What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/1
NY: Black and Latino New Yorkers trail White residents in COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Of nearly 300,000 New York City residents who received one COVID-19 vaccine dose and whose race was recorded, about 48% were white, 15% were Latino, 15% were Asian and 11% were Black. Latino and Black residents were underrepresented: The city’s population is roughly 29% Latino and 24% Black.
US: Essential workers get lost in the COVID-19 vaccine scrum as states prioritize older adults
Many states are trying to speed up a delayed and often chaotic rollout of coronavirus vaccines by adding people 65 and older to near the front of the line. As a result, workers who often face the highest risk of exposure to the virus will be waiting longer to get protected, according to experts, union officials and workers.
OR: Oregon businesses cited for health violations received millions in federal relief
Oregon businesses cited by the state for violating coronavirus safety standards nonetheless received more than $12.5 million in federal pandemic relief loans last year through the Paycheck Protection Program. The relief program doesn’t specifically require that businesses comply with safety rules to be eligible for coronavirus relief loans.
DC: Arbitrator ruling clears District of Columbia schools to reopen
A last-minute effort to delay the reopening of District of Columbia public school buildings over coronavirus safety concerns has failed, with an arbiter ruling that the city’s breaches in an agreement with the Washington Teachers’ Union were narrow and could largely be addressed without pushing back the start date.
TX: In search of COVID-19 vaccines, some rural Texans drive hundreds of miles
As the state continues struggling with an uneven COVID-19 vaccine rollout, some Texans, particularly in far-flung parts of the state, have resorted to traveling hundreds of miles away from their homes, desperate to shield themselves from the virus that has killed more than 35,000 people in the state.
CA: California governor under fire from Democrats over COVID-19 response as he faces GOP-led recall campaign
More California Democratic lawmakers and allies of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom are beginning to publicly criticize him as frustration grows nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
PA: Pennsylvania corrections officials concede significant coronavirus data flaws are ‘unacceptable’
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is reporting flaws in the COVID-19 data it has provided to inmates, families and public officials, raising questions about the agency’s ability to accurately track the extent of the outbreak.
NV: Nevada is getting shortchanged in COVID-19 vaccine dose allocation
A Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis indicates Nevada is allocated doses at a rate significantly less than most other states. Using 2020 population estimates, for example, Nevada was receiving about 2,000 doses less per 100,000 adult residents than the high-ranking state of Vermont.
SC: South Carolina to reallocate COVID-19 vaccines from nursing homes due to lack of uptake
Frustrated by the slow rate of COVID-19 vaccine administration at the nearly 900 facilities that the state’s federal pharmacy partners are servicing, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, sent a letter to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control chair asking the agency to redistribute 37,800 doses of vaccine previously allocated to the long-term care program.
ME: As Walgreens lags in COVID-19 vaccinations, Maine shifts doses to independent pharmacies
For the third week in a row, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention gave independent pharmacies thousands of doses while Walgreens and CVS, national chains with a federal contract, weren't allocated any. Walgreens has completed just 25% of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics at long-term care facilities in Maine.
ID: Idaho is taking back 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine that sat with pharmacies
The Idaho Statesman has identified several thousand doses of COVID-19 vaccine that were shipped to Idaho, set aside for a federal public-private partnership—and then went unused. More than 10,000 of the doses are being returned to the state’s control for use in upcoming vaccination clinics.
HI: Some expectant mothers in Hawaii are steering clear of hospitals
As the pandemic upends parents’ plans, some Hawaiians say they are swapping a hospital experience and its medical resources for a birth at home because of anxieties about visitor restrictions and possible exposure to COVID-19. Local midwives say they are fielding a record number of inquiries.
OK: Oklahoma's Native American nations step up to protect their own from COVID-19
For some Native American tribes in Oklahoma that have dealt with numerous historical injustices and neglect, the COVID-19 pandemic was not going to be another example.
MA: Massachusetts communities are helping connect older adults to COVID-19 vaccines
Mobilizing taxis and marshaling volunteers, organizations around Massachusetts are trying to figure out how to get COVID-19 vaccine shots into seniors’ arms.
IA: 2 more COVID-19 cases reported at Iowa Capitol, including a state representative
Two more people who work at the Iowa Capitol tested positive for COVID-19, including Democratic state Rep. Amy Nielsen; the cases were the third and fourth known positive cases at the Capitol this year.
NH: Maskless New Hampshire lawmaker runs hearings after out-of-state trip
A day after he returned from Florida, a Republican legislator in the New Hampshire House failed to cover his face as required for more than three hours of testimony in a hearing room.
VT: COVID-19 upends plans for Vermont town meetings
Vermont electoral officials agree that the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly upend this year’s traditional March town meeting season, though they can’t yet sum up how. In a typical year, Vermont’s 246 municipalities would be posting notices for town meetings and votes on or around the first Tuesday in March.
KS: Kansas’ biggest counties have little say over their elections. Some want a change.
As elections grow more complex and public confidence in them is increasingly threatened by baseless allegations of fraud, some Democrats and Republicans in Kansas are calling for a change.
MO: Governor suggests 'disgusting scheme' kept him from delivering annual address in Missouri House
Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson sent a heated letter to GOP lawmakers suggesting House leadership had engaged in a “purposeful and disgusting scheme to embarrass” him by cutting off access to the House chamber hours before his annual State of the State speech.
MT: Montana House endorses repeal of local vape product bans
A bill to prohibit local governments from putting regulations on vaping and alternative nicotine products got initial approval from the Montana House. The proposal was carried by a lawmaker who co-owns three vape shops.