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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/16

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/16

WA: Washington governor issues sweeping restrictions on indoor gatherings, restaurants, bars

seattletimes.com

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, has ordered broad restrictions and shutdowns for restaurants, theaters, gyms and all indoor gatherings in an effort to slow the state’s burgeoning coronavirus epidemic.

AZ, NM, UT: Navajo Nation to issue stay-at-home order

apnews.com

The Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah will reinstate a stay-at-home lockdown for the entire reservation while closing tribal offices and requiring new closures and safety measures for businesses. The lockdown goes into effect for a three-week period.

US: Poll workers contract the coronavirus, but Election Day link unclear

apnews.com

Despite painstaking efforts to keep election sites safe, some poll workers who came in contact with voters on Election Day have tested positive for COVID-19, including more than two dozen in Missouri and others in New York, Iowa, Indiana and Virginia. The infections cannot be tied definitively to polling places, but the infections raise concerns.

MI: Michigan shutters in-person dining, school sports

mlive.com

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced new COVID-19 restrictions amid spiking cases, hospitalizations and deaths throughout Michigan. She and state health officials announced a three-week period of new restrictions.

ME: Some hardy Maine schools to continue outdoor classes in winter

pressherald.com

After a big push to incorporate outdoor learning into schools this fall, the Portland Public Schools district is bracing for winter, purchasing 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves and distributing them to students. Schools around Maine are partnering with outside and community groups to carry outdoor learning into the winter.

WV: West Virginia tightens mask mandate, delays youth sports

apnews.com

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that facial coverings will be required at all times in businesses and other indoor spaces. The Republican governor said businesses will need to post signs notifying entrants of the mask requirement under his executive order.

VT: Vermont governor closes bars, clubs

vtdigger.org

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, said the state is “at a tipping point” with the recent influx of COVID-19 cases. He announced a ban on inter-household gatherings, the closure of bars and social clubs and the cancellation of recreational sports leagues as the COVID-19 case count rises in Vermont.

NV: Nevada governor warns state at ‘critical juncture’

apnews.com

A day after announcing he’d tested positive for COVID-19, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak warned that Nevada’s response to the coronavirus outbreak was at “a critical juncture” as the state reported a record number of new confirmed cases for the second day in a row.

OR: Oregon fails to test enough residents as need hits all-time high

oregonlive.com

The number of Oregonians who have tested for COVID-19 has barely budged amid a record-setting wave of infections, with health care systems and state officials failing to deliver at a time of great need. Public health experts say Oregon’s inadequate rate of coronavirus testing means large numbers of cases have and continue to silently spread across the state, seeding new infections.

ND: North Dakota governor changes tack and issues mask mandate

apnews.com

After months of refusing to order the people of North Dakota to wear masks and limit the size of gatherings, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum relented in an effort to stem a coronavirus surge that is among the worst in the US and threatens to overwhelm the state’s hospitals.

NY: COVID-19 surge unsettles New York state workers

timesunion.com

Some labor leaders are questioning why many New York state workers are being directed to return to workplaces if the state, and the nation, appear to be experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus.

OK: 2 Oklahoma House members test positive for COVID-19

tulsaworld.com

The Oklahoma House is working with the State Department of Health on contact tracing after two lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19. One of them had attended the swearing-in ceremony for legislators shortly before testing positive.

CT: Second wave of COVID-19 deaths in Connecticut isn’t concentrated in nursing homes

courant.com

Unlike in the spring, when the coronavirus killed thousands of residents in nursing homes, a much broader cross section of the population in Connecticut is dying from COVID-19, a Courant review of death certificates from October shows.

NJ: More New Jersey school districts switch to all-remote learning as COVID-19 cases rise

nj.com

The move away from classroom instruction and toward all-remote learning in New Jersey schools is escalating as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the state.

MN: Minnesota GOP sent virus alert only to its side of the aisle

startribune.com

Republican state senators and staffers in Minnesota were informed in a memo that “a number of [GOP Senate] members and staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19.” Members of the other major party, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, weren’t informed of the rash of cases on the other side of the aisle even as lawmakers were together for a special session.

VA: Election night confusion in Virginia could lead to changes in vote results reporting

richmond.com

Virginia’s election system wasn’t designed for the 2.8 million early votes cast in the election — a whopping two-thirds of the state’s total turnout. State officials are now considering changes to the way the state reports election results for ballots cast weeks or days before the election.

MS: Mississippi health officials say sports, in-person classes may need to pause to fight COVID-19

sunherald.com

Mississippi’s top health officer and epidemiologist both recommended that schools consider pausing in-person classes and extracurricular activities like football games to help control the rapid increase in coronavirus cases. The doctors said the increasing school cases reflect the growing community spread of the virus, but there are outbreaks in classrooms now, too.

IL: Illinois governor extends moratorium on housing evictions

chicagotribune.com

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced extensions of a host of coronavirus-related executive orders for another 30 days, including a moratorium on evictions. Under the order, which runs through Dec. 12, tenants must sign a form declaring they meet certain qualifications.

NE: Nebraska teachers say they're exhausted, stressed after months of teaching in the pandemic

omaha.com

Educators in Nebraska are struggling against burnout, fear and exhaustion at a time when schools can ill afford to lose any staff. Teachers are having to cover for fellow teachers who are out because they have COVID-19 or are quarantining.

WY: Wyoming’s economy is struggling, but it’s also a thriving haven for the rich

nbcnews.com

Oil prices plummeted in April as the coronavirus mangled the world energy's markets — and Wyoming's economy went with it. But for the rich, Wyoming embodies escape, from both the pandemic and other problems, where open skies and empty pastures can help you clear your mind; as states locked down, Wyoming stayed open.

DE: Delaware is expanding its effort to test children for COVID-19

delawarepublic.org

Delaware is distributing rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to pediatric primary care providers. Children up to the age of 17 are the least likely age group to test positive for COVID-19 in Delaware, but flu season has begun. 

CO: Colorado leaders hesitant to issue a stay-at-home order as COVID-19 spreads

denverpost.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and other Colorado leaders say it would be easier to pull the trigger on stay-at-home orders they know could save lives if Congress were to agree on a new stimulus package.

WI: Wisconsin critically short on plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients

jsonline.com

Wisconsin already needed to import plasma from other states, but that might not continue as the shortage of donors continues in all areas. Blood supplies are also low, so much so that some hospitals are hosting blood drives in their parking lots so staff can donate blood for patients. 

AR: Council is giving people $10K and a bike to move to Arkansas

arktimes.com

The Northwest Arkansas Council, an economic development organization, announced the Life Works Here initiative, in which it will invest more than $1 million over six months “to attract top talent to the region.”

UT: Anti-picketing ordinance passed after protest at Utah governor’s home

fox13now.com

City councilmembers in Orem, Utah unanimously passed an ordinance making it illegal to target someone's home during a demonstration after protesters targeted the home of Republican Governor Gary Herbert following Herbert’s announcement of a statewide mask mandate last week.

GOP Coronavirus Lawsuits State Climate Legislation

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