Stateline

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

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

MN: Minnesota’s communities of color skeptical about coronavirus vaccine

startribune.com

In Minnesota, Black, Hispanic and Indigenous residents are two to three times more likely to die from COVID-19, and three to four times more likely to get infected with the coronavirus, according to new data from the Minnesota Department of Health.

OR: Oregon officials revamp crisis care guidelines

oregonlive.com

The Oregon Health Authority released new “principles” for how to distribute medical care if hospital capacity diminishes as the coronavirus continues its rapid spread in the state. The new principles are “equity-driven” and health care providers should use them when deciding how to allocate resources, like beds, ventilators and treatments, if hospitals become overwhelmed.

FL: Florida 'strike teams' to vaccinate in nursing homes

miamiherald.com

Florida's health department will send the teams into long-term care facilities to vaccinate those at greatest risk of contracting the disease. Teams will include health workers and the National Guard.

AZ: 90% of Arizona hospital beds are full

azcentral.com

In Arizona, 90% of all ICU beds and 90% of all in-patient beds in Arizona were in use mid-week, with 46% of ICU beds and 39% of non-ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

NH: New Hampshire speaker’s death calls into question Republicans’ no-mask approach

concordmonitor.com

The announcement that New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch, a Republican, died of COVID-19, upended state politics, throwing into question how the state’s 400-member legislative body plans to meet next year, how elected officials and staff might be protected and why some lawmakers have refused to wear masks as the pandemic has hit its second wave.

MS: Mississippi health officer says ICUs are strained

apnews.com

Because of a recent surge in coronavirus cases, ICUs in Mississippi hospitals are facing more pressure now than they did during a summer uptick, state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. Dobbs said 26 hospitals in the state were diverting critically ill patients to other places.

ME: Maine to make one-time $600 payments to jobless

pressherald.com

Tens of thousands of jobless Mainers will receive one-time payments of $600 from the state to mitigate the financial hardship that could occur if the federal unemployment programs many have relied on for months aren’t extended before they run out in less than three weeks.

NY: New York National Guard among first in military to get vaccine

timesunion.com

About 1,600 New York National Guard members who are helping the state fight COVID-19 will be among the first members of the U.S. military to be vaccinated. New York and Indiana are the only states whose National Guard members will be inoculated in the initial push of vaccine distribution by the U.S. Department of Defense.

NC: North Carolina Republicans defy COVID-19 protocols with party

newsobserver.com

North Carolina Republican Party leaders ignored COVID-19 restrictions and recommendations when they held a party and meetings Saturday in Surry County. They then posted photos of the violations on their website. As of Thursday morning, 5,714 North Carolinians had reportedly died of COVID-19.

NM: New Mexico suspends nonessential surgery

santafenewmexican.com

Citing "unacceptable strain" on hospitals from the pandemic, New Mexico banned nonessential surgery through Jan. 4.

VA: Virginia to impose nightly curfew, limit gatherings to 10

richmond.com

Under new public restrictions meant to stem COVID-19, Virginia will be under a nightly curfew from midnight until 5 a.m., and social gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced the restrictions, which will take effect early Monday, citing a spike in COVID-19 cases during the busy holiday season.

WA: Even some of Washington's reddest counties were bluer in 2020

seattletimes.com

Almost across the board, Washington became more Democratic in 2020. President-elect Joe Biden performed better in nearly every county than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

ID: Idaho attorney general won't join Texas election lawsuit

apnews.com

Idaho’s attorney general said he’s declining to join a lawsuit filed by Texas to overturn the outcome of the presidential election by invalidating the results in four battleground states President Donald Trump lost. In a statement, Republican Lawrence Wasden said the decision is necessary to protect Idaho’s sovereignty.

HI: Hawaii governor to furlough state workers beginning in January

civilbeat.org

To balance the budget, Hawaii Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, announced he is imposing two-day-per-month furloughs for unionized state workers starting Jan. 1, which amounts to a pay cut of slightly more than 9%. However, the public worker unions contend that any furloughs must be negotiated, and the unions dispute Ige’s claim that the state needs to immediately impose furloughs.

OK: Oklahoma governor announces new COVID-19 restrictions

oklahoman.com

Oklahoma public gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity, though churches will be exempt, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said. Attendance at youth indoor sporting will be limited to four spectators per participant or 50% of building capacity, whichever is less.

NJ: Workers not told of COVID-19 outbreak that killed New Jersey election worker, NAACP says

nj.com

The head of the Salem County, New Jersey, chapter of the NAACP says that county workers and the general public weren’t notified about a COVID-19 outbreak at the county board of elections that has claimed a life. In all, 17 confirmed cases were tied to the outbreak.

DC: District of Columbia restaurant industry fights bill to help laid-off workers

wamu.org

As the District of Columbia Council considers legislation that would require hospitality employers to send job offers to workers they laid off during the pandemic, restaurant industry representatives are urging councilmembers to vote down or significantly alter the bill.

IN: Indiana House speaker tests positive for coronavirus

indystar.com

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston, a Republican, has tested positive for coronavirus and is quarantining at home. He has experienced only mild symptoms and has not been in recent contact with legislative members or staff, according to a news release.

IL: Pandemic, civil unrest drive record-shattering increase in firearm permits in Illinois

chicagotribune.com

With the pandemic raging and Chicago at times dealing with civil unrest, Illinois residents shopped for more guns and applied for more firearm permits in 2020 than at any other time in history, Illinois State Police officials said. There had been more than 500,000 serious inquiries about purchasing guns by this month, representing a 45% increase over 2019.

CO: Colorado unemployment surge continues

denverpost.com

More than 36,000 people filed for unemployment benefits in Colorado last week as jobless claims have climbed back to springtime levels in the shadow of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic. The spike comes after state officials last month updated Colorado’s color-coded COVID-19 dial and enacted tighter restrictions on businesses in counties moved to level red.

MD: Maryland governor announces aid to businesses, no new restrictions

baltimoresun.com

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, announced a financial assistance package that includes emergency tax relief for small businesses and forgiveness of $75 million in emergency loans. He did not announce any new statewide restrictions, though he has long said counties are free to enact more stringent limits on businesses and social gatherings.

IA: Iowa’s jobless workers told to return relief money

desmoinesregister.com

Interviews with a dozen Iowans who received orders for repayment revealed that the state forgave at least part of the debt in some cases. But not everyone received the same treatment.

AK: Alaska leaders push governor to enact mask mandate

adn.com

Alaska is now among a minority of states that lack mask-wearing requirements, despite some GOP governors imposing them even after initially resisting. So far, instead of issuing new mandates himself, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has pushed municipal officials to adopt them at the local level.

MI: Michigan to curb driver’s license suspensions

freep.com

The Michigan legislature passed bills that would end automatic driver's license suspensions for traffic violations unrelated to dangerous driving, a practice that can trap people in poverty.

TX: Election lawsuit a Hail Mary play for Texas attorney general

texastribune.org

Texas’ audacious new lawsuit might prove just as do-or-die for the attorney general who filed it as it is for President Donald Trump. Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fell into political peril this fall, facing a new set of criminal allegations.

 

 

CARES Act Spending Training Laid-Off Workers

States of Innovation

EXPLORE MORE FROM STATELINE
Places
Topics