US Legacy Museum reopens, Hawaii gets visitors, Boston Symphony Orchestra

07:25  19 october  2020
07:25  19 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Music: Canadian-American soprano Erin Wall died at age 44

 Music: Canadian-American soprano Erin Wall died at age 44 The singer died of breast cancer. © Provided by Franceinfo Canadian-American soprano Erin Wall died this Friday October 9 at the age of 44, reported Sunday October 11 France Musique . The singer died of breast cancer diagnosed in January 2018. Despite being diagnosed with cancer, she decided to keep her many commitments. She was last on stage on January 19, 2020 alongside the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. "Before, I was an opera singer.

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Montgomery: A museum that’s linked to the national lynching memorial in Montgomery is reopening for the first time since the coronavrius pandemic began. The Legacy Museum, which tells the story of slavery and its legacy in the United States, will offer free admission for a limited time, but crowd sizes are being restricted and face masks are required to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading. The museum and Legacy Pavilion are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The lynching memorial, the museum and the Legacy Pavilion are operated by the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, which announced the reopening in a statement. A new museum exhibit explores the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which often is referred to as the start of the modern civil rights movement in 1955. A new exhibit at Legacy Pavilion, located beside the memorial, will focus on slavery in the North, which hasn’t received as much attention as Southern slavery. Business in downtown Montgomery had urged the organization to reopen the attractions, which have received some 750,000 visitors since they opened in 2018, Stevenson told WSFA-TV.

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Bethel: Health officials in a region with a growing COVID-19 outbreak asked residents to stop gathering with nonhousehold members to slow the spread of the virus. Officials said 126 people tested positive for the virus in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta over the past two weeks, KYUK-AM reported. The percentage of people who tested positive in the Bethel Census Area jumped from about 1% to nearly 5%, while the rate is more than 3% in the Kusilvak Census Area. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation said it is conducting about the same number of tests, but that more people are suddenly testing positive. Corporation Chief of Staff Ellen Hodges said the rapid increase has surpassed testing capabilities in the region. “Once your test positivity rate gets to 10% or 12%, then the virus is basically raging out of control,” Hodges said. “You’re not testing enough people. You can’t. You don’t have enough people to test all the people.” The heath corporation urged residents to stop hosting and attending gatherings with people outside of their households. The corporation’s case investigations show most positive cases in the region resulted from people gathering with family and friends. The Chevak Tribal Council declared a community lockdown Oct. 12 after a student at the village school tested positive for the virus, KYUK-AM reported.

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a car parked in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Christian Rubert, a Peoria Unified School District technology specialist, hands out laptops to students in a drive-up line at Peoria High School in Peoria in March. © Patrick Breen/The Republic Christian Rubert, a Peoria Unified School District technology specialist, hands out laptops to students in a drive-up line at Peoria High School in Peoria in March.

Peoria: The city is using some of its federal coronavirus relief funding to give residents access to equipment to work and learn from home. The Valley suburb, just northwest of Phoenix, used some of its $20.2 million in CARES Act funding allocated by the Governor’s Office to purchase 50 Chromebook laptops and wireless internet hotspots. Students and residents who need to work remotely can check them out from any Peoria library the same way they would check out a book or a movie. Mayor Cathy Carlat and other city leaders across the state got the ball rolling in late spring when they asked Gov. Doug Ducey to dole out a share of Arizona’s federal coronavirus aid to cities, counties and towns. Peoria is using a portion of its funding to make sure students and small business owners who don’t have reliable access to a computer or internet connection won’t have to miss work or put their health at risk by working in a crowded place that offers free internet. Any Peoria resident with a library card can check out one of the laptops and internet hotspots. Peoria students are able to check one of each out and won’t have to return them until the end of the semester. Residents who need the gear to work from home can check it out for three weeks at a time. Once the three weeks are up, the gear will automatically renew for another three weeks if there isn’t anyone else on the library’s wait list.

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Little Rock: Cities, towns and counties in Arkansas can now apply for federal coronavirus relief funding, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced Saturday. The department said $75 million is available to cities and towns and $75 million to counties to reimburse expenses related to their response to the coronavirus pandemic beginning March 1 and continuing through Dec. 15. Reimbursable expenses include payroll for public health and safety employees; public health expenses; and personal protective equipment.


Sacramento: The nation’s most populous state has regained more than a third of the 2.6 million nonfarm jobs it lost to the coronavirus pandemic in March and April, state officials said. The leisure and hospitality sector accounted for half the overall gain of 96,000 jobs, after experiencing the largest month-to-month loss in August, as restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses benefited from the state’s easing of restrictions designed to slow the virus’ spread. Retail trade also rebounded, spurred by more jobs in clothing and clothing accessory stores. All told, seven of the 11 industry sectors improved in September, dropping the jobless rate to 11%, the California Employment Development Department reported. The department revised its August figures to add another nearly 12,000 jobs to what it previously said were about 100,000 jobs added then. It had previously reported the August unemployment rate at 11.4%, but on Friday revised it to 11.2%. The gains, particularly in the restaurant, hospitality, retail and construction sectors, are all welcome news, indicating that at least some jobs are returning, said Michael Bernick, former director of the state Employment Development Department and an attorney with Duane Morris. It’s further good news that the gains were reported statewide, he said. But Bernick said the “very positive” reports run counter to the economic tracker by Harvard and Brown universities that showed no improvement since Aug. 1, and that local workforce boards are reporting very little new hiring. He suspected the answer is that “California employers are slowly bringing back some of their previous workers, but are not engaging in new hires.”

