Illinois, New Jersey see largest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases + 24 other updates from the hardest-hit states

President Donald Trump is pushing more action on the COVID-19 pandemic to the state level.  Below are key updates from March 26-27 from the states hardest hit by the coronavirus:

Editor's Note: This is not an exhaustive list of updates, health measures being taken by the states.

New York (39,140 cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 27)

1. New York will ask President Donald Trump to authorize four more temporary emergency hospitals created with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a media briefing March 27.

The state already has plans to put up four temporary hospitals, which will add about 4,000 beds. The additional hospitals requested will add another 4,000 beds. Projections show the state will need about 140,000 beds.

The Navy hospital ship Comfort, with about 1,000 beds and 1,200 medical professionals, is slated to arrive in New York City March 30.

"We have been very creative and aggressive in finding all the places we can find and converting them [for medical use]," the governor said.

2. The governor said that the state is continuing to gather supplies, including protective personal equipment and ventilators, to create a stockpile that the state can use when the pandemic hits its apex in New York, that is, the greatest number of people needing hospital admission for COVID-19. The apex is expected in about 21 days, projections show, but there are hopes that the social distancing and stay-at-home measures will help flatten the curve and extend the time it takes to reach the apex.

3. New York has increased the practice authority of several advanced care providers in the state. A new executive order allows advanced practice registered nurses with a doctorate or master's degree in anesthesiology, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and specialist assistants to provide care to the full scope of their education and training without physician supervision.

The order also allows graduates of foreign medical schools with at least one year of graduate medical education to provide patient care in hospitals and enables several healthcare workers, such as physician assistants, respiratory therapists and nurse practitioners with out-of-state licenses to practice in New York.

4. New York hospitals can begin using a single ventilator on two patients, even though the idea has been criticized by medical professionals.

5. The state is scouting new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a patient overflow facility that can accommodate more than 1,000 patients in each NYC borough as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties. The state aims to have these hospitals open by early-to mid-April.

6. The coronavirus pandemic may result in about 500,000 residents losing their jobs according to unemployment estimates, Mayor Mayor Bill de Blasio said March 26, according to CNBC.

"It's staggering. We're only seeing the initial numbers; they will get worse, unfortunately," Mr. de Blasio said.

The $2 trillion relief package the Senate passed March 25 will not be enough to help the city, the mayor said.

Read more about other measures New York took this week here.

New Jersey (6,876 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 27)

1. New Jersey had 2,492 new positive coronavirus test results March 26, representing the state's largest single-day jump in cases since it reported the first case, according to NJ.com. A little over 30 percent of those tested in the state have tested positive.

2. President Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for New Jersey, expanding federal assistance and support for the state's pandemic response.

3. In a media briefing March 26, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that the mass testing sites at a community college in Paramus, N.J., and an amphitheatre in Holmdel, N.J., will move to a new schedule. The Holmdel location eventually will  only test symptomatic healthcare workers on Saturdays. During the week, the two testing sites will alternate, one staying open one day and the other staying open the next day.

"There's a lot of healthcare workers, in addition to state police, county, local police, national guard. And we've got to preserve our assets and our most precious assets are our people," the governor said.

4. New Jersey's health department is naming the state's level 1 trauma-designated hospitals as the coordinating entities for their regions, New Jersey Public Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at the March 26  briefing. These hospitals will help conduct surge monitoring, oversee critical care bed utilization and liaison with the health department advisory group.

"We're encouraging all hospitals and healthcare providers to work together in their regions to ensure that all of the residents of New Jersey that need care get the care that they require," said Ms. Persichilli.

5. The governor announced a state website listing places that have personal protective equipment. In an executive order earlier this week, the governor had asked any business, nonhospital healthcare facility or institution of higher learning that had any personal protective equipment, ventilators, respirators or anesthesia machines to submit that information to the state by 5 p.m. March 27.

Read more about other measures New Jersey took this week here.

California (4,040 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 27)

1. The number of COVID-19 deaths in California is doubling every three to four days, according to The Sacramento Bee, and the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the state is doubling less than every two days, according to CNN.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters March 26 that he believes California is the next New York, and New York is the next Italy, according to CNN.

"No matter where you live, you are the next next, this virus doesn't care where you live," Mr. Garcetti said.

2. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that more than 1 million unemployment insurance claims have been filed in the state this month, highlighting the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to USA Today.

