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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/14

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/14

NY: ‘Worst is over,’ New York governor says

nytimes.com

Nearly 19,000 people remain hospitalized in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, but the rate of hospitalizations has slowed markedly over the last week, and the 671 deaths announced on Monday marked the lowest one-day death toll in a week.

US: Governors form regional groups to decide when, how to reopen

nytimes.com

Two groups of governors, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, announced they were forming regional working groups to help plan when it would be safe to begin to ease coronavirus-related restrictions to reopen their economies. Their announcements came hours after President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that such a decision lies with the president, not the states.

OH: GOP lawmakers, protesters call on governor to begin reopening Ohio

dispatch.com

Some Republicans in the Ohio legislature are publicly calling on Republican Gov. Mike DeWine to consider removing coronavirus-related restrictions beginning next month, while around 100 protesters gathered outside the Statehouse during Dewine’s daily COVID-19 press briefing.

FL: Florida nursing homes ask for protection from lawsuits

sun-sentinel.com

Associations representing Florida's long-term and home health care providers asked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to protect them from lawsuits that question how they handle residents with the virus. Florida is reporting 962 cases of the virus in 93 of its long-term care facilities.

LA: Louisiana begins sending $600 payments to unemployed

nola.com

At least 29,000 laid-off workers in Louisiana received a big boost in unemployment benefits as a state agency began wiring payments to their banks. Each person received a $600 payment sent by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The money is in addition to the state benefit. 

OR: Oregon joins Washington, California in pledge to coordinate reopening

oregonlive.com

The governors of Oregon, Washington and California pledged to coordinate their plans to reopen their states’ economies, pushing back after President Donald Trump said the decision was his to make.

PA: Pennsylvania will work with six other states on restarting the economy

papost.org

The governors of seven northeastern states, including Pennsylvania, say they will work together to outline how businesses and other institutions will reopen once the outbreak is under control.

MA: Massachusetts joins multistate pact on post-coronavirus economy

bostonglobe.com

Democratic governors in the Northeast — as well as Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker — and along the West Coast announced separate state compacts to coordinate one of their biggest challenges in the weeks to come: How to begin reopening society amid the coronavirus pandemic.

TN: Governor announces planned 'reboot' of Tennessee's economy in May

tennessean.com

A newly-appointed Economic Recovery Group will detail strategies to "reboot" Tennessee's economy next month, Republican Gov. Bill Lee announced. Tennessee Tourism Development Commissioner Mark Ezell will lead the group.

MI: Protest planned over Michigan stay-at-home order

usatoday.com

Conservative protestors are planning to surround the Michigan state capitol in their vehicles to protest Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's expanded stay-at-home order. The order in effect until April 30 bans house to house visits.

ID: Idaho's incomplete, error-prone coronavirus data falls short of other states

idahostatesman.com

There’s often a discrepancy between what the Idaho's health districts report publicly and to the state, and early delays resulted in districts reporting larger numbers than the state.

OK: In Oklahoma, signs emerge of growing family violence at home

pbs.org

Law enforcement officials and victim advocates in Oklahoma City and Tulsa say domestic violence has increased since city leaders began urging residents to stay home in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

GA: As some states plan to reopen, Georgia governor wants focus on fighting coronavirus

ajc.com

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said it’s too early to tell when he will start to lift coronavirus restrictions on economic activity, as health experts raised concerns about President Donald Trump’s hope to reopen the U.S. economy as early as next month. 

CT: Plans for coronavirus-only Connecticut nursing home hampered by delays and miscommunications

courant.com

Connecticut will open its first segregated facility for nursing home patients infected with COVID-19 this week, but many familiar with the plan said its launch was marred by delays, confusion and miscommunication.

MS: 'Shook up and in shock': Mississippians dig out after deadliest tornado outbreak in decade

clarionledger.com

Stunned Mississippi residents took stock of destroyed homes and businesses after tornadoes swarmed through the state. Mississippi emergency officials advised people utilizing public tornado shelters were "encouraged to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing." 

NC: Racism, misinformation spur higher rates of virus among minorities in North Carolina — experts

newsobserver.com

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the North Carolina secretary of health and human services, can explain the higher rates of virus in minorities in two words: Structural racism. She said the virus has shined a light on health disparities. Those disparities have been perpetuated, Cohen added, by “unfortunate decisions” about policies like failing to expand Medicaid in the state.

NJ: Phone, internet providers banned from cutting off New Jersey residents

nj.com

Internet and phone providers can’t cut off or reduce service to New Jersey residents during the coronavirus pandemic under a new executive order signed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. The order also bars those companies from downgrading service or hitting customers with late fees.

AK: Alaska governor vetoes funding to run library catalog, video service

alaskapublic.org

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, has vetoed nearly $636,000 in funding to continue running Alaska’s statewide library catalog. Librarians have used the video conferencing service to connect with patrons remotely after libraries were shuttered statewide by a health mandate.

VA: Virginia governor protects funds for elderly, disabled personal care

richmond.com

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is protecting a $130 million budget increase in state and federal Medicaid funds to boost rates for organizations providing personal care and other services to elderly and disabled Virginians.

NY: New York state workers asked to volunteer to speed unemployment claims

timesunion.com

State employees are quietly being asked to staff phone lines for the New York Department of Labor as it plays catch-up with the unprecedented volume of calls from workers applying for unemployment.

