Top State Stories 8/6
CA: California health care workers must be vaccinated by end of September
In what officials characterized as the first requirement of its kind in the nation, California ordered that health care workers statewide must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 come early fall. The new mandate applies to employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, doctor’s offices, hospice facilities, dialysis centers and most other health care settings.
AR: Arkansas legislators reject mask leeway for schools
Arkansas lawmakers, meeting in a special session to consider easing a ban on mask mandates for schoolchildren, voted down two bills that would have allowed local school boards to mandate COVID-19 face coverings in certain instances.
MI: Michigan Bureau of Elections denies request to conduct election audit
Republican attempts to continue questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election faced another setback in Michigan after the state’s Bureau of Elections declined a county commission’s request to conduct an audit prompted by false conspiracy theories that votes were manipulated.
WA: State Supreme Court will hear case about Washington cops who attended DC rally before US Capitol attack
Describing the matter as “an issue of considerable public interest,” a Washington state Supreme Court commissioner ruled this week that the state’s highest court will decide the legal battle over the public disclosure of records identifying four Seattle police officers who attended a pro-Trump rally before January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
TX: Texas hospitals hit by staffing crisis as burnout depletes workforce and COVID surges
There are 23,000 more unfilled jobs in Texas for registered nurses than there are nurses seeking to fill them, according to a labor analysis by the Texas Workforce Commission. The lack of available nurses has driven up salaries and created a heated, competitive job market as thousands of positions remain open throughout Texas.
MN: 11K Minnesotans seek vaccine incentive on 1st day of initiative
More than 11,000 people in Minnesota signed up on the first day of availability for COVID-19 vaccine incentives. Response to an earlier state vaccine incentive program was underwhelming in June, when fewer than 20,000 people total sought free fishing licenses or passes to events.
WI: Wisconsin governor introduces new bills to reduce prescription drug costs
After a similar but less comprehensive set of proposals was shot down by Wisconsin Republicans in the budget, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers introduced a new legislative package aimed at increasing access to and lowering the costs of prescription drugs.
DE: New Delaware laws bolster efforts to address domestic violence
The laws signed by Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney aim to improve the quality of the annual report that the Department of Education submits on teen dating violence and sexual assaults. They also update the list of offenses covered under the domestic violence first offender diversion program.
UT: Utah health board calls for mask mandate for public school students
The Salt Lake County Board of Health is urging local leaders in Utah to require masks for kindergartners through sixth graders attending county public schools this fall. Under a law passed by state legislators earlier this year, the health department can put forward a public health order requiring face coverings in classrooms, but the county council can immediately overturn it.
KS: Kansas’ most populous county mandates masks for K-6 schools
The Johnson County Commission voted 5-2 for a mask requirement for schools from kindergarten through the sixth grade in the Kansas county. The commission faced criticism from health care providers who urged members to go further and from some parents and other residents who oppose a mask mandate.
OR: Oregon hospitals see steep rise in COVID patients
The number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 climbed by 35 new admissions to 457, a four-and-a-half fold increase within the past four weeks and the highest number since January. The positivity rate—which is the percentage of all test results that are positive for the coronavirus—also crept up to 10.2%.
AK: ‘Sophisticated group’ behind Alaska cyberattack, agency says
A “highly sophisticated group” known for cyberattacks against governmental and other entities is alleged to be behind the attack this spring that targeted the Alaska health department, a spokesperson for the department said.
MD: Maryland mandates COVID vaccines or tests for state care workers
Maryland will require state employees who care for people in prisons, hospitals, veterans centers and juvenile facilities to get COVID-19 vaccinations or submit to regular testing.
NV: Nevada governor asks medical task force to consider COVID vaccine mandates for college students
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that he has directed his medical task force to assess the possibility of requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for students to enroll in Nevada’s public colleges and universities.
HI: Hawaii reports 655 coronavirus cases, a new single-day record
Hawaii recorded 655 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily case count in the state since the pandemic started more than a year ago. The highly contagious delta variant now makes up an estimated 81% of the state’s coronavirus cases, according to a report released by the Department of Health.
RI: Marathon work shifts, massive overtime payments soar at Rhode Island state prison
In the fiscal year that ended in June, officers at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston, Rhode Island, worked 5,352 “quad” shifts, so named because they are four eight-hour shifts in a row. The management at the prison has said for years that they’d like to do away with quads due to safety and health concerns, but they’re written into the correctional officers’ contracts.
MT: Feds will likely nix work requirements in Montana Medicaid expansion program
Federal health officials will likely reject Montana’s request to include work requirements for beneficiaries of its Medicaid expansion program, which insures 100,000 low-income Montana adults, state officials said.
IA: Iowa parents plead with state school board for mask requirements
Iowa parents and educators urged the State Board of Education to push back against state law and allow schools to require masks in the upcoming school year. A law passed in the final days of the legislative session states that schools may not require students, employees or visitors to wear face coverings.
TN: Tennessee health chief says children’s hospitals will fill up as the delta variant surges
Dr. Lisa Piercey, Tennessee’s health chief, said the delta variant is rapidly spreading among children—who are quickly showing symptoms after possible exposure, possibly amounting to a much faster incubation time than previous versions of the virus. Children’s hospitals in Tennessee are on pace to be completely full by the end of next week, the Department of Health projects.
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