As states and local jurisdictions enact partial or full shutdowns of business, it is critical for PESA to ensure that all elements of our sector and the critical supply chain remain open and permitted to operate throughout the crisis. Below, please find a detailed list of the current orders in the states and jurisdictions where many of our members operate.
According to an evaluation by MultiState based on 11 different factors that measure a state’s “openness beyond standard social distancing guidelines,” Texas currently has a score of 51 out of 100. A score of 100 would mean the state is fully open and a zero would indicate the state is in full lockdown.
Texas officials corrected coronavirus data last week, retracting a spreadsheet detailing COVID-19 cases in public schools after the state identified “issues” with the information it contained. The Department of State Health Services and the Texas Education Agency jointly published the spreadsheet on Thursday. The spreadsheet had discrepancies that were apparent immediately — while the dashboard reported about 6,300 COVID-19 cases, the district-level spreadsheet contained more than 6,700 cases.
DSHS recently adjusted the way it calculated the state’s positivity rate — the percentage of people testing positive for the virus — after the agency identified roughly 800,000 backlogged test results that skewed the metric throughout August, and acknowledged other problems with its data related to that backlog.
Gov. Greg Abbott further loosened restrictions on the state’s reopening plans and will allow restaurants, gyms, retailers, museums, libraries, manufacturers and office-based employers to increase capacity to 75 percent by Monday, Sept. 21. Hospitals in the approved regions may also begin offering elective procedures and surgeries. The reopening plans apply only to 19 hospital regions across the state where COVID hospitalizations are below 15 percent of total hospitalizations for seven consecutive days. Three regions are excluded from the reopening and include the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria.
Texas has had more than 765,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Oklahoma currently has a score of 93 out of 100, indicating that the state is opening beyond standard social distancing guidelines. Phase 3 of re-opening began in June and there are no limits to group sizes if businesses consider social distancing.
Oklahoma has had more than 86,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, New Mexico currently has a score of 36 out of 100.
New Mexico Human Services Secretary David Scrase said Tuesday that daily COVID-19 cases in New Mexico continue to rise as other markers signifying the virus’s toll on the mental and economic health of the state also worsen. In an online update, Scrase said the rise in cases could most likely be attributed to Labor Day festivities and trade with bordering Texas. The 14-day trend of daily virus counts has now put New Mexico back in the red category, behind neighboring Arizona and West Coast states like Oregon and Washington, which are now yellow.
State officials said that in addition to the health effects of the virus, the pandemic is fueling a mental health crisis. The state is also seeing a rising number of people enroll in New Mexico’s Medicaid program for health coverage. According to a presentation by Neal Bowen, the state’s behavioral health services director, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health issues or difficulties controlling their use of drugs and alcohol.
New Mexico has had more than 29,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Louisiana currently has a score of 61 out of 100.
New Orleans is expected to announce looser COVID restrictions later this week. The city is currently not in Phase 3 like the rest of Louisiana.
Gov. John Bel Edwards renewed the State of Emergency for COVID-19 and extended it from September 11 to October 9. The state will move to Phase 3 for reopening its economy amid an improving picture in the fight against the deadly virus.
Louisiana has had more than 165,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Colorado currently has a score of 56 out of 100.
Governor Jared Polis says hospitalizations continued to increase over the last week, while the growth in the case count has leveled off.
Data from Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment shows the number of new cases has gone up more than 10% in the last week. In the last two weeks, the percentage increased more than 80%. Colorado’s health experts say a spike in cases is being driven by campus outbreaks, like at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Colorado has had more than 70,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Pennsylvania currently has a score of 74 out of 100.
The Wolf administration said seven counties bear watching for the coronavirus because at least 5% of those tested were positive for COVID-19. Last week, 10 counties were on the watch list.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to be concerned about an increase in the number of young adults contracting the virus, particularly those between the ages of 19 and 24.
Centre County, which had the highest rate of positive tests again this week, is home to Penn State University’s main campus. In north central Pennsylvania, about two-thirds of the new coronavirus cases reported in September have occurred among those 19 to 24 years old, according to the health department.
Secretary Teresa Miller of the Department of Human Services (DHS) sent a letter to U.S. senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey asking them to grant the DHS continued flexibility to manage changing needs during the crisis, especially pertaining to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) waivers.
Pennsylvania has had more than 163,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Ohio currently has a score of 82 out of 100.
On Monday, President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would distribute 150 million rapid COVID-19 tests “in the coming weeks.” Ohio is still deciding how to use them. Gov. Mike DeWine wants to use those tests to help those at higher risk for contracting COVID-19, such as older adults and those with pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to the disease.
The next priority would be to use the tests in schools to help more students attend classes in-person. They could be used to limit how many students are sent home if a classmate tests positive for COVID-19, DeWine said.
Ohio has had more than 153,000 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Wyoming currently has a score of 85 out of 100.
Amid an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, the state extended its existing health orders and further loosened restrictions on restaurants. The 14-day average currently stands at nearly 79 cases reported per day. The state’s previous peak, established in the spring when health orders were strict and limited many parts of public life in Wyoming, was 13.6. The average number of cases reported per day is nearly triple what it was just four weeks ago. September has been the deadliest month of the pandemic thus far, ahead of August.
Under the new orders, which will remain in effect until mid-October, restaurants can seat eight people at tables and will no longer be required to space seating in booths. Other restrictions — masking by barbershops and their patrons, limits on the sizes of indoor and outdoor gatherings, masking in schools — have been extended.
Wyoming has had more than 5,800 cases of the virus.
According to MultiState’s 11-factor analysis calculating the state’s openness rate, Utah currently has a score of 86 out of 100.
Since late August, the rate of new cases among patients ages 15 to 24 has more than tripled, from 98 per day to 342. During the first week of September, the age group overtook 25- to 44-year-olds as Utah’s biggest contributor of new cases, despite comprising a far smaller portion of the state’s population.
Utahans are urging a special session to end the state’s COVID-19 related state of emergency. There is a proposed resolution that terminates Utah’s current state of emergency because of the pandemic and seeks to block Gov. Gary Herbert from declaring a new one. So far, 29 legislators have signed on to the bill.
Utah has had almost 72,000 cases of the virus.
If you have questions or need help working with any state or local authorities, please contact Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.