Montgomery: The capital is now the heart of the state’s pandemic crisis after a two-week surge in new coronavirus cases rocketed Montgomery County past Alabama’s larger counties. The city’s 2,791 COVID-19 cases are the most in the state, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. More than 1,000 new cases have been confirmed over the past 14 days in Montgomery County, which at about 225,000 people is only the state’s fourth most populous. Fewer people have been tested in Montgomery County than Mobile County, the second hardest-hit, but the rate of positives is significantly higher around the capital. In a news release, the ADPH cited outbreaks at workplaces and long-term care facilities, although it noted that large gatherings during the Memorial Day holiday may have contributed to the surge. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed had proposed making mask-wearing mandatory but withdrew the idea earlier this month when it failed to gain support among the City Council. The county remains under a 10 p.m. nightly curfew that was implemented months ago.
Anchorage: Drivers will be able to drive through Denali National Park and Preserve on its only access road this summer after measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 reduced anticipated bus traffic in the park. The park service said vehicles will be allowed to access usually restricted portions of the park through a reservation system being rolled out in two stages, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The announcement came after the pandemic caused a stark decline in visitors. The reservation system allows the public to reserve one of a limited number of daily scheduled entries, park officials said, adding that visitors are able to access the road through June 30 with the Teklanika Road Permit. When tour, transit and camper bus services begin in July, visitors will also be able to access a different road to the Eielson Visitor Center with an Eielson Road Permit.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has restored a walk-in lottery for one of the most exclusive and dramatic hiking spots in the Southwest. Half of the 20 daily permits for the Wave typically are awarded in person and half online. The agency suspended the walk-in lottery in March because it couldn’t ensure social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The walk-in lottery resumed Monday. The Bureau of Land Management said it worked closely with Kane County in southern Utah to develop protections for the public’s health and safety. The lottery has drawn more than 100 people at times who crowded into the Kanab Visitor Center to vie for permits for use the following day. The hike takes visitors 6 miles round trip through a wide, sloping basin of searing reds, oranges and yellows in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument along the Arizona-Utah border.
Little Rock: The number of coronavirus cases in the state has increased by more than 400, and there are two additional deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, the Arkansas Department of Health reported Sunday. The 12,501 confirmed cases and 179 deaths mark an increase of 406 cases and two deaths from Saturday’s numbers. The actual number of people who have contracted the virus is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick. Meanwhile, Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock has announced plans to lay off 25 employees because of a decline in the number of patients as a result of the coronavirus. The hospital said in a news release that it is eliminating 42 positions, including 17 that are currently vacant, while laying off the others. The hospital is also reducing executive pay by 20% and pay to directors by 10%.
San Francisco: The state has recorded more than 5,000 COVID-19 deaths as cases continue to climb in several parts of California. On Sunday, the state Department of Public Health reported 148,855 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 5,063 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Last week, nine counties reported a spike in new cases or hospitalizations, some from Memorial Day holiday gatherings and others from prisons and nursing homes. The state is gradually reopening after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order March 19. Retail stores and restaurants, followed by churches and hair salons, were allowed to reopen with restrictions. On Friday, hotels, zoos, museums and movie theaters were among the businesses cleared to reopen.
Denver: State lawmakers wound down a shortened 2020 session Saturday having drastically cut education funding because of the coronavirus pandemic’s revenue impact, allocating $70 million in federal aid to struggling business and residents, and passing a sweeping police transparency bill. After a 10-week hiatus forced by the coronavirus, lawmakers approved a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 that cut $3.3 billion from the $13 billion general fund. Lawmakers were still bargaining over a controversial bill introduced by Democrats days ago to suspend or reduce business tax credits to help make up the hit being taken by the budget and by public schools. Republicans and business leaders from across the state say that they weren’t consulted on the bill and that it will hurt businesses trying to survive in a pandemic that’s forced more than half a million workers across the state to seek unemployment benefits.
