Trump going Fourth, college refunds, parks shuttered: News from around our 50 states
Montgomery: State health officials are beginning to issue color-coded rankings on the spread of COVID-19 in counties, and on Saturday, much of the state was listed as high or moderately high. State Health Officer Scott Harris said in a telephone interview last week that the display is meant to give people and local officials information in a form that is “easy to see.” The rankings on the state dashboard grade the counties by the infection rate per 100,000 people over the last 14 days. The color-coded rankings come as health officials have expressed alarm over the state’s continuing upward trend in cases. “It’s meant to just inform the public. So at least everyone can agree, we’re a red county, or an orange county or a green county,” Harris said. He said the department will offer guidance based on the rankings, but the state will not issue mandated closures based on it. “We are not going to impose health orders based on the colors,” Harris said. The city of Montgomery on Friday implemented an ordinance mandating face masks to be worn in public when 10 or more people were present. Mayor Steven Reed issued an executive order on the masks after the measure failed before the City Council. The proposal ended in a tie vote.
Anchorage: Alaska’s $290 million financial assistance program for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will no longer exclude companies that received small amounts of federal aid, officials said. The rule change follows an outcry from businesses and legislators who believe the rules were overly restrictive, The Anchorage Daily News reported. Alaska Department of Commerce Commissioner Julie Anderson told the Alaska House Finance Committee on June 16 the new rules will permit applicants receiving $5,000 or less in direct aid from the federal government. Alaska’s aid program distributes grants of $5,000 to $100,000. The funds can be used for rent, utilities and other expenses that are tough to pay because of the pandemic’s economic fallout. Rules put in place when the program began June 1 “created a huge gap in the program and some unintended consequences,” Anderson said. The expanded applicant pool will include beneficiaries of the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Businesses will not be excluded from the state program for receiving help from municipal programs funded by the federal government. The state also opened up the program to chambers of commerce. Some nonprofit organizations have already received permission to apply. Businesses that received more than $5,000 in federal aid can return those funds to become eligible for the state program, Anderson said.
Phoenix: The murder trial of a 48-year-old Phoenix man arrested five years ago in the separate killings of a woman and a girl along the same canal in the early 1990s has been postponed again, this time because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aug. 23 had been the latest of more than a half-dozen dates for Bryan Miller’s trial to start in Maricopa County Superior Court. But Judge Patricia Ann Starr reset it for Feb. 23. Miller sought the latest delay, which prosecutors opposed. Starr granted the request, saying “the current public health situation” means attorneys can’t conduct in-person interviews with witnesses, travel of some witnesses might be restricted and that it is unknown when the court will resume jury trials, especially lengthy ones involving death-penalty cases. Miller’s case stems from the 1992 killing of 22-year-old Angela Brosso and the 1993 killing of 17-year-old Melanie Bernas. Their remains were found in or near the Arizona Canal. Both had disappeared while bicycling in the area. After Miller was arrested in 2015, police said DNA evidence linked him to the killings. Miller has pleaded not guilty. He faces two counts each of first-degree premeditated murder and of kidnapping resulting in death and one count each of sexual assault and attempt to commit sexual assault.
Pine Bluff: The Community Health Centers of Arkansas are offering free COVID-19 tests for anyone, regardless of whether they have symptoms. The local center is Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, according to a news release. Testing for COVID-19 is free, but insurance information is needed if patients have it. Regardless of insurance status, no out-of-pocket fees are charged, according to the release. “The 12 Community Health Centers in Arkansas are uniquely positioned to help test people from all demographic populations, but especially minority groups or those in hard-to-reach rural areas,” said LaShannon Spencer, chief executive officer of the Community Health Centers of Arkansas. The 12 Community Health Centers in Arkansas are: Jefferson Comprehensive Care System, Pine Bluff; Lee County Cooperative Clinic, Marianna; Mainline Health Systems, Dermott; Mid-Delta Health Systems, Clarendon; ARCare, based in Augusta; Boston Mountain Rural Health Center, Marshall; CABUN Rural Health Services, Hampton; Community Clinic, Springdale; 1st Choice Healthcare, Corning; East Arkansas Family Health Center, West Memphis; Healthy Connections, Inc., Mena; and River Valley Primary Care, Ratcliff. Testing is offered in tents, vehicles, or in special rooms separated from regular clinic activity to safely allow everyday patient traffic. The complete list of all of the testing sites is available at www.chc-ar.org/coronavirus-testing-sites. For more information, call (833) 508-0774.
Los Angeles: About 150 seasonal workers hired by a salmon cannery in Alaska are being forced to quarantine without pay at a hotel in Los Angeles after three of them tested positive for the new coronavirus, a lawsuit claimed. The workers, most of them from Mexico and Southern California, were hired June 2 by North Pacific Seafoods to work at its Red Salmon Cannery in Naknek, Alaska, through August, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, the Los Angeles Times reported. Instead, they have been stuck at the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel since June 10, attorney Jonathan Davis said. Leauri Moore, vice president of human resources for North Pacific Seafoods, told the newspaper in an email that she had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment. Moore said ities in Alaska have issued orders requiring a 14-day controlled quarantine and coronavirus testing in order for anyone to work at a seafood processing plant in the state. Intercontinental Hotels Group, which owns the Crowne Plaza LAX and is also named in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Saturday. Based in Seattle, Pacific Seafoods each summer hires hundreds of workers from around the world for temporary jobs at its Naknek cannery, promising them round-trip transportation to and from their point of hire as well as lodging and meals. The workers were directed to the hotel in Los Angeles to be tested for the virus. Once there, they were instructed to wait together in a crowded hallway and fill out paperwork using shared pens, putting them in close contact with one another for up to six hours, the lawsuit alleged. Four days later, when results came back positive for three of the workers, all 150 were told that their quarantine had been extended 11 days, until June 25 and that they would not be paid for the time, the lawsuit alleges. The hotel deactivated their keycards so they couldn’t come and go, and they were warned that if they left their rooms for any reason they would be immediately fired, the complaint stated.
