California loans 500 ventilators to national stockpile; Navy ship to accept COVID-19 patients + 23 other updates from the 6 hardest-hit states

Below are 25 updates from the six states hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic: 

New York (131,830 cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at an April 7 media briefing that an additional 731 people have died in the state, which is the largest single-day jump in deaths in New York since the coronavirus crisis began. The state reported 5,489 deaths April 7, up from 4,758 the day before.

He also said that the number of new daily hospitalizations is slowing, with the three-day average of newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients trending down. Projections show the state may be reaching a plateau in terms of total number of hospitalizations.  

2. On April 6, the federal government granted Mr. Cuomo's request to allow COVID-19 patients to be treated on the Navy ship Comfort. 

The ship includes 1,000 beds and is staffed by federal personnel. But when the ship transitions to treating COVID-19 patients, its capacity will reduce, the governor said at the April 7 briefing. COVID-19 patients require more space and it will only be possible to treat 500 patients safely and adequately on board the ship.  

3. A crew member aboard the Navy ship Comfort tested positive for COVID-19 April 6, NBC News reports. He has been isolated from other crew members or passengers. The Navy said in a statement that this will not change "Comfort's mission, and this will not affect the ability for Comfort to receive patients."

4. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City will be converted into a coronavirus field hospital, according to The New York Times. By the end of the week, nine climate-controlled medical tents, with space to hold about 200 patients, will be put up inside the cathedral, the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, dean of the cathedral, told the Times.

The cathedral is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and this is the first time it will be used for a purpose like this, Mr. Daniel said.

5. Mr. Cuomo has extended New York's stay-at-home order by two weeks, through April 29. Schools and nonessential businesses will stay closed until then. The order was put into place March 22.

6. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled a pilot program April 6 that would have banned cars from four streets in the city, according to the New York Daily News. The program aimed to give pedestrians and cyclists more space to observe social distancing.  

Read more about measures New York is taking here.

New Jersey (41,090 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. New Jersey surpassed 1,000 deaths caused by the novel coronavirus on April 6, but state officials were encouraged by data that manifests a slowing of infection rates, reports NBC Philadelphia.

On March 30, the number of coronavirus cases was increasing day-over-day by 24 percent. That figure decreased to 12 percent on April 6, the governor announced in a media briefing.

Gov. Phil Murphy attributed the slowing of the rate of infections to New Jersey residents practicing social distancing, but cautioned against a wavering in that effort: "We'll be overwhelmed, like a tsunami."

2. New Jersey health officials for the first time projected when the peak of the coronavirus pandemic will come, according to Patch. Total coronavirus cases within the state are projected to be between 86,000 and 509,000, with the peak of the pandemic to arrive between April 19 and May 11.

Mr. Murphy warned of a tough couple of weeks ahead for New Jersey, but added that the overall curve "is beginning, and I use that word cautiously, is beginning to flatten."

3. President Donald Trump approved Mr. Murphy's request for the USNS Comfort to treat New Jersey patients, the governor announced in a tweet on April 6.

The ship was originally intended to treat non-coronavirus patients, but Mr. Cuomo requested that the ship accept COVID-19 patients in a morning media briefing on April 6. The request was approved later in the day. 

When the ship shifts to treating COVID-19 patients who require more attention, its capacity will reduce to 500 coronavirus patients, Mr. Cuomo said in an April 7 media briefing.

4. New Jersey ordered 20 refrigerated trucks with the capacity to store 1,680 bodies, reports

The trucks will aim to ease the burden on morgues and funeral homes as the state braces for a peak in the number of coronavirus cases in the coming weeks.

5. Two more field hospitals are set to open at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison on April 8 and the Atlantic City Convention Center on April 14, according to U.S. News & World Report. The state opened its first field hospital for non-coronavirus patients at Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus on April 6.

Michigan (17,221 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. The Michigan Senate voted to extend the state of emergency by 23 days through April 30, reports WBST.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was seeking a 70-day emergency declaration to extend the emergency until mid-June.

The Michigan House of Representatives is expected to vote on the legislation in the afternoon of April 7.

2. Ms. Whitmer warned in a media briefing April 6 that hospitals within the state are running "dangerously low" on personal protective gear.

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak has less than three days until masks run out, while Henry Ford Health System in Detroit has less than four days and Detroit Medical Center has less than 10 days, according to the governor.

Ms. Whitmer also announced a new shipment of PPE from the national stockpile, including 400 ventilators and 1.2 million surgical masks, which will be distributed throughout the state.

3. On April 6, Michigan saw its largest daily increase in coronavirus-related deaths since its first fatality on March 18, according to the Detroit Metro Times.