Hartford: Hartford HealthCare, one of the state’s largest health care systems, has begun easing some visitor restrictions at its hospitals and outpatient facilities across Connecticut now that there are fewer patients being treated for COVID-19. In an email Monday, the system said one visitor will be allowed at a time, and visitors must be age 16 or older, wear face masks, pass a screening for symptoms and maintain physical distancing while inside the hospital. Visiting hours will vary by facility and program. There will still be some restrictions on visiting at emergency departments, as well as critical and intensive care units and in oncology areas including infusion centers, medical oncology and radiation oncology.
Wilmington: On the final weekend before phase two of reopening in the state began, the number of active coronavirus hospitalizations in the state dropped below 100 for the first time since early April. On both Friday and Saturday, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 was 93, and the state has seen fewer than 25 new hospitalizations for five consecutive days, a trend that also hasn’t happened since the state started tracking and sharing those numbers. Phase two of the state’s reopening began Monday. Certain businesses can increase their capacity to 60%, and indoor gatherings can increase to 50 people. Another welcoming trend for state officials is the percentage of people testing positive. That number has hovered around 2% over the past four days, down from about 5% in the nine days prior, according to state data. Delaware has yet to have a day in June when 100 or more positive cases were added.
District of Columbia
Washington: Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that D.C. may move to the second phase of reopening no earlier than Friday as officials analyze progress in the first phase, WUSA-TV reports. Bowser said in a press conference that the district is still in the process of figuring out what Phase 2 will look like. She said the city is still aiming for the June 19 reopening date as data continues to trend downward. On Monday, D.C. health officials reported no new deaths as a result of the coronavirus. “We are going at the pace that we think the data says we should,” Bowser said. The district has also expanded its COVID-19 testing in neighborhoods and has begun offering free walk-up coronavirus testing at firehouses from 4 to 8 p.m.
Orlando: Some bars and restaurants in the state are temporarily closing their doors after being back open for just a few weeks because workers or patrons have tested positive for the new coronavirus. The closures come as the number of new daily coronavirus confirmations in Florida on Sunday exceeded 2,000 cases for a second day in a row. In the Orlando suburb of Altamonte Springs, a restaurant closed temporarily after some patrons notified the owner about testing positive and some staffers started exhibiting symptoms, though not at work. “This may seem like an extravagant step, however we are taking no chances with the health of our staff and our customers,” Kiwi’s Pub & Grill said in a Facebook posting. Three bars in downtown St. Petersburg and two restaurants in the city’s restaurant district temporarily closed recently after some staffers tested positive for the virus.
Athens: The Athens-Clarke County police department partnered with First AME Church to help distribute food at the Georgia Square Mall on Monday. In a matter of hours, food from the USDA Food Box Program was headed to local churches and residents. The effort was part of continuing efforts to help out those in need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Hilo: The state’s coronavirus infection rate in long-term care facilities is the lowest in the nation because of statewide efforts to contain its spread, officials said. Healthcare Association of Hawaii President and CEO Hilton Raethel said the infection statistic is based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports. Hawaii’s long-term care facilities have been protected from COVID-19 because communities throughout the state have kept case numbers low, Raethel said. Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health, said there has been only one patient in the state’s long-term care facilities with a confirmed case of the coronavirus, at a care home on Maui. Three employees at long-term facilities have tested positive for the virus, and the health department is investigating a potential fourth case at “one of the largest care homes in the state,” Anderson said.
Boise: U.S. officials will delay the repair of an impassable northern Idaho road in important grizzly bear habitat near the Canadian border because of a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, according to court documents filed last week. Work to reopen about 5 miles of the dirt road because of threats to border security had been scheduled to start Monday but has now been put off until the summer of 2021, the documents said. The Center for Biological Diversity and four other environmental groups in March sued the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, contending that repairing the road and opening it to vehicles would harm grizzly bears, mountain caribou and other wildlife in the Selkirk Mountains.
