US Mobile morgues, garage overflow, copper bottle con: News from around our 50 states

11:15  20 november  2020
11:15  20 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Sacramento: The state plans to spend nearly billion to buy up to 200 million masks each month to boost its stockpile of protective gear during the coronavirus Now it is filled around -the-clock with members of the Army Corps of Engineers performing the grim task of setting up a 450-bed overflow

Glowing rock fight, Statehouse stash, hometown hero: News from around our 50 states . From USA TODAY Network and wire reports. Bisbee: The darkest, most violent chapter in the history of Bisbee was an open secret for decades in the funky old copper town 7 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.


Birmingham: The new coronavirus is spreading so quickly through the state that COVID-19 is rampant, and there’s little hope of real improvement until weeks after the holidays, despite the hope presented by new vaccines, health officials said Wednesday. “It’s out of control,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association and former director of the state health agency. The rolling daily average of new cases over the past two weeks has increased by 684, a jump of about 50%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and 1 in every 342 people in Alabama tested positive in the past week. More than 3,300 people have died since the coronavirus pandemic began, state statistics show. With Thanksgiving next week and the Christmas season on its heels, officials fear large gatherings of families and friends will spread the virus even more and result in a wave of illness that won’t diminish until late January at the earliest, even though a relatively small number of people could begin receiving vaccines in December.

Closed storefronts, overwhelmed hospitals and mobile morgues: El Paso residents hit hard by coronavirus

  Closed storefronts, overwhelmed hospitals and mobile morgues: El Paso residents hit hard by coronavirus The glowing lights of arcade machines flash on and off across a silent room. A small carousel stands idly by, its colorful horses frozen in time. © Ashley Killough/CNN Six mobile morgues sit outside the Medical Examiner's office in El Paso County. The morgues can hold up to 176 bodies, and more units are on the way. Gone are the sounds of buzzers, ringers, and skee balls at Peter Piper Pizza. Instead, a man paces around with a loud machine, dousing the room with disinfectant spray.

Underwater art, tomato fight, lawn mower racing: News from around our 50 states . Montgomery: The state House of Representatives has passed legislation allowing residents to purchase Boulder: The state has a new law on the books that legislators say expands protections for mobile home

Juneau: State agencies, cities, the University of Alaska and school districts could not bar individuals from wearing tribal regalia or carrying objects of traditional cultural significance at public events under a bill introduced in the Alaska House. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, a Bethel Democrat.


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Anchorage: A coronavirus outbreak at the state’s largest prison has doubled in size since a week ago. The Goose Creek Correctional Center reported 204 inmates tested positive as of Wednesday. The outbreak was first reported Nov. 2, when the state Department of Corrections said 22 inmates and five staff members had tested positive. By last week, the number had ballooned to 110. The true number of infections is thought to be far higher. The correctional facility typically houses more than 1,000 pretrial and sentenced inmates. The outbreak began in a housing unit and spread to other units, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sarah Gallagher has said inmates who test positive for the coronavirus or those showing symptoms are isolated and monitored twice per day by medical staff. “Staff are required to wear masks in the facility, and inmates are strongly encouraged to do so,” Gallagher said. “Each housing unit continues to operate as a ‘family unit’ in order to minimize the risk of transmission between mods.”

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Summer snow, yellow jacket super nests, laundered cat: News from around our 50 states . Mountain Home: The city has approved the state’s first downtown entertainment district where people will be It’s still illegal for district patrons to possess an open can, bottle or glass container of alcohol.

Barbie, Tupac, scorpions and Red Vines: News from around our 50 states . The state says Hubig’s will distribute pies from the Louisiana-Texas line to the Mobile , Alabama, area. St. Paul: The developers of a proposed copper -nickel mine near the Boundary Waters plan to use a potentially


Phoenix: Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday warned that coronavirus cases are increasing at an alarming rate but stopped short of implementing any major new virus prevention restrictions or imposing a statewide mask mandate, despite pressure from Democratic state and local officials. “I want people to wear masks. Masks work,” Ducey said, adding that 90% of the state already has mask mandates imposed by county and local officials. Ducey said the state health department will issue an emergency order for schools to require masks on campuses and buses. State schools chief Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat, has pushed the governor for a statewide mask mandate, as has Democratic Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. But Ducey said a statewide mandate was not necessary. “I think the steps that we’ve put in place, the participation that we have, has got the maximum amount of compliance with Arizonans wearing a mask,” he said. “In addition, it’s nearly impossible to participate in our economy anywhere without wearing a mask.”

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The Wave, Undie Run undone, ‘Florida Man’ the series: News from around our 50 states . Jefferson City: Republicans in the state House are backing away from a budget compromise that would allow colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to students living in the country illegally.

Hot cat summer, prairie dog plague, vaping sickness: News from around our 50 states . Little Rock: State election officials have rejected an attempt to hold a referendum next year on a new Travelers who need plain water will have to buy refillable aluminum or glass bottles if they don’t bring their own.


Little Rock: Nearly 300 doctors from around the state urged Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday to impose new restrictions to curb a surge in coronavirus cases as the state’s hospitalizations from the virus hit a new record level. In the open letter, the doctors warned of the health care system being strained by the rise in cases. They urged the Republican governor to close bars and gyms and to limit restaurants to takeout service only. They also called on him to limit indoor gatherings to fewer than 10 people. “Our hospitals are filling up to the brim, and the virus is continuing to spread unchecked in our communities, meaning that the worst is approaching,” the letter delivered to Hutchinson’s office said. Arkansas’ COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday rose by six to 901, another new high for the state. Thirty more people died from COVID-19. Hutchinson has resisted calls to impose more restrictions on businesses. In a letter to the physicians, Hutchinson noted the current capacity limits for restaurants and bars and other social distancing requirements in place for gyms. He also cited the state’s mask mandate.

