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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/12

OH: Ohio governor’s plans for mask order, closures draw pushback

dispatch.com

As Republican Gov. Mike DeWine warned Ohioans of new COVID-19 restrictions, members of his own party discussed ways to stop him. DeWine laid out plans for a new mask order that would close businesses for up to 24 hours if they let employees or customers go without masks, and said he could close bars, restaurants and gyms as early as next week.

ID: Idaho's coronavirus surge overwhelms primary care clinics

apnews.com

Idaho’s unchecked spread of the coronavirus has become so overwhelming in some areas that medical care providers are struggling to even answer all the phone calls from would-be patients. One in every 209 people in the state tested positive for coronavirus in the past week.

GA: Hand recount moves ahead under interpretation of Georgia election rules

ajc.com

The decision by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to combine different parts of the state’s recount and audit procedures will result in a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that’s never been attempted before.

FL: Tropical storm causes unusual flooding in South Florida

miamiherald.com

South Florida is no stranger to flooding, but Tropical Storm Eta’s floodwaters soaked neighborhoods that usually stay dry and set fresh and scary high water marks in some new areas. Experts attribute it to the already-soaked ground, Eta’s storm surge and climate change.

KY, OH: Crash shuts down bridges between Kentucky, Ohio

cincinnati.com

Two bridges connecting Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, closed after a fiery crash on the Brent Spence Bridge, creating a traffic nightmare in both states that could last weeks.

ND: North Dakota leads nation in daily new COVID-19 cases per capita

apnews.com

North Dakota continues to lead the nation in daily new COVID-19 cases per capita with one in every 83 residents of the state testing positive for the virus in just the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

WI: Wisconsin hurtling toward hospital ‘tipping point’

jsonline.com

Wisconsin is approaching a point where its hospitals may not be able to save everyone who needs saving as the coronavirus continues to surge, health officials warned. Hospitalizations are at a record high, with just 8% of the total ICU beds in the state available.

MT: US health team arrives to help as virus surges in Montana

apnews.com

As COVID-19 cases in Montana continue to surge, the state’s chief epidemiologist said the spread of the coronavirus has stressed medical services in the state to the brink, and he predicted the situation will get worse as winter sets in.

WY: As cases rise, Wyoming brings in medical backup

trib.com

The temporary medical professionals will be available to help hospitals treat patients and alleviate the overwhelming workload carried by Wyoming doctors and nurses.

PA: COVID-19 outbreak threatens hundreds at Pennsylvania prison for medically vulnerable

spotlightpa.org

A serious coronavirus outbreak is unfolding inside the Pennsylvania prison facility for medically vulnerable inmates diagnosed with cancer or other health problems, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are urgently pushing for a release plan.

AK: Alaska sees surging cases of children in mental health crisis

ktoo.org

According to data from one Alaska hospital, during the nine-month period from July 2019 to last March, children made up about 4% of the patients seen in the emergency department for behavioral health crises. After the pandemic began and schools moved to online learning, that number shot up. Between April and June of this year, children made up almost 20% of the cases.

IL: More than a third of Illinois teachers say they’ve thought of leaving the profession

chicagotribune.com

More than a third of Illinois teachers surveyed said they’ve considered leaving the profession amid the safety concerns and debilitating stress of the pandemic, officials at the state’s largest teachers union said. The departures would come at a critical time coinciding with teacher shortages at many school districts across the state and a spike in teacher retirements.

IN: Indiana governor announces restrictions for certain counties amid COVID-19 surge

indystar.com

After Indiana reported yet another record for daily coronavirus cases, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced new restrictions for counties that reach a certain level of spread.

NY: New York governor imposes new coronavirus restrictions

timesunion.com

Gyms, bars and restaurants in New York state will be required to close at 10 p.m., and private gatherings at people's homes will be capped at 10 people, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. New York has seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

LA: Judge upholds Louisiana church restrictions

theadvocate.com

A federal judge reaffirmed that Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has the authority to put "reasonable restrictions" on religious activity in the pandemic. It was a defeat for a Baton Rouge megachurch that challenged restrictions on gathering size.

MS: Mississippi governor extends mask mandate for some counties

sunherald.com

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, is extending a mask mandate in 15 of the state's counties. The mandate now expires on Dec. 11.

MA: Wastewater virus test results offer troubling prediction in Massachusetts

boston25news.com

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is now testing seven days a week, posting daily results as well as a seven-day average trend line that shows high transmission rates. This wastewater testing method picks up the virus from people who may not know they have it yet, presenting an early warning sign to health officials.

DE: Delaware prisons suspend in-person visits again

delawarepublic.org

The Delaware Department of Correction is suspending in-person visitation in state prisons again. The first suspension during the pandemic was in response to a July outbreak of nearly 400 cases between two state prisons.

WI: Wisconsin residents waiting on unemployment are desperate

jsonline.com

Legislators and crisis centers have heard increasing desperation from Wisconsin residents waiting on their unemployment over eight months of the pandemic. Some crisis center workers say the economic impact of the pandemic has exacted more strain on people than the Great Recession. 

UT: Utah Democrats see leads tighten or disappear in 4 state House races

sltrib.com

On election night, Utah Democrats led in three GOP-held state House districts and narrowly trailed in one other, but those numbers have changed dramatically in the ensuing week. As of Wednesday, that split was 2-2. Control of the legislature is not in doubt as Republicans will maintain their veto-proof supermajority.

CA: California voters give new property tax breaks to older homeowners

latimes.com

The success of Proposition 19 means that Californians 55 and older will be able to blend the taxable value of their old home with the value of a new, more expensive home they purchase, resulting in property tax savings that could reach thousands of dollars a year.

HI: Hawaii legislature may consider recreational marijuana

civilbeat.org

Legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Hawaii might finally get some political traction at the legislature now that 15 other states have taken the plunge and because there is a need for more tax revenue due to the pandemic. State Attorney General Clare Connors, a Democrat, has assembled a working group to advise lawmakers on the issues involved in legalizing and regulating marijuana.

CT: Deadly car crashes in Connecticut spiked after early pandemic restrictions

courant.com

As officials rapidly rolled out restrictions that kept millions home, Connecticut roads became far less crowded, but much more deadly, new research shows. A research report found that deadly one-car crashes more than quadrupled from late March to the end of April.

FL: South Florida layoffs continue as tourism recovery stalls

miamiherald.com

South Florida hotel and dining establishments are continuing to shed workers. It’s a sign that the already-feeble economic recovery in a key regional industry may be stalling out.

ME: Maine voters approve hazard pay for Portland workers; officials delay implementation

bangordailynews.com

Lawyers for the city of Portland, Maine, are arguing that a voter-approved initiative giving Portland workers hazard pay at 1 1/2 times the minimum wage during states of emergency doesn’t take effect until 2022. That legal interpretation puts the city at odds with the ballot measure’s proponents, who argue that the provision takes effect next month.

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