Chicago: An online memorial has been created to remember thousands of Chicagoans who have died after being infected with the coronavirus. Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the virtual memorial’s launch Friday. People can submit stories about family, friends and neighbors through the city’s website. More than 2,300 residents of the city have died since the start of the pandemic, according to Chicago public health officials. “In light of the current situation, the way we mourn and celebrate one’s life needs to be reimagined,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “The Virtual Memorial is just one way to help Chicagoans cope with the sudden loss of their loved one to COVID-19, but also to celebrate their lives and memories.”
Indianapolis: The state has now seen more than 40,000 cases of coronavirus, after it reported 553 new positive test results and 11 new deaths, bringing Monday’s total case count to 40,430 new cases and 2,251 deaths. The state also updated its number for long-term care facilities to include 71 new deaths, for a total of 1,082, and 331 new cases, for a total of 4,942. Marion County reported 130 new cases Monday, bringing it to a total of 10,788 cases, with 651 deaths. Elkhart, which has seen its numbers rise sharply in recent weeks, saw 88 new cases, for a total of 2,168 cases with 34 deaths. Hamilton County saw a marked increase in reported cases, with 82 confirmed in the past two days, according to the state dashboard. Before Sunday, the highest number of cases confirmed in a single day for that county was 51 on March 13. But Hamilton County Health Department officials said they believe there was a double-reporting glitch with the data.
Des Moines: The 2020 Iowa State Fair is canceled, leaving central Iowa this August without corndogs, fried Oreos or pork chops on a stick. There will be no skyglider, bandstands or butter cow. And the cancellation could cost the city’s tourism industry $110 million. Greg Edwards of Catch Des Moines, the metro’s tourism bureau, estimated the impact of the 2019 Iowa State Fair on central Iowa, including money spent at local hotels, retailers and tourist attractions. The Iowa State Fair draws more than a million people each year, making it the largest annual event in the state. It’s been canceled only five times in its 165 years – the last time during World War II. When visiting families, some from other states or countries, have free time between their state fair revelries, Edwards said they flock to other Des Moines tourist attractions, such as the Blank Park Zoo, which is struggling with reduced attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Topeka: The University of Kansas announced Monday that it will shorten the time students are on campus for the fall semester as it seeks to block a coronavirus wave. Under the plan, classes would begin in person as scheduled Aug. 24, and in-person instruction would end just before the Thanksgiving holiday, with students encouraged to leave campus, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. After Thanksgiving, there will be a week to study for finals, which will be done remotely as they were for the spring semester. “Undoubtedly, the fall semester will be unlike any in history. It will require flexibility, compassion and resilience,” Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a campus message. “And it will require each of us to behave responsibly and in a way that benefits the entire community. If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we are all in this together.”
Bardstown: A festival that shows off one of the state’s iconic products is being postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival was pushed back a month and is now scheduled for Oct. 15-18 in Bardstown, officials said in a news release. Last September’s 28th annual festival drew some 50,000 visitors from 40 states and more than 20 countries for its activities and concerts, the festival’s website said. The pandemic, business operations guidelines and time lost during spring planning time led to the decision, festival President and COO Randy Prasse said. Officials will continue monitoring government, health and tourism industry advice and also rely on the fest’s own best practices, he said. “If we do have to cancel the event, we will but we owe it to our supporters and bourbon industry partners to make every effort to produce the 2020 Festival,” Prasse said in the release.
Baton Rouge: A hospital emergency room has reopened after five years, as part of the state’s coronavirus pandemic surge program. Baton Rouge General Hospital said in a news release that its Mid-City hospital’s 33-bed ER will be open for all sorts of emergencies. The emergency department reopened Monday under a contract with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, which opened other unused areas earlier for acute care of patients with COVID-19. “We will continue to offer acute care and keep the ER open as long as we have the support of the state,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, the hospital’s president and CEO. The contract signed March 30 will keep the facility open for at least six months, with the possibility of an 18-month extension, The Advocate reports.
