Govs On Deck – April 22, 2020
Good Wednesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still reminding you what day of the week it is, and we hope you are all safe and healthy. Happy Earth Day, too – go wave to a tree from your window.
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Dem Govs Get It Done:
NOTE: This is an overview of recent actions, not a comprehensive roundup of everything our incredible governors are doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the launch of “Healthy at Work,” a phased approach to reopening Kentucky’s economy based on criteria set by public health experts and advice from industry experts. Phase 1 is a state-readiness evaluation. Phase 2 is an individual business-readiness evaluation. This approach will ensure the commonwealth’s citizens can safely return to work while still protecting the most vulnerable Kentuckians.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced the framework Nevada will follow to reopen the state including: A consistent and sustainable downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period; The ability of the state’s health care and public health systems to maintain hospital capacity without crisis standards of care, conduct case contact tracing, administer tests for symptomatic patients, and have sufficient laboratory testing capacity to process testing samples; A sustained ability to protect vulnerable populations; Confirmation that necessary protective measures are in place before moving to the first phase.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the state will take a regional approach to reopening and will make decisions on which counties and regions to open and when to open them based on the facts and data specific to that area.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE laid out his framework for reopening the state. The framework includes: Ensuring widely available testing for individuals who may have contracted COVID-19, tracing for those who have come into close contact with COVID-19 positive individuals, and isolation or quarantine for individuals who could transmit the virus; Guidelines for businesses to follow to open and operate safely; Increased social and emotional supports, food and housing security, educational and child care support, internet infrastructure and equitable access to services.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF encouraged all voters to apply for a mail-in ballot for the state’s June 2nd primary.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT and NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that, in collaboration with CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, ILLINOIS, Vermont, VIRGINIA, and WASHINGTON, their states have secured relief options with many private student loan servicers whose borrowers are not covered by the recently adopted federal CARES Act. This new initiative will benefit residents with privately held student loans.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced a new initiative between Hartford HealthCare and Quest Diagnostics, with support from the state, to significantly increase the capacity of COVID-19 testing in the state from 500 tests per day to 2,500.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that the state issued an RFP seeking organizations that want to partner with the state in its efforts to significantly scale-up its daily COVID-19 testing capacity as part of its efforts to reopen the state’s economy.
- KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that testing requirements for COVID-19 will be lowered and that individuals now need to exhibit only two symptoms of the virus to be tested.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order continuing her previous order to allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The order will also allow pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 treatments according to government-approved protocols.
- NEVADA’s State Public Health Lab will start limited antibody testing in the coming weeks.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that elective outpatient treatments can resume in counties and hospitals on April 28th if the hospital capacity is over 25 percent for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced a partnership with the federal government to double testing capacity in the state following a meeting with President Trump.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that work on the field hospitals at the Rhode Island Convention Center and the former Citizens building in Cranston was completed, adding almost 1,000 beds to the state’s capacity.
PPE / medical supplies:
- MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced he has secured hundreds of thousands of face masks, shields and gloves from private market distributors to protect Montana health care workers on the front lines of the response to COVID-19.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state has received shipments totaling more than 1.5 million surgical masks, 90% of which have come from the private market. That brings the state’s total on hand to nearly 2 million surgical masks.
- KANSAS’ Department of Labor confirmed that the expansion to up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits passed by the Kansas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Laura Kelly in March is now operative.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that furloughed workers who’ve received severance payments will be eligible for unemployment benefits,
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order modifying state statutes to provide that individual stimulus payments under the federal CARES Act will not be counted as income or resources when determining eligibility for state benefits or services.
- ILLINOIS’ Department of Human Services announced that Illinois has been approved to provide approximately 316,000 Illinois households with additional SNAP benefits. The USDA authorized and will fund Illinois’ Pandemic-EBT program, which will bring food benefits to all school-aged children who are eligible for free or reduced meals. The benefit will be issued to all SNAP households with school-aged children.
Response Task Forces / Volunteer efforts:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced California Volunteers’ #CaliforniansForAll service initiative to connect Californians with safe volunteer opportunities and encourage those unable to physically volunteer to think creatively about ways to make a difference in their communities.
- LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel EDWARDS announced two co-chairs and appointed members to the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and several subcommittees. The task force’s work will begin immediately, and its actions and research will result in improved health outcomes and equity in Louisiana. A statewide Health Equity Dashboard will be created to monitor the progress of the task force.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order suspending requirements for in-person appearances across a number of judicial proceedings.
- CONNECTICUT’s Insurance Commissioner warned all life insurers doing business in Connecticut to refrain from asking applicants about exposure to the novel coronavirus.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced new testing requirements for nursing homes. Now, facilities with and without confirmed cases of COVID-19 will begin testing all residents and staff — not just taking their temperatures.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced that his administration and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank have implemented a backstop municipal bond note program. I-Bank’s $50 million liquidity investment, which is designed to help mitigate financial impacts to municipalities during the coronavirus state of emergency, launched on April 15.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state has partnered with Brown University to provide free single-occupancy dormitory housing to frontline workers. This program is specifically for medical personnel, first responders, members of public safety and congregate care and home care workers.
Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!