Our live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic has moved here.
Florida has requested a waiver to allow families receiving SNAP benefits to buy their groceries online, according to a press release from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).
The federal waiver requests that SNAP recipients be allowed to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards for online food purchases, which is currently prohibited under federal regulations.
A federal judge is declining to order the immediate release of thousands of inmates in Illinois due to concerns over potential exposure to coronavirus.
Judge Robert Dow says civil rights advocates who filed suit against the state Department of Corrections and Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not show that a mass release was the only reasonable response.
“Plaintiffs are correct in asserting that the issue of inmate health and safety is deserving of the highest degree of attention,” Dow wrote. “And the record here shows that the authorities in this state are doing just that.”
The 10 inmates named in the lawsuit – convicted on a range of felonies including murder – argued that keeping them incarcerated in the face of a pandemic amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
Although Dow is keeping the case open – and encouraged state officials to work their hardest to preserve the health of prisoners – he refused to order the state to release, by his estimate, “at least 12,000 inmates, almost one-third of the prison population in Illinois.”
Nashville Metro Public Health Department is investigating a possible cluster of coronavirus cases at the Tyson Foods plant in Goodlettsville, according to an email from Metro Public Health Department Public Information officer Brian Todd.
Goodlettsville is about 14 miles north of Nashville.
Todd told CNN in a statement that no further information regarding the investigation or number of cases could be released at this time.
When asked if the state of Maryland is running low on coronavirus testing kits, Charles Gischlar, the deputy director of the Maryland Department of Health, said "there are still testing challenges occurring in the state, although private labs and medical facilities have ramped up testing.”
The Maryland Department of Health Lab can process about 500 tests a day and process priority group Covid-19 tests seven days a week.
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, priority groups for testing are symptomatic health care workers and first responders; symptomatic people over age 65 and those who live in nursing homes and other types of group housing; and those who are symptomatic and medically unstable for whom their health care provider has determined a test is necessary to manage their medical condition, Gischlar said.
The USNS Mercy, currently docked at the Port of Los Angeles, will now take seniors from nursing homes that have not tested positive for the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference on Friday.
Using the USNS Mercy for non-coronavirus patients will help “help decompress the system,” Newsom said.
Today’s press conference heavily focused on the importance of prioritizing the vulnerable senior population.
“Skilled nursing facilities continue to be top priority of our efforts,” Newsom said.
By the numbers: The state is currently monitoring 191 skilled nursing facilities where 1,266 individuals, both staff and residents, have been infected. An additional 94 licensed facilities are being monitored with 370 patients and staff infected.
There are a total of 1,224 nursing homes and 7,461 licensed facilities throughout the Department of Social Services, according to Newsom.
Infections control professionals are working with the CDC and others to saturate areas of concerns. 600 nurses have been trained to support the regulatory system, Newsom said. In addition, the state is also focusing on providing technical guidance.
New York City has 6,684 new coronavirus cases and 651 new deaths, according to the city’s website.
The city now has a total of 94,409 cases and 5,429 deaths.
Over the last few weeks, there has often been differences in the state and city numbers. In response to this, the city has posted an explainer on their website of how they report data on Covid-19 fatalities as compared with how New York state does.
Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered flags be flown at half staff in honor of State Rep. Reggie Bagala, according to a press release from Edwards' office Friday.
Bagala died after battling coronavirus, his family said Thursday.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered US and Michigan flags lowered to half-staff throughout the state indefinitely beginning today to honor and mourn those who have lost their lives due to the virus.
She also announced that the special primary to fill the vacancy left by Rep. Isaac Robinson who died in late March due to the complications related to the virus will be held August 4. The general election will be on November 3.
The news comes after Whitmer announced the extension of her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order to the end of April.
The new order also encourages people to limit the number of household members running errands to the maximum extent possible and clarifies that travel for vacations or for any other purpose is prohibited.
By the numbers: Michigan has an additional 1,279 cases bringing the state total to 22,783, according to the states data. The state saw an additional 205 deaths bringing the death toll to 1,281.