10% of COVID-19 cases in California are healthcare workers, New York hospitalizations trend down + 22 other updates from the 6 hardest-hit states

Alan Condon, Anuja Vaidya and Alia Paavola - Print  | 

Below are 24 updates from the six states hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic:

New York (151,079 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. For the third day in a row, New York has recorded its largest single-day increase in new coronavirus-related deaths, reporting 799 deaths since April 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an April 9 media briefing. The number of new hospitalizations continues to trend down, with the state reporting a net increase of 200 hospitalizations since April 8.

2. Mr. Cuomo said April 9 that the mitigation efforts, including the stay-at-home order, are working and the curve is flattening. However, New Yorkers must double down on these efforts, as the state will not be able to handle the worst-case scenarios that projections models show. 

"You stay at home, you save a life," he said. 

3. The state plans to start a blood drive, where people who have recovered from COVID-19 can donate blood, which can be used to test convalescent plasma therapy on those who still have the illness, Mr. Cuomo said. Convalescent plasma therapy involves testing the blood of recovered patients to identify antibodies that can be used to treat those currently ill with the virus. 

4. The new coronavirus started spreading in the New York region as early as mid-February, and it appears to have been brought by people coming from Europe, not Asia, new research shows, according to The New York Times.

Two teams of New York City-based researchers, one from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the other from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, began studying the genomes of people in New York in mid-March. Both teams reached similar conclusions, though they studied different sets of cases.

5. For weeks, New York has been working to ramp up its healthcare workforce to provide care for the surge in COVID-19 patients. About 90,000 people joined the state's healthcare surge workforce, but only 7,000 have been assigned to a job, according to The Washington Post.

Many are expressing frustration at sitting idle, when Mr. Cuomo has asked for help and describes a worsening situation in the state in his daily media briefings.

A state health department spokesperson told the Post that certain specialties are being prioritized over others, including physicians, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists. Also, while there is a state database to vet volunteers and check professional licenses, it is up to the hospitals and health systems to request and assign staff.

6. Mr. Cuomo plans to issue an executive order to ensure New Yorkers can vote by absentee ballot in the primary elections June 23. Previously, Mr. Cuomo issued an executive order to move the primary elections from April 28 to June 23.

7. Nurses at at least three New York City hospitals have been allowed to work after testing positive for the new coronavirus and showing symptoms, sources told the New York Daily News. A nurse at Montefiore Medical Center allegedly was told she could continue working after showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 for seven days and receiving a positive test result. Nurses from Harlem Hospital and Lincoln Hospital also said that workers in their facilities are continuing to work when sick, the newspaper reported.

Read more about measures New York is taking to fight the coronavirus here.

New Jersey (47,437 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. As coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered residents to wear masks in grocery stores and all non-essential construction projects to stop on April 10.

The executive order outlines additional measures to reduce crowds and decrease the spread of the coronavirus, the governor said. 

All "essential retail" stores are permitted to allow up to 50 percent of their approved capacity inside and are required to give  employees masks, coverings and gloves.

The governor signed another executive order that increases the weight limit for vehicles carrying COVID-19 relief supplies.

2. Mr. Murphy also used his emergency powers to push back the state's primary to July 7.

"I don't want a Wisconsin, where folks have to pick between exercising their right to vote on the one hand and protecting their own personal health," Mr. Murphy said.

The primary was originally set to take place June 2.

3. State officials reported that more than half of New Jersey's 375 long-term care facilities have at least one resident who tested positive for COVID-19, according to NJ.com.

Long-term care facilities have accounted for 10 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in New Jersey.

The state is working to assist facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and shortages of equipment and staff.

4. New Jersey received 100 ventilators from California late on April 8, Mr. Murphy tweeted.

The state is working to distribute the ventilators to facilities that need the equipment most.

Read more about measures New Jersey is taking here.

Michigan (20,346 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to extend the state's stay-at-home order on April 9, Click On Detroit reports.  

The order is set to expire April 14, but the governor is opting to extend it as the number of coronavirus cases in Michigan continues to increase.

On April 8, the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives voted to extend the state's emergency declaration and disaster order by 23 days.

2. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now providing updates on the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19, Mlive reports.

The state defines a "recovered"  person as one with a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus diagnosis who is still alive 30 days after the onset of the illness. It will provide updates on the number of recoveries each Saturday.

