As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., eight states have declared a state of emergency to try and combat the virus.
The novel coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019, but has since spread to six continents and over 100 countries. According to a March 8 report by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide and over 200 cases in the U.S. while over 3,800 have died from COVID-19, the official name of the disease contracted from the new coronavirus strain.
On Saturday, Italy announced an unprecedented move by quarantining approximately 16 million people across 14 provinces in an effort to contain the virus. The European nation has 7,375 confirmed cases according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University, while 366 people have died. South Korea and Iran are also experiencing significant outbreaks, but have not announced large scale isolation efforts.
In the U.S., governors of several states with significant outbreaks have declared states of emergency, allowing for state agencies to help combat the spread of disease by accessing necessary medical equipment, cleaning supplies and to assist with setting up facilities to perform tests for the virus.
Below are the eight states who have issued a state of emergency related to COVID-19.
As the Empire State has been hit hard with the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on March 7 during a briefing on the virus.
“As we continue to provide essential updates and encourage people to act upon the facts on coronavirus instead of the hype, I have officially done a declaration of emergency which gives us certain powers to help local health departments that are very stressed,” Cuomo said during the briefing. “As the local health departments continue to monitor and quarantine people, we have a more expedited purchasing protocol to get them all the tools they need to contain the virus spread.”
On the governor’s website, it details the different aspects that the state of emergency allows, including expedited procurement of cleaning supplies and testing supplies, allowing qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses to conduct testing, expedited leasing of lab space and allowing EMS personnel to transport patients to quarantine locations other than hospitals.
As of Monday, March 9 there are 142 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York state.
Like New York, California has seen a large number of confirmed coronavirus cases, sparking California Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency on March 4.
“The state of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” Newsom said in a statement at the time. “This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.”
As of Monday, March 9, there are at least 124 confirmed cases of coronavirus in California, including 22 cases aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. A 71-year-old man aboard the ship became the state’s first reported death related to the virus.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee was one of the first U.S. governors to declare a state of emergency, following the spread of the novel coronavirus. Like New York, this state of emergency will allow state agencies to use all necessary resources to prepare and respond to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.”
Inslee’s state of emergency declaration came just after the state reported its first death related to the virus. As of Monday, March 9, there are at least 141 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths in Washington state.
On March 7, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a level 2 state of emergency, which followed a public health emergency declaration on March 1. The public health warning came after two COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the Sunshine State; that number has since increased to 18. Two people have died in Florida from the virus.
“I have directed @FLSERT to activate to Level II to ensure Florida has all the necessary resources engaged as we respond to #COVID-19. It is critical that we proactively coordinate all state resources to mitigate and contain #COVID-19,” DeSantis wrote in a recent tweet.
On Sunday, March 8, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency following an increase of confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“I’ve consulted with Oregon Health Authority, and I am declaring a state of emergency to make sure we are able to swiftly deploy the personnel and resources necessary to address coronavirus in Oregon,” Brown said at a press conference on Sunday.
The state of emergency in Oregon comes just after a reported increase in confirmed cases, bringing the total number to 14.
On Friday, March 6, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced a state of emergency, which was followed by the state reporting their first confirmed case of coronavirus.
“I just signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency to help Utah prepare for potential diagnosis of COVID-19. We are in a state of readiness #utahcovid19,” Herbert wrote on his Twitter account.
“Making this declaration simply opens up resources for Utahns and allows us in government to focus as seriously as possible on being prepared,” Herbert added in an additional video posted to Twitter.
According to the Utah Department of Health, the patient is believed to have been exposed to the virus while on a recent cruise aboard the Grand Princess.
On Thursday, March 5, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency after three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed via testing.
“In order to further mobilize all available state resources in response to this threat to public health, I have issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in Maryland,” Hogan said in a statement. “With this declaration, I am officially authorizing and directing the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ramp up coordination among all state and local agencies and enable them to fast-track coordination with our state and local health departments and emergency management teams.”
On March 8, Hogan posted a tweet reporting that Maryland had five confirmed cases as well as 62 negative tests.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Friday, March 6.
“While the overall threat to Kentuckians is still low, we as a state are going to take every necessary action to protect our people,” Beshear said during a press conference. “So, about five minutes ago, I filed a state of emergency so that we would have every tool that we could need to address this issue and ultimately protect our people.”
Beshear’s announcement came after the state confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
As of Monday, March 9, there are four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Kentucky. Seventeen people have tested negative for the virus.