Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/20

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/20

WA: Demonstrators rally against Washington stay-home order

seattletimes.com

More than 2,000 demonstrators appeared at the Washington State Capitol to urge Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, to lift the stay-at-home order put in place to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. Featuring speeches by conservative lawmakers, candidates for office and right-wing organizers, the rally violated the governor’s order and the guidance of public health officials.

OH: More than 1,800 inmates at Ohio prison test positive

dispatch.com

Overall, the state’s prison system has recorded 2,426 positive results among inmates, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said. That number is 21% of the total confirmed cases in Ohio.

IL: Illinois senators seek $41B bailout from feds

nbcchicago.com

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, a Democrat, sent a letter to members of Illinois' congressional delegation requesting a bailout of more than $41 billion to help the state recover from economic damage because of the coronavirus.

WI: Republicans to ask Wisconsin court to block stay-at-home extension

jsonline.com

Republican legislative leaders are planning to ask the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to block Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' latest order to shut down the economy until late May — deepening the partisan divide over how to battle the pandemic.

FL: Florida beach openings draw social media ire

orlandosentinel.com

The #FloridaMorons hashtag started trending on Twitter after social media users were upset by beaches reopening in the Jacksonville, Florida, area.

US: Northeastern governors name council to restart economy

courant.com

Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, in collaboration with the governors of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware and Pennsylvania, announced the creation of a multistate council to reopen the region’s economies, with each state naming a health expert, economic development expert and its respective chief of staff.

NJ: Critics say New Jersey prisons improperly denying tests

nj.com

A growing chorus of people connected to New Jersey prisons say many are being improperly denied COVID-19 tests, despite the hundreds of employees and dozens of inmates that have already tested positive, and experts say the virus could spill into surrounding communities if it’s not stopped behind bars.

ID: Limited testing, high-profile defiance hamper coronavirus response in North Idaho

idahostatesman.com

State records for COVID-19 testing show North Idaho was testing less than other parts of the state as Idaho’s coronavirus outbreak took hold. That's only compounded by the actions of some in North Idaho who are encouraging residents to question or outright defy GOP Gov. Brad Little’s stay-home order.

ND: Officials: Outbreak at North Dakota plant may overwhelm system

apnews.com

Health officials in northeastern North Dakota said they’re worried about having the ability to adequately respond to a cluster of cases tied to a wind turbine facility, even as the overall number of positive tests in the state rose dramatically.

KY: Kentucky sees highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases

kentucky.com

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced 273 new cases of COVID-19, the highest number of new cases he’s announced so far, bringing the total to 2,960 and guaranteeing that Kentucky won’t be able to loosen restrictions for at least 14 days.

MD: With the help of robots, Maryland medical school to vastly expand testing

baltimoresun.com

The robots can significantly expedite the complex process of analyzing samples taken from Marylanders who get a prescription to be swabbed. The machines can search for the virus’ genetic material in many samples at once.

MO: Missouri domestic violence calls up under stay-at-home orders

stltoday.com

A Missouri domestic services provider saw a 19% increase in calls to its crisis hotline in March, when stay-at-home orders went into effect, compared with March of last year. Some area law enforcement agencies are also reporting an uptick in calls about domestic disturbances.

NY: New York to test grocery store shoppers for antibodies

timesunion.com

New York state this week will begin testing thousands of grocery store shoppers to determine who has contracted the virus and recovered from it, making them immune. The state will use the recovery data to inform its plans to reopen the economy.

MA: Massachusetts governor says to reopen economy, feds must help states facing budget crunches

masslive.com

The most recent COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government included more than $2.6 billion in aid to Massachusetts to help the state and local communities combat the pandemic.

AR: More than 300 inmates test positive in Arkansas prison

katv.com

GOP Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced 348 positive COVID-19 cases at Cummins prison in the town of Grady.

PA: Anti-quarantine rally set for Pennsylvania capital

spotlightpa.org

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services said the Capitol complex is closed and public gatherings are not permitted. Still, the department is aware of the “unauthorized” plans for a rally and is preparing.

PA: ‘I’m asking you to stay the course’: Governor outlines broad plan for reopening Pennsylvania

spotlightpa.org

Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf presented the broad outlines of his administration’s requirements for relaxing restrictions on businesses and residents, including expanded testing and systems for tracking when people are becoming sick with the coronavirus.