Portland: Baxter State Park is again open for day visits. The park on Monday reopened Togue Pond and Matagamon gates for vehicle access on the park’s Tote Road. But campsites and cabins don’t open until July 1. Bunkhouses, which sleep eight to 10 people in congregate living, will remain closed for the summer. The easing of restrictions by the Baxter Park Authority comes as the administration of Gov. Janet Mills moves to reopen the economy. Other state parks and campgrounds already opened, but the Baxter State Park is run by an independent authority. Maine has had more than 2,800 cases of the virus and 101 deaths. The state recorded its first coronavirus-related death in nearly a week Monday.
Annapolis: At least two dozen nursing homes have been fined by the state because they failed to provide information on coronavirus cases and deaths. The Washington Post reports 24 Medicare-certified facilities were fined between $250 and $750 in early May. State officials said the facilities failed “to submit daily reporting information.” That violated an executive order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan. Fran Phillips, the state’s deputy secretary for public health, said the rate of compliance for reporting was about 50% before the state started issuing fines. She said it was 98% Saturday. “We wanted to know where the vulnerabilities were,” Phillips said. “It was super, super important that we got compliance.” Nearly 12,000 staff and residents at Maryland long-term care facilities have contracted the virus, said Mike Ricci, Hogan’s spokesman. More than 1,700 have died.
Boston: Massachusetts’ two state-run soldiers’ homes are resuming visits this week after they became hot spots for the coronavirus. The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home began allowing visits outdoors starting Monday, while the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will begin allowing them Tuesday. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services says all veteran residents and staff have been retested in preparation for resuming limited visitation. Eight residents tested positive for COVID-19 at the Holyoke home and six at the Chelsea home as of Friday, the office said. State officials say recreational activities, including supervised time outdoors, have also resumed for veterans at the Holyoke home, which was the site of one of the nation’s deadliest outbreaks of the virus in a nursing home. Veterans are also being trained to use iPads, which are being used for regular family communication through video chat, they said.
Lansing: The state health department on Sunday confirmed three new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in Michigan to 5,770. About 60,000 people have tested positive, and thousands who were found to be positive by mid-May or earlier have recovered, the state said. As numbers have trended downward, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has eased many restrictions put in place to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus as the outbreak began in March. Barbershops, salons and spas were allowed to open Monday after months without business.
Minneapolis: The state reported 230 new cases and six more deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, but the number of hospitalizations continued to decline. State health officials said 353 people were hospitalized from the coronavirus, with 186 people in intensive care. The Star Tribune reports the number of hospitalizations has dipped to levels last seen in late April. It’s also far down from the 606 people hospitalized in late May, when major hospitals in the metro area were running out of intensive care beds, the Star Tribune reports. Minnesota so far has recorded 1,304 deaths and 30,693 cases of the virus. Two of the six people whose deaths were reported Monday were 60 or older; the other four were 70 or older. Most deaths in Minnesota have been in people 70 or older or with underlying health conditions before they contracted the virus, and most of those deaths have come in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.
Jackson: All 15 of the state’s community colleges are planning to offer on-campus classes during the fall semester, with new precautions implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic. The two-year colleges moved to online classes in mid-March as COVID-19 started to spread in Mississippi. “Along with much excitement about getting back to campus, all of our colleges are taking the proper precautions to help keep our students, faculty, staff and visitors safe and healthy,” said Steve Bishop, who will soon begin a term as leader of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges. Bishop is also president of Southwest Mississippi Community College. The state Health Department said Sunday that Mississippi has confirmed at least 19,516 cases and 891 deaths from the coronavirus as of Saturday evening. That was an increase of 168 cases and two deaths from the numbers reported a day earlier.