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Denver: Colorado released its distribution plan for an approved coronavirus vaccine when it becomes publicly available as the state faced a deadline to submit it to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The distribution plan prioritizes three groups of people for the order in which people in those groups will be eligible to get vaccines. The first group of recipients is broken down into three levels of prioritized people and the second has two levels. In the first phase, the priority recipients will be assisted living facility workers, home health care workers and outpatient pharmacists. Next are police officers, firefighters, public health workers and corrections staff. The third level of vaccine recipients are nursing home and assisted living patients. During the second phase, vaccines will be given to homeless people living in shelters, adult group home residents, workers such as ski industry and agricultural employees who share living spaces, students living in dormitories, essential workers such as grocery store workers, teachers and child care workers and employees of businesses such as the meat-packing sector where workers are in close proximity to each other. In the second part of this phase, people who are over age 65 or have certain health risks will get vaccines. When all of those people have been given an opportunity to get the vaccine, the final phase starts with vaccine distribution to adults ages 18-64.

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Norwich: A contract has been reached with the union representing nurses at Backus Hospital following a multiday strike. Sherri Dayton, a Backus emergency department nurse and president of the Backus Federation of Nurses, AFT Local 5149, said early Saturday that she considered the four-year agreement a “win” and the union “felt validated.” She acknowledged the union didn’t get everything it wanted, but said its top goal related to staffing and comparable wages to other nurses in the state, especially the nearby Windham Hospital, was resolved. Included in the terms, which will go to the full union for a ratification vote on Thursday, is a 12% wage increase by year three and a 13% increase by the fourth year. Dayton said staff will also maintain the ability to collect daily overtime. Hospital officials also expressed their appreciation in reaching an agreement. “We are pleased that ongoing negotiations between the hospital and the nurses’ union have led to agreement on a fair and responsible contract,” said Donna Handley, president of Backus Hospital, in a statement. The strike, which began Tuesday morning, came after the union and hospital officials were unable to reach an agreement on a new, three-year contract. Previous meetings between the sides failed to find an agreement on wage and health insurance issues.


Dover: The Dover Public Library will reopen its doors to the public on Nov. 3 after months of closure amid the coronavirus pandemic. The city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Enhancement Committee approved the modified opening in a 7-3 vote Tuesday night. Entangled in the conversation were ongoing concerns about people loitering at the library, as well as the city’s homeless population spending time in the building as the weather gets colder. Several council members and City Manager Donna Mitchell agreed that this could further increase library staff’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Mitchell pointed out that contact tracing – or keeping track of someone who has tested positive and who they might have exposed – is a challenge at the library. In reaction to that concern, which other council members echoed, the committee recommended staff look into the possibility of taking patrons’ temperatures and collecting their names, for contact tracing purposes, as they enter the building. Councilman Fred Neil introduced this as an amendment to the original motion, and it passed in a 6-3 vote, with one absent and one abstaining. Assistant City Manager Matt Harline said the city is considering adding another security officer “if we can afford it.” The library will only be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wednesday’s and Friday’s from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Curbside pickup will end Nov. 2, but it will remain available on a limited basis when the library is closed, so people who are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 can still pick up materials.

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Washington: The city’s average number of coronavirus cases continues to trend upward, WUSA-TV reported. The District is now reporting an average of 59 coronavirus cases a day, up from an average of 36 two weeks ago. The District reported no new deaths as a result of the coronavirus on Saturday.


West Palm Beach: The Palm Beach County school district is revamping the way it notifies parents and the general public about COVID-19 cases after several missteps that, in a vacuum of information, angered parents and teachers who felt in the dark about potential exposure to the illness. One of the biggest changes will be seen on the district’s online dashboard. Launched on the first day students returned to campus, its reporting of confirmed cases has repeatedly lagged by days and in some cases weeks behind principal phone calls and emails notifying staff and families. Beginning Monday, the two notifications will come one after the other, said Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald. Until now, the most common reason was that although the principal notified staff and families upon report of a positive case, that case wasn’t posted to the dashboard until the Department of Health confirmed the case – a process that can take several days. A handful of dashboard omissions went beyond a mere confirmation delay, district officials reported. At Addison Mizner Elementary in Boca Raton, a miscommunication between the principal and the school nurse resulted in a failure to forward the report of a teacher who was positive to the Department of Health, said Jay Boggess, an assistant superintendent who has been sorting the dashboard errors. The nurse, per contract with her employer the Health Care District, was strictly responsible for contacting health authorities about student cases, and principals were to make contact for staffers – even though some nurses took on both responsibilities voluntarily, Boggess said. The district hopes to resolve this matter via an agreement next week that will put nurses in charge of reporting all cases, he said.

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Valdosta: Administrators at Valdosta State University pulled the plug on homecoming events scheduled for last weekend as a precaution against coronavirus infections. And the Gulf South Conference’s decision to postpone football until January meant the Valdosta State Blazers’ homecoming game got pushed back, as well. Regardless, students forged ahead with scheduled “spirit week” activities such as a sidewalk chalk art contest, a T-shirt swap day and an outdoor lunch with food trucks, WALB-TV reported. “I was devastated,” said Valdosta State junior Charles Griffin. “I really enjoy homecoming, I really enjoy those vibes, I enjoy the atmosphere, the energy on campus. So we just said: ‘We can’t let homecoming die. We can’t let football kill away the homecoming spirit and the Blazer spirit.’ ” Valdosta State officials said in a statement that homecoming events will be rescheduled for the spring semester.


