What are the coronavirus-free states doing?

There are only 13 states that have no reported cases of coronavirus

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 950 by Tuesday evening, according to records from Johns Hopkins COVID-19 live tracker. However, there are 13 states that have no confirmed cases.

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South Dakota was a part of the list until around 4 p.m. on March 10, when health officials confirmed the state’s first five cases. Though, the state has been prepping for the scenario as numbers have risen stateside in the last few weeks.

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For the remaining 13 states that have not reported infections, here is what they are doing in the meantime.

1. Alabama

“As of right now, there have been no cases of coronavirus confirmed in Alabama,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in a Tuesday press release. “We have stayed in close contact with health officials and monitored updates from the Centers for Disease Control, Alabama Department of Public Health and Jefferson County Department of Health.”

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The city of Birmingham and the state overall are focused on preventative measures such as elevated hygiene and sanitized facilities, according to the CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations. Woodfin has suspended non-essential travel by city employees.

2. Alaska

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy confirmed that no one in the state has tested positive for coronavirus during a Monday press conference, but he did say emergency operations have been moved up to a “level two,” which means it could be staffed 24 hours a day in case of a potential outbreak.

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“We’ve been testing fairly aggressively and liberally and we haven’t seen a positive to date,” Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said. “That can change rapidly."

So far, the state has tested 23 people, according to Anchorage Dailey News. However, the state now has the ability to test 500 people at a time since upping staff in emergency facilities.

3. Arkansas

In Arkansas, state officials are telling the public to not panic about the coronavirus’ spread. Though, the state is taking measures to test individuals for the virus, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly.

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The Department of Health sent a directive to nursing homes and long-term care facilities to screen all visitors and employees for coronavirus symptoms. People with temperatures above 100.4 degrees will be sent home.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Medical Director for Outbreak Response at the Arkansas Department of Health urged the public to see their medical provider over emergency facilities for testing to minimize a potential spread, according to NPR. Additionally, the state is increasing testing capacity to 20 tests per day.

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4. Delaware

Government officials in Delaware are requiring insurers to cover coronavirus testing and telemedicine costs, according to a Tuesday bulletin.

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“Concerns around the cost of care for coronavirus may be a significant factor in residents deciding not to seek out medical interventions when symptoms arise, leading to negative health impacts on the individual, and an increased possibility of the spread of the virus,” said Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “Ensuring testing and expanding telemed options may be the biggest thing we can do to prevent the escalation of new transmissions.”

5. Idaho

Idaho, which is hosting its statewide presidential primaries on March 10, has no confirmed cases at this time but the state is increasing monitoring and testing efforts as people head to the polls and go on with daily life.

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Despite being a neighbor to afflicted states such as Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Utah, the Idaho Official Government Website classifies the state as “low risk.” Forty-one people have been monitored by Idaho public health, 31 of which are no longer being observed.

6. Maine

Maine might not have any coronavirus cases at the moment, however, the state is letting the CDC step in on testing initiatives to minimize the chance of an outbreak as much as possible. As of Tuesday, 20 Maine resident tested negative for the virus while five other test results are currently pending.

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"We should take a moment to learn from what has happened there and take the opportunity, given that there are not yet cases in Maine, to maximize our opportunities for preparedness," said Maine’s CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah during a Tuesday press conference.

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7. Michigan

Michigan, which is another March 10 primary battleground state, is bracing for a potential coronavirus outbreak, especially in large cities like Detroit.

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"So far we have no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan, however, we must take steps to ensure every Michigander has access to the care they need to combat the spread of this disease," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release Friday.

Four task forces have been instated to combat the spread of the virus. Additionally, the Michigan Medicaid Program will waive co-pays and cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment.

8. Mississippi

Mississippians are also heading to the polls on March 10 in their coronavirus-free state despite its regional neighbors Tennessee and Louisiana having confirmed cases. The Mississippi Department of Health has tested 14 residents as of Friday under the CDC’s criteria, according to spokesperson Liz Sharlot.

“We are not releasing specific numbers,” Sharlot told the Daily Journal. “The Mississippi State Department of Health has adequate test kits and don’t expect a shortage at this time.”

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The state Health Department has advised long-term care facilities and nursing homes to take extra precautions with visitor restrictions, and the Mississippi Insurance Department released a statement on Monday that major health insurance carriers will waive required coronavirus testing fees.

A hotline has also been activated so residents have access to health specialists at any hour.

9. Montana

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and state agencies announced a new task force has been set up as of last Monday to bolster coronavirus outbreak preparations in case of a positive test result.

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“This is the public health event that Montana practices for,” Bullock said during the press conference. He added that the state created a similar task force during the Ebola outbreak of 2014.

Twenty-eight individuals have been monitored but none have tested positive for coronavirus so far. Similar to other states, health insurance companies have waived testing fees for residents.

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10. New Mexico

In the state of New Mexico, there are other coronavirus related costs that aren’t related to health care. As of Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham vetoed items in the state budget to help the hurting gas and oil industry. New Mexico is the third-largest oil producer in the United States and the coronavirus has put a significant dent in travel.

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"We are monitoring the situation very closely. The governor is always concerned about revenue projections and the impact of oil price fluctuations on the state’s budget,” a spokesperson for Grisham said in a statement. “These concerns have naturally impacted the governor’s analysis of House Bill 2 and her evaluation of the remaining appropriations.”

The statement added that the governors were meant to “counteract the potential of downward revenue projections and ensure the state’s reserves are as robust as they need to be."

11. North Dakota

North Dakota, a March 10 primary hotspot, has been prepping for the coronavirus, according to a press conference from last month.

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"We are now transitioning also into another phase of this," said Kirby Kruger, a director of the Division of Disease Control at the North Dakota Department of Health. "Although we still want to do the early identification and containment, we also need to start readying our state for community-level preventions."

Twenty-four individuals have been monitored to date.

12. West Virginia

As of Monday, West Virginia has begun its coronavirus mobilization. Five residents have been tested with two negative results and three pending, according to the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources.

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Continued testing will be done at the West Virginia State Lab. Residents who may have questions can call the state’s newly establish information hotline.

“The health and safety of all West Virginians is the highest priority and we are monitoring coronavirus around the clock,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a press release Wednesday.

13. Wyoming

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued a statement at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 29, where he urged residents to be vigilant in coronavirus prevention by “regular hand washing, covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and staying home when sick.”

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“We have no reported cases in our state to date and that’s one of the reasons we still believe the risk within Wyoming from this virus remains low,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, the Wyoming Department of Health’s state health officer and epidemiologist. “We believe it’s likely the disease will spread to this state at some point, but do not yet know how widespread the illness will be over time after it does arrive.”

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