Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/11

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/11

SD: South Dakota demands tribes remove travel checkpoints

argusleader.com

A battle is brewing between a pair of South Dakota Indian tribes and the governor's office over checkpoints set up on the reservations restricting travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OK: Oklahoma agencies prepare for flood of evictions

oklahoman.com

For the social service agencies working to house struggling Oklahoma County residents, the next several months look grim. The county district court reopens May 18, meaning eviction cases will be heard again. 

FL: Florida sees jump in coronavirus cases

tampabay.com

Coronavirus cases continued to climb in Florida, capping the end of the deadliest week on record for the state. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a “soft reopening” last week to slowly revive the state’s economy.

WA: It could take years for Washington's economy to recover

seattletimes.com

By almost every indicator — from lost jobs and shuttered businesses to manufacturing slowdowns and falling tax revenue — the economic damage in Washington has been worse than expected. Some economists are now drawing comparisons, not to earlier recessions, but to natural disasters, whose economic impacts can be particularly hard to overcome.

NY: New York governor says hospitals cannot release patients to nursing homes

timesunion.com

New York will no longer allow hospitals to discharge patients to nursing homes unless they test negative for COVID-19, and staffers in those facilities must also be tested twice a week, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The state has been under fire for its policies relating to the spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes.

MI: In rural Michigan, a push for reopening

detroitnews.com

Michigan's rural Upper Peninsula has a minuscule number of coronavirus cases compared with Detroit, a disparity that is generating dissension in some areas about Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders. Rural residents are increasingly calling for a reopening amid fears of permanent economic damage.

TX: Limited reopening in Texas has limited benefits

texastribune.org

Reopening Texas businesses in a contained way gives the appearance of thawing out a frozen economy while keeping crowds at bay. That might make people feel better, but it's no way to supercharge an economy.

NJ: 72 deaths at a New Jersey home for U.S. veterans

nytimes.com

Half of New Jersey’s COVID-19 fatalities are linked to nursing homes. Nowhere has the devastation been starker than at one built for members of the military.

MO: Pandemic hit Missouri's two biggest cities very differently

stltoday.com

On both sides of the state, very different coronavirus outbreaks have unfolded in Missouri’s two largest metropolitan areas. The reasons are not perfectly clear to many experts. The St. Louis area has seen about 9,500 cases while the Kansas City area has seen 3,700 cases.

CA: California prisons sell masks to state; is price too high?

sacbee.com

The California Prison Industry Authority sold cloth barrier masks for up to $3.10 each to at least 14 state departments in the last three weeks, according to procurement records. By contrast, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is buying surgical masks, which can be disposable after one use, from Chinese manufacturer BYD for 55 cents each.

VA: Virginia misses key marks on testing as officials eye reopening

richmond.com

Virginia is slowly beginning to reopen, but testing numbers still haven’t met many of the key goals laid out by public health experts, federal and the state’s own leaders. Virginia’s hospitals are no longer reporting supply shortages, demand for hospital beds remains below the state’s capacity, but the state remains far from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s goal of 10,000 tests a day.

NC: Pictures of armed protestors in North Carolina sandwich shop draw attention

newsobserver.com

A dozen people walked through downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, with weapons and flags on the first full day of Phase 1 reopening — when some coronavirus-related restrictions loosened. Protesters were seen in photos ordering sandwiches from Subway. One was carrying an AT4 rocket launcher, with a sticker saying “inert” on it, slung over his back.

SC: Pressure mounts on South Carolina lawmakers to expand absentee voting

thestate.com

Poll workers are on short supply in some counties and candidates are spending money pushing voters to cast absentee ballots, but South Carolina’s governor and some legislative leaders say they see no reason to take legislative action required to expand the reasons for voting absentee. The legislature returns to work this week.

AK: Domestic abuse hotline calls have increased 50% in Alaska

adn.com

Alaska organizations serving domestic violence and sexual assault victims have experienced a surge in hotline calls as residents hunker down during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Alaska’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

WY: Former Wyoming government workers team up to facilitate PPE donations from China

wyomingnews.com

The roots of the partnership with China date back to June 2012 when a Wyoming mayor signed an agreement to form a sister city with Yulin, a city in the Shaanxi province.

DE: No year-end evaluations for Delaware teachers, governor says

delawareonline.com

End of the year evaluations, professional development requirements and assessments for Delaware teachers have been waived in the wake of coronavirus, according to the latest modification to Democratic Gov. John Carney's state of emergency.

OR: Oregon counties scramble to get reopening plans to governor

oregonlive.com

Oregon’s 36 counties are scrambling to complete their proposals to reopen and get them approved by Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat. Brown began accepting applications Friday, and the Association of Oregon Counties said 23 immediately submitted one, though Brown’s office only listed 13.

ID: Idaho to cut $99M from school budget

idahostatesman.com

Teachers would be frozen on Idaho’s salary career ladder, and technology and IT funding would be reduced, under a new plan to cut K-12 funding by almost $99 million next year. Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, said that the state's budget will not balance without the cuts.

HI: Hawaii governor balks at plan to issue loans to jobless residents whose claims are delayed

civilbeat.org

Hawaii's backlog of jobless claims has left more than 90,000 residents in limbo, and state Sen. Laura Thielen, a Democrat, wants the state to offer loans to such workers to keep them afloat until their unemployment checks finally arrive. But Gov. David Ige, a fellow Democrat, said he would not set up the program, instead focusing on clearing the unprocessed claims.

