the number of people infected with the coronavirus has topped 1,200. “This disease can’t spread person to person if we’re not out there. … Too many people are still out and about unnecessarily, so we must do more,” Whitmer said. She said schools will be closed until at least April 13, extending the shutdown by a week.
Minneapolis: The state has eliminated its backlog of coronavirus tests that were waiting to be processed, thanks in part to help from the Mayo Clinic, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said. State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said the Mayo Clinic stepped in to help process tests, and the state should now be able to get back to patients with their results much faster. The priority will be to notify patients who test positive for the new virus first, the Star Tribune reports. “We believe that we can now keep pace with the volume of priority-population testing,” she said. “We thank Mayo for their assistance.” Minnesota’s number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose to 169 on Sunday, up 32 from a day earlier. One person has died from COVID-19. Officials say the total number of people with the virus is likely much larger, since the state’s public health lab has tested only 4,680 people.
Jackson: Several medical facilities in the state are now providing coronavirus testing to people with fever and “severe cough or chest pain,” and screening began Monday for people to get appointments for a drive-thru testing site that opens Tuesday on the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Gov. Tate Reeves led a prayer session Sunday on Facebook and suggested that people avoid congregating in large groups, but he has not ordered business closures or limits on social behavior, in contrast to a growing number of other governors. “Stay home if you can. Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Stay safe. Look out for your neighbors,” Reeves wrote Monday on Facebook. Reeves, who last week ordered public schools to remain closed until at least mid-April, said that “we will have more orders and actions very soon – following the lead of our experts.”
St. Louis: Residents of the state’s biggest cities have been ordered to stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, which sickened nearly 130 people statewide, including at least five people linked to a suburban St. Louis preschool. The shelter-in-place order in St. Louis took effect Monday, a day before such orders were set to be enforced in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas. The orders call for residents to remain in their homes unless they have a vital reason to go out, such as to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, had sickened 128 Missouri residents as of Sunday, which was up from 75 on Saturday. Three people have died. Meanwhile, CoxHealth’s president and CEO, Steve Edwards, urged Greene County and the city of Springfield to order stricter isolation requirements. “In an epidemic we are generally making decisions two (weeks) behind (given the incubation period),” he tweeted Saturday. “By this time in about 7-10 days COVID will be endemic and our hospitals will start to fill. Act right now!”
Helena: There were 34 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state as of Monday morning, remaining steady from numbers released the prior afternoon. Gallatin County now has the most cases, with 10 confirmed incidents of the respiratory illness that is now a pandemic. There are three cases each in Cascade and Lewis and Clark counties. Also on Monday, the state’s two U.S. senators said 16 Montanans who were stuck on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship are returning to the mainland United States. The ship, which carried about 2,000 passengers, docked Sunday in Honolulu, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. The ship had to cut short its 23-day cruise of Australia and French Polynesia because many ports were closed due to the coronavirus, the ship’s owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, said in a statement. Both senators said their staffs had been in contact with the passengers.
Lincoln: Sandhills Global, the Lincoln Independent Business Association and the Nebraska Retail Federation have jointly announced the launch of a website to support local businesses during this time of uncertainty. The new site, NebraskaBuyLocal.com, provides communities across the region with an opportunity to purchase gift cards and gift certificates from local and independent businesses. Over the past several days, many Nebraska businesses have had to make significant changes in day-to-day practices for delivering goods and services to customers. As businesses devote significant time and resources to serving their customers during the coronavirus outbreak, NebraskaBuyLocal.com is designed to make it easier for them to reach more customers online. There is no cost to businesses for posting their gift cards or gift certificates for sale. Businesses can visit the website to sign up, and proceeds from all gift cards go directly to their accounts.
Carson City: The governor has announced the formation of a task force to marshal private resources to help the state fight the coronavirus. Gov. Steve Sisolak said the challenge of fighting the virus “requires some out-of-the-box approaches.” He appointed former MGM Resorts International chief executive Jim Murren as the leader of the group. Murren has a deep knowledge of the casino business as well as many other skills, the governor said. “There couldn’t be anyone better than Jim Murren in leading this effort,” he said. Sisolak also cited what he said was Murren’s good relationship with Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the White House’s coronavirus effort. Murren led MGM from 2008 to last month, when he stepped down as chairman and chief executive. Nevada now has 190 cases of the coronavirus after 33 more tests came back positive, state officials said Sunday. The death count remained at two.