Honolulu: About 8,000 people landed in Hawaii on the first day of a pretravel testing program that allowed travelers to come to the islands without quarantining for two weeks if they could produce a negative coronavirus test. The new testing program is an effort to stem the devastating downturn the pandemic has had on Hawaii’s tourism-based economy. Officials had touted the mandatory quarantine rule as an integral part of Hawaii’s early success in keeping the coronavirus at bay. But gaps in the pretravel testing program coupled with increasing cases of COVID-19 across the U.S. have raised questions about whether Hawaii is ready to safely welcome back vacationers. And when local restrictions were eased before summertime holidays, community spread of the disease spiked to alarming levels, forcing a second round of stay-at-home orders for residents and closures for nonessential businesses. Opponents of the testing program have said a single test 72 hours before arrival – especially when coupled with the option to fly without a test and still quarantine – is not enough to keep island residents safe. Hawaii’s economy is almost entirely built around tourism, and local families who rely on the sector to survive need to return to work. More than 100 of Hawaii’s approximately 4,000 restaurants, bakeries and caterers have closed permanently and more than 50% predict they will not survive the coming months, officials have said.


Nampa: A school district has canceled school Monday because of a teacher shortage after hundreds called out in sick in protest of in-person instruction during the coronavirus pandemic. The West Ada School District in the Boise metropolitan area made the announcement to cancel on Friday and said there were not enough substitute teachers to cover for the absences. The announcement said that out of 2,145 classroom teachers, 652 have called in sick, leaving the school district with 500 unfilled positions. West Ada Education Association President Eric Thies said Thursday that teachers would perform a ‘sickout’ demonstration if the district did not revert to full remote learning. The district is in a hybrid model for middle school and high school students in which in-person instruction occurs occasionally. The district said it would move elementary students into the hybrid system beginning Monday. “Principals, administration, teachers and staff worked hard to cover the absences, but unfortunately, we cannot,” the district said in a statement. “With safety in mind, and due to supervision concerns, we are regretfully unable to hold school Monday. We will reassess the situation on Monday and give parents, guardians and staff an update.”


Evanston: Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management said it has suspended in-person classes for two weeks after four students who attended recent off-campus gatherings tested positive for the coronavirus. Kellogg’s program for full-time Master of Business Administration students, based in Evanston, will shift to remote learning Monday through Oct. 30, a school spokesman said. Northwestern’s announcement Friday came two days after the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business announced it would go remote because of an increase in COVID-19 cases among its students. More than 100 students were told to quarantine after a large group of full-time MBA students gathered off-campus on Chicago’s North Side, many without face coverings, the school said.


Indianapolis: Indiana’s Rental Assistance Portal is accepting applications for a program that provides eligible renters with up to six months in rental assistance to help cover past due and ongoing monthly payments. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has dedicated $15 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funding to help individuals and families who are at a high risk of being homeless. The goal is to keep Hoosiers in stable housing so they might move through the coronavirus pandemic without further disruption. More information, including the steps for tenants to apply online and over the phone, can be found on the top banner of the www.indianahousingnow.org website. Indiana on Sunday reported 1,629 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 additional deaths. Overall, there have been 147,582 cases in Indiana since the pandemic began and 3,704 deaths from the disease, according to the Indiana Department of Health.


a group of people standing next to a window: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks with faculty of the Des Moines Metro Opera during an event recognizing the city of Indianola as an Iowa Great Place. © George Shillcock Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks with faculty of the Des Moines Metro Opera during an event recognizing the city of Indianola as an Iowa Great Place.

Des Moines: Gov. Kim Reynolds said she told a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force that she disputed the panel’s recent warning that Iowa has suffered “many preventable deaths” from COVID-19. “I don’t agree with the terminology, the phrases that they used, and I actually talked to Secretary (Alex) Azar about that yesterday,” Reynolds said Friday, referring to the secretary of Health and Human Services. The White House task force has been sending weekly reports to governors. Many of the ones sent to Iowa have urged the state to take more aggressive measures to rein in its coronavirus outbreak, which has been among the nation’s steepest over the past two months. For example, the task force has repeatedly called on Iowa to require residents to wear face masks in public, which Reynolds has declined to do. The task force’s warning to Iowa about “many preventable deaths” came in a White House report dated Oct. 4. Azar, a member of the coronavirus task force, was in Des Moines on Thursday for a visit to the LifeServe Blood Center. Reynolds accompanied him on the visit. The governor referred to the conversation with the secretary Friday after a Des Moines Register reporter asked her about the White House task force’s dire warning. She said that after she raised concerns about the phrasing, “he referred to it as choices that people make.” Reynolds has previously said the White House coronavirus task force sometimes doesn’t “have the entire picture of everything we are doing.”


Wichita: A retired firefighter who was upset with the city’s mask ordinance was arrested Friday on suspicion of threatening to kidnap and kill Wichita’s mayor, authorities said. Police said the 59-year-old suspect could face a charge of criminal threat, the Wichita Eagle reported. Mayor Brandon Whipple said he had been read text messages received by another city official that asked about the mayor’s address and threatened his life. “He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman – me and everyone who, something about tyranny,” Whipple said. “It sounded like the person was very upset about pretty much mask mandates and he said something about not being able to see his mother because of COVID restrictions on elderly homes,” he said. Wichita police spokesman Charley Davidson said the department is investigating the threats and that so far, no other local officials are believed to have been targeted.


a man wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, says Kentucky submitted an initial comprehensive draft to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday on how the state plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations. © Matt Stone/Courier Journal Dr. Steven Stack, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, says Kentucky submitted an initial comprehensive draft to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday on how the state plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations.

