New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic + 21 other updates from the 6 hardest-hit states

Alan Condon, Anuja Vaidya and Alia Paavola - Print  | 

Below is a breakdown of 22 updates from the six states hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic:

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

New York (76,049 cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing April 1 that a projection model shows the state will reach its apex, that is, the point at which the number of COVID-19 cases reaches its peak, by the end of April. The number of deaths in the state increased to 1,941, up from 1,550 deaths yesterday. 

The state may need up to 110,000 beds and 37,000 ventilators, the model shows, if there are minimal effects from social distancing measures. 

The governor also said that New York City playgrounds have been closed. Only the open spaces in the parks will remain open.   

2. New York is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, as the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed the number of confirmed cases reported in China's Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, CNBC reports. China's Hubei province reported 67,801 confirmed cases, according to data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University.

3. Healthcare workers from around the U.S. are headed to New York City to help provide care for the huge influx of COVID-19 patients flooding the healthcare system, The New York Times reports. More than 500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians, 2,000 nurses and 250 ambulances are coming to the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said March 31.

4. New York City is also looking to secure hotels to turn them into makeshift treatment facilities, Mr. de Blasio said March 30 on NY1′s Inside City Hall, according to SiLive.com. The hotels would not be used to treat severe COVID-19 cases, but would be used to treat overflow patients with milder cases.

5. The tennis courts in New York City where the U.S. Open is held are being converted into field hospitals for COVID-19 patients, according to CNBC. A part of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be transformed into a temporary hospital with 350 beds. These will be used for non-intensive care unit patients from NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, which has been hit especially hard during the pandemic.  

Read more about measures New York is taking here.

New Jersey (18,997 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. New Jersey received an additional 260,000 pieces of PPE products from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is working to distribute as efficiently as possible, the Philly Voice reports. The shipment includes masks and gloves for healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, but Gov. Phil Murphy insists New Jersey still needs more PPE and ventilators.

2. An emergency room physician who worked at East Orange (N.J.) General Hospital died March 31 due to complications associated with COVID-19, reports NJ.com. Frank Gabrin, MD, 60, developed chest pains and other coronavirus symptoms March 24. He did not get tested for the virus, but was positive he contracted the illness after treating several patients with the symptoms. He had been in quarantine since March 24, but died at home with his husband after his condition quickly worsened.

3. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is accepting applications for its COVID-19 emergency grant program on April 3, reports ROI-NJ.com. The program, one of seven NJEDA initiatives helping businesses and workers facing economic hardship due to the coronavirus, aims to provide financial support to small and midsized businesses. Applications for other programs will be made available in the coming weeks.

Read more about measures New Jersey is taking here.

California (8,584 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. The California Department of Health has cut down on the COVID-19-related data it will share with the public this week, including the number of healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 each day, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The state department will only report the running number of total infections in the state, not where the infections are coming from. Nurses and other healthcare professionals oppose the move, arguing infection details are crucial to combat the virus' spread in California. 

2. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said an initiative to recruit retired healthcare workers and soon-to-graduate medical students into the workforce to help the state combat COVID-19 has already seen 25,000 sign ups, according to Fox 5 San Diego. The initiative, called the California Health Corps, was launched March 30. 

3. Mr. Newsom, in partnership with the AARP, announced an initiative to ensure the health wellbeing of residents 65 years or older in the state. The initiative urges Californians to check in on their older neighbors with a call, text or physically-distanced door knock to make sure they have everything they need. The state is also urging nonprofits and faith-based organizations to check in on older residents. 

"No older Californian should be forced to go outside to get groceries or their medication. It’s on all of us across the state to check in on the older adults in our lives – our friends, family and neighbors – to help them during this outbreak," Mr. Newsom said. 

Read more about measures California is taking here.

Michigan (7,615 confirmed cases as of 7:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. Michigan state officials confirmed another 1,117 COVID-19 cases and 75 additional deaths March 31, bringing the state's death count to 259, according to NPR. Michigan is now third in the country for the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths, trailing New York and New Jersey respectively. 

2. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order March 31 that will expedite provisional licenses to qualified healthcare workers to address the coronavirus outbreak in the state, reports Click On Detroit. Several medical students set to graduate from Michigan State University in East Lansing are preparing to treat COVID-19 patients at area hospitals, according to the university. The executive order also allows individuals to volunteer or provisionally renew their license to practice.

3. Michigan has received 400 ventilators from the federal stockpile, Ms. Whitmer tweeted March 31.

"They're on their way to hospitals in need across the state to help save lives. We are still working to secure more and ensure our health providers have the tools they need," Ms. Whitmer tweeted.

4. Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine may open a temporary field hospital in its Stephen Ross Athletic Campus, which houses an indoor track, according to MLive. The field hospital would house at least 500 beds, according to the report. Michigan Medicine currently has a 1,000-bed capacity across its facilities, but if the system sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, it will need more beds. 

Read more about measures Michigan is taking here.

Florida (6,741 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. As the novel coronavirus spreads rapidly across the country, states are increasingly issuing stay-at-home orders — but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is refusing to do so, despite a sharp rise in cases in the state, USA Today reports.

The governor issued a stay-at-home order for South Florida residents March 30, which will stay in place until April 14, and he has restricted gatherings to 10 people or fewer across the state, but has not issued a statewide order because the disease has not hit many parts of the state, he said, according to the report.

2. A 63-year-old intensive care unit nurse treating COVID-19 patients at Miami-based Jackson Memorial Hospital died March 27.

3. Florida is expected to reach peak hospital use May 3, a new report from Seattle-based University of Washington researchers, Fox 35 Orlando reports. The number of deaths per day will be 136 and nearly 1,600 patients will need invasive ventilators at that point. The data suggests that the state will have enough hospital beds but will face a shortage of ICU beds.  

4. Passengers aboard the Zaandam cruise ship are pleading with Florida officials to allow the ship to dock, according to an NBC News report. Four passengers have died, at least two from the new coronavirus, nine have tested positive for the virus and 179 are experiencing flu-like symptoms. There are about 1,400 passengers in all.

The ship left Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 7 and was headed towards Punta Arenas, Chile, where passengers were going to fly home. But no port has been willing to accept the ship. The ship is now on its way to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. DeSantis told Fox News March 30 that passengers aboard the ship cannot be "dumped" into his state, "using up those valuable resources." The state will not be able to handle the extra burden, officials said.

Read more about measures Florida is taking here.

Massachusetts (6,620 confirmed cases as of 9:25 a.m. CDT April 1)

1. DCU Center, an indoor arena in Worcester, Mass., was chosen to be a site for a temporary 250-bed field hospital, according to local news station WBUR. The facility will house COVID-19 patients who are stable but still in need of care and monitoring.

2. In preparation for a surge in COVID-19 patients as early as April 7, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker outlined a plan to designate some long-term care hospitals in the state as COVID-19 treatment facilities. The first nursing home to be designated is Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester, which will provide the state with about 300 beds after it moves current patients out. 

3. Mr. Baker has extended the state's stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closures. Businesses that do not provide "essential services" must remain closed until May 4, according to the new order. 

Read more about measures Massachusetts is taking here.

More articles on public health:
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Can US testing keep up with the COVID-19 outbreak? 4 thoughts
62% of US clinicians said their facility can't handle coronavirus patient influx

 

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