Pueblo: Organizers of the Colorado State Fair are moving forward with a reimagined expo this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Scott Stoller, the fair’s general manager, received unanimous support last week from the event’s board of ity to move forward with a pared-down celebration that respects health directives limiting the number of people that can gather in one place at one time, the Pueblo Chieftain reported. The board supported Stoller’s recommendation to cancel all entertainment events in the events center, grandstand arena and on the fairgrounds. The popular Crabtree Amusements carnival has not yet been ruled out, and organizers are considering spacing out the rides and attractions throughout the fairgrounds. Keeping a carnival would preserve a portion of the “spirit” of the annual expo, which is set to run Aug. 28 through Sept. 7, Stoller said. All entrance fees would be waived at this year’s fair. The fair will focus on 4-H and FFA events that could include a modified Junior Livestock Show and Sale, FFA Heifer Wrangle, Catch-a-Calf, 4-H Horse Show, 4-H Dog Show, 4-H Rocketry and 4-H Static Exhibits. Some exhibits, as well as limited food and vendor booths and virtual competitive exhibits, have been proposed. Fair organizers said they will limit the amount of people at indoor and outdoor events to comply with state and local health guidelines.
Groton: Sailors and workers at Connecticut’s Navy submarine base might relish a new step in relaxing coronavirus shutdowns: Starting Tuesday, local restaurants can deliver to the base again. The Navy announced the change Saturday. Connecticut’s measures to control the virus and “current conditions both on and off the base allow for the welcome return of these services,” base commander Capt. Todd D. Moore said in a release. Restaurants and local food delivery services haven’t had access to the base in Groton since March 27. Institutional-scale food deliveries to the commissary and other on-base food options continued, and a food truck and Subway sandwich shop on the base stayed open. Workers and sailors also can pick up take-out food from restaurants and bring it back to the base, officially called Naval Submarine Base New London.
Dewey Beach: Health officials are urging teens who participated in senior week activities at the state’s beaches to get tested for the new coronavirus after several participants tested positive for COVID-19. The state Division of Public Health said Saturday that at least three teens staying at a rental unit in Dewey Beach tested positive. More than a dozen teens were staying there at the time. The health department said that although the teens were there, they attended large parties in nearby Rehoboth that might have exposed more than 100 partygoers to the virus. Health officials did not specify the time of their stay in Dewey. They said they are trying to trace the infected teens’ potential contacts. The health department is also recommending that any seniors who were at the beach postpone any planned graduation parties for at least 14 days. Senior week is a longstanding tradition for graduating high-schoolers in Delaware and Maryland to spend an early summer week at the beaches in those states, usually unchaperoned, despite concerns about excessive partying and intoxication that are exacerbated this year by fears of spreading the virus.
District of Columbia
Washington: President Donald Trump is moving ahead with a lower-key “Salute to America” celebration this year on July Fourth at the White House despite concerns from some lawmakers about the crowds the event could generate during the coronavirus pandemic. Washington has held an Independence Day celebration for decades, featuring a parade along Constitution Avenue, a concert on the Capitol lawn with music by the National Symphony Orchestra and fireworks beginning at dusk near the Washington Monument. Trump altered the lineup last year by adding his speech, moving the fireworks closer to the Lincoln Memorial and summoning an array of tanks and warplanes to entertain the crowds. The White House said that the president and first lady Melania Trump will host the event this year from the White House’s South Lawn and the Ellipse. It said the president will deliver remarks and that the ceremony will include music, military demonstrations and flyovers. Last year, Trump spoke near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Democratic lawmakers from the D.C. region have stated their strong opposition to an event like last year’s. The crowds on the National Mall are expected to be smaller, in part because one of the biggest draws of the day, the annual parade, has been canceled. The parade is co-hosted by the National Park Service and a website for the event said local leadership projected that COVID-19 infection levels will not be abated to the degree that it would be safe or prudent to conduct the parade. The annual fireworks show will go on.
Tallahassee: The coronavirus outbreak continued its escalation in Florida on Saturday as Gov. Ron DeSantis again tried to tamp down worry over another record-breaking spike in infections since restaurants, bars, gyms and other public places reopened. The state reported more than 4,000 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total yet in a state that has now seen a consistent resurgence since reopening. The Florida Health Department also reported 40 more people have died from the virus, bringing the state’s total to more than 3,140. During an afternoon news conference at the state Capitol, DeSantis tried to shift focus away from the sheer number of new cases that has begun to raise alarm. “I think it’s also important to provide context and perspective in terms of what that actually means,” the governor told reporters. With more people being tested, DeSantis said the number of cases was bound to rise. He said there was a noticeable jump in the number of asymptomatic younger people in their 20s and 30s testing positive. The governor acknowledged that complacency might be a factor as Floridians fail to heed social distancing measures as they begin resuming their daily lives. “We’re now three months into this. There’s a lot of fatigue in terms of the social distancing,” he said. Young people in particular have been among the most persistent offenders, DeSantis suggested. Over the weeks, the median age of people testing positive has been declining. The governor has rejected calls for making masks mandatory in places like supermarkets and other public places, saying he will leave it to localities to decide to impose stricter measures. Instead, he ordered the state’s surgeon general to reissue a public health advisory that merely recommends that Floridians wear masks to help keep the virus from spreading and to refrain from attending gatherings of more than 50 people.