MD: Maryland’s highest court issues order to stop spread in juvenile facilities

baltimoresun.com

The chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered judges handing juvenile cases to determine whether jailing the juvenile would cause “serious health risks to the juvenile, other detained individuals, staff or the community,” before locking them up.

CO: Black, Latino Coloradoans disproportionately harmed by COVID-19

denverpost.com

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said state data shows that black residents are seeing higher rates of both infections and deaths than their share of the population, while the state’s Hispanic and Latino communities are seeing a disproportionate rate of infections but not a disproportionate number of deaths.

NV: Nevada sentencing commission asks pardons board to discuss early inmate releases

thenevadaindependent.com

Members of the Nevada Sentencing Commission have narrowly voted to ask the state’s pardons board to discuss releasing prisoners early as a way to reduce crowding and the risk of COVID-19 transmission. No Nevada inmates have yet tested positive for the virus.

UT: Utah small businesses plead for more state help

sltrib.com

In a letter to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and state legislative leaders, about 300 Utah business owners and their supporters called for more state aid to “fill in any gaps” in COVID-19 relief packages offered by the federal government.

WA: Washington to furlough some prisoners

seattletimes.com

Washington state officials announced they would set free as many as 950 prisoners to provide more physical distance and limit any potential outbreaks. Corrections Secretary Stephen Sinclair will grant emergency furloughs to inmates in minimum custody settings who meet certain criteria.

HI: Hawaii not ready for a wave of evictions

civilbeat.org

Hawaii could experience a surge in evictions and homelessness in the coming months as a third of the state’s labor force files for unemployment.

AK: Alaska villages clamp down on travel

indiancountrytoday.com

The number of Alaska tribes that have enacted travel restrictions has shot up from a handful a few weeks ago to about 70 now as remote villages work to keep out the coronavirus. 

WY: Wyoming sees its first coronavirus death

wyomingnews.com

Wyoming is the last state to see a death attributed to the coronavirus. It also remains the state with the lowest number of cases in the nation.

MN: Minnesota readies antibody response

startribune.com

The University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic are now offering antibody tests to find out who has recovered from COVID-19 — testing that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz views as critical to the state’s recovery from the current pandemic.

WI: First federal lawsuit filed following Wisconsin's April 7 election

wpr.org

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in federal court by a group of Milwaukee-area Wisconsin residents asking for a partial or full re-vote of the presidential primary and spring election held April 7.

WI: With little time left, Wisconsin lawmakers roll out bill to help the unemployed and get federal help

jsonline.com

Sweeping legislation Wisconsin lawmakers plan to pass in a virtual session this week would give the unemployed more benefits, provide insurance protections for those infected with coronavirus, shield health care providers from liability and allow the state to claim an extra $150 million in federal aid every three months.

VT: As Vermont schools teach remotely, districts struggle with attendance

vtdigger.org

While most students and families are checking in with teachers on a regular basis, there’s some that still haven’t despite Vermont districts’ efforts.

NH: New Hampshire governor says schools likely remain closed for the year

nhpr.org

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has issued more than two dozen additional emergency orders, touching nearly every aspect of life in New Hampshire — shutting all public schools, closing nonessential businesses, and encouraging Granite Staters to stay at home unless necessary.

NJ: Who gets a ventilator? New Jersey now has triage plan for critical care

northjersey.com

New Jersey now has a statewide plan to determine who would get scarce critical care resources, such as ventilators, in the worst-case scenario that the region runs out of lifesaving equipment while caring for the increasing number of coronavirus patients, officials detailed publicly.

LA: Louisiana schools to remain closed for academic year amid coronavirus

theadvocate.com

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will order Louisiana public schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus, leaving major challenges for state and local education leaders and nearly 720,000 students.

MS: ‘The bottom just fell out’: Small, rural businesses in Mississippi grapple with COVID-19 

mississippitoday.org

Small business owners in Mississippi did not see the COVID-19 fallout coming. It wasn’t like a hurricane, where there’s time to board up the windows and evacuate. Coronavirus crept into communities, grounding business to a screeching halt. 

RI: Rhode Island state labs managing testing, preparing for surge to come

providencejournal.com

The pandemic has placed unprecedented demand on the Rhode Island Department of Health’s State Health Laboratories, but by shifting personnel and with specialists working shifts as long as 14 hours, the labs have been able to process some 450 tests a day.

MD: First Maryland inmate dies from coronavirus

baltimoresun.com

A man in his 60s became the first inmate to die in the Maryland prison system as the total number of prisoners and staff to contract the coronavirus neared 100, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services announced.

CO: Colorado governor considering additional action to protect nursing homes, senior care centers

coloradosun.com

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said he is exploring taking additional action to protect Colorado nursing homes and senior care centers from the new coronavirus as the number of residents of those facilities who have died from the disease nears 100. Polis highlighted expanded testing as one possibility.

VT: Health Commissioner: Vermont COVID-19 cases 'approaching a plateau'

vpr.org

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said that the outbreak in Vermont could be "approaching a plateau," and that transmission of the virus in the general public has remained relatively low.

Coronavirus and the States: Governors Coalesce to Reopen on Their Terms; Budgets Look Increasingly Bleak Health Insurance Turmoil
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