News from around our 50 states


Montgomery: An organization for teachers is expressing concern that children are being allowed to return to school before completing required COVID-19 quarantine periods, potentially putting the health of students and school employees at risk. The Alabama Education Association sent a letter Thursday to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners saying it had learned some doctors are writing excuses for students to return to school before mandated quarantine periods expired. Theron Stokes, associate executive director of AEA, said doctors should be aware of the guidelines and follow them. “When students return to school having not completed the entire 14-day quarantine period, they are placing their fellow students and their schools’ employees at risk. For students and school employees who have underlying health conditions, these decisions can be deadly,” Stokes wrote. The group said it is gross negligence to ignore the quarantine guidelines and threatened possible legal action.


Anchorage: The state’s largest city plans to boost enforcement of an expanded mask mandate and restrict gathering sizes in a bid to curb coronavirus cases, officials said Friday. The changes take effect Monday, with masks to be worn, with a few exceptions, in indoor public settings or communal areas and outdoors when distancing from non-household members is not possible. In some cases, such as for individuals with disabilities who cannot tolerate a mask, face shields will be allowed unless wearing one would be impossible, the order says. Masks are to be worn by school-age children older than 5, those who exercise or work at gyms, and athletes, players, coaches and officials who participate in organized sports, according to the municipality directives. Athletes must keep a mask on for indoor sports, but one is not required while “exercising vigorously outdoors,” the directives state.


Phoenix: A top hospital official urged Arizonans to help curb the spread of the coronavirus by considering alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving get-togethers. “Congregating in large groups and close contact with others outside of your immediate household put you and those around you at risk,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessell, chief clinical officer of Banner Health. “I know we are asking a lot of you.” Banner operates 23 hospitals in Arizona and several in other states. Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 1,880 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths. State Department of Health Services officials said the latest figures increase Arizona’s totals to 259,264 cases and 6,164 known deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began. Cases and hospitalizations have been steadily increasing in Arizona since late September and throughout October after bottoming out in August after the state was a national hot spot in June and July.


Little Rock: The state hit a record one-day increase in coronavirus cases Friday for the second day in a row, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was growing concerned about hospital capacity. The Department of Health said the state’s probable and confirmed virus cases rose by 1,870. The state’s previous one-day high came Thursday, when it reported 1,548 new cases. On Saturday the department reported 1,598 new cases and 12 additional deaths for totals of 120,828 cases and 2,068 deaths since the pandemic began. The department reported 722 hospitalizations, 16 more than Friday’s then-record high. “Today’s numbers show we are not in a good position as we head into the colder months,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday. “I ask all Arkansans to take this virus seriously and to take necessary precautions. Our number of new cases is growing at a rate that worries me in terms of our hospital capacity.”


Republican former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa speaks during a news conference in El Cajon, Calif., on Sept. 26, 2019. (Photo: Gregory Bull/AP)

San Diego: Republican former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa was victorious Saturday in his race to return to Congress, where he once headed the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and became a GOP favorite for launching a string of investigations of the Obama administration. The former nine-term congressman and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump trailed early in the San Diego-area 50th District. But as more votes were counted after Election Day, he overtook Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar. The latest vote count update gave him about 54% of the votes and a 23,000-vote lead. Issa already had declared victory in a statement posted to social media Friday night. Campa-Najjar, a 31-year-old former Obama administration official, was making his second bid for the seat. He received more votes than he did in 2018 and thanked his supporters for “giving a Latino-Arab American a chance to do something special.”


Denver: City officials are urging residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in an effort to stem the tide of coronavirus cases, which could overwhelm area hospitals by the end of the year. Mayor Michael Hancock said during a virtual news conference Friday that the “Home by 10 Order,” which will last for at least 30 days, is necessary to avoid another citywide stay-at-home order. He also urged residents not to gather or mix with other households. “I’m not going to mince any words here when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus,” Hancock said. “We’re on a very dangerous path. We’re seeing rapid, significant increases in the numbers of people getting sick, and many of those people ended up in the hospital.” The mayor shied away from calling the order a curfew because he said enforcement would only target the most egregious violations – not, for instance, someone walking their dog or going for a run after 10 p.m.