Savannah: Trevor Trout, the director of entertainment for the Savannah Bananas, a collegiate summer league baseball team in the Coastal Plain League, said he quit over the team’s lack of transparency and planning concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Trout, who started with the team in March, said 10 or 11 of the team’s office-based employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The team’s owners knew about the first positive case but didn’t share that information with other employees for almost a week, allowing auditions for “Savannah’s Got Talent” to go forward in the meantime, Trout said. Savannah Bananas owner Jesse Cole disputed Trout’s account Friday, including the timeline and the number of cases, saying a “very small percentage” of team employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and did not need hospitalization. “They’re on their way back,” he said. Cole did not disclose a specific number or identify the employees, but he said that talk of 11 employees was inaccurate and higher than the actual total. Cole said the organization learned June 6 that an employee had become ill, followed by a second employee the next day. At that point, the offices were shut down, a cleaning company was hired and all employees were instructed to get tested on June 8. No one worked the rest of the week, Cole said, and those who had tested positive went into isolation. There has not been another positive test for almost a week, he added.
Honolulu: A tourist from Oklahoma who was supposed to be obeying Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving to the state, was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in the ocean. The Honolulu medical examiner’s office identified him as Kristopher Michael Oliphant, 39, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A cause of death was pending Friday. Oliphant arrived June 7 and would have been required to stay in quarantine until Sunday. However, he checked out of his hotel Wednesday, said Jessical Lani Rich, president of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, which helps tourists in distress. Her organization reached out to his family in Oklahoma. A fisherman found an unresponsive man in the water just after 5 p.m. Wednesday and called 911, according to Honolulu Emergency Services. Ocean Safety workers brought Oliphant into Maunalua Bay, where they pronounced him dead. Arriving tourists and residents in quarantine aren’t allowed to leave hotel rooms or residences for anything except medical emergencies. The quarantine has effectively shut-down Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy, but it has helped the islands maintain relatively low infection rates compared to other parts of the U.S.
Boise: A lawsuit seeking more time to collect signatures for an education funding ballot initiative and to allow electronic signature gathering for the effort should be thrown out, state officials said. The Idaho attorney general’s office in a filing in U.S. District Court said the Reclaim Idaho group's own decisions and delays in taking action caused it to miss the May 1 deadline to gather the signatures needed for the initiative to appear on the November ballot. The initiative seeks to raise $170 million for K-12 education by raising Idaho’s corporate tax rate and increasing taxes on individuals making $250,000 a year or higher. Reclaim Idaho filed the lawsuit June 6 against Republican Gov. Brad Little and Republican Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, contending emergency orders issued by Little during the coronavirus pandemic unconstitutionally limited the group's ability to collect signatures. Reclaim Idaho is asking a federal judge to grant a temporary 48-day extension to collect signatures and to allow group members to collect the signatures electronically for the initiative.
Carbondale: The decision by state officials to cancel a world sport-shooting championship in southern Illinois because of the coronavirus pandemic has lawmakers from the area upset. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reported that the 121st Grand American World Trapshooting Championships at a state-owned complex near Sparta, scheduled for Aug. 5-15, is canceled. The event generates about $30 million in sales tax revenue from visitors lodging and eating in the area. But the state public health director, Dr. Ngoze Ezike, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan concluded they could not prevent transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. People from around the world come to the shooting event. Rep. Terri Bryant, a Murphysboro Republican, called the decision a “$30 million kick in the gut.” Rep. Nathan Reitz, D-Steeleville, said advocates worked all weekend recently on a safety plan and delivered a 41-page outline to the departments of Public Health and Natural Resources. “I thought the plan was thorough and ensured the safety of everyone, competitors and spectators,” Reitz said. “I’m absolutely disappointed that we’re not going to be having it. I just hope it doesn’t drive some participants out.” Ezike and Callahan said they were concerned about an inability to screen visitors for the illness, limited health care capacity in the area and the ability to control the size of crowds. Under the state’s recovery plan, groups of no more than 10 can congregate. Many believe that restrictions on the size of congregations will be loosened further by August.
South Bend: The University of Notre Dame is projecting a more than $100 million revenue shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year in part because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a letter sent to the school community. In the letter sent to Notre Dame staff, faculty and students last week, the Rev. John Jenkins, the university’s president, and other top administrators cited “financial aid expenditures, flat endowment payout, lower auxiliary revenue and projected lower levels of philanthropy” during the fiscal year that begins July 1. Notre Dame expects the financial challenges to have “continuing impacts on our budget for the foreseeable future,” the letter said. Notre Dame took several belt-tightening steps in mid-March, instituting a hiring freeze, canceling or postponing several capital projects, and eliminating university-sponsored travel and non-essential spending in an effort to mitigate the virus’s financial impact. The university already was expecting a shortfall of $44 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the South Bend Tribune reported. Half of that has been attributed to the university returning $22 million to students in spring undergraduate room and board fees. No faculty or staff will receive merit salary increases for the upcoming fiscal year and there will be no increases to existing salaries related to promotions until further notice. Senior administrators are voluntarily reducing their salaries by 5% to 20%.