State officials announced 1,503 new coronavirus cases and 110 new deaths from the virus over a 24-hour period.

4. Hospitals in Kalamazoo, Mich., were granted state approval to add beds to their facilities to deal with a projected surge in coronavirus cases, reports.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services approved Ascension Borgess for an additional 105 beds and Bronson Methodist Hospital for an extra 105 beds, taking their tallies to 529 and 734 respectively.

5. The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi will transition into a 1,000-bed field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients, Ms. Whitmer announced in an April 6 media briefing.

Michigan is set to open its first field hospital for coronavirus patients at TCF Center in Detroit on April 8.

Additional facilities are being considered as the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to grow.

6. A nurse working in the ICU at McLaren Flint has died of complications associated with COVID-19, ABC12 reports.

The Michigan Nurses Association has called for McLaren to better protect its nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic .

California (16,349 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is loaning 500 ventilators to the national stockpile to help four of the hardest-hit states, including New York, combat the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNBC.

Mr. Newsom said he is confident that California has enough ventilators to support the state's anticipated COVID-19 patient surge, but said that the loaned ventilators can be recalled to the state if necessary, according to Mercy News. 

2. Mr. Newsom said April 6 that the state has made progress in securing additional beds to treat COVID-19 patients. The state has already secured up to 4,613 additional beds at alternate care sites, including reopening shuttered hospitals. 

One recent move by the state to add hospital beds is the reopening of St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, which closed in January. The state will reopen it as a COVID-19 treatment center on April 13. The facility will be renamed the Los Angeles Surge Hospital and it is being reopened through a partnership with Los Angeles County, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente and San Francisco-based Dignity Health. 

In the coming weeks, California plans to add 50,000 beds, at least 60 percent of those additional beds will come from within existing hospitals, according to a news release from the governor. 

3. Mr. Newsom signed an executive order that allows frontline workers, including healthcare professionals and grocery clerks, to get priority in arranging child care services during the pandemic, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The order allows essential workers to bypass administrative and eligibility requirements to enroll their children in the programs, according to the report. 

Louisiana (14,867 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. A projection model used by the White House shows that Louisiana may have past its peak of daily deaths, the Daily Advertiser reports. The model, created by Seattle-based University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, was updated over the weekend, accounting for the effects of social distancing and the stay-home order in the state.

The new projections show that Louisiana may see 746 deaths overall due to the new coronavirus, down from projections of 1,834 last week.

"It's heartening to see models that are gaining currency that show a lower death total," Gov. John Bel Edwards said April 6, the Daily Advertiser reports.

2. On April 6, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., requested public officials shut down abortion clinics across the country and in his state, so that medical supplies stored at the clinics can be used for the COVID-19 response, The Hill reports.

"Abortions are elective, deadly and wrong — especially when they siphon masks, gloves and cleaning supplies away from the front lines of a pandemic," Mr. Kennedy said, according to The Hill. "I urge elected officials everywhere to recognize that abortions are in no way an essential service."

Read more about measures Louisiana is taking here.

Massachusetts (13,837 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 7)

1. Massachusetts has established a COVID-19 Relief Fund for people in the state most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including frontline healthcare workers, first responders and homeless individuals, according to local news station WHDH. 

The fund was launched with $13 million from various philanthropists in the state.

"The compassion and generosity of the people of Massachusetts continue to inspire and amaze me, and I have no doubt that our state will continue to step up and give back to Massachusetts communities so that we can come through this crisis stronger and more united than ever before," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said when announcing the fund, according to the report. 

2. Mr. Baker and his administration said they do not plan to release any town and city-specific COVID-19 data, according to MassLive. The Baker administration's Health Secretary Marylou Sudders said the state is not releasing this data in an effort to protect patient privacy and avoid stigmatizing certain towns or cities. 

"There's stigma attached to all sorts of communicable diseases, and there were several individuals very early on who tested positive through social media were identified locally, and they were really cyberbullied," Ms. Sudders told MassLive. 

3. After Boston Mayor Martin Walsh implemented this week a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for non-emergency workers until May 4, Mr. Baker said he is not planning to recommend a statewide curfew, according to local news station WCVB. He said that for the most part, people are abiding by the stay-at-home order, which is in effect until May 4. 

"People get the fact that they need to stay at home, people get the fact that they need to social distance and people get the fact that this is a very dangerous and insidious virus, and that they need to play by the rules," Mr. Baker said, according to WCVB. "If we see circumstances and situations where people aren't abiding by these rules, like we saw with some of the stuff around the beaches, we [have] acted on it and we'll continue to do that."


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