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Sacramento: Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week that he made a “bad mistake” by attending a friend’s birthday dinner during a spike in coronavirus cases and promised to “own it” and move forward. But there was more to the story than he revealed. Photos obtained by Fox 11 in Los Angeles show the governor in the company of multiple lobbyists and raise questions about how truthful Newsom was in claiming the dinner was outdoors. The images threaten his credibility at a time when he and health officials are pleading with Californians to stay home and not gather with friends and relatives outside their households. Newsom attended the dinner Nov. 6 at the French Laundry, one of the finest and most expensive restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. His administration didn’t acknowledge it until a week later when a reporter was tipped and asked about it. Newsom apologized Monday and described the dinner as outdoors. But the photos show Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, sitting maskless around a crowded table of 12 inside a room that was enclosed on three sides. The fourth side was open, though the woman who took the photos and provided them to Fox 11 said a sliding glass door eventually was closed after Newsom’s group became loud.


Denver: Ski areas in counties that are listed at Level Red, or “severe risk,” will be allowed to keep their lifts turning when new restrictions take effect Friday, according to state health officials. Summit County, where Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge have already opened, is one of 15 counties across Colorado that will move to Level Red on Friday, The Denver Post reports. Copper Mountain, also in Summit County, is scheduled to open in two weeks. The new dial level announced by Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday “does not affect ski resort on-mountain operations specifically,” according to an email sent Wednesday evening by the Colorado State Joint Information Center. Ski areas in Level Red counties can operate their lifts according to their approved plan but must suspend indoor dining. Facilities “essential for health and safety like restrooms” can remain open, and families also can go indoors for warmth or shelter from inclement weather. Loveland ski area is in Clear Creek County, which also will be at Level Red. Winter Park is in Grand County, which is at Level Orange.

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Hartford: An increase in demand for coronavirus testing in advance of Thanksgiving has led to hours­long lines across the state as providers scramble to add capacity and hire new workers. Leslie Gianelli, a spokesperson for Community Health Center Inc., which operates 15 testing sites across the state, said the wait time at those facilities Thursday was over two hours. Similar waits were being reported by Hartford HealthCare at its eight sites. “We are adding staff and adding sites and adding hours to try and keep up with the increase in demand,” Gianelli said. Capt. Dave Pytlik, a spokesperson for the Connecticut National Guard, said it has deployed about 50 Guard soldiers and airmen to help at testing sites. Hartford HealthCare said it is testing between 30,000 and 40,000 this week at its eight sites. It plans to open a new drive-thru center at Bradley International Airport on Monday and recently moved its center in Norwich to Dodd Stadium to increase testing capacity. He said that system is giving testing priority during the first few hours each day those who are scheduled to undergo medical procedures.


a sign on the side of a building: A man walks under I-95 in Wilmington as people without housing are surveyed in an annual state-wide count Wednesday evening. © WILLIAM BRETZGER, DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL A man walks under I-95 in Wilmington as people without housing are surveyed in an annual state-wide count Wednesday evening.

Wilmington: Nonprofits and advocates are rushing to set up emergency shelter space as a difficult year for the state’s homeless is expected to turn into an even harder winter. The groups face an unforgiving deadline amid community spread of the coronavirus that shows no signs of slowing down. Statewide, most emergency shelters have operated at about half-capacity since the pandemic began, to allow for sufficient distance between beds. Those kinds of restrictions are likely to make it harder for operators of winter-only shelters – ordinarily used to squeezing in an extra family on a cold night – to house everyone who will need it. In northern Delaware, plans to open up more beds for the winter hinge on New Castle County’s effort to convert the Sheraton hotel near New Castle into an emergency shelter. County officials used federal coronavirus relief money to buy the building at auction for $19.5 million last month and hope to open the shelter in December. “This winter is going to be like no other winter we’ve had,” said Carrie Casey, manager of New Castle County Department of Community Services, who is spearheading the conversion.

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District of Columbia

Washington: D.C. Public Schools celebrated the return of some students to 25 elementary schools Wednesday, but the celebration was cut short when the Washington Teachers’ Union declined to sign the tentative agreement to return to in-person instruction, WUSA-TV reports. Washington Teachers’ Union President Liz Davis said she only backed out of the deal after hearing from teachers who she said overwhelmingly expressed fear that the tentative plan had them returning to the school building for the terms after the holidays. “People will be traveling with families; they will be gathering in enclosed spaces; cases will spike,” Davis said. “The CDC has already acknowledged that they’re expecting this to happen. That would be a very dangerous time for the WTU, and other unions, to not be able to negotiate the working conditions for their members.”


St. Petersburg: Five Florida mayors on Wednesday said they were extremely concerned about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the state and begged Gov. Ron DeSantis to change his approach to the virus in hopes of slowing the spread. Following a months­long decline from its huge summer spike in the outbreak, Florida has seen a mid-autumn climb in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Still, the governor has resisted a return to statewide restrictions in place earlier in the year. “What Florida is doing right now isn’t working,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said during a sharply worded news conference on Zoom. “We’re failing pretty horribly. … Positive cases are rising steeply, and it’s spreading everywhere. We don’t believe it’s going to change unless we do something different.” Gelber was joined by the mayors of Hialeah, Miami Shores Village, Sunrise, and St. Petersburg. Over the past week, Florida averaged more than 6,500 newly reported cases per day, a steady increase since numbers of about 2,250 at the start of October. Hospitalizations have gone from between 2,000 and 2,200 for most of October to more than 3,500 on Wednesday, according to a state online census of hospitals.

Live updates: U.S. reports highest daily death toll in more than six months

  Live updates: U.S. reports highest daily death toll in more than six months Record numbers of fatalities were also reported in nine states — Maine, Alaska, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio and Oregon — according to data tracked by The Washington Post. © Briana Sanchez/AP Medical workers transport bodies to mobile morgues in El Paso County, Texas, earlier this month. Tuesday’s tally of 2,092 deaths is the highest the country has seen since May 6, when 2,611 deaths were reported. Here are some significant developments: The federal government plans to send 6.


Atlanta: At least three school districts in the state are ceasing in-person instruction until after Thanksgiving because of coronavirus spread among teachers and students, while at least nine other districts have closed at least one school. Among districts that have closed are Cook County in south Georgia, McDuffie County west of Augusta and Walker County in northwest Georgia. Districts that have closed at least one school include Bibb County, Brantley County, Cherokee County, Clarke County, Fulton County, Lanier County, Monroe County, Richmond County and Ware County. “I think that any time we lose face-to-face instruction, that’s a concern,” said state school Superintendent Richard Woods, an elected Republican. Unlike in some other states, the vast majority of Georgia districts serving the state’s 1.8 million students have been offering in-person instruction, although a minority of families have elected to keep their students home for virtual learning. Some districts, including Atlanta, DeKalb County and Clayton County, have remained fully online. COVID-19 cases in Georgia have been increasing steadily since early October in children ages 10-17.


Honolulu: The state Department of Health has created a contact tracing team that will perform its duties in languages such as Samoan, Marshallese and Chuukese. The new Pacific Islanders Outreach Team will comprise of 10 people who, along with their contact-tracing duties, will host online educational seminars about the coronavirus in a viewer’s native language, KITV-TV reports. Pacific Islanders make up about 4% of the state’s population but have about 28% of the state’s coronavirus infections, according to state Department of Health data updated last Friday. “I believe the more education the Pacific Islanders can get in a language and culture that speaks to them will help take down that number,” said Chantelle Matagi, the leader of the outreach team. Matagi said some people learn about the coronavirus for the first time during presentations in their native language. “It’s taken away a lot of the fear, the misinformation; it’s addressed that,” Matagi said. “It’s given them direct information on what to do if you’re positive, what to do if you’re a contact of someone who’s tested positive.”


Boise: The mayor says local police will begin enforcing mask orders starting next week in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Lauren McLean announced the new public health order Thursday that instructs police to ticket or arrest people who refuse to wear masks and refuse to leave local businesses when asked. Businesses can also temporarily lose their business license if they pose a “clear and immediate threat” because staffers or customers aren’t following mask orders. The order goes into effect Nov. 23. The capital city has been under a mask order since July, but so far it has gone unenforced. Coronavirus cases in Boise and across Idaho have been rising exponentially, and hospitals across the state are at or near capacity. Hospital officials say they could be forced to enact crisis care rationing – choosing which critically ill patients to treat based on who is most likely to survive – within the next month.


Springfield: The number of new coronavirus infections reported in the state Wednesday fell below 10,000 for the first time in 13 days, but an analysis of data by the Associated Press shows an exponential spread of the virus during the past 12 weeks and prompted the governor to say that too many people still consider the pandemic a “hoax.” There were 8,922 newly confirmed cases, well below the 15,415 record set last Friday but still significantly higher than at any time during the debut of the virus last spring. The 140 deaths recorded Wednesday is among the 10 highest daily death tolls since the pandemic hit in February. The continuing crisis prompted another sharp rebuke from Gov. J.B. Pritzker during his COVID-19 briefing in Chicago. A day after tightening restrictions on social interaction to stem the spread, the Democrat went so far as to attack “conspiracy theories” and “right-wing ideology” for preventing too many people from taking the highly contagious virus seriously.


Indianapolis: Almost 1 in 6 of Indiana’s coronavirus infections during the pandemic has been confirmed in the past week, as the state’s daily average of COVID-19 deaths has reached its highest level following a steep increase since September. The Indiana Department of Health’s daily update Thursday reported 59 more coronavirus deaths occurring over the past several days. Those raised the state’s seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths to 43 per day, passing the previous peak in late April. The state was averaging about 10 daily deaths in late September, when the current surge of new infections and hospitalizations began. Indiana has now recorded 5,143 coronavirus deaths, including both those with confirmed and presumed infections. The nearly 7,500 new infections reported Thursday give the state almost 45,000 confirmed cases in one week’s time, or about 16% of all such infections since the first Indiana case was confirmed more than eight months ago. Indiana hospitals were treating 3,063 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday – a 300% increase since late September.


Cedar Rapids: As the state’s coronavirus outbreak worsens, officials are collecting information on individual hospitals’ capacity, staffing and resources – but they won’t share it with the public. The state gathers and maintains such information on a service called the Iowa Health Alert Network, which is accessible to certain agencies and organization, Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reports. But the Iowa Department of Public Health won’t allow local health departments to make the information public. Only information on hospital capacity and resources statewide is currently shared on the state’s COVID-19 public data portal. Information on individual hospital capacity and resources is considered confidential because it constitutes information concerning physical and critical infrastructure, officials told KCRG. Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds suggested it was hospital staffing shortages, not available bed space, that was causing some hospitals in the state to reach capacity. The data on individual hospitals could bolster – or refute – that assertion.


Topeka: Gov. Laura Kelly issued a new mask mandate Wednesday in hopes of lessening the spread of the coronavirus after the state again reported another record seven-day increase in new cases. State law still allows Kansas’ 105 counties to opt out of such an order from the Democratic governor, and most did when Kelly issued a similar order in July. But the state’s rolling seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is now more than nine times higher than it was than when her first order took effect. Kelly’s order takes effect Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, and only in counties that don’t yet have their own mask mandates, though that’s still a majority of them. Kelly said she was giving counties without mandates a week to draft their own alternatives. Her order requires people to wear a “face covering” in indoor public spaces and in public spaces outdoors where social distancing is not possible. State health department data showed that Kansas averaged a record 2,767 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day for the seven days ending Wednesday. When Kelly first mask order took effect July 2, the record was 289.


Frankfort: Three agencies that support prevention of abuse and domestic violence are receiving $1.4 million from the state’s portion of federal coronavirus relief funds, officials said. The advocacy programs assist people affected by sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said in a news release. Gov. Andy Beshear said the funds will provide relief for the programs that have been financially affected through their response to the coronavirus. The agencies are the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kentucky. Funding will be used for expenses that resulted from the pandemic, including personal protective equipment and expenses to improve telecommunication services to clients, the release said.


Baton Rouge: The state sales tax won’t be charged on most purchases Friday and Saturday, under a one-time sales tax holiday aimed at helping people struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and recovering from hurricanes Laura and Delta. Lawmakers passed the two-day sales tax holiday legislation by Republican House Speaker Clay Schexnayder last month, and Gov. John Bel Edwards agreed. Louisiana’s revenue department said the sales tax holiday exempts the first $2,500 of most purchases from Louisiana’s 4.45% state sales tax, including both in-store and online transactions. The holiday doesn’t cover vehicle sales. It also doesn’t apply to business or commercial purchases. And it doesn’t apply to local sales taxes. The state is estimated to lose $4.5 million in sales tax collections because of the tax holiday, according to a nonpartisan analysis of the bill. Louisiana’s other sales tax holidays have been suspended for the past two years – and through mid-2025 – as part of a tax deal to balance the state’s budget.


Portland: With COVID-19 surging at the same time as flu season, the Maine Center for Disease Control will only investigate coronavirus infections based on a positive lab test. Contact tracers will no longer investigate people who had close contact with someone who’s infected, even if they’re showing symptoms, unless there’s a positive test, the Maine CDC said. The change is due to the arrival of influenza, which has symptoms resembling COVID-19, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC. The “adjustment ensures that all available COVID-19 response resources can be focused on lab-positive cases,” he said Wednesday. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth, said the change in policy makes sense. “The state has recognized that they have staffing limitations. You need to spend those resources where they can be most effective, on positive cases,” she told the Portland Press Herald. With so many cases, it was already becoming difficult to investigate every person who may have had close contact with those who are infected.


Annapolis: Gov. Larry Hogan has signed an executive order that would allow more than 1,000 inmates to be eligible for early release in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The order issued Tuesday would assess the eligibility for release based on age and how close the prisoner is to finishing their sentence, The Washington Post reports. Medical conditions, special needs and pregnancy would also be taken into account, but Sonia Kumar, attorney with the state’s American Civil Liberties Union, said she was disappointed Hogan’s order does not prioritize “those vulnerable for medical reasons.” The order also allows corrections officials to move quickly on decisions about parole and home detentions and to grant release to inmates who were already scheduled to be released within 120 days of the order. Sex offenders and others convicted of violent crimes are not eligible for early release. As of Monday, nearly 1,200 inmates had tested positive for the virus, and 13 had died. Hogan had issued a similar order earlier this year amid pressure from civil rights advocates.


Boston: Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged residents to refrain from gathering with extended family and friends at Thanksgiving, saying casual indoor gatherings are helping fuel the new surge in cases in Massachusetts. Holiday dinners and festivities should be limited to members of a person’s immediate household, Baker said at a news conference, adding that the state has limited private indoor gatherings to 10 people. Baker acknowledged that the choice to avoid large family gatherings is difficult for many but said the state continues to see more spread of the virus. He said cases have increased by eight times since Labor Day, while there have been four times as many hospitalizations in the same period. “This second surge is dangerous for all of us,” he said. Recent developments regarding potential vaccines are welcome news, he said, but that’s no reason for people to let their guard down. Any college students hoping to go home for the holiday should also be tested at least 72 hours before leaving campus to help reduce the possibility of spreading the virus to their families, Baker said.


Detroit: The coronavirus’ spread is rampant right now, and “cases and deaths are rising at all age groups and among all racial and ethnic groups,” the state’s top epidemiologist said during a news conference Wednesday, detailing where the state stands in the pandemic. Michigan now ranks sixth nationally in coronavirus cases and fifth for the number of COVID-19-related deaths, said Sarah Lyon-Callo, director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, citing data from the past seven days. In the past week alone, the state amassed 48,521 new confirmed cases – a number it took Michigan more than two months to reach at the start of the pandemic, state data shows. It wasn’t until mid-May that Michigan had marked that many confirmed COVID-19 cases. So far, 277,806 Michiganders have contracted the virus, and 8,190 have died. And although the state is conducting 89% more coronavirus tests now than it was Oct. 1 – averaging more than 53,000 each day in the past week – “the percent of those tests that are positive has increased 290%,” Lyon-Callo said.


Minneapolis: More than 900 staff members in the Mayo Clinic Health System in the Midwest have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past two weeks as the coronavirus continues to surge across the region, officials said. Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, said Tuesday that the 905 newly diagnosed employees account for 30% of all staff who have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began. And 93% of those with the coronavirus were exposed in the community, not at work, she said. “It shows how widely spread this is in our communities and how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the communities here in the Midwest,” she said. In total, about 1,500 Mayo Clinic staff are out due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure, Williams said. That number has been roughly unchanged over the past week, as some staff have returned while others go out. The health system has Midwest locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa but didn’t specify where the affected employees were located.


Jackson: The Mississippi State Department of Health reported 1,395 new cases of the coronavirus and 19 coronavirus-related deaths Thursday. According to the latest data, the total number of positive cases in Mississippi now stands at 138,791. So far, 3,195 people are confirmed to have died from the virus, with another 424 probable. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted Wednesday night that roughly 60% of the state’s residents are in at least one of the vulnerable COVID-19 groups, which include such health issues as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other systemic health issues. The current number of outbreaks at long-term care facilities stands at 169. There have been 7,256 cases reported in long-term care facilities, with 1,389 deaths. As of Monday, the latest information available, 775 people were hospitalized with confirmed infections, 201 in intensive care units and 93 on ventilators.


Columbia: Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday extended Missouri’s state of emergency through March as hospitals struggled to keep up with a rise in coronavirus cases. Although there are sufficient beds for patients, the hospitals don’t have enough staff to treat the increasing number of sick people, Parson said. The state is considering sending in the military and asking for help from medical workers in other states to supplement hospital staffing, he said. Coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all up. According to data from the state health department, 27,358 new virus infections were reported in the past week. That’s more than 3,900 new cases a day on average. For context, Parson said more new cases were reported in October than during the first eight months of the pandemic in Missouri, and new cases in November have already surpassed October. At least 67 people died from the virus in the past week. Roughly a quarter of coronavirus tests came back positive in the past week, and 2,629 patients suffering from the virus were hospitalized as of Tuesday. The Missouri Hospital Association has asked Parson to require face masks across the state to help curb the virus and ease the burden on hospitals, Jefferson City’s KRCG-TV reports.


Kalispell: Five businesses have filed counterclaims against the state after being accused of violating public health orders intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Flathead County businesses were accused of disregarding social distancing and mask mandates implemented by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, The Daily Inter Lake reports. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services filed a lawsuit against the Remington Bar, Sykes Diner and Scotty’s Bar in Kalispell and the Ferndale Market and Your Turn Mercantile-Your Lucky Turn Casino near Bigfork after sending inspectors in October. The businesses filed a counter lawsuit claiming the agency selectively targeted them and hurt them financially, officials said. The lawsuit is seeking damages, attorney fees and a judgment saying the health department does not have the authority to enforce the governor’s mandates. Several owners and employees of the businesses said during a hearing last week that they exceeded the requirements of the governor’s orders by offering masks to customers and implementing stringent cleaning regimens.


Omaha: A prominent infectious disease expert sounded the alarm Thursday about the state’s surging coronavirus cases and called for a statewide mask mandate, a step Gov. Pete Ricketts has repeatedly refused to take. Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said the pandemic has reached its most dangerous point since it began and described the recent increase in virus hospitalizations as unsustainable. “I’ve been in mass-casualty situations in combat zones in Afghanistan, I’ve been in Ebola treatment centers in very austere conditions, and I have never been as frightened about the status of the health system as I am about the status of our health care system in Nebraska right now,” Lawler said during a video conference call. Nebraska hospitals are straining to cope with the spike in coronavirus patients, and officials are urging the public to wear masks and take other precautionary steps to slow the spread of the disease. The virus has been surging in Nebraska, with more than five times as many COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Wednesday than the 185 it had two months ago.


Reno: The number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has spiked to its highest since the start of the pandemic, as an autumn surge continues to rewrite the record book. Health officials reported Wednesday that 1,246 confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Nevada, more than twice as many as three weeks ago. And unlike in July, when Nevada logged its previous record high, hospitals are now confronting competing demands like the flu, pushing them near the brink of their capacity, with 79% of staffed hospital beds currently occupied. “To be blunt, our state is surging and continues to surge,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. A week after Sisolak said he was confident that Nevada could reverse trends and contain the coronavirus if individuals committed to a “Stay at Home 2.0” mentality, he said the number of new cases reported each day and spiking positivity rates worried him. Both the Nevada Hospital Association and Nevada COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage said strategies in place are not successfully slowing the spread of the virus. In Reno, the Renown Regional Medical Center has set up two floors of supplemental hospital beds in a parking structure.

New Hampshire

Concord: Some holiday traditions are sticking around during the coronavirus pandemic, like Concord’s Christmas Parade, with social distancing and mask-wearing encouraged. The Saturday event also will be streaming live this year on thegranitechannel.com. It starts at 9:30 a.m. Parade organizers said they have received at least 50 entries. Newcomers this year will be bagpipers from the NHSCOT New Hampshire Highland Games, the Eastern Ballet Institute, and the New Hampshire Society Sons of the American Revolution. Many traditional participants plan to attend. Parade organizers have named their grand marshal: a Concord Police Department dog named Liberty. The yellow Labrador retriever helps comfort victims and others who have experienced crisis or trauma.

New Jersey

Atlantic City: Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure Wednesday expanding charitable groups’ ability to sell raffle tickets online based around sporting events after lawmakers addressed his concerns that the original bill was too close to internet gambling. The Democratic governor last month conditionally vetoed a bill aimed at helping charities’ fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic. In vetoing it, Murphy noted that the original bill would have allowed such online sales long after a virus pandemic keeping people away from stadiums has ended. Lawmakers on Monday made several changes to the bill, including limiting the ability to sell tickets online only during periods of a declared health emergency, and Murphy signed the revised bill two days later. Because the coronavirus pandemic has eliminated in-person attendance at large sporting events in the state, some legislators proposed expanding the law to let people buy tickets to such raffles over the internet, regardless of whether they were in a stadium.

New Mexico

Santa Fe: State officials said they were “tightening” the definition of essential businesses to exclude some large retailers that sell some essential supplies as the state reported a record-high number of COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row. Just after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, cellphones around the state buzzed and dinged with an emergency alert reading, “Shelter in place except for emergency needs. EXTREME virus risk.” Daily confirmed positive cases swelled to 2,897, the governor’s office reported. Twenty-six more deaths were recorded, second only to the slightly higher number reported Tuesday. In order to accept in-person customers, large retailers will be required to generate more than a third of their revenue from essential goods like food or essential services like car or bike repair. That means stores like Ross Dress for Less, which mostly sells clothes but occasionally sells food, will have to serve customers curbside or through delivery only, said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett. It’s unclear if stores like Target and Walmart, which sell groceries, or REI, an outdoor retailer that has a bike shop, might be deemed essential and allowed to remain open under the new rules without seeing a breakdown of their sales.

New York

New York: The day after he announced that schools would close to in-person learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that other businesses will likely shut down within a week or two as well to curb the spread of the coronavirus. De Blasio noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated all of New York City could be declared an orange zone under the state’s guidelines, which would trigger the shutdown of gyms as well as indoor service at bars and restaurants. Private schools might have to meet new virus testing requirements for pupils. Attendance at houses of worship would be capped at 25 people. When de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city’s public school buildings would all be closed at least through Thanksgiving weekend, some parents wondered why the schools were closing when restaurants were still open. De Blasio said he was sympathetic to those complaints but “looking at the state’s own number system, we’re talking a week or two before we’re in that orange zone status.”

North Carolina

Raleigh: A state agency is joining a historically black college to help communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic address food insecurity needs. Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said in a news release this week that the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with Livingstone College in Salisbury to execute a community-based program to provide critical resources to vulnerable populations affected by the pandemic. The news release said communities will have access to $5 million in grants to help provide the resources. “This pandemic, although unprecedented, creates a unique opportunity to form unlikely partnerships to address food insecurity in the state of North Carolina,” Livingstone President Jimmy R. Jenkins said in the release. A U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey shows 48% of North Carolina households reported only somewhat or no confidence they can afford food for the next four weeks.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Winter sports practices and other extracurricular activities for youth and adults will be allowed to resume at the end of November, although sports competition will remain suspended until mid-December, according to Gov. Doug Burgum and legislative leaders. Burgum made the joint announcement with House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner on Wednesday night. The move follows feedback from legislators, parents, school administrators, students, coaches, mental health professionals and others concerned about the impacts of suspended activities on students’ well-being, the announcement said. The Republican governor and legislative leaders also received input from the North Dakota High School Activities Association and athletic associations. “Our goals remain unchanged: to protect the most vulnerable, provide relief to our stressed hospitals and health care workers, keep students in school and businesses open, and preserve the winter sports season,” Burgum said.


Columbus: Republican Gov. Mike DeWine tried to convince lawmakers Thursday not to pass legislation that would limit the powers of his administration and health officials as the coronavirus’ spread across Ohio reached new peaks. For the first time, DeWine designated one of the state’s most populous areas, Franklin County, home to Columbus, as a purple zone on the state’s color-coded alert system. The designation is the highest on the state’s system and shows the area was flagged for hitting six indicators, including sustained increases in cases and in coronavirus-related hospital admissions. “This is a sign that we are starting to see a sustained and unprecedented impact on our hospital systems and staff in this area,” DeWine said during his briefing. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Ohio increased by 107%, according to the COVID Tracking Project. In the past week, 1 in every 227 people in the state tested positive. An average of about 7,350 cases have been confirmed per day in the state over the past seven days. But DeWine said the number is a gross understatement, as a large number of antigen tests are starting to slow down reporting because Ohio is “double checking” those positives.


Oklahoma City: The state’s recent surge in coronavirus cases is linked to Halloween events, according to a report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Oklahoma did not restrict trick-or-treating and has not limited social gatherings. The task force’s report said Oklahoma remains in the red zone for cases with more than 101 per 100,000 residents. The report recommended limiting restaurants to 25% capacity, curtailing the hours bars are open and encouraging the wearing of masks in public. “The spread in Oklahoma is exponential and unyielding, with hospitalizations increasing week over week and reported limited bed availability,” according to the federal report released Wednesday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. In Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation reported the intensive care unit at its W.W. Hastings Hospital was filled with COVID-19 patients. “We do contract with other facilities for our patients that require hospitalization,” the tribe said in a statement. “The bed shortage has not been an issue thus far, and our medical staff work diligently to care for every patient, but the concern, like all other communities and states, is if this surge continues and surrounding hospitals become full.”


Portland: The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state has surpassed 400, the highest number since the pandemic began and a 137% increase since the beginning of November, according to data released Wednesday. The Oregon Health Authority said 406 people were hospitalized, with 94 in intensive care. On Nov. 1, Oregon had 171 people in the hospital with COVID-19. A week ago, 290 people were hospitalized. The news came as health officials announced 1,099 new cases of the virus Wednesday and 10 deaths. The biggest increase in hospitalizations was in the Portland metropolitan area, the Willamette Valley, and Jackson and Josephine counties to the southwest. Oregon began a statewide “freeze” on social activity Wednesday in an attempt to slow the spread. In Multnomah County, that freeze will last four weeks. Under Gov. Kate Brown’s order, all restaurants and bars are closed except for takeout, and public places such as gyms and museums are also temporarily closed. Retail stores are limited to 75% capacity, and social gatherings are limited to no more than six people from two households.


Harrisburg: The state’s contact tracing system is under strain as the explosion of new COVID-19 cases overtakes health workers’ ability to keep up, hampering efforts to slow the spread. Public health experts say it’s important to interview people who have tested positive for the virus as soon as possible so their “close contacts,” or the people they exposed, can be identified and quarantined. The state Department of Health’s goal is to contact each new coronavirus patient within 24 hours of a positive test. That has become increasingly difficult as infections surge out of control, even with the addition of hundreds of case investigators and contact tracers. In late summer, about 80% of the people testing positive were contacted within a day, according to state Health Department data, falling to 25% in early November. “Certainly, as the number of cases increase … it does put an increased demand on our case investigation and contact tracing,” Michael Huff, the state’s director of testing and contact tracing, said at a media briefing Wednesday, noting that some municipal and county health departments have become overwhelmed.

Rhode Island

Providence: High schools will be limited to 25% capacity after Thanksgiving, meaning most students will shift to remote-only learning, in a move meant to control the spread of the coronavirus, state education officials said. Deputy Education Commissioner Ana Riley said in a letter to superintendents Wednesday that high schools should move to the “limited in-person” plans they submitted to the state Department of Education over the summer. High-needs students, including English learners, at-risk students and those with special needs, will continue with in-person classes, Riley said. “We know that our high school students function and live very differently than our younger students outside of school (i.e. jobs, sports, etc.) and want to make sure that we account for those factors,” Deputy Education Commissioner Ana Riley wrote. Organized school sports will also be canceled until January, she said. “Ultimately, we want to make sure that we use this time to decrease the amount of cases here in Rhode Island so that we may return in January with as many students as we can and as safely as possible,” Riley said.

South Carolina

Columbia: As the number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases continues to rise, health officials reported the state’s first influenza death of the season Wednesday. The death was only identified as a person in the Pee Dee region, the Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement. Health officials said the death underscored the need for everyone to get a flu shot to prevent hospitals from dealing with a possible crush of both COVID-19 and flu cases this winter – as well as the personal disaster of someone having both diseases at the same time. “So many generations before us would have given anything to have a flu vaccine,” the state epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, said in a statement. South Carolina reported 141 flu deaths last flu season and about 6,700 confirmed cases, although health experts suspect many more people have the flu and aren’t tested. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly. The seven-day average of new cases has been climbing steadily for six weeks, now reaching more than 1,450 newly diagnosed cases a day. Twenty-two COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday, the second-highest total this month, according to DHEC.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Gov. Kristi Noem on Wednesday defended those who choose not to wear masks in public, even as her state deals with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the nation. Those who don’t wear masks are making a “personal decision” and deserve respect, the Republican governor said during a news conference. She refused to encourage people to wear masks or socially distance, instead saying the best thing people can do to stop the spread of the virus is wash their hands. It was the governor’s first news conference to address the pandemic in more than three months. Although she acknowledged the state’s growing health crisis, she defended her approach to tackling the pandemic and showed no sign of issuing a mask mandate or other restrictions. The ardently conservative state’s largest group representing doctors has said it “strongly supports” a mask mandate, and several South Dakota cities now require masks to be worn in stores and public buildings. “Some have said that my refusal to mandate masks is a reason why our cases are rising here in South Dakota, and that is not true,” Noem said.


Nashville: The city is tightening restrictions to fight the surging coronavirus by limiting gatherings to eight people, Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday. Cooper’s office said the change effective Monday applies to public and private gatherings and aligns with the eight-person maximum dining party restriction at restaurants. Nashville’s gathering limit has been 25. Restaurants and bars can host up to 100 patrons per floor and per outdoor seating area. Cooper urged people to follow the eight-person limit or to gather with only one other family group. He said applications for events larger than the limitation will get a stricter look over the next two weeks. Additionally, indoor extracurricular events for Nashville public schools will be paused, Cooper said. As the pandemic escalates throughout Tennessee and nationwide, Nashville has surpassed its July peak in cases with a 14-day average of 390 cases a day, or a seven-day average of 58 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, which is almost five times higher than in September, Cooper said. Statewide, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen from 2,226 on Nov. 4 to 4,546 on Wednesday.


Austin: The state is sending medical staff to overworked hospitals by the thousands – more now than at any point during the pandemic – as a worsening surge of cases leaves virus patients waiting for beds, and large public buildings were ordered shut Wednesday in Lubbock County, where fire officials are building shelves to store the dead. More doctors and nurses may still be needed as Texas rapidly accelerates toward 8,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. “We’re in trouble,” said Dr. Ron Cook, the health authority in Lubbock County, which is averaging more than 450 new cases a day over the past week. He would not rule out the county of 320,000 residents soon needing mobile morgues like the border city of El Paso, where jail inmates have begun earning $2 an hour to transport bodies amid a skyrocketing number of virus deaths. “We’re close. The fire department has made some shelving units for us. We’ve gone to extra efforts to try to find more space,” Cook said. Texas has sent hundreds of additional doctors and nurses to Lubbock to staff overflow medical tents outside hospitals and relieve weary front-line workers.


Salt Lake City: The state could receive its first round of a coronavirus vaccine as early as mid-December, but wider distribution likely won’t be available until July, health officials said Wednesday. Rich Lakin, immunization program manager for the state health department, said that even though the vaccine options look promising, wearing masks and social distancing will continue to be crucial through the dissemination process. “Even though the vaccine is coming out in possibly December… it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden the disease burden is going to be eliminated,” Lakin told reporters. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” The first doses in Utah will go to staff in emergency departments, urgent care facilities, COVID-19 units and long-term care facilities, as well as health care workers with preexisting health conditions, Lakin said. It is still unclear how many doses will be sent in the initial phase. Five hospitals that experienced the highest COVID-19 response will be the first to receive the vaccine: the University of Utah Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center, LDS Hospital, Dixie Regional Medical Center and Utah Valley Regional Hospital.


