New York COVID-19 cases double every 3 days, California needs 50K more hospital beds + 21 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 23-24 from the states hardest hit by the coronavirus:

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

New York (23,230 cases as of 7:48 a.m. CDT March 24)

1. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his daily press conference on March 24 that previous estimates of 110,000 needed hospital beds have been proven incorrect as the state's number of new COVID-19 cases doubles every three days. Now, he said, New York needs 140,000 beds and 40,000 intensive care beds. The apex of the state's number of cases will be "higher and sooner than we thought," Mr. Cuomo continued, predicting that the peak could arrive in as soon as two weeks.

2. The state also needs 30,000 more ventilators, as many more healthcare professionals as possible and enough personal protective equipment to protect those workers, Mr. Cuomo said. He chastised President Donald Trump for hesitating to utilize the federal Defense Production Act to enlist manufacturers for immediate production of necessary supplies.

3. The metropolitan area of New York City, New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y., have a COVID-19 "attack rate" at least five times higher than that of the rest of the country. In the region, about 1 in every 1,000 residents is contracting the disease, Deborah Birx, MD, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said in a March 23 press conference, CNBC reports.

4. After Mr. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both called on President Trump to provide more federal aid to states and cities grappling with the pandemic, President Trump announced March 23 that the government had shipped 73 pallets of personal protective equipment to New York City.

Mr. de Blasio said on March 23 that President Trump has also allotted the city 400 ventilators from the federal stockpile. Additionally, he said the city is sending 200,000 N95 masks, 2 million surgical masks and 70,000 face shields to local hospitals.

5. Amid increasing bills and decreasing tax revenues, the mayor also warned on March 23 that all city agencies will see budget cuts on all operations not related to addressing the coronavirus, the New York Post reports.

Read more about other measures taken by New York this week here.

New Jersey (2,844 confirmed cases as of 7:48 a.m. CDT March 24)

1. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered healthcare organizations to suspend all elective surgeries and invasive procedures that are scheduled to take place after 5 p.m., March 27. This order applies to all medical and dental operations that can be halted without adversely affecting the patient's health.

The order does include an exemption for family planning services, including termination of pregnancies.

The order also directs all businesses in possession of personal protective equipment, ventilators, respirators or anesthesia machines not needed for critical health services to take inventory and send the information to the state by 5 p.m. March 27.

2. The New Jersey Hospital Association is working in partnership with the state's health department, New Jersey State Police and emergency management office to centralize personal protective equipment management across the state, said Mr. Murphy at a media briefing March 23. They will work to maintain an ongoing inventory of statewide supplies to ensure the needs of hospitals and first responders are being met.

 3. New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner signed an order March 22 releasing approximately 1,000 inmates to curb the risk of COVID-19 spreading among those imprisoned, according to The New York Times. Beginning March 24, inmates incarcerated in county jails for probation violations and those convicted in municipal courts or sentenced for low-level crimes in the state's Superior Court will be eligible for release.

COVID-19 cases are increasing in detention centers, the Times reports, and New Jersey is the first state to take sweeping action to stem the spread of the virus among the jail population. Some cities, such as Cleveland and Tulsa, Okla., have released sick detainees or those at high risk for the disease.

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

Washington (2,221 confirmed cases as of 7:48 CDT March 24)

1. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide order requiring residents to stay home. The order is slated to last two weeks, but may be extended if necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"The less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save," Mr. Inslee said while announcing the order. 

2. Scott Lindquist, MD, Washington's chief epidemiologist for communicable diseases, is warning that the state can't keep up with the demand for personal protective equipment needed by healthcare workers on the front line. He said the government is responding by sending additional gear, but so far Washington has only been getting about 25 percent of what it has requested, according to local news station KUOW.

3. President Trump said in a press briefing March 23 that the government has sent 36 pallets of personal protective gear like masks and gowns to Washington to help the state keep up with demand.

4. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 21 in Seattle, which represents 46,000 members across grocery and healthcare industries has launched a website to help people find jobs in both of those industries, according to local news station KUOW. The website can be found here.

Read more about other measures taken by Washington this week here.

California (2,220 confirmed cases as of 7:48 CDT March 24)

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he expects hospitals will need 50,000 more beds to care for COVID-19 patients. Hospitals in the state will be able to provide 30,000 of those beds. California has acquired three hospitals that will provide about 3,000 beds, and the state is working on a plan to add 17,000 beds by using hotels and field medical stations, the governor said in his press briefing March 23.

2. To help staff the beds, the governor said he is working to loosen regulations and licensing requirements to get fourth-year medical students and retirees back in the healthcare system. 

3. The governor is expanding the state's efforts to get protective gowns, gloves and masks. So far, California has been able to find 1 billion gloves, 500 million masks and 200 gowns and shields that it can purchase. The governor said hospitals across the state could run through 200 million sets of personal protective gear in three months.

4. The governor has called on other governors to collaborate and create an aligned purchasing strategy "to bring down the cost curve and reduce anxieties." 

Read more about other measures taken by California this week here.

Michigan (1,329 confirmed cases as of 7:48 a.m. CDT March 24)

1. Veterans Affairs hospitals in Michigan, as part of a three-state operation that includes VA facilities in Indiana and Ohio, are shifting operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to WWMT, a CBS/CW-affiliate TV station.

Battle Creek (Mich.) VA Medical Center temporarily halted in-person appointments at several of its clinics. Phone, messaging and virtual care services are still active.

The hospitals are also urging veterans to call before coming in if they have influenza-like symptoms.

2. CEOs of Michigan-based companies are uniting to create a playbook for maintaining their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Detroit News reports. A dozen or so CEOs have joined together to glean insights from larger companies that are already dealing with the effects of the pandemic on their business units in countries hit hard by the pandemic, such as China and Italy. Michigan CEOs are looking to companies such as General Motors and Dow Chemical to get advice on how to handle travel and social-distancing policies as well as how to respond to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.  

The CEOs have created a website to share what they have learned.

Read more about other measures Michigan took this week here.

Illinois (1,285 cases as of 7:48 a.m. CDT March 24)

1. Hours after sparring with the president on Twitter, Gov. J.B. Pritzker had a phone call with President Trump on March 23 that led to the president promising to send 300 ventilators and 250,000 masks to Illinois, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

2. To produce even more supplies, the governor announced a partnership with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization to accelerate in-state production of urgently needed personal protective equipment.

The state also signed contracts to buy 2.5 million N95 masks, 1 million disposable surgical masks, 11,000 gloves and 10,000 personal protection kits.

3. State officials announced March 23 that rules about renewing recently expired medical licenses have been relaxed in an effort to recruit more healthcare workers to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

4. With help from the Illinois National Guard, the state opened its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Chicago on March 23, NBC Chicago reports. Testing is available at the repurposed vehicle emissions test building on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 250 first responders and health professionals in line.

5. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on March 23 the launch of an initiative to rent out thousands of hotel rooms around the city and repurpose them as isolation sites for people with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. The city plans to make at least 2,000 rooms available by the end of the week.

Read more about other measures taken by Illinois this week here.

More articles on public health:
Italian physicians urge other nations to treat more patients at home
How Americans are responding to coronavirus pandemic: 5 survey findings
Loss of smell may be COVID-19 symptom, physicians warn


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