CO: Colorado legislature delays reconvening until late May

coloradosun.com

The Colorado General Assembly was set to resume the 2020 legislative session May 18 after taking a months-long pause because of the new coronavirus. But the reopening will now be May 26.

NV: Nevada laboratory to begin COVID-19 antibody testing

reviewjournal.com

The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory plans to begin antibody studies this month of those on the front lines of the pandemic and of the general public to better understand what portion of the population has been infected by the new coronavirus and may have developed some immunity.

AZ: Arizona Senate votes to end legislative session

azcentral.com

Arizona senators voted 24-6 to end the annual session — a largely symbolic move designed to force the House's hand, according to Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican. Ending the session would effectively kill hundreds of bills covering a host of topics.

UT: Nearly 1 in 4 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Utah has diabetes

deseret.com

More than half of Utah’s hospitalized cases have had at least one underlying health issue, according to the Utah Department of Health. While former smokers make up the highest number of cases with a defined underlying condition, those with diabetes have required hospitalization at a higher rate — 23% — followed by those with cardiovascular conditions — 18%. 

MN: Health officials encourage more Minnesotans to seek testing for COVID-19

startribune.com

Even as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continues to soar, the push to dramatically expand testing is coming up short because not enough people with symptoms are seeking tests.

WI: While concerns remain about reaching people of color, Wisconsin's free coronavirus testing is for everyone

jsonline.com

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, clarified that it is making free coronavirus testing available to everyone at community testing sites throughout Wisconsin. The update came after the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty raised concerns about plans to expand testing among African American, Latino and tribal community members in the state.

PA: Pennsylvania had early plan to protect nursing homes from the coronavirus, but never fully implemented it

spotlightpa.org

Similar measures to those envisioned were later put in place in Pennsylvania, but only after widespread outbreaks were already underway.

PA: Some Pennsylvania counties push to exclude nursing home cases from reopening formula, but experts caution against it

spotlightpa.org

As the coronavirus continues to tear through Pennsylvania’s nursing and personal-care homes, pressure is mounting on the governor's Democratic administration to exclude those cases when deciding which counties can relax restrictions so people can begin resuming some of the normal patterns of daily life.

VT: Vermont governor says child care facilities can reopen June 1

vpr.org

Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the child care providers that were ordered to close their doors in March will be allowed to welcome kids back to their facilities next month.

NH: It’s business as not-quite-usual as New Hampshire loosens some limits on economy

nhpr.org

New Hampshire retail stores, hair salons, and barbershops will be permitted to allow customers back inside for the first time since Republican Gov. Chris Sununu instituted limits to curtail the spread of coronavirus nearly two months ago.

ME: How Maine restaurants will cautiously reopen under governor’s relaxed plan

bangordailynews.com

Maine restaurateurs are facing yet another difficult business decision during the novel coronavirus pandemic: whether to reopen under a new plan that allows dine-in service in most counties starting May 18, two weeks ahead of the original plan and in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

AL: Alabama Senate leader stands by idea of using CARES Act money for new State House

al.com

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, a Republican, stood by the proposal of using federal CARES Act money for a new State House, although he stressed that expansion of broadband access in Alabama would be a higher priority.

GA: More ways for Georgians to go outside as COVID-19 rules ease

apnews.com

Georgians are increasingly regaining access to outdoor spaces as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, even as some officials continue to express concern that the decrease in restrictions is poorly planned. The state has now passed 33,000 confirmed cases and 1,400 confirmed deaths.

LA: Louisiana conservatives make bid to restrain state spending amid coronavirus. Will it pass?

theadvocate.com

At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has blown a giant hole in the Louisiana budget, conservative legislators see an opportunity to push through restrictions in government spending that have failed in the past.

NM: New Mexico nursing homes see cases rise

abqjournal.com

An explosion of cases erupted inside New Mexico long-term care facilities – a trend seen across the country. More than 342 long-term care patients in New Mexico have tested positive, with 79 people dying of the highly contagious disease.

MD: Maryland hospitals turn to salary cuts, furloughs

baltimoresun.com

As hospitals around Maryland grappled with a flood of coronavirus patients, treatment for other patients dropped so much that the executives are now turning to salary cuts, furloughs and other measures to cope with the loss in revenue. About four-dozen acute care hospitals in Maryland expect to lose about $1 billion in revenue from April through June.

KY: Kentucky churches can gather for in-person worship services, judge rules

kentucky.com

Two federal judges issued rulings in favor of Kentucky churches that want to hold in-person worship services, and a third court issued a similar ruling.

KY: As Kentucky ramps up contact tracing, some local health directors feel out of the loop

kentucky.com

With Kentucky slated to begin opening next week, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration is trying feverishly to increase the state’s capacity for contact tracing, which is considered a key factor in helping to limit the spread of the disease.

OH: Ohio still working to ramp up coronavirus testing as businesses reopen

dispatch.com

Ohio is trying to step up its COVID-19 testing by making deals to obtain 1 million swabs and reagent. GOP Gov. Mike DeWine has said testing will increase dramatically in May.

MA: Coronavirus expected to trigger plummeting Massachusetts college enrollment, revenue

bostonherald.com

The coronavirus could force change on Boston area colleges — and higher ed institutions across Massachusetts and the nation — as enrollment is likely to drop this fall amid the unpredictable pandemic, experts tell the Herald.

CT: Connecticut orders improved communication with nursing homes

courant.com

Connecticut officials distributed 800 iPads to nursing homes across the state, giving locked-down residents the tools to communicate with their families. Through powers granted by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, the public health commissioner ordered nursing homes to arrange a schedule so family members can talk to one other.

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