Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/26

UT: Utah hospitals prepare to ration intensive care

sltrib.com

Under the criteria proposed by the Utah Hospital Association, which would require Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s approval, patients who are getting worse despite receiving intensive care would be moved out first. In the event that two patients' conditions are equal, the young get priority over the old, since older patients are more likely to die.

GA: Georgia at high risk of militia threat around elections, new report says

ajc.com

A new report by a group that typically monitors political violence abroad named Georgia as one of five high-risk states for far-right militia activity around the November election.

WI: Wisconsin contact tracers are overwhelmed

jsonline.com

With an average of 3,400 new cases pouring in each day just in the past week — the third highest per-person rate in the United States — Wisconsin contact tracers are now so overrun that some have begun to wonder whether the job is futile.

NY: Lines stretch for blocks as New Yorkers turn out for inaugural early voting

nytimes.com

Voters in New York City waited hours to cast ballots during the first time early voting has been allowed in the state in a presidential election. Recent mishaps involving mail-in ballots seemed to drive many voters to the polls.

MA: Source of infections unknown in half of Massachusetts COVID-19 cases, state says

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts acknowledged it has not been able to determine the source of infection in about half of COVID-19 cases, an information gap that epidemiologists say could limit the ability to respond to outbreaks and control transmission of the disease.

FL: Florida Democrats struggle to control state Senate

tampabay.com

Florida’s government could undergo a seismic shift it hasn’t seen in more than a quarter century. Democrats are three state Senate seats away from sharing power with Republicans, but doing so is harder than it looks.

TX: Massive early voting numbers in Texas continue

texastribune.org

Experts are predicting that as many as 12 million people could vote in Texas this year. The state could reach turnout levels unseen so far this century.

LA: Louisiana GOP lawmakers call for end to coronavirus restrictions

theadvocate.com

Louisiana Republican lawmakers sent the governor a petition to cancel all virus restrictions, from the mask mandate to rules requiring social distancing at bars and restaurants. But Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards showed no indication he would play along.

CO: Colorado health order limits personal gatherings to 10 people

cpr.org

Personal gatherings are now limited to 10 people from no more than two households in all Colorado counties at all three "Safer at Home" levels. Some counties, like Denver, Adams and Boulder, have already instituted stricter orders on gathering sizes.

AZ: Arizona COVID-19 cases rising at fastest rate since June

azcentral.com

Arizona reported nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 cases, the most in about a month. The past several weeks have seen relatively higher daily case reports as the virus spreads at its fastest rate in Arizona since June.

NV: Trump campaign sues in Nevada to stop Vegas-area count

apnews.com

The Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans asked a state judge to stop the count of Las Vegas-area mail-in ballots, alleging that “meaningful observation” of signature-checking is impossible in the state’s biggest and most Democratic-leaning county.

ME: Maine reports largest COVID-19 spike since May as Trump campaigns there

pressherald.com

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 61 cases of the novel coronavirus and no additional deaths, a spike in case numbers larger than any daily increase seen since May. Although one day’s case numbers do not reflect an epidemiological trend, Maine’s 7-day daily case average has been trending upward.

VT: Vermont hockey rink cases continue to grow

burlingtonfreepress.com

The number of positive COVID-19 cases linked to a central Vermont hockey center continue to grow and are now up to 43. This central Vermont outbreak has affected two colleges, seven schools, seven workplaces and two hospitals, state health officials said.

VA: Virginia officials review offers for Confederate monuments

richmond.com

With 22 proposals in hand for the Confederate monuments they took down this summer, Virginia leaders are grappling with practical and ethical concerns that come with divesting. Museums, historical associations, heritage groups and individuals all have expressed interest in what’s available, as a lawsuit lingers over the disposition of the state-owned tribute to Robert E. Lee in Richmond.

NC: ‘Forever chemicals’ could be in 1M North Carolinians’ drinking water

newsobserver.com

Compounds known as forever chemicals are likely contaminating the source of drinking water for more than a million North Carolina residents by running from the Haw River into the Cape Fear River, Duke University researchers said.

SC: US Justice Department asks South Carolina high court to reverse ruling on governor

thestate.com

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is trying to convince the South Carolina Supreme Court to reverse its 5-0 decision that earlier this month prohibited Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, from spending $32 million in federal coronavirus relief funds on state private schools.

OK: Oklahoma City hits next stage of hospital surge plan

oklahoman.com

Almost 1,000 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients were in Oklahoma hospitals, and the situation could get a lot worse soon. By Christmas Eve, more than 2,700 sickened by the disease could fill hospital beds in the state, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects.