Hamden: Several colleges and universities have added new restrictions for students as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state. Quinnipiac University announced it is instituting a two-week quarantine after recording 155 positive tests on campus since Wednesday. The quarantine means residential students must stay in their rooms, except to pick up takeout meals from the dining hall, and students living off campus can only return for testing. Students in isolation who have tested positive for the coronavirus will have meals delivered to their rooms each night. At Yale University, students residing in Davenport, Hopper, and Saybrook Colleges were ordered to quarantine because of positive coronavirus tests. In Fairfield, Sacred Heart and Fairfield universities have instituted curfews. The state reported Friday that 22 more people were hospitalized with COVID-19, bringing the total to 402, the highest total in five months.


Lewes: For the Rehoboth Beach Film Society, the show (or shows) must go on. The 23rd annual Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival is taking place as scheduled this month with a few modifications for health concerns. Only five films will be shown inside the society’s Cinema Art Theater, with 10 more available to stream at home. “We had the opportunity to carry out this event with the safety of our viewers as a priority,” said Rehoboth Beach Film Society Executive Director Sue Early. “They can watch films at home this year. It’s not the same experience, but there’s some great films to see. And in our theater, we could be showing at 60%, and we’re only going to use 30 out of 104 seats, which is just under 29%. They are well-spaced and cleaned after every screening. So it’s really safe.” Tickets are on sale now for the festival, which runs Nov. 5-15.

District of Columbia

Washington: Hundreds of people gathered on the campus of Howard University on Saturday to celebrate their sister Kamala Harris after her announcement as vice president-elect, WUSA-TV reports. “When you come to Howard University, that is a very distinct choice,” said Niambi Carter, associate professor of political science at Howard University. “You are choosing a legacy and a lineage that is great in so many aspects.” A large group of Alpha chapter members of Alpha Kappa Alpha gathered in front of the sorority’s plot on the yard to cheer for Harris’ election. “I’m so proud of Kamala, and I’m so proud to stand on the grounds where she walked,” alumna Kenya Sumner said. Harris graduated from Howard with a degree in political science and economics in 1986, the same year she became a member of the Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first historically black sorority, founded on Howard’s campus.


Elder Harry Brown, left, officiates the wedding ceremony for his niece Antionette Brown and Henry Bell at Orange Park Medical Center on Thursday in the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park, Fla. (Photo: Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union)

Orange Park: Eight weeks after being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, Henry Bell and his longtime fiancee decided the time was right for a wedding. So the day before his anticipated release from the inpatient rehab center at Orange Park Medical Center, Bell, 63, and Antionette Brown, 48, said their vows in the parking lot Thursday. Brown’s uncle performed the ceremony. “His condition was deadly,” Brown said. “We decided to do it now because we feel they (the hospital staff) are like family and wanted to share the life they gave us back.” Bell was admitted to the hospital Sept. 13 and immediately put on a ventilator. Brown and the couple’s seven grown children could only wait and hope for his condition to improve. He spent weeks in intensive care. He entered the hospital’s rehab center Sunday, and his recovery has included learning how to walk again.


Athens: Athens-Clarke County plans to rent space for jury trials and grand jury proceedings. Grand juries and trials have been on hold in the state since March 14, when state Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton declared a statewide judicial emergency because of the coronavirus threat. In subsequent renewal orders, Melton amended them to allow for court proceedings if they could be conducted safely. The best option for holding court proceedings in Athens-Clarke County is by using the Classic Center, said a committee tasked with deciding the issue. The county will pay the Classic Center up to $350,815 to rent space for the proceedings. The price Athens-Clarke will pay includes daily cleaning of the rooms used for trial proceedings, including space to conduct actual trials and a jury deliberation room. The $350,815 amount is based on the cost of 30 jury trials that last an average of five days each.


Honolulu: The state Department of Land and Natural Resources reopened a popular scenic spot on Oahu that has been closed to visitors since the outbreak of the coronavirus. The Nuuanu Pali State Wayside, popularly known as Pali Lookout, was closed to the public at the outset of the pandemic because of budgetary constraints and crowding concerns. There were challenges in maintaining physical distancing at the lookout, State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said. Officials announced the park, which is among the most visited spots on Oahu, reopened Wednesday with daily hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gates to the park’s access roads will be unlocked and secured daily by the Honolulu Police Department. The state set new parking fees of $7 per vehicle for nonresidents. Hawaii residents are not subject to parking and entry fees at any state parks. Tour buses are largely absent from the lookout, making the volume of visitors much lower.


