By: - August 31, 2020 12:00 am

U.S: Coronavirus worries force election officials to get creative

Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid the pandemic. Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms; others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

LA: ‘Swelling of evictions’ predicted in Louisiana as coronavirus protections end

Hurricanes Laura and Marco have delayed only briefly what Louisiana affordable-housing advocates expect to be a coming surge in eviction notices, as landlords are now free to request that courts remove tenants stung by coronavirus shutdowns and other financial woes.

AK: COVID-19 program for Alaska families plagued with difficulties

A lack of information, mail delays, phone and internet access issues and a slowed program rollout with a tight original deadline have led to challenges in connecting families to the federal benefits, especially in rural Alaska.

TX: Texas universities may be missing virus spread

Many Texas universities are not doing widespread testing to catch students who may be silent spreaders of the coronavirus, a gamble that experts say increases the risk of massive outbreaks. Outbreaks at several universities across the country have forced a switch to fully remote learning and dorm closures.

MA: Protesters outside Massachusetts State House demand governor rescind flu shot order

At the Massachusetts State House, a series of speakers said they did not want to abide by a public health mandate that requires most students to get the flu vaccine to attend school. They spoke of distrust in the government and in pharmaceutical companies and concern that they would not have control over their medical decisions.

NY: New York nursing home operators call for monthly COVID-19 testing for staff

The New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living, which represent over 425 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, are calling on state officials to adopt new federal guidance that requires coronavirus testing for staff based on the infection rate in a community. That would reduce testing to once a month.

AZ: HVAC repairs a potential problem for COVID-19 spread in Arizona schools

Arizona school districts say they don’t have access to unlimited funds to upgrade HVAC systems, many of which are aging or need repairs, while also trying to cover added costs for disinfectants and technology for distance learning.

VT: Governor’s administration considers flu vaccine mandate for Vermont children

Vermont’s health commissioner said he’s considering a policy that would require children to get flu vaccinations to be eligible to attend public schools. He said the confluence of COVID-19 and an active flu season could overwhelm health care resources and create a “twin-demic” for the state.

OH: Some Ohio colleges won’t publicly report COVID-19 cases

Several central Ohio colleges and universities are working to share on-campus COVID-19 statistics to keep students, employees and the larger community informed on the number of positive cases they have. But not all of them are publicly reporting those statistics.

WI: Wisconsin Senate will ‘gavel in’ but won’t vote on governor’s special session

The Wisconsin state Senate won’t take votes on the special session bills introduced by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to address police accountability following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. The Senate’s majority leader, a Republican, announced that his chamber would convene the special session, but his office later clarified that the move was procedural.

CT: Connecticut’s minimum wage rises to this week 

Thousands of low-wage workers in Connecticut will see their hourly wages rise to on Sept. 1. But because of the financial upheaval brought on by a global pandemic, some business leaders have called on Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont to postpone the wage increase until the economy stabilizes. 

IN: Indiana forecasts 10-fold jump for mail-in voting 

Indiana election officials are bracing for perhaps 10 times more mail-in ballots for this fall’s election than four years ago. Officials expect 1.3 million to 1.8 million mailed ballots, which would mean more than half of Indiana’s voters might choose that option rather than heading to polling sites for the Nov. 3 election amid pandemic worries. 

NY: New Yorkers are fleeing to the suburbs

The pandemic is spurring home sales in New York City suburbs as prosperous city residents seek more space. One listing had 97 showings and received 24 offers.

SD: South Dakota hospital system warns of COVID-19 surge after dozens of health care workers test positive

South Dakota’s Monument Health leaders told physicians and caregivers to “prepare for a surge in cases in the coming weeks” after a total of 60 physicians and caregivers tested positive for COVID-19 in August, including 44 in the past week.

ND: North Dakota legislative staff to return to office, meetings resume

North Dakota legislative employees plan to return to their Capitol office this week after working remotely following a co-worker’s COVID-19 diagnosis earlier this month.

MT: Montana sees 1st case of COVID-19-related inflammatory disease

The first case of a rare COVID-19-related inflammatory disease in Montana has been reported in a child from Teton County, health officials said.

CO: Loophole in Colorado policing law excludes state police, corrections officers

Colorado’s new policing law was heralded as one of the most comprehensive packages in the country, but it contains one key loophole, excluding hundreds of state-employed officers from facing personal liability for their actions because the potential hit to the state budget would have been too great.

MI: Workers sue Michigan nursing home over mask ban 

Former employees who contracted the virus say the Michigan home refused to test residents or staff and did not allow staff to wear masks in the early weeks of the pandemic. One said a mask was ripped from her face by a supervisor, who told her she was scaring patients.

NV: Initial unemployment claims fall in Nevada

Initial claims for Nevada’s standard unemployment program dropped below 10,000 in a week for the first time since business shutdowns began in March. But the nearly 360,000 continued claims for benefits filed last week is more than four times the number in the peak week of the Great Recession.

DE: Campus life much different this year at Delaware colleges

The University of Delaware says about 90% of its classes this semester will be remote. Those that are in-person include hard sciences with labs and some art classes.

GA: Demand for virus tests falls in Georgia as White House pushes for more

Demand for testing across Georgia is declining despite substantial capacity, according to a spokesperson for Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.