Frankfort: Kentucky is expecting to receive its first federal shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine in in late 2020 or early 2021, but it will likely take a year or more to get that vaccine to the Bluegrass State’s 4.4 million residents, the commissioner of the state’s Department for Public Health said Friday. Dr. Steven Stack announced that Kentucky submitted an initial comprehensive draft to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday on how the state plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations. “The first phase of the plan will help ensure those most at risk – certain health care workers and first responders – have access to the vaccination,” Stack said. “The plan will accommodate vaccinating these essential workers in every county across the commonwealth.” Whenever the vaccine is approved, supplies will be “limited at first,” which is why the commonwealth will have a phased approach to distributing the vaccine, Stack said. The vaccine will be shipped to Kentucky from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense when it becomes available. Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government provided a plan for how states should distribute the vaccine once it becomes available, and that Kentucky’s plan “closely mimics their recommendation.”


a desk with a computer in an office: The viral genome sequencing being done at the LSU Health Shreveport's Emerging Viral Threat Lab is contributing to a worldwide effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic. © Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times The viral genome sequencing being done at the LSU Health Shreveport's Emerging Viral Threat Lab is contributing to a worldwide effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Shreveport: The Emerging Viral Threat Lab at LSU Health Shreveport has now sequenced a total of 651 Louisiana SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes, making it the largest contributor to date of genetic data on SARS-CoV-2 in the state. SARS-CoV-2, which is short for “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2,’’ is the virus that causes COVID-19, and viral genome sequencing is contributing to a worldwide effort to fight the ongoing pandemic. LSU Health Shreveport is working closely with GISAID, which after years of experience with influenza epidemics, has now also emerged as the world’s go-to data resource, exclusively enabling real-time data analyses that drive crucial results for targeted responses to the SARS-CoV-2. Responses to date include but are not limited to identification of potential drug and vaccine targets, evidence that the virus has not drifted to a significant strain difference, and development of diagnostic kits for future mutations of COVID-19. Scientists can rapidly and openly access data through GISAID’s extensive network of researchers providing the timely generation of curated genomic data through a collaborative effort. “Dr. Jeremy Kamil and his colleagues at LSU Health Shreveport are much respected for their quality work in genome sequencing and their interactions with GISAID’s data curation teams placed across the globe”, said GISAID’s Cheryl Bennett. GISAID is reporting 1,361 total virus genomes from Louisiana, of which 651 (48 %) are from LSU Health Shreveport. Others submitting genome sequencing data for Louisiana are Tulane, Scripps, BioInfo Experts, LSU Baton Rouge, Gingko Bioworks, the CDC, and University of Washington.


Portland: Maine’s investigation into a coronavirus outbreak that stemmed from a wedding and reception in the northern part of the state is still not fully closed. The outbreak is linked to at least seven deaths and more than 175 cases of the virus. Maine officials have said the outbreak originated at a wedding and reception in the Millinocket area and spread to other parts of the state. One of the focal points of the outbreak was the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, and it spread to the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine officials have said. Those aspects of the investigation are now closed, said Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Nirav Shah. The outbreak also spread to Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison, Shah and other Maine officials have said. That facility, which was the site of six deaths from the virus, is continuing with testing, Shah said. “They have also had stability,” Shah said. “They still need to meet the requirements for closure.”


Salisbury: The city on Friday announced multiple new cases of COVID-19 among its departments. In the past week, according to the recent press release, four employees have tested positive – three from within the Salisbury Fire Department and another from the Government Office Building. “We have been fortunate in the fact that we have seen relatively few cases within our organization,” said Julia Glanz, acting mayor and city administrator, in a statement. “The measures we have taken up to this point have been effective in slowing the spread of the virus within our ranks.” The city said all employees testing positive were given temporary leave, and they are now quarantining. Following the city’s COVID Response Protocol, employees will be sent for testing and remain at home if they were close contacts of the positive employees. “The health of our employees and our citizens is our number one concern at all times,” Glanz wrote. “We will continue to take the necessary steps to contain the spread of COVID within this organization, and across our city. We send our sincerest wishes for a speedy recovery to all of our employees, and anyone else who is suffering from COVID-19.”


Boston: The Boston Symphony Orchestra on Friday extended its live performance hiatus and canceled the popular Holiday Pops concerts and the remainder of its winter/spring season through April. The decision was made because of continuing state COVID-19-related regulations and restrictions regarding performing arts organizations and the number of people who can gather in indoor spaces. The BSO, with a smaller complement of musicians, will gather in person later this month to record new material that will be made available online starting Nov. 19 and running through April. “Though this news likely doesn’t come as a surprise – since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all our personal and professional lives – it is still a major loss for the organization and everyone who appreciates and cherishes the BSO and Boston Pops,” the organization’s leadership said in a statement.


Hillsdale: Hillsdale Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Vondra said Davis Middle School is transitioning to distance learning until Oct. 28 in response to positive test results from several individuals who are “school related.” In a statement issued to parents of students, Vondra said students in fifth-through-eighth grades will not attend school in person through Oct. 28 and that teachers will implement the Distance Learning Program where students will attend school virtually at home. The statement did not indicate whether it was teachers, faculty or students, or a combination of students and teachers, who tested positive. “It has been determined that implementing a pause of in-person learning at school is a prudent course of action to reduce the risk to others,” the statement read. After-school events, including sports practices and competitions also are canceled during the time frame. In-person classes will resume on Oct. 29. Additional information and updates will be sent to parents of students as needed through automated phone calls and email updates. “The help and support of everyone in response to this matter is appreciated, especially the staff at the health department,” the statement read.