Springfield: The public health orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus are getting even looser this week as the state continues its reopening effort. Larger cities like Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis will still have some restrictions on businesses and other public gatherings. But in other areas, officials are set to drop the rules entirely. Starting Tuesday, there will be no statewide rules in effect. Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that he’d let his rules expire and trust Missourians to take “personal responsibility” for their safety. That means that unless a local rule says otherwise, people will not have to stay 6 feet apart from non-family members in public. Retailers will not have to limit the number of customers in their stores, and restaurants will no longer have to enforce social distancing with dine-in customers. The state’s prohibition on most visits to nursing homes and similar facilities will also expire.
Helena: The state saw another COVID-19 death over the weekend, while testing confirmed 37 new cases of the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, state officials said Monday. Big Horn County announced Saturday that a man in his 80s had died from COVID-19. His death was the second in the county and the 19th in the state. More than 3,900 tests were performed from Friday through Sunday, with 15 new cases announced Saturday, 14 on Sunday and eight on Monday. The new cases included 10 in Custer County and six in Gallatin County. Montana’s known case total stands at 609. Seven people are hospitalized, and 510 have recovered. The state reported 62 cases of COVID-19 from June 1 to 7, compared to 31 in the week prior.
Omaha: State health officials say four more COVID-19 deaths were reported over the weekend, bringing the state’s total to 216. Officials had reported 212 deaths as of Friday. The state’s online coronavirus tracker also showed a jump in cases confirmed over the weekend, including 120 new cases Saturday and 92 new cases Sunday, to take Nebraska’s total to 16,725. Hospital capacity remained steady Monday, with 43% of the state’s hospital beds, 53% of its intensive care unit beds and 76% of its respirators available for use. The new cases were reported as coronavirus cases have been rising in states across the U.S. Despite the rising numbers, most states – including Nebraska – are rolling back restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus.
Las Vegas: Long lines were already forming Monday morning ahead of the reopening of Nevada DMV offices. KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reports people began lining up hours before Department of Motor Vehicle offices opened their doors. DMV offices in the state have been closed for nearly three months to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Now under new guidelines, offices will maintain 50% capacity. Employees will be practicing social distancing. DMV officials are allowing only people severely affected by the closures to access services for the first 30 days after the reopening. These include people who have a driver’s license suspension, no valid form of ID or a newly purchased vehicle with no license plates. A driver’s license or other DMV document that has an expiration date from March 16 through July 14 will get an automatic extension.
Concord: Restaurants in the state reopened for indoor dining Monday. Eateries initially were restricted to takeout and delivery after Gov. Chris Sununu issued a stay-at-home order in March. Outdoor dining resumed May 18, and as of Monday, indoor dining is allowed at tables spread 6 feet apart. Restaurants in Rockingham, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Strafford counties are limited to 50% capacity, however, not just because the vast majority of the state’s COVID-19 cases have occurred there but because of their proximity to the Massachusetts border. Monday marked the first day of the state’s move from a stay-at-home order to what Sununu has called a “safer at home” advisory.
Point Pleasant Beach: Outdoor dining, in-person retail and curbside pickup at libraries in the state are among the services that reopened Monday from their COVID-19 pause. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said previously that Monday would mark the start of Stage 2 of reopening the state from the coronavirus outbreak. Child care services are also cleared to reopen, the administration said. “It’s a big day,” Murphy said on NBC’s “Today” show. “We’re slowly but surely getting back on our feet.” He lifted the statewide stay-home order last week but said residents would still have to abide by limits of no more than 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outside. New Jersey is among the worst-hit states from the virus, with a death toll of 12,625 and nearly 167,000 positive cases.
Santa Fe: State officials on Sunday reported 104 new coronavirus cases and four additional deaths. Officials said testing has now confirmed 9,723 cases. A total of 435 New Mexico residents have died of the virus. Five counties – Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Sandoval, McKinley and San Juan – each had more than 10 new cases. New cases were also reported at a pair of correctional facilities. Five were found among federal detainees held at the Torrance County Detention Facility, and 14 state prison inmates being held at the Orero County Detention Facility were found to be infected. As of Sunday, the state’s hospitals were caring for 162 people with COVID-19.
