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

By Jeannie O'Sullivan · December 8, 2020, 5:28 PM EST

A spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations spurred action by governors across the country over the past week, who reinstated stay-at-home orders in California and Delaware and ordered health facilities to make more room for coronavirus patients in New York.

Other mitigation measures prompted by the surge in coronavirus cases included a rapid testing program for small businesses in Texas, a new outreach campaign to Latino and immigrant communities in Illinois, and expanded eligibility for extended unemployment benefits in New Jersey. The Garden State and Lone Star State also prepared for their first allotments of the coronavirus vaccine.

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.


California

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday unveiled the launch of CA Notify, an app that notifies users if they've been exposed to someone who tests positive for the coronavirus.

In response to increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Newsom on Thursday issued a stay-at-home order for the state-designated regions of Northern California, the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Regional stay-at-home orders are triggered when hospital intensive care unit capacities drop below 15%, Newsom said.

Delaware

Amid hospitalizations peaking at more than 300 coronavirus patients, Gov. John Carney on Saturday called on residents to take the winter surge in coronavirus cases seriously and adhere to mask and sanitization and crowd limit protocols.

In a joint announcement with health officials Thursday, Carney issued a new stay-at-home advisory discouraging indoor gatherings with anyone from outside residents' households between Dec. 14 and Jan. 11 in order to tackle the surge. The advisory doesn't apply to workplaces and travel to and from work.

Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and health officials announced a statewide outreach campaign Thursday to help Latino and immigrant communities facing disproportionately high coronavirus positivity rates. Available in 17 languages, the campaign focuses on prevention, testing and treatment services.

New Jersey

On Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan clarified that indoor entertainment centers may host performances in an adjacent outdoor area, subject to capacity limits set forth in the state's emergency order.

Murphy signed an executive order Friday that automatically enrolls residents who choose to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the state's existing vaccine registry. Residents may opt out of the registry 30 days after the public health emergency expires.

Also on Friday, Murphy signed an order expanding eligibility for extended unemployment insurance benefits to eligible claimants who have exhausted their benefits or who earned 40 times their unemployment weekly benefits rate. Previously, claimants had to satisfy both criteria in order to receive extended benefits.

New York

In preparation for a future COVID-19 case surge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday directed health officials to implement a "surge and flex" protocol mandating that hospitals expand their bed capacity by 25%, and urged retired doctors and nurses to return to service.

Texas

Gov. Greg Abbott and emergency management officials on Monday announced the launch of a rapid coronavirus testing program for front-line workers at small businesses.

Abbott on Thursday announced that health officials will provide about $204 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food benefits for December as part of the state's coronavirus response.

On Dec. 2, Abbott said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the state for December. The doses are slated to arrive by Dec. 14. Additional allotments may follow for December and increased allotments are expected in January and the following months.

--Editing by Aaron Pelc.

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