Minneapolis: Surging coronavirus cases in Minnesota schools have reduced the number of counties where the virus is spreading at low enough rates to allow for full, in-person instruction. State health officials say statewide, more than 500 schools had at least one positive case in the last two weeks, and 24 public and private schools reported outbreaks with at least five positive cases. Only Cook and Kittson counties now have low enough spread of the virus to meet the state’s threshold for in-person instruction for all students, the Star Tribune reported. At the other end of the spectrum, nine counties have widespread enough virus activity for the state to recommend distance learning for all students. Those counties include Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Pipestone, Waseca and Yellow Medicine. Health officials said they are facing increasing challenges from parents, students and community members trying to conceal the spread of the virus to keep schools open and sports programs running. Epidemiologist Susan Klammer said in some communities, resistance to testing or quarantining after COVID-19 exposure has become more pronounced, even hostile, since the Minnesota State High School League restarted school sports programs.


Jackson: State health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he overestimated the number of people who would continue to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the statewide mask mandate was lifted. “Why we would broadly abandon something that is so simple – even easy, and effective – just because there is not an executive order, it has perplexed me and I’m frankly quite disappointed,” Dobbs said on a video call with reporters on Friday. After months of declining cases, Mississippi has seen two straight days of new cases topping 1,000, something the state hasn’t seen since around the time Mississippi’s statewide mask mandate was put into place in August. Gov. Tate Reeves repealed Mississippi’s statewide mask mandate on Sept. 30, citing declining cases. The Republican governor encouraged citizens to continue to wear masks anyway, but added officials “should not use the heavy hand of government more than it is justified.” Dobbs said Friday the decision was not made lightly. But two months into the mandate, people were lashing out against it. He said the state health department and Reeves will evaluate if mask mandates need to be put back into place in the counties that have seen the highest number of new cases. With flu season approaching, Dobbs said he is getting worried there will be another spike. Mississippi “skated by with the skin of our teeth” through the summer, and that it could get a lot worse, he said.


St. Louis: A nightspot is fighting a closure order for alleged violations of mask and social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reign Restaurant, whose main owner is mayoral candidate Dana Kelly, is seeking a temporary restraining order to end the city-imposed shutdown, which began Wednesday and is set to expire Oct. 23, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The restaurant alleged in its lawsuit that it was targeted by the city because Kelly has declared her intention to run against Mayor Lyda Krewson next year. Krewson is listed as a defendant in the suit, along with the acting city health director, Dr. Fredrick Echols. The city argued in a filing Friday that residents and the general public “will be at great risk” if the restaurant is permitted to reopen. It cited photos and videos taken between Sept. 5 and Oct. 9 showing large groups of patrons and workers at the bar and dance floor who were not wearing masks or social distancing. Deputy City Counselor Robert Dierker called the claim of political targeting “absurd” and “a fanciful allegation” in an interview with the newspaper. Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty has set a hearing for Monday.


Helena: A concert attended by Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, who is running for governor, has been linked to several COVID-19 cases, local health officials said. The outdoor concert, held Oct. 3 in Helena, was approved by the local health department, the Independent Record reported. Event organizers later faced criticism for failing to abide by local health orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which limit public events to fewer than 250 attendees. Gianforte led the Pledge of Allegiance at the event and left a short time later, according to his spokesperson, Travis Hall. Gianforte has not shown symptoms of the virus and his health care provider did not recommend a COVID-19 test, Hall said. The local health department issued a statement asking concert attendees to closely monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 after several positive cases were linked to some people who went to the event.


Lincoln: Gov. Pete Ricketts announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations. The Omaha World-Herald reported that the Republican governor outlined four steps that will go into effect Wednesday: Hospitals must provide 10% of their bed and intensive care unit space for incoming COVID-19 patients. Indoor gatherings, currently allowed up to 75% capacity, must drop to 50% capacity. People at bars and restaurants must remain seated and with no more than eight to a table. And, wedding and funeral receptions must limit table sizes to no more than eight people. Ricketts stopped short of issuing a statewide mask mandate. Nebraska is among several Midwestern states that have seen a big increase in confirmed cases of the virus, along with more hospitalizations. Ricketts said it “pains me” to impose the restrictions, but he cited a need to protect hospital capacity. He cited the example of Italy, where hospitals became overwhelmed earlier this year as coronavirus cases soared.


An election worker cleans a voting machine site at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Nevada on Saturday. © JASON BEAN An election worker cleans a voting machine site at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Nevada on Saturday.

Reno: Washoe County officials reported 164 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the fourth-highest single-day figure since tracking began earlier in the year. The new cases bring the county’s cumulative total to 11,347. The active case count is at 1,430, up 95 from Friday’s total. Two deaths were reported. The ages and previous conditions of the victims were not known as of Saturday afternoon. The death toll from the virus is at 184 for Washoe County. A total of 67 individuals were classified as recovered on Saturday, bringing that cumulative total to 9,733. The county has performed more than 160,000 COVID-19 tests this year.

New Hampshire

Concord: At least 17 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak linked to a restaurant in Hudson, and more patrons might have been exposed, the Department of Health and Human Services said. The cases include a person who went to the Fat Katz Food and Drink restaurant while aware of their COVID-19 diagnosis when they were supposed to be in isolation, and a second person who went there when they were knowingly supposed to be in quarantine. Both potentially exposed others, the department said in a news release. Anyone who visited the restaurant from Oct. 2-9 might have been exposed to COVID-19 and should seek testing, the department said. The department said it conducted a contact investigation and notified close contacts directly. The attorney general’s office also is investigating multiple violations of New Hampshire Food Service guidance at the establishment, the department said.