Boise: A state panel of medical experts is asking the governor for a statewide mask mandate, and hospitals are running out of space for COVID-19 patients, after a week marked with record numbers of new cases and deaths. At least 671 Idaho residents have died from the coronavirus, and a record high of 1,290 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday alone, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, followed by 1,265 new cases Thursday. More than 69,500 residents have been confirmed to have the illness since the pandemic began. Idaho hospitals have reported more than 200 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 every day since Oct. 12. On Nov. 2, the most recent data available, there were nearly 300 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Jeanie Gentry, CEO of Steele Memorial Medical Center in Salmon, told the Idaho Statesman the facility is short about 40% of its staffers because they’ve been exposed or sickened.


Springfield: Gov. J.B. Pritzker has tested negative for the coronavirus after learning he may have been exposed during a meeting to someone who tested positive. Members of Pritzker’s staff who attended the meeting last Monday also tested negative for the virus, his office said Saturday in a news release. Pritzker had self-isolated Friday while awaiting test results. They were the second negative test results for Pritzker and staff members who also underwent weekly tests Wednesday, according to his office. Meanwhile, 12,438 newly confirmed and probable cases of the virus and another 76 deaths were reported Saturday by the Illinois Department of Public Health. More than 10,370 new cases and 49 deaths were reported Friday. Illinois has had nearly 478,000 cases of the coronavirus and more than 10,150 deaths since the start of the pandemic.


Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, front second from right, speaks with others after President Donald Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins stands at back right. (Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

South Bend: The University of Notre Dame’s Faculty Senate formally expressed disappointment in the school president’s failure to wear a face mask at a White House event days before he tested positive for the coronavirus. The Faculty Senate voted 29-13 on Thursday for a resolution expressing disappointment in the Rev. John Jenkins’ failure to wear a mask and practice social distancing at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor confirmed last month as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The Faculty Senate was originally expected to vote on a no confidence resolution, but that was amended. Jenkins tested positive for the coronavirus days after the Rose Garden ceremony, where President Donald Trump introduced Barrett as his nominee to the high court. Jenkins was seen without a mask, and he shook hands and sat shoulder-to-shoulder with others.


Des Moines: State prison officials reported Friday that a coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly half of the inmates at a prison in Anamosa. Testing last week revealed 476 inmates among 985 at the prison tested positive for the virus, said Cord Overton, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Corrections. A report provided by the department indicates 37 staff members also tested positive. Across the nine institutions the department manages, 601 inmates were infected as of Friday afternoon. The report shows coronavirus has been active in the prison system since testing began in March with more than 21,000 tests administered to inmates. It said 1,252 inmates have recovered, an indication they have at one time tested positive but are no longer symptomatic are believed to be contagious. Four Iowa inmates have died during the pandemic, the report said.


Topeka: The state saw most of a projected budget shortfall melt away Friday with a fiscal forecast that is less pessimistic about the economy and tax collections than a dire estimate issued this spring during a statewide lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic. The forecasting group boosted the state’s forecast for tax collections by $463 million, or 6.3%, for the 2021 budget year that began July 1. The group also issued its first calculations for the 2022 budget year that starts in July 2021, and while the forecast predicts a drop in tax collections of 2.1%, or $166 million, that’s due largely to the end of a temporary, pandemic-induced move to help income taxpayers. The Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff now projects a $153 million budget shortfall for the state’s 2022 budget year, an amount that almost can be covered by an internal shuffling of government funds that Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly already has proposed.


Frankfort: The state’s bar and restaurant operators are getting a break from alcoholic beverage renewal fees in a cost-saving step as they struggle with revenue losses from the pandemic. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is granting a 12-month fee renewal waiver to license holders, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday. Bar and restaurant operators who haven’t submitted the renewal fee this year won’t have to pay until 2021, he said. Those who have paid this year will have their fees waived in 2021, he said. “This has certainly been a difficult year for our bars, restaurants and venues, and they deserve this innovative support as we face what could be a very painful winter,” Beshear said. Bars and restaurants have endured capacity limitations to help contain the coronavirus. The fee waiver doesn’t apply to producers, distributors, wholesalers and others able to continue operations throughout the virus-related state of emergency.


Baton Rouge: In response to complaints that family and clergy were barred from hospitals and nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, legislators have rewritten state laws to lessen visitation restrictions during public health emergencies. The bills passed unanimously in the special session that ended last month and were signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards. They still will give discretion to the Louisiana Department of Health to decide just how wide-open the visitation can be and what safety protections will have to be followed. One measure by Sen. Robert Mills, a Minden Republican, calls on the health department to create rules requiring inpatient health care facilities to allow pastors, priests and other members of the clergy to visit patients during a public health emergency, if the patient asks for the visit.