Concord: State officials announced the first death from the coronavirus Monday. State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said at a news conference that the Hillsborough County man, who was over the age of 60, had multiple chronic health conditions and died over the weekend. More than 100 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. About a dozen have been hospitalized. Gov. Chris Sununu also said that Southern New Hampshire University will be the first of eight “clinical flex areas” set up around the state where COVID-19 patients who no longer need acute treatment can recover. The goal is to increase bed capacity at hospitals for those who are the most ill, he said. Meanwhile, the mayors of the state’s two largest cities – Manchester and Nashua – are asking the governor to require all but those who provide essential services to stay at home.
Trenton: The state Supreme Court has ordered that some county jail inmates be released in an effort to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed an order late Sunday that allows inmates serving in county jails to be released this week. Prosecutors can file objections to the release of specific inmates and have a judge hold a hearing. Rabner’s order came after the state public defender’s office petitioned the court, arguing that keeping inmates detained posed a public health threat. Officials in Hudson County said Sunday that two inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a modified lockdown of the facility. The order doesn’t apply to inmates serving in state prison on more serious crimes. Released inmates will have to serve out the remainder of their sentences when the public health emergency concludes, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Monday.
Santa Fe: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has given orders to establish a coronavirus testing site in each of the state’s 33 counties, a top public health official told a call-in forum Sunday. State Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said she received the order to expand testing facilities on Sunday to counties with as few as 700 residents, as positive tests for COVID-19 mounted in the Albuquerque area and extended for the first time to Lea County in the oil-producing southeast corner of the state. The number of positive test results for the coronavirus climbed to 65 on Sunday, with 51 of the confirmed cases in adjoining Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties. The state lists 20 available coronavirus screening sites in 14 cities, with most offering drive-thru assessments and testing. “We are prioritizing the southern part of the state, and I hope that we have more sites available to you soon,” Kunkel said.
New York: The number of positive coronavirus cases in the state has surged to more than 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The city has emerged as a worldwide hotspot for the outbreak, with more than 12,000 known cases. Cuomo said the swift climb in numbers also is due to aggressive testing. The state is now testing 16,000 people a day, the governor said. There have been 157 deaths in New York state. And there have been more than 2,500 hospitalizations in the state, with 621 ICU patients. State and city officials expecting a wave of more patients are scrambling to add more hospital beds. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he spoke with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the city’s urgent need for medical supplies to curb the spread of the coronavirus. “I appreciated the focus of the conversation, but what I need to see is the real material support for the people of my city, 8.6 million people who are right now in the crosshairs,” de Blasio said on CNN.
Raleigh: Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday tighter assembly and business restrictions in an attempt to dull the spread of the new coronavirus, including the extended shuttering of K-12 schools until mid-May. Cooper said he would issue a new executive order that would make it a misdemeanor for assemblies of more than 50 people, compared to the current prohibition of over 100. Cooper’s order also will direct all hair salons and barber shops, gyms, movie theaters and similar businesses offering activities that run counter to social distancing to close by 5 p.m. Wednesday. And public schools statewide will now remain closed for in-person instruction until May 15. He had already ordered closings of at least two weeks beginning March 16. “I know that these actions cause hardship and heartache for a lot of people but are necessary to save lives,” Cooper said at a news conference. State health officials counted as of Monday morning nearly 300 positive COVID-19 cases, an increase of over 40 compared to Sunday.
Bismarck: State officials reported two additional cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to 30. Four of those people are hospitalized, the Department of Health said. The new cases are a woman in her 30s from Burleigh County who picked it up through travel and a man in his 40s from Pierce County who was in close contact with another case. The state has had 1,325 negative tests.
Columbus: The state has more than 350 cases of the new coronavirus and three deaths. Two nursing homes, in Troy and Tipp City, have confirmed cases, while Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton confirmed its first case over the weekend. The state is limiting testing to those who are hospitalized and to health care workers. The Ohio Department of Health says people with suspected symptoms should call a medical provider first but seek immediate help if symptoms are serious, such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Beginning Thursday, all child care centers in Ohio must operate under a temporary Pandemic Child Care license and follow guidelines including no more than six children in a class and one teacher to no more than six children. Last week, nearly 140,000 Ohioans filed unemployment insurance claims in one week. State officials say these numbers dwarf any previous unemployment claims.