Albany: Up to 25 people can gather in parts of the state that have entered the third phase of reopening, under a revised plan the governor announced Monday. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he relaxed the rules because of signs of a continued decline in hospitalizations and the percentage of new positive cases across the state. Cuomo’s administration reported 25 deaths of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in New York hospitals and nursing homes Sunday. Just over 1,600 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, and a smaller percentage of New Yorkers have been testing positive each day in recent weeks. New York is on the “right track,” said Cuomo, who has divided the state up into 10 regions that are all in different stages of reopening. Previously, only 10 people could gather in the third phase of reopening, which western New York is set to enter Tuesday.
Raleigh: The state’s highest court made history Monday by hearing oral arguments using videoconferencing as the court system continues to attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The state judicial system said the cases marked the first time oral arguments were heard using remote technology since the court convened in 1819. State Supreme Court justices listened online from their offices to lawyers representing plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving insurance companies and a hospital. Ten cases are scheduled to be heard using this method through Wednesday. Members of the public can watch the remote arguments online. The state Court of Appeals made similar history April 30 when a three-judge panel of the court heard arguments through videoconferencing. Other courts are using similar technology as in-person hearings have been scaled back due to the coronavirus.
Bismarck: Health officials have reported 22 new COVID-19 cases in the state but no additional deaths. The state Department of Health said that as of Sunday morning, the state has seen 3,080 cases and 74 deaths since the pandemic began. Fifty-six of those deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities. Nearly 200 people have been hospitalized; 35 are currently hospitalized. Almost 2,600 people have recovered.
Cincinnati: The Bellwether Music Festival announced the 2020 event’s cancellation Monday morning. Organizers of the three-day fest that had been slated for August cited conditions surrounding COVID-19 and current mandates from the government. “The safety and health of our guests, artists, partners, and staff are always our first priority,” Bill Donabedian, co-founder of the festival, said in a press release. The announcement comes after many other fairs and festivals across the state have released similar notices. Others still are looking to keep their events alive in some way. Both the Darke and Lorain county fairs are holding drive-thru events where patrons can purchase fair food from the comfort of their cars. Some festivals, like the Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival, held on the weekend of June 19, will be moving their events to a virtual space.
Tulsa: With the number of coronavirus cases in the state rising by record levels in recent days, the director of the Tulsa Health Department says he wishes President Donald Trump would again postpone a planned rally in the city. The Trump campaign has already postponed the rally at the BOK Center from Friday to Saturday after criticism that the event would coincide with Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the country, and will take place just blocks from the site of a massacre that left hundreds of African Americans dead in 1921. Health Department director Bruce Dart said Saturday that it was a matter of pride that the president has chosen Tulsa for his first campaign rally this season, but it is still too dangerous because of the risk of coronavirus transmission. “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today,” Dart told the Tulsa World. The 19,000-seat BOK Center has canceled all other events through the end of July. The Trump campaign has acknowledged the risk. A waiver attendees must sign absolves the campaign of any responsibility should people get sick.
Newport: A study by Oregon State University to determine the spread of the novel coronavirus is expanding to one of the most recent hot spots in the state. University researchers, in collaboration with local public health officials, will conduct two days of community sampling in Newport this weekend, officials announced Monday. The expansion of the Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-Level Coronavirus Epidemics, or TRACE, comes after more than 120 cases were found at a Pacific Seafoods plant in Newport. The study team will then assist with contract tracing for any positive tests it finds during the effort to canvas the community. “The results from the TRACE team’s community sampling will give the community current prevalence data and inform a better picture of how COVID-19 moves through rural communities,” said Bob Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. More information about the study’s progress and results can be found online.
