State Health Updates
- Louisiana – Governor John Bel Edwards announced the expansion of the State of Louisiana’s U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program to include utility assistance. The program focuses on providing financial assistance to Louisiana renters and landlords experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the expansion, the state-administered program now provides assistance for past-due rent and utility fees dating back to April 2020, as well as future rent for eligible applicants.
- Michigan – A statewide COVID-19 wastewater monitoring program piloted in 2020 resulted in all 20 participating sites detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples. The results hold promise for future efforts to detect and respond to outbreaks of the virus.
- New Jersey – NJ TRANSIT kicked off a new public-private partnership to help New Jersey residents get vaccinated, by offering complimentary rides to and from vaccination sites. The “VAXRIDE” program is funded through sponsors led by Novartis and provides for approximately eleven thousand NJ residents to receive up to two free round trips to get vaccinated.
- New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Health will partner with the Yankees and the Mets to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to attendees at games. The Yankees and the Mets will offer free ticket vouchers to New Yorkers who get vaccinated at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced more than 50 percent of adults 18 and older in the state have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. More than 43 percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus.
- Utah – The Utah Department of Health notified the state legislature that all COVID-19 thresholds established in House Bill 294, Pandemic Emergency Power Amendments, have been met. The legislation, passed during the 2021 General Session, established criteria for eliminating COVID-19 public health orders based on case rates, ICU utilization, and prime doses of vaccine allocated to the state. While HB294 ends most public health orders, it specifically allows UDOH to continue public health orders that pertain to public health and safety measures in K-12 schools.
- West Virginia – Governor Jim Justice announced that vaccination sites will be set up at several high-traffic locations across the state, including fairs and festivals, church parking lots, sporting events, state, national, and county parks, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, and malls, community and civic groups, and business organizations such as Main Street programs. Vaccines will also be offered through organizations like the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services and other home health agencies, as well as through related programs such as Meals on Wheels.
- Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced it is helping employers and community-based organizations connect with vaccine providers in order to offer on-site vaccinations. The program is part of the statewide effort to promote vaccine equity by making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible for Wisconsinites.
Other State Updates
- California – Covered California launched a new television ad campaign to encourage Asian Americans to save with lower health insurance premiums provided by the American Rescue Plan. The ads, which are in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese, highlight how 400,000 Asian Americans can now get lower health insurance premiums starting June 1.
- Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that in 2019, data shows that Michigan had both the lowest infant mortality rate in the state’s recorded history and a measurable decrease in the disparity of death occurrences between Black and white individuals.
- North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the State Nutrition Action Coalition released a new NC Food and Nutrition Resource Programs quick reference guide, which provides a snapshot of 14 different U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service programs available in North Carolina, like the Summer Nutrition Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. These programs provide a vital source of support and aim to reduce food insecurity among under-resourced communities.
- Rhode Island – The state’s Department of Health released a toolkit that details the four key components identified by the Department as key to successful and sustainable implementation of their Health Equity Zone model. The Toolkit provides detailed, step-by-step instructions of how to emulate RIDOH’s method for creating the HEZ initiative.
- Virginia – Cover VA announced that starting April 1, Green Card holders with five years or more of residency in the U.S. do not need to show proof of work history to qualify for Virginia Medicaid. In the past, Green Card holders with five years or more of residency in the U.S. had to show proof of 40 quarters (10 years) of work history to qualify for health coverage from Virginia Medicaid.