Oklahoma City: Now is not the time for a statewide shelter-in-place order due to the coronavirus, Gov. Kevin Stitt said, as the number of people in the state confirmed with the virus now stands at 81. “We’re hearing of stuff happening in New York City, in California or Chicago,” Stitt said during a Sunday evening news conference. “We have a different set of facts here. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen.” The state Department of Health announced a second death in the state due to the virus Sunday and said Monday that the number of cases rose from 67 on Sunday. The death is a man in his 50s who lived in Pawnee County, west of Tulsa County, where the first death was reported last week.
Salem: The state reported another COVID-19 death Sunday, Gov. Kate Brown banned residential evictions during the virus outbreak, and beachfront communities continued telling visitors to leave. The death was reported in Linn County, bringing the total coronavirus fatalities in Oregon to at least five. There are at least 161 confirmed cases. The new death was a veteran in his 90s who tested positive March 11 and died at the Oregon Veterans Home. He had underlying medical conditions. Meanwhile, Brown issued a temporary moratorium on residential evictions for failure to pay rent. “The last thing we need to do during this crisis is turn out more Oregonians struggling to make ends meet from their homes and onto the streets,” Brown said in a statement. The governor said she was looking for a way to help landlords meet their financial obligations as well.
Harrisburg: Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday ordered residents of the state’s hardest-hit areas to stay home for at least two weeks to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus that has already sickened hundreds and caused six deaths statewide. He also shuttered all schools statewide for an additional two weeks. Noting that Philadelphia has already ordered residents to remain home, Wolf issued his own stay-at-home order for the counties around the city; for Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh; and for Monroe County in the Pocono Mountains. Together, those counties account for 75% of the state’s confirmed cases of COVID-19. In all, 5.5 million people, or more than 40% of the state’s population, have been ordered to stay home. Wolf said residents will be able to leave their homes for “allowable activities,” including trips to the grocery store and the pharmacy.
Smithfield: A local factory is ramping up production of specialized face masks in response to the federal fight against the new coronavirus. Honeywell announced Sunday that it plans to hire 500 people at its Smithfield plant to produce millions of N95 disposable respirators to help support the need for critical safety equipment. The face masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are a critical piece of personal protective equipment for health care, safety and emergency response workers. “We are honored to support the U.S. government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” said Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell’s chairman and chief executive officer. The Smithfield factory produces eye protection products, including safety glasses, goggles and face shields. Rhode Island had 83 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of Sunday.
Columbia: An employee at Boeing’s South Carolina production facility has tested positive for COVID-19, the company said Monday. Boeing spokeswoman Libba Holland said the employee was quarantined and being treated. Holland also said Boeing had asked all workers “who were in close contact” with that employee to self-quarantine at home and monitor themselves for any symptoms. The case is the first to be confirmed at the facility, where the aerospace manufacturer assembles its 787 Dreamliner jet. According to Holland, about 7,000 workers work at the North Charleston plant. As of Sunday, there were 195 known cases of COVID-19 in the state and three deaths.
Sioux Falls: Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order Monday setting a baseline for decision-making related to the novel coronavirus in the state. “We are doing this now because we do have community spread in South Dakota in several counties,” Noem said. Lyman, Hughes and Beadle County have seen community spread, Noem said. The Hughes County case is an inmate in the women’s prison, Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon confirmed. The state has sent about 700 low-priority tests to commercial labs, she said. The order is intended to set a baseline of guidance for businesses owners, community members and health care providers. The order states the actions businesses “should” take if they want to continue operating in South Dakota during the pandemic, but Noem didn’t respond to a question about what consequences would ensue for businesses who don’t implement changes. She also left any additional measures up to local municipalities.
Nashville: As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases quickly rises, there’s no set plan in place for how the state will respond to uninsured patients who will inevitably need treatment for the highly contagious, sometimes fatal illness. Gov. Bill Lee said last week that his office is in discussions with the federal government “about the opportunity to explore” using TennCare funds to pay for hospitalization and other treatment related to COVID-19 for Tennesseans who don’t have health insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid. But his administration, including TennCare, has not offered any specifics on the arrangement the state is attempting to negotiate with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that hospitalizations due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19 will range from $10,000 to $20,000.
Austin: An order by the governor to stop all nonessential surgeries has unleashed a new battle over access to abortions during the coronavirus pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide order Sunday to curb the use of medical supplies hospitals will need as they prepare for escalating infections in the spreading of COVID-19. The order bars hospitals from performing surgeries unless the patient faces an immediate risk for “serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.” An Abbott spokesman confirmed that would cover abortion in most cases while the order is in place until April 21. Texas anti-abortion activists hailed the move amid the COVID-19 crisis. “The abortion industry has been consuming and hoarding medical supplies that are in desperate need around the state including masks, gloves, and other protective gear for medical professionals,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement Monday.
