States reopen in US as coronavirus pandemic persists

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020
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6:01 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Kentucky to start the second phase of reopening health care

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky will begin the next phase of reopening health care in the state on Wednesday, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.

This second phase will include outpatient gastrointestinal procedures, radiology procedures, diagnostic non-urgent cardiac procedures, outpatient orthopedic procedures, outpatient ophthalmological procedures, outpatient ear, nose and throat procedures, and outpatient dental procedures, Stack said.

The Battelle system will also be available to all health care providers for use to clean N95 masks.

Gov. Andy Beshear also announced that the state has started a partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Distillers Association. The groups will provide masks and hand sanitizer to small businesses as the state reopens its economy.

5:54 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Small communities in Washington can open earlier than the rest of the state, governor says

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Businesses in many smaller communities in Washington state may be allowed to reopen this week under an order signed Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Counties can ask for an exception to state coronavirus regulations on businesses, which remain some of the strictest in the country.

In order to apply, a county must have fewer than 75,000 people, with no new Covid-19 cases for three consecutive weeks.

Some context: Washington begins “Phase 1” of its reopening plan across the state Tuesday. 

Nonessential businesses will still be prohibited from having customers in their stores, but some non-contact businesses like lawn care and car washes can resume. This phase is set to last for at least three weeks.

5:48 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Workers at Tyson Foods pork plant in Iowa return to work

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland 

The Tyson Foods pork plant is seen on April 22, in Perry, Iowa.
The Tyson Foods pork plant is seen on April 22, in Perry, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Tyson Foods resumed operations at its pork processing plant in Perry, Iowa, today, the company confirmed to CNN.

"All team members returning to work at our Perry facility have been tested, and we have implemented enhanced safety protocols to ensure our efforts meet or exceed local, state and federal guidelines," Tyson said in a statement.

The new safety protocols include taking the temperatures of workers, conducting wellness checks and screening employees for symptoms and requiring the use of face coverings, according to the statement.

The plant closed down more than two weeks ago to "test team members and conduct deep clean of the entire facility," according to Tyson.

It is not known how many Covid-19 cases are linked directly to the Perry plant, since neither Dallas County Public Health nor Tyson Foods have made that information available. 

The Tyson plant in Waterloo is now the only pork plant with operations fully suspended at this time. 

5:37 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Restaurants in Kansas are now open as safer-at-home order expires

From CNN's Janine Mack

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly tweeted Monday that the state's "safer-at-home" order has ended.

"Today (Monday) begins Phase One of my administration’s plan to cautiously and gradually reopen our state. For Kansans, Phase One means you can go to restaurants – so long as they adhere to proper public health guidelines and can maintain at least 6 feet between customers," Kelly's tweeted.

Libraries and childcare facilities also may open, she said.

Phase Two will occur no sooner than May 18, which includes bars and clubs reopening at 50%, according to Kelly's “Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas” website.

Phase Three will take effect no sooner than June 1, which includes schools reopening and nonessential travel resuming, according to Kelly.

Read Kelly's tweet:

5:37 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Missouri governor does not wear a mask during business reopening tour

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a media briefing in Jefferson City, Missouri, on May 4.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a media briefing in Jefferson City, Missouri, on May 4. Missouri Governor's Office

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visited businesses Monday as the state began reopening stores, but he did not wear a mask even when greeting others wearing face coverings. 

When asked why he did not wear a mask at an outdoor store in Springfield and a thrift store in Joplin, the governor responded, “I chose not to.”

Parson went on to say, “If you want to wear a mask when you go into a business, then wear a mask. But if you don’t, I don’t think it’s government’s place to regulate that.”

Parson did wear a mask when visiting a Covid-19 temporary intensive care unit at a Springfield hospital, but he declined to weigh in why many legislators were not covering their faces as they returned to work at the Capitol. 

“The House of Representatives need to make that choice, not the governor’s office for them," he said.

By the numbers: The state Department of Health and Senior Services reported 358 new Covid-19 cases Monday, the highest single day number reported in Missouri since the start of the outbreak. 

Parson downplayed the increase in the one-day total, saying, “The numbers –– you can pick any of them out and make any case you want.”

5:00 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

Massachusetts reports 1,000 new cases of Covid-19

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

Massachusetts reported 1,000 new positive cases of coronavirus today, bringing the statewide total to 69,087, according to numbers released by the health department.

The commonwealth reported 86 new deaths, bringing the total to 4,090.

Five percent of all cases across Massachusetts are currently hospitalized.

4:54 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

California will have to borrow from federal government to pay unemployment claims

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will have to borrow funds from the federal government to pay unemployment claims.

“This pandemic is bigger that even the state of California,” Newsom said, focusing on the economic damage resulting from the stay-at-home order. “Just like that, conditions have radically changed.”

“We cannot balance our budgets without assistance from the federal government,” he said.

More than 4 million Californians have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and the state has already paid out $7.8 billion in claims.

“The last time we had to source unemployment at this scale, $10-plus billion during the last great recession, we were able to claw back and pay that back. That would be a process that we would once again engage in to pay back any obligations we have,” the governor said. “We are good for our word.”

Newsom is set to present a revised version of California’s budget on May 14.

4:44 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

South Dakota governor authorizes mass coronavirus testing at meat processing plant

From CNN's Anna-Maja Rappard

The Smithfield Foods pork processing plant is seen on April 20, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Smithfield Foods pork processing plant is seen on April 20, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

The South Dakota Department of Health will conduct a Covid-19 “mass testing event” at the Smithfield Food pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday. 

The testing will be optional and will include Smithfield employees, their families and household contacts, Noem said.

While the state “encourages every single employee to participate," it is not a requirement for them to return to work. 

“We'll continue to do all that we can to protect the health of the Smithfield workforce, so that they can return to work safely and stay healthy. This is a win for the employees at that plant and all the pork producers that will be bringing their hogs to the plant that it will soon be up and running,” Noem said. 

She added that she expects it will “just be a matter of a day or two” before operations resume at the plant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a walkthrough of the Smithfield plant this morning, Noem said.

The governor said the US Department of Agriculture, the CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be overseeing operations at the Smithfield plant going forward under the utilization of the Defense Production Act.

4:35 p.m. ET, May 4, 2020

National Guard could be called to help New Jersey nursing homes, governor says

From CNN's Sheena Jones

Members of the New Jersey Army National Guard guard a road block in front of a drive-through coronavirus testing facility at Bergen Community College in Paraumus, New Jersey, on March 20.
Members of the New Jersey Army National Guard guard a road block in front of a drive-through coronavirus testing facility at Bergen Community College in Paraumus, New Jersey, on March 20. Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he has been in talks with the National Guard to use non-medical members to work in nursing homes.

The governor and Department of Health spokesperson Judith Persichilli are requesting members of the National Guard to work in janitorial, kitchen, security, logistics and general purpose roles, among other non-medical positions, they said.

A statement from the governor's office said they "are in ongoing discussions as to how to best serve New Jersey’s long-term care facilities and keep elderly and vulnerable populations safe during this pandemic."

Murphy said he was hoping to hear something soon on the status of the discussions.