Sioux City: Because so many events that high school graduating seniors looked forward to have been wiped over three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, photographer Elizabeth Barrett, who also is a full-time teacher at Spalding Park Elementary School, has been offering free photo sessions to 2020 graduates in the Tri-state region. “The kids are grateful and so thankful. I’ve had moms in tears at the photo shoots,” she said, adding that one mother wanted to give a hug, but they both knew it wasn’t wise during a time of recommended social distancing. The Sioux City Journal reported that over 11 weeks, Barrett has photographed more than 120 seniors, covering every metro high school, plus 10 others surrounding Sioux City, going as far away as Le Mars and Cherokee. Barrett has also done a shoot for a 真人百家家乐官网网站home-schooled senior. “It is a great thing for her to do,” Becky Alter of Sioux City said Thursday as Barrett photographed her daughter, Abby, on the grounds of East High School. Barrett has been a teacher for 15 years, and added photography as a side job five years ago, after realizing how much she loved shooting sporting events of her children. Almost all seniors who have taken Barrett up on the offer, which was made known in part by a Facebook page, wear graduation robes. Barrett said for some children, they took senior pictures in more casual fare before the school year, but some students have told her this was their only professionally taken senior portrait, which gratifies her. Barrett wears a face mask, and keeps her distance from the subject, which means using a longer camera lens.
Topeka: Kansans struggling to find work amid the coronavirus pandemic can receive unemployment for 13 more weeks. The Kansas Department of Labor announced Thursday that the state has qualified for a program that provides federal reimbursement for extended benefits during periods of high unemployment, the Wichita Eagle reported. Workers must have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits to qualify. The insured unemployment rate in Kansas was 6.67% for the week ending June 6, according to the state’s labor department. That exceeds the 5% threshold and other federal requirements to prompt the extension.
Louisville: Three employees of the El Nopal Mexican restaurant at 9451 Westport Road have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the city’s health department. Customers who were at the restaurant from June 5 to June 14 might have been exposed, and should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after eating at the restaurant, city officials said in a press release Saturday. Symptoms for COVID-19 include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills or cough. Other symptoms could include fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea.
Baton Rouge: Louisiana colleges are returning at least $24 million to students because the academic year was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. LSU is doling out the largest amount in refunds at $4.4 million. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is sending back $3.8 million, and Southern University in Baton Rouge is returning $3.5 million to its students. The Advocate reported Southeastern Louisiana University is refunding $3.3 million. Nicholls State University is returning $932,095. The University of New Orleans is reimbursing its students $499,816. Students at Grambling State University will receive $2.8 million. Louisiana Tech University is refunding $1.2 million. McNeese State University is returning $643,439. Students at Northwestern State University are getting $1.3 million. The University of Louisiana at Monroe is refunding $981,657 and Southern University in New Orleans refunded $334,000. Most of the refunds cover charges for housing because students had to vacate their dorms and on-campus apartments about two months before the scheduled end of the school year. Refunds also cover some meal plans reimbursements. “For the housing and meal plan credits, they were first applied to any outstanding amounts owed to LSU,” said Ernie Ballard, a spokesman for the university. “If a refund was due and the student had banking information on file, we direct deposited the refund,” he said. “Otherwise, a check was issued and mailed to their local mailing address.” A congressional virus aid package sent $147 million in assistance to Louisiana’s colleges and universities to help with their expenses.
Augusta: Maine residents have until August to renew their expired driver’s licenses and state identification cards, but the secretary of state has encouraged them to do it sooner. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has said residents have a grace period to renew their licenses until Aug. 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he said the state wants to avoid “a situation where everyone waits until the deadline and we can’t get all the renewals processed before the end of the waiver period.” The state also offers online license renewal for most licenses and identification card holders. The grace period began on March 15.
Hanover: Gamblers are back at several Maryland casinos after three months of closures because of the coronavirus outbreak. One of the state’s largest casinos, Maryland Live, opened Friday evening in Hanover, but with numerous restrictions in place. Only top-tier VIPs could attend Friday’s reopening, and only by making a reservation. The casino will phase in lower-level VIPs over the next week or so and open to the general public June 29. Reservations will still be required and the casino plans to limit attendance to 25% capacity. The poker room and table games are open, but with Plexiglass barriers and fewer gamblers at each table. Casino officials told WTTG-TV in Washington that more than 2,000 employees have been brought back to work after nearly 2,500 were laid off when the virus forced casinos to close in March. Casinos near Cumberland, Ocean City and in Perryville also reopened Friday. The state’s largest casino, MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County, remains closed. The Horseshoe casino in Baltimore is scheduled to open June 28. Casino taxes generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the state.
Boston: Restaurants in Massachusetts will be allowed to offer indoor dining and nail salons and other close contact services will be able to reopen Monday, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said. Retail outlets will also be permitted to offer dressing rooms, though by appointment only, and offices will be allowed to increase their capacity to 50%, he said. Baker said he made the decisions because the state’s rate of positive coronavirus tests continues to decline. “We’re moving in the right direction as we continue our gradual reopening,” he said. Earlier this month, restaurants were allowed to resume outdoor dining. They have been limited to take out and delivery service only since the pandemic hit in mid-March. For indoor dining on Monday, tables will have to be at least 6 feet apart and parties will be limited to six people, Baker said. Bar seating will still be banned but there won’t be any additional seating capacity limits, as have been imposed in other states. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association, meanwhile, warned Friday that the pandemic could wipe out 3,600 eateries, or roughly 25% of the state’s 16,000 restaurants. Bob Luz, the association’s president, said downtown Boston likely will be hit harder than others because downtown activity from office workers to tourist and college students as virtually evaporated.
Detroit: Dozens of people in the Detroit area were bailed out of jail during the coronavirus pandemic by nonprofits pushing to dismantle the cash bail system. The immediate release from jail before trial for low-income people grew urgent with the arrival of COVID-19 for nonprofits advocating to transform the criminal justice system, a system they said disproportionately harms communities of color. Roughly 55 people in the area have been bailed out of jail during the pandemic by Michigan Liberation and The Bail Project, a national nonprofit with an office within the Detroit Justice Center. Under Michigan law, cash bail can be used for any criminal offense. “Cash bail is particularly cruel to people who are poor, and right now when so many people are losing their jobs or are out of work, family members might not have any resources to put toward a loved one’s bail,” Meredith Loomis Quinlan, executive co-director of Michigan Liberation, told the Detroit Free Press. The group was leading a coalition of organizations planning a Mother’s Day bailout event for Black women. With the threat of the virus behind bars, Michigan Liberation moved up its timeline for bailouts and expanded its assistance to men and women of any race who are at high risk of severe illness from the virus. Loomis Quinlan said Michigan Liberation considers cases of bail up to $7,500, but $2,500 is the highest single amount the organization has paid so far. Many of the cases the group has taken on during the pandemic have involved people held on charges such as failure to appear, larceny, unarmed robbery and retail fraud.
St. Paul: Youth outdoor sports can return to games and scrimmages on Wednesday after being on pause during the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials said. The Department of Health also announced that indoor youth sports can resume games and scrimmages on July 1. Full team practices for all sports can start Wednesday. The Health Department recommended a phased-in approach to the reopening of all sports. “I think it was a deliberate and intentional rollout,” said Todd Johnson of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. “They just wanted to get it right.” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said it’s important to look for opportunities for children to “engage in activities that promote health and well-being.” But the Star Tribune reported the news comes too late for some youth sports organizations. Dan Pfeffer, commissioner of USA Softball Minnesota, said his organization has canceled its summer season and refunded $500,000 in fees. “We’re planning for our fall season,” said executive director Matthew Madeira of Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, which also canceled its summer season.
Jackson: Kroger Health will offer its first free COVID-19 testing at Cade Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson beginning Tuesday. The church on 1000 West Ridgeway St. will offer testing from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. The following week, testing will go from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 29 and June 30. Kroger Health will provide 250 tests per day, with the test results expected to be ready within 48 hours, according to the news release. Health care workers, symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic individuals based on the Centers for Disease Control, state and local government recommendations, are eligible for the free tests. Those needing the test will use a virtual screening tool based on the CDC guidelines to see if they are eligible. Eligible patients will then select the Jackson testing location and an appointment time. They will also receive an email confirmation with preappointment paperwork. The drive-thru testing location has a self-administered nasal swab that must be ordered and observed by a health care practitioner.
St. Louis: Rental operators across the state, from small shops to large riverside resorts, have been forced to formulate cleaning plans, encourage social distancing and adopt other measures as they eagerly anticipate crowds that flock to Missouri’s riverways for the floating season. The popular summer pastime for Missourians typically begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day weekend, but the coronavirus pandemic has altered the situation. Ashley Wilfong, general manager of concessions at Meramec State Park, said that in order to maintain social distancing, the park is only filling half the seats on buses that take customers to the Meramec River. “We’re basically cutting the load we can take in half, but we’re trying to hire more bus drivers so we can take more trips,” Wilfong said. “And we’re warning people – the buses will smell like bleach. We spray the seats between every trip.” Wilfong said she also expects extra washing of the watercraft this year will require her staff to reapply sealant about four times as often as they would in a typical summer. “Everything we have smells like cleaner, basically,” Wilfong said. Stephanie Chatterjee, owner of the Gasconade Hills Resort on the Gasconade River, said she’s prepared for the summer crowds, though business was cut in half over Memorial Day weekend. Chatterjee said she rented four cabins over the holiday weekend, compared with the 12 she rented last year near the same time. Route 66 Canoe Rental, which serves the Big Piney and Gasconade rivers, shut down over the recent holiday weekend. Owner Andy Sheldon estimated he lost more than $1,000 in revenue. Another outfitter, Old Cove Canoe and Kayak on the Meramec River, also shut down. Owner Darryl Crites said his concerns over the coronavirus outbreak led to his decision to close for the holiday. He lost an estimated $5,000.
Helena: To shield their vulnerable elders from the coronavirus pandemic, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are enlisting musicians to tell tribal youth to wash their hands and wear masks. A song by 25-year-old KiidTruth – also known as Artie Mendoza III – garnered more than 1,500 views on YouTube in the four days after it was posted. The music campaign “is an excellent way to reach younger people,” said 15-year-old Alishon Kelly, who lives on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. “I’ve seen a lot of my peers posting it and watching it.” On the reservation, which has a population of slightly under 30,000, the stakes are high. If the virus spreads to the community’s elders – who are at a greater risk of developing life-threatening symptoms – the local language and customs could be in peril. Said tribal Councilwoman Charmel Gillin: “Tribal communities are very unique in many ways, but one of the ways is that we are a people with a spoken language, oral histories, and all of those aspects of our heritage are really in need of preservation. The elders in the community carry those for us.” The reservation has not seen a significant number of COVID-19 cases. The tribes announced last week that four Flathead Reservation residents were diagnosed with COVID-19. The area has seen a total of nine cases since the onset of the pandemic, and no deaths. According to Michelle Mitchell, head of the tribes’ education department, the campaign will expand to feature numerous local artists in coming weeks. Local youth who create their own videos will compete for $100 gift cards.
