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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/28

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/28

GA: More than 50 Georgia restaurant owners unite in decision not to reopen

ajc.com

As Georgia restaurants have been given the green light to reopen their restaurants for dine-in service, with restrictions, a group of more than 50 restaurant owners in Atlanta and Savannah, have prepared a unified statement: “We agree that it’s in the best interest of our employees, our guest, our community, and our industry to keep our dining room closed.”

OK: Pandemic complicates Medicaid expansion efforts in Oklahoma

oklahoman.com

Oklahoma is on track to expand Medicaid on July 1, but legislators still don’t know how to pay for the state’s share of the expansion. Skyrocketing unemployment claims mean the expansion, and costs for the state’s current Medicaid program, could be about $100 million more than previously anticipated.

CO, NV: Colorado, Nevada join West Coast states in coronavirus response

denverpost.com

Governors of Colorado and Nevada have joined California, Oregon and Washington in the Western States Pact. The pact is a working group of governors ­ — all Democrats — with similar ideas for modifying stay-at-home orders and battling the spread of coronavirus. 

NH: New Hampshire aims to test anyone with symptoms

wmur.com

New Hampshire is aiming to conduct 1,500 coronavirus tests per day, with the goal to make testing available for any Granite Staters with COVID-19 symptoms, state officials announced.

US: US is reopening, but ‘normal’ is still a ways off

apnews.com

Everyone wants to know: When, oh when, will it go back to normal? As some governors across the United States begin to ease restrictions, hopes are soaring that life as Americans knew it might be returning. But plans emerging in many states indicate that “normal” is still a long way off.

NV: Nevada bump in coronavirus cases linked to Easter get-togethers

thenevadaindependent.com

Officials in Washoe County, Nevada, say they recently saw a bump in people testing positive for COVID-19 — some of which can be linked to people attending Easter get-togethers with extended family in spite of advice that Nevadans only spend time with people from their own households.

NY: New York cancels Democratic presidential primary

timesunion.com

The state Board of Elections called off New York's Democratic presidential primary, effectively designating former Vice President Joe Biden as the winner of the state's delegates. Holding elections only for contested primaries would reduce voter turnout by about 70%, elections officials said.

CA: Lawsuit filed after California demonstrations banned

sacbee.com

Days after the California Highway Patrol banned demonstrations at the state Capitol and other state properties because of coronavirus fears, a gun store employee and a Republican congressional candidate filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and the CHP of a “gross abuse of their power.”

OR: Oregon records highest test result total in one day

oregonlive.com

The Oregon Health Authority reported the state’s largest number of new coronavirus test results in a single day as the illness claimed one additional life and confirmed cases climbed to 2,354. Over 2,200 new people received coronavirus test results, the first time test results in the state have surpassed 2,000 in a single day.

LA: Louisiana coronavirus stay-at-home order extended

theadvocate.com

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, will extend the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, keeping a wide swath of the state’s economy at a standstill in an effort to tamp down the spread of the coronavirus in one of the country’s hardest-hit states.

GA: CDC, Georgia to conduct coronavirus antibody survey

ajc.com

Georgia state officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to conduct antibody surveys in Fulton and DeKalb counties to try to pinpoint who might have had COVID-19 and better understand the spread of the disease.

IA: Iowa governor lifts some business restrictions

desmoinesregister.com

Some businesses in 77 of Iowa's 99 counties can begin operating again, with limited capacity, starting Friday. The counties that can partially re-open either have no coronavirus activity or have seen a downward trend in positive cases over the past 14 days, said Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

TN: Tennessee governor reopens state as positive cases grow

tennessean.com

As Tennessee has relaxed its standards for conducting tests and implemented mass testing sites statewide, a smaller percentage of total tests have come back positive. However, the positive case count is still increasing.

NE: Nebraska governor defends decision to ease restrictions

apnews.com

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts defended his decision to ease social-distancing restrictions in some parts of Nebraska, even though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surged in the last few days.

NJ: Governor unveils 6-point reopening strategy for New Jersey

nj.com

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy revealed a six-point recovery plan that calls for widespread testing and contact tracing after at least two weeks of declines in case and hospitalizations. But Murphy’s plan did not include any timetable and he warned that the current stay-at-home order will remain “in its entirety until further notice."

MO: Missouri governor says all businesses can reopen May 4

columbiamissourian.com

Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson's plan, which consists of two phases, rests on four pillars: expanding testing capacity and volume in the state, expanding reserves of personal protective equipment, continuing to expand the state's health care capacity if necessary and improving the ability to predict outbreaks using state data.