Salt Lake City: A Utah congressman who has the new coronavirus was hospitalized over the weekend, and a state lawmaker was also diagnosed with the disease. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams was treated with oxygen in an isolation unit after suffering severe shortness of breath Friday evening, he said in a statement. Afterward, he reported feeling “relatively better” and said he expected to be released from the hospital as soon as his doctors allow. Meanwhile, Democratic state Sen. Luz Escamilla was separately diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday evening. She has experienced symptoms and is quarantined along with her family, she said late Sunday. The Capitol was cleaned and disinfected after lawmakers finished their work March 12, Senate President Stuart Adams said as he sent best wishes to Escamilla and her family. Staffers have been working remotely since then.
Burlington: The president of the University of Vermont says remote instruction will continue for the rest of the spring semester, and graduation is unlikely to happen as planned, to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. In a letter to students and staff on Monday, UVM President Suresh Garimella said students currently living in residential halls should return home. Students, except those approved for emergency housing, will not have access to rooms, their possessions or associated facilities after March 30. Garimella says UVM will work with students who may not have viable alternatives to provide emergency housing options. UVM is also encouraging non-local students living off campus to go home. The school will issue housing and meal credits and plans to make a decision about commencement by the end of March.
Richmond: The state’s public schools will remain closed for the rest of the current school year, and certain types of businesses, like bowling alleys, gyms and theaters, must close in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday. Northam’s order would not apply to businesses deemed essential, including grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. His announcement comes as the number of people testing positive for the virus continues to rise. As of Monday, there were 254 confirmed cases in the state and six virus-related deaths in Virginia, officials said. On Sunday, Northam gave a sobering timeline of efforts to diminish the intensity of the outbreak, warning that life as we’ve known it will be disrupted “for a long time.” The governor had previously ordered a two-week school closure, which was set to end at the end of this week.
Seattle: The coronavirus continues to spread in the state, and a Bellingham health care center was hit especially hard. On Monday, Boeing announced it was shutting down its Seattle-area production facilities for two weeks. Health officials reported Sunday that there have been at least 95 coronavirus deaths in Washington state and nearly 2,000 confirmed cases. Shuksan Healthcare Center, a skilled nursing center, had 29 new cases confirmed Sunday, according to the Whatcom County Health Department. The Bellingham Herald reports 23 of the new cases were residents, while six were Shuksan employees. State and local leaders continue to urge people to stay at home and practice social distancing, but not everyone is following the advice. People have hit the trails, parks and beaches despite warnings.
Charleston: Most court hearings in the state have been rescheduled to April after the Supreme Court of Appeals issued a judicial emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic. The high court on Sunday ordered hearings throughout the state to be postponed until April 10. “We believe it is our responsibility to limit such in-person contact to the fullest extent possible while ensuring that our courts address emergency matters necessary to protect the health or safety of our individual citizens and our communities,” Chief Justice Tim Armstead said. The administrative order allows for so-called emergency proceedings such as initial criminal appearances, coronavirus-related matters and child abuse cases to be held, preferably through video conference or telephone. The Supreme Court’s announcement came a day after it said a judicial employee who works in Kanawha County tested positive for the virus and has been hospitalized.
Madison: Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that he will order the closure of all nonessential businesses starting Tuesday and is urging people to stay at home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has killed four people in the state and infected hundreds. The order from Evers, which he is calling “safer at home,” comes after he already ordered K-12 schools and a host of other businesses closed, including bars, restaurants and hair salons, and limited gatherings to no more than 10 people. But the newer, tighter restriction mirrors what others across the world and U.S., including neighboring Illinois, have done to try to force people not to leave their homes or interact with others unless absolutely necessary. There were many unanswered questions about the order, including the full list of exemptions and how long it would be in place.
Arapahoe: The Wind River Reservation has recorded its first known case of coronavirus, but health officials doubted it was the only one. The unidentified person, whose condition wasn’t disclosed, was tied to a cluster of cases among residents and staff at a Lander assisted-living center, according to Wind River Family and Community Healthcare. Wind River Family and Community Healthcare is one of two facilities on the reservation funded through the Indian Health Service, Wyoming Public Radio reports. The Northern Arapaho share the central Wyoming reservation with the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. As of Monday, 26 people have tested positive for the virus in the state. There have been 10 cases in Fremont County, where most of the reservation is located, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports