Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/25

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/25

Top State Coronavirus News

NY: Surge in New York City leads to quarantine warning

nytimes.com

White House officials expressed growing alarm about the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, advising people who have passed through or left the city to enter a 14-day quarantine. Officials warned that the outbreak could reach its peak in New York City much sooner than expected and said they had begun treating the region as a coronavirus hot zone.

OR: Oregon governor: Trump's economic aims don't negate stay-at-home order

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said that President Donald Trump’s desire to scale back social distancing measures to benefit the economy will not overrule the stay-at-home order she has issued.

MD: Maryland begins turning convention center into makeshift hospital

baltimoresun.com

Maryland is preparing to create a makeshift field hospital at the 1-million-square-foot Baltimore Convention Center, part of an effort to add 6,000 beds statewide ahead of an anticipated surge of patients.

MA: Massachusetts launches coronavirus text message alert system

cbslocal.com

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said people can text “COVIDMA” to 888777 to sign up. They will receive one or two alerts a day about news, updates, public health tips and alerts on services.

KY: Person who attended coronavirus party just tested positive, Kentucky governor says

whas11.com

Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear shared his frustration that some aren't taking social distancing seriously.

FL: National Guard called for new Florida airport screenings

miamiherald.com

Florida National Guard will be deployed at Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports to collect information from visitors coming off flights from New York City, asking for the Florida address where they will self-isolate for 14 days.  Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis ordered self-isolation for anyone arriving in Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

VA: Virginia governor says crisis will go on for two or three months

richmond.com

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, said he expects the state to be actively grappling with COVID-19 for at least the next few months, pushing back on comments by President Donald Trump about reopening the country by Easter, April 12.

CO: Colorado provides emergency child care for workers on front lines

denverpost.com

An effort to provide care for the children of hospital staff and emergency responders in Colorado kicked off with around 900 children linked up with nearby child care providers. The initiative covers a small slice of the tens of thousands of children estimated to need care so their parents can work at essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

More Coronavirus News

NJ,NY: ICE detainees in New Jersey, New York ask courts for release

nj.com

Different legal groups and individual attorneys have separately asked judges in New York and New Jersey federal courts to immediately release their clients, pointing to corrections officers and an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee who recently tested positive for the new coronavirus.

LA: 'Thanks, but no thanks': Louisiana hospitals are turning away homemade face masks

nola.com

The coronavirus crisis and its corresponding drain on Louisiana’s medical supplies have created an altruistic cottage industry in New Orleans, as citizens turn to their sewing machines to produce surgical masks. But Center for Disease Control guidelines stipulate that “homemade masks should be used as ... [a] last resort.”

MS: Mississippi governor: Abortions must be canceled during coronavirus pandemic

clarionledger.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, promised to take action against the state's lone abortion clinic if it continues to provide abortions during the coronavirus pandemic.

CA: You can still get a parking ticket in California capital. Here’s why.

sacbee.com

With more Californians working at home, it’s vital that garbage pickup take place, officials say. And if that means moving your car on trash day, that means moving your car on trash day.

CT: Connecticut courts ponder the release of low-risk inmates

courant.com

State and federal courts in Connecticut have begun slowly releasing small numbers of prison and jail inmates vulnerable to complications from infection while defense lawyers try to accelerate the process to avoid what some fear is an approaching health crisis in the prison systems.

DE: Laid-off Delaware restaurant workers could get $500

delawareonline.com

The Delaware Restaurant Association has formed a relief fund that will provide direct cash to restaurant workers following a state order to shut down dining room service. The goal is to raise $1 million and provide $500 grants to as many qualifying displaced workers as possible.

AR: Arkansas pot delivery set to grow

katv.com

A growing number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas have an expressed an interest in delivery service as more people stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state Department of Finance and Administration.

MN: Minnesotans storm liquor stores, and an 'essential' debate emerges

startribune.com

Minnesotans stormed the state's liquor stores over the past week, leaving some in complete disarray as shoppers stocked up in the face of coronavirus. Now, drinkers and distributors alike wonder: If Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, orders Minnesotans to "shelter in place," will the places that sell beer, wine and liquor get to stay open as "essential services"?

VA: Virginia offers flexibility so high school seniors can still graduate

richmond.com

In light of the decision by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, to shutter school buildings for the remainder of the academic year, seniors who were on track to earn a diploma will be able to graduate.

TN: Sanitizer, toilet paper and AR-15s: Tennesseans snap up guns and ammo

tennessean.com

With job losses and disrupted income streams fueling anxieties locally and globally, many Tennesseans are evaluating their means of protection.