VA: Lag in testing stymies opening plans in Virginia

richmond.com

Testing for COVID-19 in Virginia has lagged in the past week, even as experts and state officials tie widespread testing to the possibility of lifting public restrictions during the pandemic. About 2,500 fewer Virginians were tested this past week compared to the week prior, according to data published by the Virginia Department of Health.

SC: South Carolina governor to lift restrictions on some retailers

thestate.com

South Carolinians will be able to once again shop in-person at some of the state’s retail stores. Republican Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to lift restrictions he placed weeks ago on some retail stores in the state, including clothing, furniture and jewelry stores, a source familiar with the governor’s plans told The State newspaper.

VT: Governor promises relief for jobless Vermonters snagged in unemployment backlog

vpr.org

With more than 30,000 jobless Vermonters still waiting for their first unemployment checks, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has authorized the state treasury to begin issuing $1,200 checks to people stuck in the backlog.

OR: Oregon's jobless claim system continues to malfunction

oregonlive.com

An error in Oregon’s jobless claims system that confounded scores of workers on Easter Sunday returned, despite the state’s insistence that the problem has been fixed. After several hours the Oregon Employment Department said it has resolved the issue with its systems, which incorrectly told laid-off workers they had to restart their benefits claims.

OK: Flood of evictions expected to hit Oklahoma

oklahoman.com

Attorneys and academics told The Oklahoman a moratorium on eviction hearings, once ended, will be followed by a wave of evictions creating a homeless population not seen since the Great Depression.

MT: Montana sees more mental health hotline calls during pandemic, expands resources

billingsgazette.com

The state expanded some of the mental health services in Montana, after there was a surge in calls to the lifeline and warmline in March. The Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline had already seen a 43% increase in calls between 2018-2019. Both hotlines are there for people seeking mental health help.

MD: Maryland governor signs order for expedited release of prisoners

baltimoresun.com

The order issued by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan speeds up the release of Maryland inmates who were already eligible to be released within the next four months and the processing of inmates eligible for home detention.

CA: California prisons accused of ‘inmate dumping’

sacbee.com

Mendocino County officials claim “inmate dumping” after an inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino who had been exposed to coronavirus was released 500 miles away in Ukiah on April 8 without being quarantined. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said the inmate was screened for signs of illness before being released.

MN: Residents moved from Minnesota assisted living facility amid outbreak of COVID-19

mprnews.org

More than 40 residents of Meridian Manor in Wayzata, Minnesota, were moved to other facilities amid an outbreak of COVID-19 affecting residents and staff members.

MN: How the governor's administration is developing its plans for restarting Minnesota’s economy

minnpost.com

Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has not released a comprehensive plan for reviving business yet, a subject of growing frustration among some Republicans, but his administration has been working behind the scenes over the last week to build its strategy.

AK: How epidemiology detectives are tracking cases in Alaska

adn.com

Every time an Alaskan tests positive for the coronavirus, a small army of nurses leaps into action, launching public health investigations known as “contact tracing.”

DE: Delaware hospitals use triage app to prep ERs for patients

delawarestatenews.net

A Delaware hospital system, in partnership with local emergency medical services teams, has implemented new technology to communicate patients’ medical information prior to their arrival at the hospital.

RI: ACLU sues for release of 3 from Rhode Island jail because of coronavirus

providencejournal.com

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued in federal court to secure the release of three immigrants held at a Rhode Island detention facility, alleging it has “unhygienic conditions.” The three suffer from preexisting health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19, their lawyers say.

NC: North Carolina group opposed to state-at-home order asks for protection from arrest

newsobserver.com

After the arrest of a protester at a rally against Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s pandemic-spawned executive orders prohibiting large gatherings, a group opposing the strict social restrictions is seeking legal protection.

MA: Massachusetts a top concern for federal officials; state in ‘middle of the surge’

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts is becoming a top concern for federal officials responding to the COVID-19 outbreak as the pandemic’s course in the state enters what Republican Gov. Charlie Baker described as “the middle of the surge.”

HI: Things are not good between Hawaii senators and  governor

civilbeat.org

What was supposed to be a briefing on Democratic Gov. David Ige’s plan to slash Hawaii’s operating budget turned into a shouting match between a panel of senators and the governor’s chief of staff, who the senators accused of withholding information vital to developing a response to the coronavirus.

OK: Oklahoma governor sets June election for Medicaid expansion question

apnews.com

GOP Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt set a June 30 election date for voters to decide whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to more Oklahomans. Supporters of expanding Medicaid gathered a record number of signatures to qualify the question for the ballot.

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