WA: Washington to reopen state parks, fishing, golf

seattletimes.com

Washington will partially reopen outdoor recreation activities on May 5, including many previously shuttered state parks, public lands, boat ramps and recreational hunting and fishing, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced. State parks, public lands and public water access points have been closed since late March.

HI: Hawaii's testing efforts bolstered by ambitious mobile operation

civilbeat.org

Since mid-March, Hawaii's mobile testing brigade has conducted dozens of drive-thru screening events throughout the state, testing as many as 700 people in four hours. The group, which screens anyone who shows up, is responsible for giving about 10,000 tests, or roughly a third of all tests statewide.

MN: Skirmish brews over federal money sent to Minnesota

mprnews.org

Republican lawmakers in Minnesota say what happens with more than $1.8 billion in federal aid shouldn’t be Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s decision to make on his own. A bill would give the legislature some control.

NC: Leader of North Carolina protest group tests positive for COVID-19

newsobserver.com

One of the leaders of a North Carolina group opposing Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home measures has identified herself as having tested positive for the virus.

PA: Pennsylvania senators threaten subpoena if governor refuses to turn over list of business waivers

spotlightpa.org

Two Republican state senators are threatening to issue a subpoena if Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration fails to produce all records related to its secretive process for awarding waivers to allow certain Pennsylvania businesses to continue operating during the shutdown.

VT: Vermont governor seeks more control over $1.25B federal package

vtdigger.org

Republican Gov. Phil Scott is asking Vermont lawmakers to give him more authority to spend federal COVID-19 funding on an emergency basis without their approval. But legislators rejected an initial request to increase the amount the governor can spend unilaterally from $60 million to $200 million, retaining oversight over the vast majority.

MD: Under pressure, Maryland to post data on nursing homes

baltimoresun.com

Amid pressure from families, patient advocates and the nursing home industry, Maryland said that it will begin releasing data on coronavirus infections and deaths at long-term care facilities this week. State officials previously had argued that disclosing how many cases or deaths have occurred at specific facilities would compromise patients’ privacy.

VT: Governor's administration pledges comprehensive contact tracing in Vermont

vtdigger.org

Vermont’s health commissioner, Dr. Mark Levine, said that every person known to have come into contact with someone with a confirmed COVID-19 infection in Vermont will receive follow-up communications from state investigators — from now on.

PA: Legal team that overturned Pennsylvania gerrymandering sues to relax state’s absentee ballot deadlines

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot deadline must be extended during the coronavirus emergency or some voters will be unconstitutionally disenfranchised, a group of nonpartisan advocacy groups said in a lawsuit.

WI: New 'safer at home' order allows Wisconsin businesses to reopen with curbside drop-off services

madison.com

Any Wisconsin business that can safely provide curbside drop-off services will be allowed to do so under updated business restrictions announced by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

FL: Florida reopening in 'baby steps': governor

tampabay.com

Florida is slowing the coronavirus outbreak better than anyone could have expected, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said. But he cautioned that a quick restart of Florida’s economy is unlikely.

TX: Texas governor to let malls, restaurants reopen as stay-at-home order expires

dallasnews.com

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced he will let his executive order requiring Texans to stay at home expire and allow businesses to reopen with conditions. For instance, malls can open but not food courts, and museums and movie theaters may resume with 25% maximum occupancy.

MI: Michigan economy to restart by region

bridgemi.com

Michigan workplaces that reopen in coming months won’t look like the ones that employees remember before the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made clear. Those who work outside will reopen first, like construction workers and landscapers.

MD: Maryland releases about 200 juveniles from detention

baltimoresun.com

Maryland officials have released about 200 youths, nearly one-third of the state’s detained juvenile population, in response to court rulings emphasizing the need to keep juveniles safe during the pandemic. Most were being held on nonviolent and misdemeanor charges.

WV: West Virginia governor unveils 6-week plan for reopening the state

wvgazettemail.com

Republican Gov. Jim Justice unveiled a six-week plan to reopen West Virginia in phases, each contingent upon three consecutive days of daily positive test rates of 3% or less. Justice stressed that the reopening plan will not mark a return to normalcy but to a new normal until an effective treatment or vaccine is developed.

CO: Colorado drafts rules to allow some to stay on unemployment

denverpost.com

In an executive order, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis directed the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to ensure people would not lose benefits if they refused to go back to work and their workplace had “COVID-19-related demonstrable, unsafe working conditions.”

SC: Alligators take over South Carolina beach

thestate.com

Alligators are continuing to assert themselves in South Carolina as coronavirus lockdowns keep visitors from beaches and parks along parts of the coast. A “juvenile alligator” showed up on a beach at Kiawah Island, which closed its public beach park March 19.

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