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Coronavirus Regulations: A State-By-State Week In Review

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · October 6, 2020, 5:57 PM EDT

News that President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several White House staffers had contracted COVID-19 sparked a firestorm of pandemic politics this week in places like New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy called the president "reckless" and said contact tracing was underway following a campaign fundraiser the president recently held in the Garden State.

In other mitigation efforts, coronavirus relief funding is on the way for Illinois farmers, job seekers in New York and Texas nursing homes needing to implement social distancing infrastructure. New York and New Jersey also unveiled mobile apps that inform users if they've been exposed to the coronavirus.

Halloween planning is underway in Delaware and Illinois, where state health officials issued how-tos for virtual costume parties and safe trick-or-treating and pumpkin picking.

Here's a breakdown of some COVID-19-related state measures from the past week.

Click for state-by-state data on COVID-19 legislation and executive orders, powered by LexisNexis.


Delaware

Health officials on Friday released guidance for a safe Halloween and other fall activities. Activities deemed low-risk for virus transmission include pumpkin carving and decorating, virtual costume contests and drive-by decoration viewing and socially distanced pumpkin or apple picking. Officials warned that indoor parties are high-risk activities, and that most costume masks cannot guard against virus transmission.

Also on Friday, Gov. John Carney extended the state of emergency declaration for another 30 days and announced that schools are hosting pop-up coronavirus testing locations. Test results are generally available two to three days afterward.

Illinois

State health officials said Friday that 28 counties are now considered to be at a warning level for coronavirus. A county enters a warning level when two or more virus risk indicators increase. The warning level counties are Bond, Boone, Brown, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, DeKalb, DeWitt, Fayette, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Massac, Monroe, Morgan, Pulaski, Putnam, Richland, Saline, St. Clair, Wabash, Washington and Winnebago.

On Thursday, the state Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $5 million in funding for livestock producers and small meat and poultry plants enduring economic strain due to the pandemic. The funds come from the state's Business Interruption Grant program.

State health officials on Sept. 30 issued guidance for safely indulging in Halloween and autumn activities such as trick-or-treating, haunted house attractions, costume parties, hayrides and pumpkin picking.

New Jersey

Murphy on Tuesday added New Mexico to the list of states from which travelers must enter a 14-day quarantine. The travel advisory applies to states and territories with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. The current list now includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

During a coronavirus press briefing on Monday, Murphy said contact tracing was underway following an Oct. 1 fundraiser Trump held at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course. Trump announced early Friday that he and the first lady tested positive for coronavirus. Murphy called on the president for "leadership by example."

Former Gov. Chris Christie announced Saturday that he tested positive for the coronavirus and had checked into a local hospital. The Twitter announcement followed an appearance on "Good Morning America" in which he said masks weren't worn during a recent debate preparation session with Trump and his staffers.

New York

Local governments falling short of enforcing pandemic mandates can face fines of up to $10,000 a day, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned Friday. He said the health commission will "establish framework" for local governments to report their enforcement activities related to capacity limits, mask-wearing and social distancing rules.

On Sept. 30, Cuomo announced that the state has received $18 million Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security act funding to train job seekers and help small businesses recover.

Pennsylvania

Health officials on Tuesday raised the capacity limits for large gatherings to 3,750 for indoor events and 7,500 for outdoor venues.

An additional $96 million in state grants have been approved for 5,373 small businesses that were impacted by coronavirus closure mandates, Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday. The funds from the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials jointly announced Friday that $3.5 million in federal funding is available to help medical facilities to purchase plexiglass barriers and tents to allow for safe visitation during the pandemic. The funding comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' civil money penalty fund generated from non-compliant facilities.

Abbott on Thursday issued a proclamation enhancing ballot security measures by requiring that ballots delivered in person must be delivered to a single early voting location as publicly designated by a county's early voting clerk. Early voting clerks must also allow poll watchers to observe the activities conducted at the early voting clerk's office location.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the state and local officials to offer temporary surge testing locations in McLennan County, Abbott announced on Sept. 30.

--Editing by Kelly Duncan.

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