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Inside Los Angeles' sudden pivot to telework

The City of Los Angeles adapted its operations fairly quickly to the technological demands of the novel coronavirus pandemic thanks to a relatively early response to the crisis following years of building a digital toolbox, city Chief Information Officer Ted Ross told StateScoop. Since Feb. 26, when the Centers for Disease Control issued a warning that a COVID-19 outbreak in the United States was impending, Ross has been working to move tens of thousands of city workers onto a telework platform. The early start allowed Ross a bit more time to prepare the city to work remotely before California implemented a statewide shelter-in-place order on March 19. The city bought software for a platform that allows city staff to access their work applications and files remotely and securely. As of last Thursday, Ross said the platform had 11,600 registered users and was stable with 4,400 concurrent users. "We have to keep the city running while people work from home," Ross said. Collin Wood reports.

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NYC wants to crowdsource COVID-19 information

New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications this week launched a new website aimed at getting residents to contribute to the city’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic by self-reporting symptoms or encounters with people who may have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness. The goal, said city CIO Jessica Tisch, is to help the city — which is the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak — get a better picture of where potential COVID-19 patients or people in self-quarantine are, and facilitate the city government’s communications with those populations. “The whole purpose is to unlock the power of everyday New Yorkers to create a data set that will give the City of New York information designed to help direct city resources where they’re needed,” Tisch told StateScoop. “There is no current data set for who is experiencing symptoms, who is home, convalescing. There would be no way for the city to get a data set like that. This will all depend on our New Yorkers signing up." Benjamin Freed has more.

5 ways maps can help communities respond to COVID-19

Though the coronavirus disease outbreak is impacting global and national populations, there are steps to take at a local level to slow the spread. The coming days and weeks will demand a coordinated effort from federal agencies, state and local governments and private companies, Este Geraghty, the chief medical officer and health solutions director at the geospatial software company Esri, writes in a new op-ed. Geraghty recommends government mapping offices focus on mapping four trends — COVID-19 cases, the disease's spread, vulnerable populations and hospital capacity — and then use those maps to communicate with other government officials and the public. Read the column.

North Carolina expands online voter registration amid coronavirus

Officials in North Carolina said Monday that the state will expand its use of online voter registration as the COVID-19 pandemic has undercut in-person registrations. The North Carolina State Board of Elections, in a press release, said that the state Division of Motor Vehicles will start processing online registrations from people with state-issued identification cards without requiring them to complete a separate transaction. With the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak prompting the closure of most county boards of elections and many DMV offices, in-person voter-registration efforts have all but halted. “It’s another way we can help North Carolina voters while we practice social distancing,” Karen Brinson Bell, NCSBE’s executive director, said in the press release. Ben has more.

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