Lincoln: The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said an inmate at the Nebraska State Penitentiary has tested positive for the new coronavirus. So far, a total of eight inmates and 20 employees in the state prison system have tested positive. State officials said anyone who had close contact with the inmate who tested positive will be told to quarantine themselves until they are cleared by a doctor. Across Nebraska, 17,707 cases of coronavirus and 244 deaths linked to the virus have been reported. The state’s hospitals report that 43% of their beds, 51% of intensive care beds and 80% of the ventilators statewide remain available.
Las Vegas: Guy Fieri’s Las Vegas Kitchen Bar has closed at the Linq Hotel after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. When the hotel learned that an employee had tested positive, it contacted the health department and started working with them to conduct an investigation to determine who had been in close proximity to that employee, according to a Caesars Entertainment statement. Caesars Entertainment did not say when the worker tested positive or when the restaurant will reopen. The positive test comes a day after two Flamingo employees tested positive for the virus. Caesars Entertainment confirmed the cases Friday but would not say where the employees worked inside the iconic Strip hotel-casino. “Contact tracing protocols were followed,” Caesar’s Entertainment spokesman Richard Broome said in an email. Earlier in the week, an employee at the Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the restaurant to temporarily close. The closure comes two weeks after casinos opened in the wake of a pandemic shutdown that lasted almost three months.
Concord: A nonprofit that helps New Hampshire families plan and pay for higher education has funded $387,500 in emergency mini-grants for 411 New Hampshire college students experiencing financial hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the students are essential workers and need additional financial support to continue their coursework, said Susan Huard, interim chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation is providing funds to 19 New Hampshire colleges and universities to be awarded to returning students. Department of Health and Human Services officials announced on Saturday that 37 additional people have tested positive for the virus. There have now been 5,518 cases in New Hampshire.
Trenton: Environmental officials have announced that camping will be allowed starting Monday in a dozen state parks, forests and recreation areas amid social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. Camping will be limited to tent-style camping while all other forms of overnight use including cabins, shelters, group cabins, wilderness campsites, primitive campsites and group campsites will remain closed. The 12 areas opening Monday are High Point State Park, Jenny Jump State Forest, Stokes State Forest and Worthington State Forest in the northern region; Allaire State Park, Cheesequake State Park and Spruce Run Recreation Area in the central region; and Bass River State Forest, Belleplain State Forest, Brendan Byrne State Forest, Parvin State Park and Wharton State Forest in the southern region. On June 29, camping will begin at Swartswood State Park and Stephens State Forest in the northern part of the state. For most areas, at least 50% of sites will be open, and all sites will be open at High Point and Jenny Jump. Camping remains closed at the Round Valley Recreation Area, Washington Crossing State Park, Kittatinny Valley State Park, Waywayanda State Park and Voorhees State Park. Guests can expect signs encouraging them to wear a mask while in public and in indoor spaces such as gatehouses and restrooms, and they will be asked to maintain a six-foot distance from those who aren’t family or household members or caretakers
Albuquerque: The rate at which the new coronavirus is spreading in New Mexico is declining, but one of the state’s top health officials have warned that the trend does not mean residents are out of danger. Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during an online update that there’s a general belief among people in New Mexico that things are getting better and that everyone can get back to work now. “The reason things are getting better is not because anything has changed about the virus,” Scrase said. “It’s because we are doing more social distancing, we are wearing masks, we’re keeping apart. The virus is going to be the same, and we’re going to be just as susceptible to it until we’re all vaccinated, or a large percentage of us are vaccinated. Remember that.” Scrase said part of the problem is about one-quarter of confirmed cases in New Mexico involve people who had no symptoms. When dealing with a pandemic, he said that represents a huge number and must be part of the consideration as state officials deliberate whether to reopen more of the economy. State officials said New Mexico has been able to keep its cases from skyrocketing like neighboring Arizona and Texas because it has kept in place its stay-at-真人百家家乐官网网站home order and established other counter measures aimed at limited contact between people and reducing the potential for spread through the use of masks, for example. It could be another two weeks before state officials announce the next phase of reopening, and state public education officials are still weighing options for how classes will resume in the fall.
New York City: The city’s effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus through contact tracing has been hampered by the reluctance of many people who are infected with the virus to provide information to tracers, according to a report in The New York Times. The Times report said just 35% of the 5,347 city residents who tested positive or were presumed positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the contact tracing program gave information about their close contacts. Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the School of Public Health at Rutgers University, called the 35% rate for eliciting contacts “very bad.” “For each person, you should be in touch with 75 percent of their contacts within a day,” Halkitis told the Times. Dr. Ted Long, head of New York City’s new Test and Trace Corps, defended the program Sunday and said 69% of the people who complete an interview provide contacts. “We think that’s a strong start but we also do want to get that number up,” Long told the Associated Press. Long said the 35% figure cited by the Times represented a percentage everyone who the tracers reached, and some of those people, including some who have not had COVID-19 symptoms for weeks, don’t have relevant contacts to provide. Long said he believes the program, which started June 1, will be more successful when tracers start going to people’s 真人百家家乐官网网站homes in the next week or two rather than relying on the phone.
Graham: A judge has left in place an injunction barring Ace Speedway in Alamance County from holding races. The injunction was issued two weeks ago after the speedway defied restrictions on large crowds implemented to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. A crowd of roughly 2,000 attended a race held earlier this month, when the speedway posted a sign saying the race was being held “in peaceful protest of injustice and inequality everywhere.” At a court hearing Friday, speedway owners asked a judge to lift the injunction. They said they were taking precautions to protect spectator safety. A county health director said that one person attending a May 30 race contracted COVID-19. News outlets reported that the judge left his injunction in place and said he will issue a final ruling on Wednesday. State officials pushed to close the track after Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said he would not cite the speedway. Johnson said he was concerned about the constitutionality of the governor’s executive order barring crowds of larger than 25, as well as selective enforcement targeting the speedway.