Montpelier: Gov. Phil Scott is urging Vermonters to honor the people lost to COVID-19 by renewing their commitment to protecting one another. In April, he had ordered flags lowered at state facilities on the 19th of each month to honor those who’ve died from the virus. The flags flew at half-staff again Thursday. “This month we do so amidst rising case counts across the state, increased transmission and growing concern for the health and safety of our most vulnerable neighbors,” he said in a statement Thursday. “Sadly, we’ve now reached the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths nationwide.” Three more Vermonters died of COVID-19 this month, Scott said. “Today, as we remember those we’ve lost, let’s honor them by renewing our commitment to protect one another, to support one another and to listen to what the science and the data are telling us,” he said. “If we do, we’ll get through these difficult times faster, and recover stronger, than any other state.” Vermont set another one-day record Thursday for the number of new cases of the coronavirus, with nearly 150 positive tests.


a group of people posing for the camera: AR-15 rifles are on display during the Nation's Gun Show in 2016 at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. © Alex Wong, Getty Images AR-15 rifles are on display during the Nation's Gun Show in 2016 at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Falls Church: A judge on Thursday rejected a legal challenge from one of the nation’s largest gun shows to newly imposed pandemic restrictions in Virginia that will force cancellation of an upcoming exposition. The Nation’s Gun Show is held several times a year at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, about 25 miles outside Washington. A three-day show expected to draw thousands had been scheduled to start Friday. The show filed for an emergency injunction this week in Fairfax County Circuit Court after it was told that tightened restrictions imposed last week by Gov. Ralph Northam would limit the event to 250 people. The lawsuit offered theories as to why the order exceeded the governor’s authority, but Judge Brett Kassabian rejected them all at a hearing Thursday morning. While he said he was sympathetic to the fact that show organizers and vendors stand to lose millions of dollars, Kassabian said that “to allow thousands of people to roam unchecked in the throes of of the worst pandemic in 100 years is not in the public interest.” The gun show can appeal the ruling.


Blaine: Federal investigators are looking into a company in northwestern Washington for claiming its products, specifically copper water bottles, can protect people from the coronavirus. The website copperH20.com invites customers to “experience the benefits of a copper water bottle” with claims that for $32.50, copper water bottles will help keep the coronavirus away, KING-TV reports. The Federal Trade Commission has sent the company a warning letter ordering it to “immediately stop making (those) claims.” The news outlet made several attempts to reach CopperH2O, including through email, a California phone number and its mailing address, which led the outlet to the post office in the Whatcom County town of Blaine, where no post office box was listed. The FTC said it has received 240,000 complaints about COVID-19-related products since the start of the pandemic.

West Virginia

Charleston: The state unveiled a draft plan Wednesday for rolling out a coronavirus vaccine, starting with medical workers and gradually bringing it to other essential workers and to the general public at sites such as drive-thru venues. As cases continued to pile up in the state, Gov. Jim Justice ruled out any new shutdowns on businesses and other public life for now. He said additional restrictions would only come if the state starts seeing many more deaths due to COVID-19. He most recently tightened an indoor mask requirement at all public settings. He said he would prefer students stay in classrooms in counties with smaller outbreaks, bucking a request from the state’s largest teachers group to go virtual-only through year’s end. “We’re not going to shut anything down, unless this thing continues to get worse and worse,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. He said rumors by some of his conservative critics that he wants to shut down businesses are “hogwash.” Justice has urged residents to wear masks and get tested regularly in order to stem outbreaks until a vaccine arrives.


Wausau: One of central Wisconsin’s largest health systems is planning to send some coronavirus patients home in order to make sure there are enough hospital beds for the “sickest of the sick.” Aspirus CEO Matt Heywood said at a news conference Wednesday that facilities at its Wausau hospital are nearly full, and staff resources are strained. As a result, he said, the hospital will move some patients who would otherwise be hospitalized into home care. Heywood said they will rely on nursing calls and telecommunication and will ask patients’ family members to help provide care, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. “We’re going to call upon the community and their loved ones to help us care for these patients,” Heywood said. As of Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin Hospital Association data showed 2,277 coronavirus patients hospitalized across the state, the most recorded so far in the pandemic. There were 83 more deaths and 6,635 new positive cases reported by the state Department of Health Services on Thursday. That brings the total number of cases to nearly 338,500 and deaths to 2,876.


Cheyenne: The state will use federal coronavirus relief funding to help petroleum companies move ahead with oil and gas drilling projects interrupted by the pandemic and plug idle wells. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the once-booming U.S. oil industry, reducing travel and lowering demand for gasoline and jet fuel, proponents said. “These funds will have a direct impact on Wyoming’s employment rate and put people back to work in our oil and gas sector,” Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement announcing up to $15 million in assistance through a new Energy Rebound Program. Using the money to plug and clean up abandoned oil and gas wells is a good idea, but subsidizing them to complete oil and gas wells isn’t, said Bob LeResche with the Powder River Basin Resource Council land stewardship advocacy group. As of late 2019, Wyoming had more than 3,000 “orphan” wells that companies have abandoned without plans to put back into production or plug and clean up, according to an Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission report.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mobile morgues, garage overflow, copper bottle con: News from around our 50 states

Live updates: U.S. reports highest daily death toll in more than six months .
Record numbers of fatalities were also reported in nine states — Maine, Alaska, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Ohio and Oregon — according to data tracked by The Washington Post. © Briana Sanchez/AP Medical workers transport bodies to mobile morgues in El Paso County, Texas, earlier this month. Tuesday’s tally of 2,092 deaths is the highest the country has seen since May 6, when 2,611 deaths were reported. Here are some significant developments: The federal government plans to send 6.

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