Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/12

MO: After a decade of hospitals closing, Southeast Missouri sees rising COVID-19 tide

stltoday.com

In Southeast Missouri, an area hit hard by hospital closures, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging. Health officials are worried, especially as they face the beginning of flu season.

MS: Hurricanes pose growing risk to Mississippi industrial sites with toxic chemicals

sunherald.com

When a storm hits an industrial plant or superfund site in Mississippi, home to contaminated land and toxic chemicals, the fallout can be especially dangerous for people and the environment alike. Along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts, about 1,000 superfund sites are at serious risk of coastal flooding, including in three Mississippi counties.

CO: Deaths in Colorado rose 20% during first 6 months of pandemic

denverpost.com

The number of deaths in Colorado jumped 20% during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, reflecting the outbreak’s grim toll on human life even beyond those killed directly by the virus. COVID-19 has become the fourth leading cause of death in the state.

NV: Nevada reverses ban on rapid tests after federal pushback

apnews.com

Nevada health officials said they would resume the use of rapid “point of care” tests after federal health officials chided them for banning their use and accused them of violating federal law. Nevada’s chief medical officer said his team was “disappointed” in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NJ: Halloween is on in New Jersey, governor says

northjersey.com

Trick-or-treaters can rejoice, as Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy assured New Jersey residents that Halloween won't be canceled this year despite coronavirus concerns.

NY: New York COVID-19 hospitalizations up 73% since September

timesunion.com

The number of people being hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus in New York has increased by 73% over the past month. Fatalities, however, continue to remain low.

OK: Oklahoma's COVID-19 hospitalizations reach new highs 4 of 5 nights

tulsaworld.com

The state also continues to experience record numbers of new cases, with 1,533 reported Saturday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

ID: Idaho shatters single-day record for new COVID-19 cases

idahostatesman.com

Idaho shattered its record for the highest single-day increase in total coronavirus cases, reporting 777 new confirmed and probable cases. The previous record for total new cases was set July 16, when the state recorded 681 new cases.

HI: Former Hawaii residents sue over absentee ballot access

civilbeat.org

Former Hawaii residents have sued the state and federal government over laws they say discriminate against their right to participate in federal elections. Veterans, lawyers and a radio talk-show host living in Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands filed a lawsuit because they can’t get access to absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, despite the fact that former Hawaiians living in foreign countries may do so.

AR: Arkansas officials differed on virus response

arkansasonline.com

Former Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith in May privately expressed concern to the Arkansas surgeon general, Dr. Greg Bledsoe, that Bledsoe was “not on the same page” regarding the state’s COVID-19 response.

ME: Lack of support stalls Maine push for consumer-owned power

pressherald.com

A bill in Maine to replace privately owned electric utilities with a power authority run by an elected board was neutered at the last minute by its sponsor, Democratic Rep. Seth Berry. But Berry and other advocates aren't giving up.

NC: Elections could change makeup of North Carolina’s courts

newsobserver.com

Eight statewide races could change the makeup of North Carolina’s two highest courts and affect voting rights, education and how government agencies enforce regulations. Three North Carolina Supreme Court seats and five Court of Appeals seats are up for grabs on Nov. 3.

CT: Connecticut records more cases, hospitalizations, deaths for second straight week

courant.com

For the second straight week, Connecticut showed troubling trends in four significant COVID-19 metrics: cases, hospitalizations, positivity rate and deaths, state numbers show.

WI: Staffing Wisconsin schools is a ‘nightmare’

jsonline.com

Wisconsin teachers and school staff remain uneasy about returning to face-to-face learning. Even if teachers are comfortable being at school, it's difficult to keep them and other staff at work because of quarantine protocols. And the pandemic is exacerbating a shortage of substitute teachers.

AK: Alaska hospitals warn of COVID-19 patient surge

adn.com

Hospitals in Alaska say the coronavirus pandemic lowers capacity but also makes it made it harder to bring up traveling nurses finding more convenient work in the Lower 48.

WY: Wyoming medical community braces for a hard winter

trib.com

With COVID-19 cases surging like never before, and no sign of the trend relenting, many in Wyoming’s medical community have begun to brace for a long, hard winter.

VT: Letter calling for arrest of Vermont House speaker investigated

vtdigger.org

An anonymous letter mailed to Democratic Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson called for her arrest for “refusing to accept input on public matters from the private citizen (sic) of the state.” The Capitol Police Department is investigating the letter because of its similarity to calls by right-wing activists for a “trial” of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat.

WA: Washington tribes bring new energy, campaign cash to election

seattletimes.com

This year alone, Washington tribes have donated more than $1.3 million to candidates and political committees for state and local offices. The tribal political giving skews overwhelmingly to Democrats in a state where the party has largely held the reins of power for decades.

OR: Oregon layoffs are few, but jobless claims remain stubbornly high

oregonlive.com

Fewer than 4,000 Oregonians filed new jobless claims at the beginning of October, the lowest volume of weekly layoffs since before the pandemic. But the 145,000 who filed continued jobless claims at the end of September — those who remained out of work for at least a second consecutive week — is still 8% higher than any single week during the Great Recession.

AZ: Report says Arizona COVID-19 cases dropped 75% after mask mandate

azcentral.com

COVID-19 cases in Arizona spiked 151% after a statewide stay-at-home order expired and dropped 75% following local mask mandates, says a new report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MD: Maryland referendum would upend a century of governors’ control over budgets

baltimoresun.com

The November ballot includes a proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution that would allow state senators and delegates to move money around within a governor’s proposed state budget — provided they keep the budget balanced and don’t go over the total amount set by the governor.

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