Govs On Deck – May 13, 2020
Good Wednesday afternoon and welcome to today’s edition of “Govs on Deck.” We’re still here, we’re still daily, and we hope you are all still safe and healthy.
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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.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY, the current chair of the DGA, released a statement of support for the HEROES Act, introduced by U.S. House Democrats.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in their capacity as vice-chair and chair of the NGA, called on Congress to act on state fiscal relief.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that members of New York’s Congressional Delegation will propose the ‘Americans First Law’ to help prevent corporate bailouts following the COVID-19 pandemic. First proposed by the governor on May 10th, the law states that a corporation cannot be eligible to receive government funding if it doesn’t maintain the same number of employees that the corporation had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew M. CUOMO urged New Yorkers to wear their masks in public out of respect for the nurses and doctors who are fighting to save lives and for the essential workers who continue showing up to work amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation that includes preparation for increased absentee voting, new polling locations, and public outreach for implementing social distancing guidelines related to voting.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER announced that the All In Illinois website will now offer a kid-friendly content series to connect children and families with educational resources from Illinois museums and attractions. The content series features videos and activities to inspire, educate, and entertain children while families continue to stay home.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that the state’s initiative to provide free mobile hot spots for households with a smartphone will be extended through June 30th to ensure students have access to wifi for the remainder of the academic year.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM said the state had released new guidelines for restaurants to follow once the stay-at-home order was modified enough to allow for in-restaurant dining. The new practices restaurants would need to adopt include increased cleaning and disposal protocols, adjustments to maximum occupancy rules based on size in order to maintain distancing standards between customers and employees, with outdoor seating encouraged, and steps to ensure physical distancing between workers is maintained. A specific date for when the state would begin to allow the reopening of restaurants was not provided.
- CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order granting greater flexibility to dining and other retail spaces to set up outdoor dining areas or curbside pickup and sales.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE issued guidance for partially resuming limited in-store retail and manufacturing operations for counties granted variance under the Safe Start Phase 2 recovery plan laid out last week.
- ILLINOIS’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced Illinois hospitals have begun receiving $75 million in new stability payments to help fight COVID-19,
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that today marks the next step in the reopening of the state’s health care sector. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued directives governing the opening of hospitals and other health care facilities. Beginning today, hospitals and care facilities can begin doing non-emergency surgeries and procedures at 50% of their pre-COVID-19-era patient volume. Facilities will determine their own patient capacities starting May 27th, as long as progress continues.
- MAINE has received its first shipment of remdesivir to help treat COVID-19 cases.
- MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending a prior order temporarily lifting regulatory requirements on hospitals and care facilities to help ensure adequate personnel and facilities to serve patients during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER issued an executive order providing additional regulatory flexibility to help ensure capacity in the state’s health care system and improve its ability to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom WOLF announced the Department of Health will be conducting extensive case histories investigations as part of contact tracing on those who test positive for the virus. The department has chosen to work with Sara Alert, a new data collection platform, and has requested a system modification to the platform to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data. The department has also requested from the eHealth Authority Board that the state’s six health information organizations work to capture sexual orientation and gender identity or expression data from electronic health records that can then be used by health care providers to report their COVID-19 data to the department.
Testing and tracing:
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that more than 1 million diagnostic tests for the coronavirus have been conducted statewide.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced today that the California Department of Consumer Affairs and State Board of Pharmacy will allow pharmacists to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers. The specimens will be delivered to and processed at public health, university, or commercial labs.
- DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY announced that the state entered into an agreement with the nonpartisan research institution NORC at the University of Chicago to build Delaware’s statewide contact tracing program. The contact tracing program builds on Delaware’s statewide plan to test up to 80,000 Delawareans monthly for COVID-19. NORC also has partnered with Maryland to perform contact tracing. Delaware and Maryland will share information to more effectively monitor COVID-19’s spread across state lines.
- MAINE’s Department of Health and Human Services will now cover coronavirus testing for uninsured patients until Maine’s current state of emergency ends. Gov. Janet MILLS has already required all private insurers to cover testing costs, which includes doctor visits and co-pays, as well as requiring coverage through MaineCare, the state’s version of Medicaid.
- NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY announced a comprehensive strategy to expand testing capacity and implement a robust contact tracing program for New Jersey.
- NEW JERSEY’s Health Commissioner signed an executive directive requiring all long-term care facilities in the state to implement testing of staff and residents for the virus by May 26th. The directive also provides for retesting of individuals who test negative within 3-7 days to detect those with newly developed infection, and further retesting in accordance with CDC guidance.
- NEW YORK Gov. Andrew M. CUOMO directed hospitals statewide to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children displaying symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome.
- WASHINGTON Gov. Jay INSLEE announced the launch of a statewide contact tracing plan that will allow more businesses to open and more people to be active in public while helping to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Local health departments will lead these efforts and the state Department of Health and its partners will support this work.
- NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER’s Task Force for Emergency Repurposing of Manufacturing has partnered with the N.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Carolina Textile District, and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. to identify and collaborate with manufacturers statewide who are able to pivot their operations to produce critical PPE including face shields, hand sanitizer, cloth masks, gowns and more. The Task Force has worked with over 300 North Carolina companies.
- NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK and the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced that unemployment insurance filers will continue to be afforded the work search waiver until further notice.
- RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that her Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund, an effort that would make available $8.2 million to provide temporary bonuses to low-wage frontline workers, has made more than $6 million in payments to providers which will then be passed on to employees. This funding is expected to benefit more than 10,300 workers at more than 160 facilities who all make less than $20 an hour.
- KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that child care options would expand on June 15th, but would still not be back to normal until there is a vaccine or a cure. Parents can expect more limited capacity, and guidance will be issued in advance of the reopening.
- MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed legislation that extends the COVID-19 Minnesota fund used to increase testing capacity, ensure there are hospital beds for Minnesotans who need care, and purchase much-needed personal protective equipment.
- CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced that the state has created a new “Medi-Nurse” line available for Medi-Cal patients without a health plan and uninsured Californians. The line is available 24/7 for COVID-19 concerns or for general medical issues. Those who have health insurance may visit covid19.ca.gov and use the telehealth zip code finder to access their health insurance plan’s telehealth and nurse helplines.
- COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS launched Spanish language Facebook and Twitter pages to help disseminate important information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- MAINE’s Department of Health and Human Services launched a statewide campaign to promote awareness of affordable health insurance options, particularly for people whose employment or income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The statewide campaign will include digital, social media, and television advertisements, with ads beginning this week and continuing through June. Maine DHHS is also collaborating with the Maine Department of Labor to inform those applying for unemployment insurance that they may be eligible for affordable health insurance options.
- ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced Fast-Track Public Infrastructure Grants, an initiative to accelerate work on planned public infrastructure projects around the state in the wake of COVID-19. The state is expediting $25 million of existing Rebuild Illinois funding to local public infrastructure projects that are ready to begin work this summer, as many local governments face lost revenues, impacting their ability to finance these projects.
Stay safe everyone and wash your hands!