New Jersey

Trenton: Gov. Phil Murphy dismissed New Jersey’s top military commander Friday after a coronavirus outbreak hit the state’s three veterans homes resulting in 146 deaths. Col. Lisa Hou takes over immediately from Major Gen. Jemal Beale, Murphy said in a statement. Murphy, a Democrat, faces criticism from Republicans who continue to call for a legislative review of the governor’s handling of the outbreak. He didn’t give a reason for Beale’s dismissal. Hou was as a field surgeon in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hou joined the National Guard in 1994 while she was a medical student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She received a doctorate in osteopathic medicine in 1996. She currently serves as the deputy adjutant general and assistant commissioner for operations at the department. She has been a top adviser for military readiness, mobilizations, homeland security, defense support to civil authorities, human resources, logistics, training, and financial management to the adjutant general, according to the governor. The department oversees New Jersey’s three veterans homes in Menlo Park, Paramus and Vineland.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: Eight football players at the University of New Mexico and one assistant coach tested positive for the coronavirus, leading state officials to step in and shut down all team activities, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Athletic director Eddie Nuñez said if the team is unable to practice for the next week, they will not be able to safely play their first scheduled game on Saturday against Colorado State. “As Bernalillo County’s positivity rate no longer meets the criteria of the COVID-Safe Practices for Intercollegiate Sports agreed to by the university, the school has been instructed to postpone team activities at this time,” said Nora Meyers Sackett, press secretary for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The university’s football team was allowed to resume practice two weeks ago despite the state’s public health order prohibiting it by agreeing with public health officials on a four-page document on testing and safety guidelines.

New York

New York City: A federal judge has refused to block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order limiting worship to as few as 10 congregants in communities seeing spikes in coronavirus infections. Ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis said in an order Friday that even though the rules harm religious groups, it is not in the public interest to block them if they are helping prevent a wave of new infections. The ruling doesn’t end the lawsuit, but denied the church’s request for a temporary injunction. Garaufis said it was conceivable the diocese could end up ultimately winning the case, but that the worst that could happen in the meantime to the diocese’s churches is that 26 of them would have to curtail in-person ceremonies for several weeks. “That is not meant, in any way, to downplay the seriousness of that constitutional harm,” the judge said. But he said the potential to save lives outweighed the damage the church would suffer. Cuomo on Oct. 6 announced that he was limiting attendance at houses of worship, closing schools and shuttering nonessential businesses in six parts of New York City, Binghamton and Rockland and Orange counties, where COVID-19 infections have spiked. Most of the affected areas are home to large communities of Orthodox Jews, which has prompted protests from Jewish leaders who said they are being unfairly targeted. Garaufis wrote in his decision that it was clear the state’s restrictions had been “guided by science, not a desire to target religious practice.”

North Carolina

Charlotte: Public health officials said at least nine cases of COVID-19 could be connected to a Charlotte church’s convocation events last weekend. Mecklenburg County said its health department urges anyone who attended the events at the United House of Prayer for All People just outside of downtown to get tested for the coronavirus, the Charlotte Observer reported. Free COVID-19 testing was being offered in the area on Sunday. Church officials could not immediately be reached for comment by the newspaper. The Washington, D.C.-based church was founded a century ago in Massachusetts.

North Dakota

Fargo: The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fargo has tested positive for the coronavirus. KFGO radio reported Bishop John Folda had been showing symptoms associated with the coronavirus since early last week and had himself tested while self-quarantining at his home in Fargo. The diocese said Folda is recovering and is following all recommendations from medical professionals. He will continue to self-quarantine until he is cleared to return to his public pastoral duties. The diocese serves more than 130 parishes and 72,000 parishioners in eastern North Dakota.


Akron: State liquor agents have handed out more than 200 citations to bars for breaking COVID-19 orders. That number pales in comparison to the almost 20,000 visits that agents have made to bars and restaurants, most leading to no action. “By and large, we’re seeing compliance at the vast majority of locations across Ohio,” Ohio Investigative Unit Enforcement Cmdr. Eric Wolf said. But bar owners said the restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 are instead limiting their chances to survive. “If they’re going to keep this up during the holidays, they’re going to crush a lot of places,” Akron bar owner Ray Nemer said. The first COVID-related citation was handed down March 16, records from the Ohio Investigative Unit showed. As of Oct. 14, the unit had written 223 citations, some to repeat offenders, on 19,488 visits to establishments across the state. It had also issued 101 warnings. Along with making sure bars and restaurants keep patrons socially distanced and employees masked, they also make sure alcohol sales stop at 10 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine’s order, also called Rule 80, stops alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and all alcohol consumption at 11 p.m. Bars across Ohio and even FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland have been cited for after-hours sales. These administrative citations lead to a state hearing. Some violators receive fines, while others face a suspension of their liquor license. The license was revoked at Highland Tavern in Akron.


Oklahoma City: The number of hospitalizations because of the coronavirus dipped Sunday but still remained high as the number of reported cases increased by 796 and deaths rose by three, according to the State Department of Health. There were a reported 715 people hospitalized, the department said, 78 fewer than the one-day record of 793 reported Friday. There are 107,299 total cases reported since the pandemic began in March and 1,171 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. The true number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggested people can be infected and not feel sick. The department said that there were 8,272 new coronavirus cases during the week ending Thursday, an increase of 15% from the previous week, and 58 additional deaths from the previous week because of COVID-19. A report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force released Wednesday said Oklahoma remains in the red zone for newly reported coronavirus cases and recommended residents wear masks among the ways to slow the virus’ spread. Gov. Kevin Stitt has repeatedly said he will not implement a statewide mask mandate.


Salem: The 15th COVID-19 death among Oregon prisoners was reported Saturday by the Department of Corrections. In a release, the department said the prisoner, who was not identified, was being held at Snake River Correctional Institution in Malheur County. The department said the prisoner was between 55 and 65 years old and died Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19.


