Navy ships arrive in New York, California + 25 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 some key updates from March 27-30 from the states hardest hit by the coronavirus:

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

New York (59,746 cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

 1. The CDC issued March 28 a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid nonessential domestic travel for 14 days. The advisory does not apply to people working in "critical infrastructure industries," including trucking, public health and food supply.

The agency has given the governors of the three states "full discretion" in how they implement the advisory.

2. Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is creating a surge healthcare force to support care of COVID-19 patients. Retired healthcare workers and those who may no longer be in a direct patient care occupation were asked to join. So far, 76,000 have signed up, Mr. Cuomo said in a media briefing March 29.

3. Comfort, the 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship, is expected to dock in New York City about 11 a.m. Eastern Time, March 30, according to The New York Times. The ship has 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory and more than 1,000 Navy officers. The ship's services are for patients who do not have COVID-19, freeing up city hospitals in the city to treat COVID-19 patients. The ship is expected to start taking patients within 24 hours of docking.

"It's such a boost to see the military arrive to help us out," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

4. Construction has begun on a 68-bed emergency field hospital in Central Park in New York City, opposite Mount Sinai Hospital, NY1.com reports. Samaritan's Purse, a Christian charity, is building the hospital, which will include a respiratory care unit with ICU beds. Infectious diseases physicians and nurses will staff the hospital, expected to open March 31.

5. New York's private and public hospitals will unite to manage patient load and share resources during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The hospitals have agreed that if one hospital is nearing capacity, it will be allowed to transfer patients to a hospital that has room. Public and private hospitals across the state will also share mask and other resources.

Read more about measures New York is taking here.

New Jersey (13,386 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

1. The state will provide a $140 million prepayment to healthcare providers to support COVID-19 care preparations. The payment includes $67.3 million in charity care funds, $60.5 million in graduate medical education funds and $14.6 million for University Hospital, a state-owned teaching hospital in Newark.

The funds are an advance of remaining fiscal year 2020 budget allocations for the aforementioned programs.

New Jersey's Health Care Facilities Financing Authority launched a $6 million emergency loan program to help healthcare organizations in the state during the pandemic.

2. The CDC issued a travel advisory for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, asking residents of these states not to travel for 14 days unless absolutely necessary on March 28.  It does not apply to workers in critical industries, and the governors have full discretion on how to implement the advisory.

The advisory "does not change the rules that have been established and in place for over a week now" said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. "If you have been working as part of our front-line response effort, from health care workers to supermarket workers, we still need you on the job."

3. The governor has secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, as well as more than 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions and servicers, to provide mortgage payment relief and financial protections to New Jersey homeowners struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial institutions will offer a 90-day grace period for mortgage payments, waive or refund some mortgage-related late fees and will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions for 60 days.

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

California (6,345 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 170 ventilators sent to California by the federal government were not working when they arrived, according to The Hill. A California technology firm, Bloom Energy, is working on refurbishing the ventilators. 

"Rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety, we got a car and a truck," the governor said March 28. "We had those 170 brought here to this facility at 8 a.m. [PDT March 28], and they are, quite literally, working on those ventilators right now."

2. The governor said that the number of patients moved into intensive care units on March 28 more than doubled. About 200 patients were in the ICU on March 27, and that number jumped to 410 the next day, according to The Los Angeles Times.

3. The U.S. Navy ship Mercy, a hospital ship sent to Los Angeles to help the city tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, is open for business, according to Navy news organization USNI News.  The ship is fully staffed with 800 employees and has 12 operating rooms, the governor said, according to The Guardian.

4. A 25-year-old pharmacy technician in the state died from COVID-19, according to The Los Angeles Times. The identity of the pharmacy tech was not disclosed, but health officials are urging the younger population to obey health orders.  

Michigan (5,489 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

1. President Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Michigan, which will increase federal funding for the state's COVID-19 response. The March 28 declaration came soon after the president criticized Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who requested more help from the federal government in a Fox News interview, CNN reported last week.

2. The governor signed an executive order March 29 to protect Michigan's county jail, local lockup and juvenile detention center populations during the pandemic. The order details risk-reduction protocols taken by the state's department of corrections, which jails and local lockups are encouraged to adopt, including screening everyone who enters or leaves a facility and restricting all visits, except for attorney-related ones.

The order also temporarily suspends transfers in and out of state correctional facilities until risk-reduction protocols are in place and allows local officials more flexibility in releasing vulnerable populations who do not pose a threat to public safety.

The number of reported coronavirus cases among the prison population in the state doubled over the weekend, with 58 prisoners and one parolee confirmed to have COVID-19, according to M Live.

3. The state launched a volunteer website, for residents with a medical training and/or a background in public health, healthcare fields or community organizing to sign up to assist hospitals.

The state will work with hospitals that are short-staffed to fill gaps in workforce. Volunteers also can help with determining whom a positive COVID-19 patient interacted with and where they went before becoming infected.

4. This year's Detroit auto show has been canceled, and the venue where it would have been held will be converted into a field hospital to aid in the state's coronavirus response, CNBC reports.

This was the first year the show would have been held in the summer instead of winter, in hopes the move would draw more attendees and vehicle debuts.

5. During a news briefing March 30, the governor said that Michigan has spent $80 million to buy 20 million masks, 2,000 ventilators, 2,000 beds and 9 million ounces of hand sanitizer. She said the state will allocate $150 million more to respond to COVID-19. 

6. Michigan's health chief Joneigh Khaldun, MD, made an urgent call for more medical professionals to join the state's fight against COVID-19 in a March 30 news briefing. Dr. Khaldun said that the number of cases is expected to peak in several weeks, and the state will need more nurses, physicians, physician assistants and respiratory specialists. 

Read more about other measures Michigan is taking this week here.

Massachusetts (4,955 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

1. Several Massachusetts medical schools will allow qualified fourth-year students to graduate early to boost healthcare staffing. Those schools include Boston University School of Medicine; Worcester-based University of Massachusetts Medical School; Boston-based Tufts University School of Medicine; and Boston-based Harvard Medical School.

2. The state's board of registration will provide emergency 90-day limited licenses to some medical school graduates. The eligible medical school graduates include those who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a board-approved Massachusetts healthcare facility or training program. 

3. The governor has launched an online portal for individuals and companies who want to donate or sell personal protective equipment. The portal also allows people to sign up to volunteer to support COVID-19 relief efforts in the state.

4. Gov. Charlie Baker is urging people not to travel to the state in an effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local news station WWLP. The governor said he is also instructing people who already have come to Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days.

5. President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state of Massachusetts to make federal disaster funds available for crisis counseling and other emergency relief efforts. 

Florida (4,950 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT March 30)

1. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans to sign a stay-at-home order for the Southeastern part of the state to help control the COVID-19 outbreak, according to CBS Miami. The governor said about 60 percent of the COVID-19 cases in Florida are from that region of the state.

2. The governor said he plans to sign an executive order that allows hospitals and law enforcement agencies to bring back recently retired workers to boost staffing levels to respond to COVID-19, according to local news station WFLA.

3. Florida has received all the supplies it has asked for from the federal government, according to a Vox media report

4. The governor has called on the state National Guard to help assist in the pandemic response, according to WCTV, a CBS affiliate. More than 1,500 guardsmen are operating four community-based testing sites and assisting with screenings at seven airports.

More articles on public health:
New York to allow ventilator-sharing, despite misgivings from experts
COVID-19 vs. SARS: How the outbreaks compare
10 countries with most COVID-19 cases, deaths

 

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