Harrisburg: Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said Monday that more free coronavirus drive-thru testing sites will open in Walmart parking lots across northern Pennsylvania as it seeks to expand testing to areas where there is little available. Nine more sites will open Wednesday at Walmart parking lots in Sayre, State College, Edinboro, New Castle, Grove City, Coal Township, Selinsgrove, Lewisburg and Mansfield, the administration said. That brings the total number of free coronavirus drive-thru testing sites in Walmart lots to 19, it said. The sites will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. People seeking a test must register online a day in advance and must print out a voucher and bring it with them to the testing site. Test results are to be emailed within a day or two, and a physician will call a patient who tested positive, the administration said.
Providence: The state has spent just $44 million of the $1.25 billion the state received in federal aid to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new “COVID-19 Transparency Portal” the state launched Friday. The website developed by Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration breaks down the state’s spending of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money. The website shows that the state had spent just $44 million of the funds as of May 26 and committed another $143 million of the money for future spending. Among the major expenses was roughly $9 million in payments to Dimeo Construction to build three field hospitals that went mostly unused, as the state never saw the expected surge in COVID-19 cases.
Greenville: The state’s emergency management leaders have spent millions of dollars on coronavirus-related supplies and equipment since the state’s first emergency declaration in March, from $1.9 million for N95 masks from a fastener distributor to $2,500 for boxed meals from Chick-fil-A. From March 16 through April, the state’s Emergency Management Division spent an estimated $49.5 million on purchases from 64 different private companies, primarily on behalf of counties that submitted requests through local emergency management offices. The money spent on food – totaling $585,312 – provided sustenance to personnel handling COVID-related meetings, testing sites and other duties, Emergency Management Division spokesperson Derrec Becker said. “Working consecutive shifts and 24-hour operations means people need to eat,” Becker said. “They can’t go out and get their own meals.”
Pierre: State health officials reported 65 new COVID-19 cases in the state as of Sunday. The state health department said that as of Sunday morning, the state had seen 5,898 cases and 75 deaths. Minnehaha County leads the state with 3,479 cases, followed by Beadle County with 446. Nearly 4,900 people have recovered across the state. Eighty-seven people are currently hospitalized. About 52% percent of the state’s hospital beds remain available.
Nashville: Health officials have cited 14 Nashville businesses including a restaurant owned by singer Kid Rock for not complying with coronavirus public health orders. Metro Public Health Department Director Michael Caldwell visited Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse on Saturday after receiving a complaint, news outlets report, citing a statement from the health department. Caldwell issued a citation “for serving people that were seated at the bar and for not observing proper social distancing inside the establishment.” The business will be fined, with the amount decided during a court hearing, officials said. Attorney Brian Lewis, who represents the owner of Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk and other businesses, said the citation was “selective prosecution,” and lawyers intend to fight it.
Laredo: A local luchador is using his fame in the ring and his skills as a tailor by trade to bring to life some pride for the Mexican Lucha during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Laredo Morning Times reports. Local wrestler El Universitario – he prefers to protect his true identity from the public – is doing this by making customizable face masks of legendary Mexican wrestlers Blue Demon, El Santo and Mil Mascaras. Business has been steady, and he works almost every day. El Universitario said his prices are reasonable and vary depending on the masks. His most common face masks, which are the traditional common luchador design and white color, are sold at three masks for $10. However, for more complex orders that involve more detail, such as one of Blue Demon, the masks can run roughly $30.
St. George: After a three-month period of relying on Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services for movies, southern Utahns will soon be able to go out and see a movie. Megaplex Theatres will reopen this week at most of its locations across the state, with openings slated from Logan to St. George, the company announced Friday. Although most theaters are scheduled to reopen Thursday, the remaining Megaplex locations in Utah and Nevada will open “as soon as possible.” “The Intermission is finally over!” Megaplex Theatres president Blake Andersen said in a statement. “Our team is ready. Our buildings are ready. Our technology is ready, and we are thrilled to be welcoming guests back to Megaplex Theatres to enjoy great movies on the biggest screens in Utah.” The theaters will reopen with a set list of guidelines, which include limits on the number of allowed movie watchers for any one showing and regular wellness checks for employees.