Harrisburg: Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill Friday that would have let restaurants and bars reopen at up to full capacity, saying it would have jeopardized public health and safety. It was the latest in a string of coronavirus-related vetoes from the Democratic governor, as GOP state lawmakers have continually pressed for looser social distancing restrictions and to revoke or modify other Wolf policies. “Instead of removing mitigation guidelines and encouraging behaviors that increase the spread of COVID-19, we need to be focused on getting our children back to school, keeping our schools and businesses open, and taking precautions to keep our communities healthy,” Wolf said in a message issued with the veto. Wolf also argued the legislation has constitutionality problems because it would have taken away authority from the governor during the global health emergency. House Republican spokesman Jason Gottesman said shutdowns and economic restrictions are not the way to fight the pandemic. Gottesman said House Republicans will consider whether to attempt an override when they return to session this week.

Rhode Island

Providence: It might not be a hit with Rhode Island motorists looking for parking spots, but restaurateurs and shop owners have embraced moving outdoors into the street during the coronavirus pandemic. Revolution American Bistro in Cranston has turned part of the small off-street parking lot into an outdoor dining area. “It has been going very well, and when we have gotten feedback from people walking by, they are saying we would love for it to continue,” Jenn Risho, the restaurant’s manager, told the Providence Journal. In Providence, restaurants are not only giving up parking spaces to diners, but whole stretches of the street. Now, as the season changes, cold weather is the bigger concern, and restaurants with outdoor dining are buying heaters and figuring out how to keep it going as long as possible.

South Carolina

Columbia: The State Fair is coming to Columbia, but like so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be drive-thru. There won’t be an admission fee. Winning animals, art, flowers and photography will be displayed along one route for vehicles from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. People will be able to buy fair food Tuesday through Saturday in a different part of the fairgrounds. Visitors will also remain in their vehicles, ordering from a short list of foods such as turkey legs, Fiske Fries, funnel cakes and a few other items. Employees will come up to the the vehicle window to take orders. They will take cash and credit cards.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: More than 100 inmates at a South Dakota prison have tested positive for the coronavirus last week, the Department of Corrections said as the state experiences some of the worst transmission rates in the country. Mass testing at the Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield resulted in 127 positive tests among inmates and 22 inmates testing negative. Since the pandemic began, 149 inmates at the minimum-to-medium security prison have tested positive, and 103 have tested negative. The prison held 1,022 inmates as of Sept. 30. The inmates who tested positive have been isolated while inmate transfers to and from the facility were temporarily suspended. Classes, training and work programs were also temporarily suspended. The Corrections Department also said an additional 11 people imprisoned at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls tested positive, raising the facility’s total to 16 inmates infected. The Argus Leader reported that the spike in Springfield comes as a spike that began in September subsides among inmates at the state’s correctional facilities for women in Pierre. Ten active cases remain among the 241 inmates who tested positive. Inmates at the Mike Durfee State Prison were among those tasked with making masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment for corrections staff and inmates. Inmates were given three face masks each. Early on in the pandemic, inmates were provided with disinfectants and directed to do extra cleaning and hand-washing.


Nashville: The White House quietly told Tennessee early this week that “a statewide mask mandate must be implemented” to curb its growing spread of COVID-19, strong instructions that the White House and governor did not discuss publicly before the report emerged in a records request. The Oct. 11 state report for Tennessee, where Republican Gov. Bill Lee has let counties decide whether to require masks in public, first came to light in a records request by WUOT-FM. The Associated Press obtained the report from the Knox County Health Department afterward. The report takes the strongest tone to date in urging Tennessee to act, though Lee has made it clear for months that he did not think masks should be required across the state. Lee, who has urged people to wear masks, continued to advise against a statewide mandate Friday in an online news conference, in which he didn’t mention the White House’s instruction a few days earlier. In a statement late Friday, the governor’s office said the White House report had not altered his thinking.


Amarillo: Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he is deploying medical personnel and supplies to the Panhandle and surrounding region as the coronavirus surges again, marking the second time in two weeks the state has sent response teams because of rising caseloads. Hospitalizations are increasing in Amarillo and Lubbock, mirroring overall numbers across the state. An additional 100 medical workers will arrive at hospitals in the cities by Sunday, Abbott said. The state is also sending ventilators and oxygen concentrators. “The additional medical personnel, supplies, and PPE surged to the Panhandle and South Plains will help these communities care for patients and contain the spread of this virus,” Abbott said. Since Oct. 1, the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 has risen 34% in Texas after the state relaxed restrictions in mid-September, citing a decrease in hospitalizations. It’s the second time the Panhandle has seen a virus spike this year. Abbott sent a “surge response team” there in May as cases erupted around meatpacking plants, and he kept some businesses in the region from reopening at the same speed as most places in Texas. After positive cases dropped sharply, Abbott described the turnaround as a model for how Texas can extinguish hot spots. Friday also was the first day of new virus regulations in El Paso, as cases spiked there. Abbott also has sent doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists and PPE to support hospitals there.


Salt Lake City: One of Utah’s largest hospitals had no beds left Friday in its regular intensive-care unit as Gov. Gary Herbert declared the state’s weekslong spike in coronavirus cases “unsustainable.” University of Utah Health had to set up extra ICU beds staffed by doctors and nurses working overtime to care for its critical patients this week as the unit hit 104% capacity, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Russell Vinik. “We’ve cut back where we can but it’s precarious,” he said. “We are very concerned about flu season, particularly if people don’t get vaccinated. We can’t take another hit.” Health officials again reported near record-breaking levels of new coronavirus cases Friday, meaning hospitalizations could continue to rise. Utah health officials reported nearly 1,500 new cases Friday, a number that Herbert called “sobering” during a weekslong spike in new cases that started after the new school year began. Many Utah schools are holding in-person classes. Herbert again encouraged people to wear masks and practice social distancing. Doctors like Vinik are also worried about the impending holiday season, where cold temperatures combined with more people gathering indoors could mean further spread of the pandemic. Hospitals statewide were at 73% capacity. Herbert has not issued a statewide mask mandate, but earlier this week he unveiled a new plan that would automatically require face coverings in high-transmission counties. He warned Friday that more areas could face new restrictions if the case counts didn’t come under control.


