By: - December 7, 2020 12:00 am

NM: New Mexico hospitals on brink of rationing care

New Mexico will soon allow hospitals to move to “crisis standards,” a move that frees them to ration care depending on a patient’s likelihood of surviving. It is a step that other states have avoided, and one that doctors dread.

US: Mass transit faces huge service cuts across the country

Across the United States, public transportation systems are confronting an extraordinary financial crisis set off by the pandemic, which has starved transit agencies of huge amounts of revenue and threatens to cripple service for years. The profound cuts agencies are contemplating could hobble the recoveries of major cities from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

TN: Tennessee prepares to send National Guard to hospitals for COVID-19 surge

As a coronavirus outbreak threatens to overwhelm Tennessee’s health care infrastructure, Republican Gov. Bill Lee invoked emergency authority allowing National Guard members to be sent to hospitals as nurses, COVID-19 testers or ambulance drivers.

KY: Kentucky governor asks superintendents to prepare rosters of teachers willing to get vaccines

Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear asked the state’s superintendents to begin preparing rosters of school personnel who are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state Education Department.

FL: Confederate holidays still on the books in Florida

Most Floridians don’t know it, but three dates commemorating the Confederacy are among the state’s list of legal holidays. A proposed law would change that.

LA: Louisiana’s contract tracing disappoints

Seven months and million later, Louisiana’s contact tracing program has not produced the type of results health experts wanted. Fewer than a third of people reached by tracers shared contacts.

CO: Colorado first gentleman hospitalized due to COVID-19

Eight days after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Colorado first gentleman Marlon Reis has been hospitalized due to a “slightly worsening cough and shortness of breath,” according to a statement from Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ office.

AZ: Arizona legislature shuts down after lawmakers exposed to Giuliani

The Arizona legislature will close for a week after Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, possibly exposed several Republican lawmakers to COVID-19. Giuliani had spent more than 10 hours discussing election concerns with Arizona Republicans, leading the meeting maskless, flouting social distancing guidelines and posing for photos. 

MD: Maryland launches centralized system to find available hospital beds

For 50 years, Maryland’s hospital systems have coordinated to funnel trauma patients to doctors and hospitals with the expertise to fix them. Now the state is adapting its system, which was the first of its kind in the country, to find available beds not only for ­COVID-19 patients, but other sick people who would otherwise languish in emergency rooms.

PA: GOP leaders ask Congress to reject Pennsylvania’s electors for Joe Biden

More than 60 Republicans, including the top lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House, are asking the state’s congressional delegation to reject electors for Joe Biden after conceding the General Assembly could not appoint its own.

GAGeorgia hospitals already pushing capacity as they brace for COVID-19 surge

Major hospitals in Georgia were going on and off diversion last week, meaning ambulances bringing in more patients had to be turned away. 

OH: Ohio governor warns more coronavirus mitigation measures are inevitable

Although Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s seen progress in compliance with mask wearing and people limiting their movement somewhat, it hasn’t been enough to stop the increase in cases and hospitalizations that threaten the state’s health care infrastructure. 

NC: Today is the last day for North Carolina parents to apply for payment

Qualified North Carolina families have until Dec. 7 to apply for a check from the state’s Extra Credit grant program. The state Department of Revenue hopes to disperse almost a half billion dollars by the end of the month.

SC: South Carolina lawmakers plan in-person retreats prior to 2021 session

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, South Carolina state senators of both parties are still planning to meet in person this month for their annual retreats to strategize for the upcoming legislative session.

WA: COVID-19 could lead to fewer Washington students going to college

A dip in applications for financial aid tells a troubling story about which and how many Washington students are making plans to pursue—and get help paying for—education after high school. Those early warning signs have alarmed Washington’s college access and financial aid workers.

ID: Overtaxed Idaho facilities on brink of rationing care

In Boise, an urgent-care clinic has been revamped into a facility for coronavirus patients. National Guard troops have been called in to bolster medical staff as infections and deaths surge in Idaho and nationwide.

MS: Mississippi may see 1,000 more deaths before 2021

“We may see an additional 1,000 deaths before the start of 2021,” Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted. Mississippi has twice in one week broken its record for the number of new daily coronavirus cases reported to the state—far eclipsing the pandemic’s summer peak.

NJ: New Jersey governor, legislators reach deal on legal weed industry bill

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey legislative leaders have reached a deal on bills that would establish a framework for a legal weed industry, setting up a key vote in the coming weeks. New Jerseyans voted to legalize weed for recreational purposes, but the ballot measure requires it to be regulated by a Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and in turn, the legislature.

IL: COVID-19 fatalities hit a new record in Illinois nursing homes

The latest COVID-19 surge is hitting Illinois’ most vulnerable residents harder than ever, with a record 480 deaths recorded in the past week among people living in long-term care facilities. A Chicago Tribune analysis found the surge in deaths was particularly steep outside the greater Chicago area. 

MT: Work requirements for Montana Medicaid expansion delayed

The Montana health department said that because of delays caused by the pandemic, the federal government still hasn’t approved the addition of work requirements to the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

WI: COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t be mandated in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration has no plans to mandate that employers require vaccinations for health care workers or for anyone else in the state. The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Wisconsin within days.

UT: Almost all Utah ICU beds are filled

About 91% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are in use, while 96.5% of ICU beds in hospitals specializing in COVID-19 are taken up. This week saw the most COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with the 603 reported Saturday representing the first time current hospitalizations rose above 600. 

IA: As Iowa rental assistance programs end, options run out for cash-strapped renters

As winter approaches and the end to a national eviction moratorium nears, Iowa has stopped taking applications for a pair of statewide programs that provided rent, mortgage and utility assistance to low-income residents.

KS: Winning over the ‘vaccine hesitant’: Kansas prepares for questions, fears

Kansas health leaders must find ways to win over the “vaccine hesitant”—not opponents who try to block mandatory inoculations for schoolchildren or indulge in conspiracy theories—but those who have concerns about the shot yet are open to persuasion. They may have a specific fear, such as long-term side effects, or simply want more information before they commit.

MA: With no new Massachusetts COVID-19 restrictions, some mayors urge more action

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is facing growing pressure from public health experts and local mayors for a stronger response to the state’s quickly rising tide of COVID-19 cases, with some municipal officials considering regional rollbacks of their own if the state doesn’t act.

VA: Virginia Republican to run for governor as independent

Sen. Amanda Chase, a Virginia Republican, said she will run for governor as an independent after Virginia GOP leaders voted to pick the party’s 2021 statewide nominees in a convention rather than in a primary. “It’s the only way to bypass the political consultants and the Republican establishment elite,” she wrote in a Facebook post.


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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.