Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/13

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/13

CA: California hits 1M coronavirus cases

latimes.com

Coronavirus infections in California are racing upward at a level not seen since the summer, with the state surpassing 1 million cases. Health officials warn dire action must be taken to stop the spread of the illness.

KY: Kentucky Supreme Court rules governor can issue emergency COVID-19 orders

wlky.com

The state's highest court says Kentucky's Democratic governor acted within his power when making sweeping orders related to the pandemic. Kentucky’s Republican attorney general had challenged the constitutionality of the orders.

WI: Wisconsin COVID-19 cases are worse than New York City peak surge

madison.com

Wisconsin’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases has now surpassed that of New York City at the height of the Big Apple’s dramatic spring outbreak, and the surge continues to accelerate at an alarming rate. Hospitals are brimming with COVID-19 patients, and health care providers are issuing warnings that the system will soon be too swamped to care for them and patients suffering non-COVID-19 medical emergencies

MS: Mississippi's capital city is out of ICU beds

sunherald.com

A surge in coronavirus cases has left no available ICU beds in Jackson, Mississippi, with “very few” available elsewhere in the state, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. State health officials have warned that coronavirus hospitalizations are on track to reach “crisis levels” in Mississippi.

IA: Public apathy frustrates Iowa contact tracers: 'We know people are lying to us'

desmoinesregister.com

Unlike public health officials in big cities, contract tracers in small Iowa health departments know many of the families they’re calling to ask about potential exposure to the virus. But many residents let such calls go to voicemail, or answer but aren’t forthright with the county nurses.

OK: Oklahoma state school board refuses to require masks

oklahoman.com

Although campaigns for statewide mask policies have gained steam, state education officials again declined to require face coverings in Oklahoma public schools.

MT: Montana asks hundreds to pay back jobless benefits for the self-employed

bozemandailychronicle.com

Hundreds of Montanans who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments have been asked to pay back the Montana Department of Labor and Industry — some receiving bills for over $10,000 — because of a federal change to how a person is deemed eligible for the money.

CT: Connecticut investigators find virus spread at restaurants, homes, churches

courant.com

Connecticut infectious disease specialists have investigated 69 coronavirus clusters since August, outbreaks stemming from everything from graduation parties to college hockey teams, and the most clusters have been found among restaurant workers, information obtained by the Courant shows.

WA: Washington has 30M masks in a warehouse, but few are being distributed

seattletimes.com

Sitting in a Washington state government warehouse are more than 30 million N95 masks — enough to provide every one of the state’s health care workers nearly 100 masks each. Some health officials support the state’s reserves, but others suggest the masks are too large for a mostly female health care workforce — and the ordering process is a bureaucratic maze.

HI: Over half of Hawaii's workers' comp COVID-19 claims are initially denied

civilbeat.org

More than 400 Hawaii workers have filed workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 since the pandemic started in Hawaii in February. But more than 55% — 230 out of 425 — were initially denied pending investigations, according to the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

MD: Maryland criminal and civil trials suspended until at least January

baltimoresun.com

Maryland’s closure allows for the continuation of grand juries that are already in session, and district courts will continue to be open for some criminal and traffic cases. Maryland courts shut down on March 16 and operated in a very limited fashion until Oct. 5.

UT: Utah hospital network adds 200 nurses to combat virus surge

apnews.com

Utah hospitals are well into their contingency care protocols, and some have effectively reached 100% ICU capacity, said Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association. Hospitalizations rose with a record 468 COVID-19 patients, and ICU beds reached 83% occupancy statewide, according to state data.

MI: Michigan colleges sending students home early

freep.com

Some Michigan college students will go home early for Thanksgiving, and some schools are ready to cancel on-campus classes for the rest of the school year. In hard-hit areas of the state students are staying in their dorm rooms as much as possible to avoid taking COVID-19 home.

LA: Judge strikes down Louisiana GOP attack on governor’s virus restrictions

theadvocate.com

The judge ruled a law used by Louisiana House Republican lawmakers to order the governor to revoke his coronavirus restrictions is unconstitutional. The ruling dealt a blow to conservatives who have sought for months to loosen the rules.

MA: Public health officials fear evictions could worsen COVID-19 spike in Massachusetts

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expired Oct. 17. With thousands of previously halted eviction cases now reactivated, and new ones likely to flood the system soon, epidemiologists, doctors and housing advocates say an eviction onslaught may heighten the surge in coronavirus cases.

MN: All Minnesotans aged 18-35 urged to get tested

startribune.com

Minnesota health officials say the virus is being disproportionately spread by 18- to 35-year-olds, many of whom may be asymptomatic and unaware they are infected and contagious. So officials are encouraging all Minnesotans in that age group to get tested as soon as possible.

AK: Alaska governor sends video alert to cell phones: COVID-19 is escalating

alaskapublic.org

Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office issued an emergency alert urging Alaskans to take more precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. The alert was sent to cellphones in Alaska, with a link to a YouTube video of the governor. Dunleavy asked Alaskans to change their behavior and said “the next three weeks are critical.”

SC: Most South Carolina businesses will avoid unemployment tax increase, governor says

thestate.com

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, said most South Carolina businesses will not see their unemployment insurance tax rates go up or change next year as the state’s economy continues to grapple with the COVID-19 economic impact.

NC: Lead in North Carolina chief justice race switches as count continues

newsobserver.com

The race for North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice changed leaders as county boards of election continued to count absentee ballots. Since Election Day, Justice Paul Newby, a Republican, led incumbent Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, but Beasley took over that lead late Thursday. Newby and Beasley both hold seats on the Supreme Court bench but their terms expire at the end of the year.

CO: Colorado marijuana sales set to crush annual record

denverpost.com

Pot enthusiasts purchased more than $206.4 million worth of Colorado marijuana products in September. Sales decreased 5.5% compared with August, but are up 33% compared with September 2019 as marijuana experiences a banner year for sales despite the coronavirus pandemic.

State Climate Legislation Reopening Schools

States of Innovation

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