As a result of the increase in jobless claims, the governor said that several banks have agreed to allow homeowners to defer mortgage payments.

3. Lancaster, Calif. Mayor R. Rex Parris is urging his community to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously after a California teen who didn't have insurance died from the novel coronavirus, according to The San Francisco Chronicle According to Mr. Parris, the teenager was denied healthcare because he didn't have insurance.

"The Friday before he died, he was healthy. By Wednesday, he was dead," Mr. Parris said. 

Washington (3,207 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 27)

1. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a news briefing March 26 that the state may need to extend the stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the virus. 

"We are only in the first two weeks, and people need to understand this: This order may need to be extended," the governor said. "We simply cannot allow this virus to be slowed, but then spring back upon us. We've got to pound it, and we've got to pound it until it's done."

2. The governor urged retired healthcare workers to return to the workforce to help Washington fight the pandemic.  

"If you're a retired general practitioner and you're willing to come in and help out for a few weeks, we hope you'll consider that," he said. "Physician’s assistants, phlebotomists, nurses, we want you, and we hope you’ll consider coming back into the practice, even for a period of time."

3. On a phone call with President Trump March 26, the governor urged the president to invoke the Defense Production Act ordering companies across the U.S. to produce medical supplies, according to NPR. Washington is among the states rushing to get medical supplies.

4. The U.S. Defense Department is sending a tented Army field hospital to Seattle to provide medical assistance to hospitals in the city strained by coronavirus cases, according to The News Tribune. The Army hospital will treat only noncoronavirus patients.

5. COVID-19 testing problems persist in Washington, according to The Seattle Times. As a result, healthcare workers across the state have been advised to limit testing to symptomatic people and prioritize first responders and healthcare workers. 

"There are still some gaps for our highest priority areas," Keith Seinfeld, a spokesperson for Public Health — Seattle & King County, told The Times. "In some cases, the issue is spotty supplies of swabs and transport media needed for testing, but that situation is improving, and we’re helping to connect supply to where it's needed." 

Michigan (2,844 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 27)

1. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan has doubled in three days — from 1,329 on March 24 to 2,844 March 27. The surge is partly due to a big increase in testing, M Live reports. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are the hardest hit, with about 84 percent of COVID-19 patients living in these counties.

2. President Trump criticized Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after she requested more help from the federal government in a Fox News interview March 26, CNN reports. At a news briefing earlier in the day, the governor said she had sent a request to the president, asking him to to issue a major disaster declaration for the state.

During a Fox News interview, the president said: "All she does is sit there and blame the federal government, the young, a woman governor, you know who I'm talking about, from Michigan."

In response, Ms. Whitmer tweeted, "I've asked repeatedly and respectfully for help. We need it. No more political attacks, just PPEs, ventilators, N95 masks, test kits. You said you stand with Michigan — prove it."

3. Tens of thousands of people have been laid off in Michigan in the last two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to M Live, overwhelming the system the state uses for filing unemployment claims. But state officials urged residents needing to file for unemployment to keep trying to submit through the system. 

Illinois (2,542 confirmed cases as of 7:25 CDT March 27)

1. Illinois logged 673 new COVID-19 cases March 26, the largest spike since the state started daily briefings on the pandemic, according to The Chicago Tribune. The commissioner of the White House's COVID-19 task force raised concerns about the spike, largely concentrated in Cook County. 

"We are concerned about certain counties that look like they’re having a more rapid increase," Deborah Birx, MD, coordinator for the White House task force, said Thursday at a White House daily briefing.

2. To help contain the spread of COVID-19 and stop groups from gathering in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered the closure of the city's lakefront bike and running paths, adjacent parks, a popular neighborhood trail off the lake and the city's downtown riverwalk. The order is enforceable by law, and the mayor has empowered Chicago's police department to issue citations of up to $500 and put violators under arrest. The mayor said officers will first issue warnings to violators. 

3. President Trump approved a major federal disaster declaration for the state, which makes federal funds available for crisis counseling and other protective measures.  

4. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state will start a fund to help nonprofits responding to the pandemic, according to the Chicago Tribune. It will be led by his sister, Penny Pritzker, a former U.S. Commerce secretary. 

More articles on public health:
US reports most COVID-19 cases in world; White House reconsiders $1.5B deal for 80K ventilators
New York to allow ventilator-sharing, despite misgivings from experts
COVID-19 vs. SARS: How the outbreaks compare

 

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