Montpelier: Gov. Phil Scott on Monday extended for another month the state of emergency imposed to help the state cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. During his regular briefing, Scott said that while he is extending the state of emergency first imposed in March through July 15, the state will continue its gradual reopening. As part of the reopening, Scott said the state’s campgrounds are now allowed to be open at full capacity, and all sectors of Vermont’s economy are open to some degree. Despite a spike of cases in Winooski, the state’s overall virus numbers look good, and if that trend continues, the reopening will continue, he said. In addition to watching what’s happening in Vermont, officials are keeping an eye on neighboring states, Scott said. “We have to remember, Vermont is not an island and that this isn’t over,” Scott said. “We still have about 130,000 active cases within a five-hour drive of us.”
Blacksburg: Many museums have started reopening after being shuttered for three months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Phase 2 of Gov. Ralph Northam’s reopening plan began June 5, allowing museums to reopen with restrictions, including the wearing of face masks inside buildings. The Roanoke Times reports guides at Historic Smithfield, a re-creation of 18th-century frontier life in Appalachia, added face masks to their Colonial outfits of petticoats and caps for the reopening Saturday. “We’re just really excited to have people out again,” Executive Director Ryan Spencer said. Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation also reopened its Alexander Black House museum and art gallery Wednesday with social distancing measures in place. But not all cultural attractions appear ready for visitors. According to their websites, both Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art and Harrison Museum of African American Culture remain closed.
Olympia: A prison is restricting movement in its medium-security unit after more than 100 officers and inmates tested positive for COVID-19. More than 1,800 of the 2,248 inmates at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center are in quarantine because of potential exposure to the coronavirus, the state Department of Corrections said. The announcement came after 30 corrections officers and 71 inmates tested positive, department officials said, adding that another 33 people exhibited potential symptoms. “The health and safety of Corrections staff, the incarcerated individuals, and the citizens in the community remains our top priority,” department secretary Stephen Sinclair said.
Charleston: A coronavirus outbreak at a church has grown to 28 cases, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday. The outbreak last week at the Graystone Baptist Church in Lewisburg has led to additional available testing for the public in Greenbrier County. Justice said the National Guard conducted decontamination efforts at the church Sunday. He said the outbreak was close to his Lewisburg home. “This could be your community tomorrow,” Justice said. “This could be your church tomorrow. This could be your family tomorrow.” The church said the source of the outbreak is unknown. It had made previous services available for online viewing. It has since closed for two weeks and canceled Sunday services. In a statement on Facebook, the church said it adhered to mandated precautions, including social distancing and the availability of masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to churchgoers. It marked the fifth virus outbreak involving a West Virginia church.
Milwaukee: Fewer people are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 than at any point since April 4, according to Monday’s updated numbers from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Hospitalizations have fallen rapidly after steadily rising throughout May, from 414 hospitalized with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis May 31 to 284 on Monday morning. Of those, 100 patients were in intensive care. Another 196 inpatients were awaiting test results. State health officials also announced the second-lowest single-day increase in newly confirmed cases this month, with 174 cases Monday bringing the total to 22,932. The lowest was 140 on June 1. Monday also saw a dip in newly reported tests, but that has been common on Mondays and may reflect a decline in testing or reporting over the weekend.
Casper: Backwards Distilling Company has produced thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer as supplies run short during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. The distillery was preparing a batch of its 307 Vodka in mid-March when the pandemic hit. The batch would become something different than what the owners had intended, a scarce product people needed as the coronavirus reached Wyoming. Many people called to ask if the company could make hand sanitizer as distilleries around the country began making the product, Backwards co-owner Amber Pollock said. The distillery has since produced thousands of gallons, first in a partnership with other Wyoming distilleries and state government to meet needs for medical facilities and first responders. Backwards began selling sanitizer to the public and other businesses once the owners knew they could produce enough.
From USA TODAY Network and wire reports
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Luchador face masks, Kid Rock cited: News from around our 50 states