Bismarck: State health officials said Sunday that a Stutsman County man in his 60s with underlying health conditions has died with COVID-19, increasing the state’s death toll from the virus to 77. The update showed 37 new cases of the virus, 20 of those in the state’s most populous county. Cass County, which includes Fargo, has now seen a total of 2,138 positive tests. Burleigh County confirmed six new cases, for a total of 198. The number of hospitalizations rose by three in the last day, to 31. The report said 2,910 people have recovered, including 28 in the last day.
Athens: Ohio University will no longer require standardized test scores for incoming students. The university had temporarily made ACT and SAT scores optional through next spring as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as national tests dates were canceled across the country. The latest announcement makes the test-optional policy permanent. Applicants can choose whether to include their ACT or SAT scores for consideration, and there is no negative effect if they decide not to, OU said in a news release. President M. Duane Nellis said removing the test-score requirement eliminates a possible barrier to higher education. A growing number of colleges have adopted test-optional policies in recent years, and many have waived the requirements at least temporarily amid the coronavirus pandemic. Standardized test scores have been just one of a list of factors considered in OU’s admissions decisions, the university said in its news release. Other factors include academic performance, rigor of curriculum, grades and grade trends, class rank, optional essays, letters of recommendation, and special talents and achievements.
Oklahoma City: Oklahoma has surpassed 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the interim commissioner of the state’s Department of Health said a surge was expected after the state began reopening. “As we have expected, our state is experiencing increased positive cases since reopening,” in late April, Dr. Lance Frye said in a Friday night news release. “We all have to learn how to live within this new normal, and both our health care system and the general public must stay vigilant and prepared.” The health department on Saturday reported 331 new virus cases to bring the number of confirmed cases to 10,037 with 368 deaths because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The actual number is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
Salem: Gov. Gina M. Raimondo on Friday gave a preview of how coronavirus-related restrictions will be eased when Phase 3 of reopening the economy begins June 29. Mask-wearing and social distancing will still be advised, though not mandated in certain situations. Raimondo and state Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott expressed optimism that the June 29 date would work, but said that could change if the number of cases of COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the virus, or hospitalizations spike in the next 10 days. One wild card that could drive those numbers up is a series of large rallies protesting the deaths of Black people at the hands of the police, including one that drew 10,000 people on June 5 and several smaller ones since. But two weeks – the incubation period for the virus – have passed since the largest of those rallies took place, without a dramatic leap in cases. Alexander-Scott said that, of people seeking tests for the virus who went to rallies, “overall, the rate of infection is very low, less than 1%.” She attributed that to the fact that a large majority of the people at the rallies have been wearing masks, including more than 5,000 masks that the Health Department handed out at the 10,000-person rally.
Columbia: South Carolina’s rapid rise in COVID-19 cases continues. More than 900 new cases of the virus have been reported in the state, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Sunday. It is the fourth day in a row South Carolina has reported more than 900 cases. The state now has confirmed more than 24,650 COVID-19 cases since the virus was first detected in South Carolina on March 8. About 10,000 people have tested positive in the past 14 days. The rate of positive tests in Sunday’s figures was above 16% again. Health officials said when that figure rises, it is one of their strongest indicators the virus is spreading. That figure was just under 9% two weeks ago. DHEC reported nine additional deaths from COVID-19, raising the death toll in the state to 653.
Sioux City: The Huether Family Match Pointe tennis center reported a patron tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after using their facility. An email from the tennis center said that the person used the facility on June 16 and didn’t have any symptoms, and tested positive for the disease on June 18. “This person was NOT in a group lesson and had minimal contact with employees of our facility,” the email said. The building was cleaned following the positive test, the email said, and people who were in contact with the patron are self-monitoring.
Memphis: Tennessee’s largest county reported Saturday its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, though officials were trying to figure out if the jump represented a surge in people getting sick or delayed results from testing laboratories. The Shelby County Health Department reported an increase of 385 cases of the new coronavirus, eclipsing the previous single-day spike by more than 100 cases. Health officials have been closely monitoring a recent increase in cases and hospitalizations in Memphis after the county began reopening nonessential businesses that had been closed as part of the virus response. In its Saturday report, the health department said it is investigating the “marked increase in reported cases to discern whether it indicates an actual increase in positive COVID-19 test results or is a product of delayed laboratory reporting.” Memphis and Nashville, the state’s largest cities, have delayed moving forward with opening more businesses and increasing capacities at restaurants and retail stores because of rises in new cases and hospitalizations.
Austin: Multiple counties and cities are ordering businesses to require customers and workers to wear face masks as the state sees a continued rise in the numbers of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has refused to order a face covering mandate for individuals, said this week that local governments can instead order businesses to require them. Bexar County was the first, and local officials in some of the state’s most populous areas, including the city of Austin, Dallas County, Harris County and El Paso County, quickly adopted similar measures with fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 for businesses that don’t comply. “The virus is here. Infections are rising. Hospital capacity is filling up. If we want the economy to reopen fully and stay open, we have to take this seriously,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted Friday. The local orders have been criticized by small business advocates who complain they are turning shop owners and retailers into “mask police.” Some conservative lawmakers blame Abbott for giving his blessing on such measures. Abbott’s aggressive push to reopen the economy continued Friday with amusement parks and carnivals across the state allowed to reopen. Six Flags parks in Arlington and San Antonio opened to members and pass holders and will open to everyone on Monday. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission conducted undercover inspections of bars last week to see if they were following social distancing guidelines and found most were in compliance. Of more than 200 inspected, only three –in Dallas, McAllen and El Paso– had their alcohol licenses suspended. An agency spokesman said inspections continued over the weekend.