As of April 3, 56 people in Michigan have recovered from the virus.

3. U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., has proposed a "COVID-19 Heroes Fund" to boost essential front-line workers' salaries by $25,000 per year.

The $25,000 "pandemic premium pay" is equivalent to an additional $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until the end of the year.

The proposal also suggests a $15,000 recruitment incentive for healthcare workers, home care workers and first responders to "secure the workforce needed" to fight the pandemic.

Read more about measures Michigan is taking here.

California (19,031 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said April 8 that the state is working to gather more  demographic information on COVID-19 patients. One major finding revealed that healthcare workers made up roughly 10 percent of the confirmed cases as of April 7, according to The New York Times. 

2. As part of its effort to boost front-line providers access to personal protective gear, California has acquired the equipment necessary to sanitize N95 respirators, according to CNBC. The system uses hydrogen peroxide to sanitize the masks, allowing them to be used 20 times instead of once. California said it plans to sanitize 80,000 N95 masks per day.

California also announced this week that it will spend $990 million to get masks. 

In total, California will spend $1.4 billion to obtain and sanitize personal protective gear, reports The New York Times.

3. The U.S. Navy ship Mercy, docked in the Los Angeles harbor since March 27, had treated 31 patients as of noon on April 8, according to The New York Times

The ship is not accepting COVID-19 patients, yet one of its crew tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 8, The New York Times reports. The crew member was not in contact with any patients, and is currently in self-isolation. 

4. Residents in Riverside County, Calif, who are not wearing masks in public could be fined up to $1,000 per violation, per day, according to CBS Los Angeles. Police will not issue a fine for the first offense.

The order mandating face coverings in public went into effect this week. 

Read more about measures California is taking here.

Louisiana (17,030 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. The number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 in Louisiana has decreased by 13, to 1,983 since April 8, new data from the state health department shows, according to WWL-TV, a CBS affiliate. This is the first time since the pandemic began that the number of hospitalizations declined.

The number of ventilators in use has also decreased. Twenty-nine are available for use, according to the report.

But residents won't be going back to life as they knew it before COVID-19 anytime soon, Gov. John Bel Edwards said April 8, The Advocate reports. Things will not go back to normal at least until there is a vaccine or treatment for the disease, which is months away at minimum, he said. 

2. The new coronavirus is spreading through Louisiana's nursing homes, with more than 550 residents becoming infected and 130 deaths, according to Nola.com. Of the state's 436 nursing homes, 93 have reported cases of COVID-19. The 130 deaths make up about 20 percent of the 652 total deaths in the state attributed to the new coronavirus.

3. The $600 weekly supplement to the state's unemployment benefit from federal funds has arrived, the News Star reports. The supplement will be added to the $247 unemployment payment from the state and will be distributed April 13 through July 31.

Read more about measures Louisiana is taking here.

Massachusetts (16,790 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 9)

1. Three hospitals will begin the first U.S. clinical trial of the antiviral drug, Avigan, to see if it is effective against COVID-19, according to WBUR. The clinical trials in Massachusetts will enroll 50 COVID-19 patients. The participating hospitals include Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Worchester-based University of Massachusetts Medical School. 

The drug is approved in China for treating the flu, but it has not been approved in the U.S.

2. While Massachusetts has not experienced the same steep acceleration of COVID-19 cases as New York City,  Gov. Charlie Baker is warning that the state is "still in the upward slope" of the pandemic, according to NBC Boston. On April 8, Mr. Baker said that social-distancing measures have helped flatten the curve, and those measures will continue to be in place for a while. 

"These remain our most effective weapons to combat this disease," he said. 

3. The neighborhoods in Boston that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic also have the highest number of essential workers, according to a new ACLU of Massachusetts analysis. The nonprofit took data from the Boston Public Health Commission, which tracks COVID-19 cases and deaths by ZIP code to understand how the pandemic is affecting communities of color. The initial analysis shows that nonwhite communities are adversely affected by the pandemic and that those communities also have the greatest number of essential workers, including those in healthcare, construction, transportation and food service, according to MassLive. 

Read more about measures Massachusetts is taking here.

More articles on public health:
Many Americans took COVID-19 precautions before lockdowns, survey finds
Coronaviruses that cause common infections peak in January, February, study finds
Suicide rate jumps 35% since 1999: 4 things to know

 

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