NJ: New Jersey reports highest daily coronavirus case number since May

northjersey.com

New Jersey reported 1,994 new coronavirus cases, the highest total since May 5. Following the case report, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy extended New Jersey's public health emergency.

AR: Arkansas falls behind on contact tracing

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas contact tracers still fail to reach hundreds of people each week who were exposed to someone with COVID-19, and those numbers are growing, an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette review of public records found.

CT: Record-breaking number of absentee ballots have been returned in Connecticut 

courant.com

More than 455,000 absentee ballots have been returned in Connecticut, accounting for roughly 20% of the state’s registered voters. A total of 659,894 absentee ballots have been processed in the state for the November election, meaning they have been sent out to voters, but have not yet been returned to municipal registrars.

DC: District of Columbia public schools will open with on-site rapid testing

wamu.org

District of Columbia Public Schools announced more safety measures at schools for the expected resumption of in-person learning Nov. 9, including a $24 million update to filtration systems and on-site rapid testing for symptomatic individuals.

IN: Record number of Indiana voters requested early ballots

apnews.com

More than 1 million Indiana voters requested early ballots this fall amid worries about the coronavirus, a record number but still lower than officials initially projected.

MD: Rural Maryland county is first to close schools again amid virus surge

apnews.com

A rural Maryland county has closed its schools amid a spike in coronavirus cases, becoming the first county in the state to scale back learning in classrooms after officials there reopened schools. As of Friday, Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland had the highest number of confirmed new cases per 100,000 population during the past seven days.

WV: Judge denies injunction over West Virginia school virus map

apnews.com

A West Virginia teachers’ union lost its bid to stop the state from using its color-coded map to decide whether counties can hold in-person public school classes and athletic competitions during the coronavirus pandemic.

WA: Military, police in Washington prepare for civil unrest after election

seattletimes.com

As tension builds toward Election Day, law enforcement officials in Washington state and elsewhere are preparing for the prospect that this year’s long, hot summer of unrest won’t end Nov. 3. If anything, officials worry that pressure will only build in the coming weeks, faced with the possibility of a contested election, spiking gun sales and ongoing civil unrest.

OR: Oregon lawmakers send $100M to wildfire relief, vote against homeless shelters

statesmanjournal.com

Oregon lawmakers dedicated nearly $100 million for wildfire recovery during a five-hour meeting of the Emergency Board committee that some described as one of their hardest days in public office. A $35 million proposal that would have provided money for grants toward purchasing and renovating of hotels and motels for homeless shelters failed amid concerns about how it would function.

ID: Idaho sets new record in case average

idahostatesman.com

Idaho again set a record seven-day moving average with a daily case rate of 889.14 over the past week. The state has consistently broken its record 12 days in a row amid a surge of new cases and record hospitalizations.

HI: To reclaim ancestral land, all Native Hawaiians need is a $300K mortgage and to wait in line for decades

staradvertiser.com

Under state law, anyone who is at least half Hawaiian and 18 or older is considered a beneficiary of the land trust and entitled to get a homestead in a “prompt and efficient manner.” But in reality, only Hawaiians with the financial means and knowledge to navigate the complicated system are able to get homesteads with relative ease while thousands of others continue a generations-long wait for the land that is their birthright.

MS: Mississippi voters to decide on medical marijuana

sunherald.com

Mississippi voters will be asked if they approve changing the state constitution to allow medical marijuana. The Mississippi State Department of Health has released a resolution opposing the measure.

NH: Guns will be allowed in most New Hampshire polling places

nhpr.org

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office says state and local authorities can’t prevent people from bringing guns into polling places, even those located in school buildings — but they will be on alert to respond to anyone, armed or otherwise, who is interfering with someone else's ability to vote.

CA: Some residents attack COVID-19 measures in Northern California’s ‘state of Jefferson’

sacbee.com

In the counties that make up Jefferson — a decades-old movement to break off conservative northern counties from Democrat-controlled California — the sweeping pandemic edicts out of Sacramento are the latest in a long line of grievances about California’s liberal policies, from new gas taxes, to minimum wage hikes, to environmental restrictions, to gun control.

IL: Illinois sets new single-day COVID-19 record

chicagotribune.com

Illinois set a record high number of confirmed daily coronavirus cases as a surge continues. The 6,161 cases announced by state public health officials far surpassed the single-day record of 4,942 from Thursday.

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