Montpelier: The Vermont Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases related to youth and adult recreational hockey and broomball teams in central Vermont, officials said Friday, and the governor directed skating rinks to halt reservations through Oct. 30. The outbreak is linked to people who practiced or played at the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier earlier this month, officials said. So far, the Health Department has identified 18 confirmed cases among players and several close contacts and most are in adults. “So far, there is no indication of community spread of the virus,” said Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist, at the governor’s bi-weekly virus briefing. In a Friday night release, Gov. Phil Scott said his order barring Vermont’s ice skating rinks from accepting new reservations for two weeks is meant to prevent a rush of new users from high-risk areas. Scott’s move follows New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s announcement Thursday that all hockey activities at indoor rinks would be paused for two weeks following positive COVID-19 tests for 158 people associated with the sport over the last two months. Scott said given the outbreaks in both states, the executive order will “reduce the risk to Vermonters, and to help sustain the progress we have made.” Rinks can proceed with already scheduled operations. A pop-up testing site is being opened on Saturday at the Barre Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Health Department recommends people with direct links the teams or the Civic Center and their close contacts get tested.


Fairfax: The board overseeing Virginia’s largest school district has failed to endorse a plan from its superintendent that would keep a majority of students fully online until February. In a series of votes early Friday, the 12-member Fairfax County school board deadlocked 6-6 on whether to endorse Superintendent Scott Brabrand’s plan, or whether to push for an earlier return to in-person learning for grades 3-12. The votes were nonbinding but reflect the deep divisions in the county and elsewhere on whether it’s safe for students to return to class as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Brabrand’s proposal called for staggered returns for limited in-person learning, beginning with children with special needs and the youngest grades, but the vast majority of the district’s 187,000 students would remain fully online until February under his plan. He has said logistical challenges are significant with many teachers resisting students’ return to class. The school district is the nation’s 10th-largest. The board is expected to take up the issue again next month.


Bellevue: Because of rising numbers of coronavirus cases in King County, the Bellevue School District is delaying in-person learning until January. The Seattle Times reported the district is abandoning earlier plans to bring its youngest students back into classrooms in a few weeks. “Considering the current level of transmission and the steady increase we have observed over the last week, we do not feel that we can successfully mitigate risks to health and safety if we are to bring larger numbers of students back into our school buildings,” read an announcement posted Thursday night on the district’s website. Earlier this month, when the district initially announced it would restart some in-person learning, King County’s infection rate was 53 cases per 100,000 people, within the range of 25 to 75 cases per 100,000 state guidelines said would indicate it’s safe to start reintroducing elementary school students to school buildings. On Thursday, the rate had spiked to 92 cases. So far this fall, Bellevue, which enrolls 21,000 students, was the largest district in King County to set a date for moving to in-person learning. Issaquah had also planned to start educating kindergartners and first grade students starting Thursday, but last week it, too, reversed course. Other large districts such as Seattle have avoided making statements in response to infection rates. Seattle said it has no immediate plans to bring large groups of students back.

West Virginia

Short Gap: Frankfort Middle School has been shut down for cleaning after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The Mineral County Health Department and Mineral County Schools personnel are working to identify any potential persons who might have had close contact with the employee, including students, staff, family members and friends. Those who need to be quarantined will be contacted by the health department. “Please understand that contact tracing and testing take time, and there are levels of contact - low, medium and high,” said health department administrator A.Jay Root. “Exercising an abundance of caution, and to ensure comprehensive contract tracing and identification of impacted staff and students, Frankfort Middle School will be closed Thursday, Oct. 15, and this will be a distance learning day for students,” Root said. Frankfort Middle is the second Mineral County school to be closed for a day because of someone testing positive; Burlington Primary was closed for deep cleaning Sept. 14, just six days after schools reopened for the year. The news of the positive test comes amid another rise in cases throughout Mineral County.


Milwaukee: The state Department of Health Services has suspended the reporting of new COVID-19 totals until early this week while its computer system undergoes an upgrade. The Journal Sentinel reported the department announced Friday that it is upgrading its Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System to improve its response to the coronavirus pandemic. The system is used to collect and monitor data on testing, contact tracing and other metrics. The reporting outage is expected to last until Tuesday, a day after the system goes live with the new updates.


Casper: The University of Wyoming said seven students in a sorority house have tested positive for the coronavirus. Members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority who tested positive for COVID-19 were put in isolation, while those who had close contact were told to quarantine, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. It is unknown how many students were asked to shelter-in-place or quarantine. Other members who live in the house and were not in close contact are still allowed to attend in-person classes, work and participate in religious activities, officials said. The announcement came as the university is increasing COVID-19 testing procedures, including requiring all students to be tested twice a week instead of once a week beginning Monday, officials said. Staff is also expected to be tested more routinely. University President Ed Seidel said that increased testing will help limit the spread “as much as possible” as cases have increased on the Casper campus and in Albany County. The university has reported 148 active COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, up from 40 the day before, health officials said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Legacy Museum reopens, Hawaii gets visitors, Boston Symphony Orchestra

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