Salt Lake City: Nine rural counties moved into the green health risk status Friday after recording some of the state’s lowest COVID-19 case counts and hospitalization rates, state officials said. The counties are Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Millard, Piute, Uintah and Wayne, KUTV-TV reported. “The rural lifestyle they enjoy is defined by wider physical distancing, and smaller, less densely populated towns,” Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said. ”Although no area is completely free from risk, we feel comfortable having these sparsely populated regions transition from yellow to green.” Guidelines under the green “New Normal Risk” phase include the use of face masks in businesses and social settings when distancing is not feasible and following federal and local public health precautions, officials said. The yellow phase included decreased group sizes for in-person interactions, more strict hygiene standards and cleaning measures, and face masks in public settings. “As we move from stabilization to recovery, the health guidance in our communities will vary because of differing conditions across the state,” Herbert said. “As we re-engage economically, we need greater personal responsibility, not less.”
Rutland: State officials said all staff and inmates at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland will be subject to testing for the new coronavirus on June 29. A first round of testing took place on Saturday. An inmate tested positive for the virus on June 16, the Vermont Department of Corrections said. More than 200 inmates and staff were tested in May. All of those tests came back negative. “As states and courts begin to reopen, the risk of COVID-19 spreading to close-contact facilities grows,” said interim commissioner James Baker. Vermont has had more than 1,100 cases of the virus in total. That’s a lower total than other states in the Northeast.
Fredericksburg: Five graduating seniors at James Monroe High School who attended a modified commencement ceremony at the school have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Fredericksburg City Schools Superintendent Marceline Catlett said Friday that the five students at the high school tested positive for COVID-19, and all five attended graduation ceremonies at the school on June 15. She said the school has been working with the local health department and “the overall risk of exposure to the majority of students and staff at the event is considered low.” The Free Lance-Star reported that each of the school’s 233 graduates had the opportunity to attend individualized ceremonies that were booked in short time slots over a three-day period. Graduating seniors could have their pictures taken with school administrators after exchanging elbow bumps.
Yakima: Gov. Jay Inslee will issue a proclamation ordering Yakima County residents to wear masks while in public places to halt a spike of coronavirus cases there. Inslee said Saturday the proclamation will come in the next several days and that it will be a legal requirement that businesses not sell products to customer who don’t wear face coverings. “Essentially this means, no masks no services. No masks, no goods,” Inslee said. “We are going to be swamped with a tidal wave of COVID-19 if we do not act now.” Inslee added, “While I hear some voices saying that this is overblown, the facts are otherwise.” Officials at Virginia Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima, which holds more than 200 beds, said Saturday the facility has no available beds and that 22 patients, some with the virus, have been sent to Seattle for care. The total positive case count in Yakima County, as of Friday, was 6,270, The Seattle Times reported. The county has seen 118 deaths from the virus, according to the Yakima Health District. Inslee said cases could double in the next two weeks unless dramatic actions were taken and said he’s considering a similar order for other counties, but did not elaborate. Nearby Benton and Franklin counties are also feeling the strain on their health care systems, but Yakima County remains Washington state’s hot spot for the virus. Inslee said 19% of the hospital beds in Yakima have COVID-19 patients in them while that percentage is about 2.5 elsewhere in the state.
Charleston: Coronavirus cases in West Virginia linked to travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, continue to rise as health officials push for people to follow safety precautions. Preston County health officials on Friday said they have now connected 16 cases to travel to the popular beach tourism spot. Across West Virginia, state officials said about 30 cases have emerged following trips to Myrtle Beach. Republican Gov. Jim Justice has repeatedly urged people to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines as he eased virus restrictions. In response to the travel-related outbreaks, Justice asked people to get tested for the virus and consider quarantining after returning to the state. “If you opt to go to Myrtle Beach right now – or go anywhere from the standpoint of leaving our state – take the time to be tested. You may very well save a life and that life may be your own or somebody very, very close to your family,” he said during a news conference Friday. In Kanawha County, which has reported at least six cased linked to Myrtle Beach trips, local health officials are offering free, drive-up testing at multiple sites next week. “If you’ve traveled recently, especially to hot spot places like Myrtle Beach, we especially encourage you to be tested,” said Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Milwaukee: State health officials on Sunday confirmed 280 new cases of the novel coronavirus, down about 100 from Saturday. The update puts the total of positive COVID-19 tests in the state at more than 24,800. No new deaths were reported, following Saturday’s confirmation of 14 deaths, the most in one day since June 9. The state’s death toll stands at 744. Officials reported the completion of 6,051 test results, the fewest in the last 14 days. Wisconsin’s largest increase in cases in the last two weeks was Thursday, when 422 new positive tests were reported.
Casper: On Sunday, 17 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the state Department of Health’s daily update, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. The department announced one new probable case. Thirteen new confirmed recoveries were announced. No new probable recoveries were announced. There are now 947 confirmed cases, 250 probable cases, 712 confirmed recoveries and 197 probable recoveries in Wyoming. Twenty Wyomingites have died after contracting COVID-19. Eighty-one confirmed cases and 15 probable cases have been confirmed in Natrona County. Probable cases are defined by officials as close contacts of lab-confirmed cases with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.