OK: Oklahoma governor tightens restrictions but stops short of medical groups' requests

tulsaworld.com

GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order sought by several medical organizations. The governor instead issued a “safer at home” order requiring all "vulnerable populations" to stay at home until April 30, except for essential travel such as trips to the grocery store or pharmacy.

TX: Crisis shuttering needed day care centers in Texas

texastribune.org

Parents in Texas pulled their kids from day care, and thousands have closed. But essential workers like nurses, police officers and grocery store clerks desperately need safe places to leave their children.

MO: Missouri loosens testing criteria

stltoday.com

Missouri state health officials loosened the criteria for getting tested for COVID-19 this week following weeks of complaints that tight guidelines meant few sick people were eligible. The state said health care professionals should now use their judgment in deciding whom to test.

AL: Alabama governor: No current plans for statewide ‘shelter-in-place’ order

al.com

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, said there are no current plans for a statewide “shelter-in-place” order because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ivey said state officials are trying to strike the balance between protecting public health and stressing the need for people to return to work.

GA: Georgia to mail absentee ballot request forms to all active voters

ajc.com

All of Georgia’s 6.9 million active voters will be mailed absentee ballot request forms for the May 19 primary, a major push to encourage voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced.

LA: Louisiana parishes suspend meal distribution after governor’s ‘stay at home’ coronavirus order

nola.com

Grab-and-go meal distribution programs in Louisiana parishes have been suspended due to the "stay-at-home" order Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued.

UT: Utah restaurants pressure government for help

sltrib.com

Utah restaurant owners want the governor’s help to require insurance companies to pay for how the pandemic has interrupted their businesses. Supporters of the idea say these “business interruption claims” would rapidly infuse cash into Utah’s hurting economy, letting restaurants pay workers and then open dine-in options later without having to absorb heavy losses.

NM: New Mexico halts eviction cases

koat.com

The New Mexico Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt to eviction proceedings for inability to pay rent. Under the court's order, tenants will have to provide evidence that they cannot pay their rent.

CO: Colorado public transit operator considers service cuts

denverpost.com

Since March, ridership in the Regional Transportation District — which provides bus, rail and light rail transit services to Denver and surrounding cities in Colorado — has plummeted by about 70%. That has delivered a new budget hit for the agency even as services remain vital for plenty of lower-income workers and residents.

NV: Nevada election officials plan mail-in only election

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada election officials are planning to effectively cancel in-person voting and move the state’s primary election on June 9 to mail ballots only in the wake of the coronavirus crisis gripping the nation, two knowledgeable sources confirmed. In the 2018 general election, only about 9 percent of ballots were cast through the mail or absentee.

WA: Washington waives job search requirements for unemployment benefits

seattletimes.com

The Washington State Employment Security Department announced that workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic won’t be required to be actively searching for a job in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

AZ: Arizona mayors slam edict keeping golf courses open

apnews.com

Municipal leaders criticized Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, over his decision to classify some businesses like golf courses as “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic. Mayors also requested a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

CO: Colorado officials ask people applying for unemployment benefits to do so on certain days

denverpost.com

Colorado’s unemployment insurance application system is so overloaded, state labor officials are asking applicants to only apply on certain days at certain times based on their last name in hopes that will break up the logjam.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers gather at Capitol despite remote voting and calls for ‘social distancing’

spotlightpa.org

Despite emergency measures to allow Pennsylvania lawmakers to vote remotely and avoid contact with one another, many in the state House did not heed health officials’ calls to stay home and gathered for their first session focused on the coronavirus.

VT: Vermont schools set up delivery services to get food to families

vpr.org

When Republican Gov. Phil Scott ordered Vermont schools to close, one of the first concerns was how kids would get school meals.

NH: New Hampshire governor says shelter-in-place order not necessary

nhpr.org

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says a mandatory shelter-in-place order is not necessary at this time in New Hampshire because many people are already limiting their travel. But he said today he may have to take stronger action as the coronavirus spreads. He is prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.

WY: Wyoming city urges people not to flush their sanitizing wipes

laramieboomerang.com

Jackson, Wyoming’s wastewater treatment director reminded people that sanitizing wipes should not end up in the town’s sewage.

IA: Iowa officials defend not issuing statewide shelter-in-place

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa officials defended not issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order as not necessary at this stage of the coronavirus pandemic. Several other states, including Illinois directly to the east, have issued those orders to limit residents from leaving their homes except out of necessity.

NC: North Carolina stands out for no deaths so far

newsobserver.com

North Carolina, the ninth-most populous state in the country, stood out Tuesday for having no deaths from COVID-19.

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