Portland: Officials on Friday recommended caution at more schools in the state because of the rise in coronavirus cases. The state uses a color-coded system to categorize the level of precaution schools should use. The administration of Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said it’s adding schools in Knox County and Franklin County to the “yellow” category, which is an intermediate level. Those counties join Somerset and Washington counties in the yellow category. All other counties in the state are in the “green” category, the lowest level, though officials said they’re closely monitoring schools in Waldo and Kennebec counties. The state recommends that schools located in counties in the yellow category consider hybrid instruction models to reduce the number of people in schools and classrooms. The change in category for some schools came as cases surged around the state.


Baltimore: The city is tightening restrictions on restaurants and indoor and outdoor gatherings in response to rising cases of the coronavirus, Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young announced Friday. The changes will take effect Thursday at 5 p.m. Young said numbers of people in restaurants, religious facilities, theaters and malls will be limited to 25% capacity. Young said food service establishments must close indoor dining at 10 p.m. Bars that don’t have a license to sell food will be closed. “I am instituting these restrictions for the public health and to save lives in Baltimore city,” Young said. Also, the city’s health commissioner revised an order to require masks to be worn in public at all times, whether people are inside or outside. Dr. Letitia Dzirasa’s order is effective immediately. “Over the past month Baltimore city has seen our data trends move in the wrong direction,” she said.


Boston: State officials on Friday urged more schools to return to full, in-person instruction, saying that only communities with the highest COVID-19 rates should be using any form of remote learning. Under previous guidance, schools were told to shift among remote learning, in-person learning or a mix of the two depending on their area’s infection rate. Areas with moderate spread were advised to use remote or hybrid learning, while only those with the lowest rates were encouraged to bring students back full time. But speaking at a news conference, Gov. Charlie Baker said there’s growing evidence that schools are not a significant source of spread and that keeping students at home hurts their learning and mental health. “We continue to see too many communities with children learning in remote-only models,” he said. “We all know that losing a week, a month, a quarter or more in the life of a kid’s education has real consequences.”


Lansing: Joe Biden reclaimed the Wolverine State for Democrats with a surge of support in urban regions like Detroit and Grand Rapids, offsetting high turnout in rural and exurban areas for President Donald Trump. Biden’s 146,000-vote margin, 2.7 percentage points, was powered by gains in big, vote-rich counties such as Oakland near Detroit and Kent, which includes Grand Rapids – amid a record 5.5 million people casting ballots statewide. Biden won Oakland by 14 points, besting Hillary Clinton’s 8-point edge in 2016. He carried Kent by almost 6 points after Trump netted it by 3 points four years ago. Trump again won traditional bellwether Macomb County outside Detroit, by roughly 8 points – less than his 11-point margin in 2016, however. Biden became just the second Democratic presidential candidate to carry Kent in more than 50 years, after Barack Obama did it in his first run.


Minneapolis: COVID-19 is sweeping across the state at an unprecedented pace, breaking records for new cases and daily deaths and raising concerns about the ability of hospitals to keep up. The Star Tribune reports Saturday’s tally of 4,647 new cases – a figure that would have easily set a record during the first eight months of the pandemic – wasn’t even close to the biggest single-day count of the past week. For the seven-day period ending Saturday, Minnesota reported more than 25,000 new COVID-19 cases, or more than 10% of the state’s cases since March. The Minnesota Department of Health reported another 34 deaths Saturday, bringing the week’s total to 168, the second-highest one-week count since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals, meanwhile, are scrambling to treat more COVID-19 patients even as the virus threatens to sideline more health care workers.


Jackson: The Mississippi Department of Health has been working around the clock to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the agency will be responsible for starting a statewide medical marijuana program within the next nine months. Uncertified election results showed 74% of Mississippi voters approved the ballot measure that allows doctors to prescribe up to 5 ounces of marijuana per month for people who have at least one of more than 20 serious medical conditions. “This vote shows minds are changing,” said Jaqueline Temple Rudder, a homemaker from Madison County who lost her father-in-law to cancer and voted for Initiative 65. “We don’t want our sick suffering.” Both Gov. Tate Reeves and state’s top health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, opposed the initiative. Officials with the Department of Health will have until August to begin licensing treatment centers and certifying eligible patients.


St. Louis: Local health departments in the state don’t have enough staffers to conduct contact tracing for all the COVID-19 cases popping up, so they have been prioritizing the ones they try to trace back to their sources, officials said. The state’s rate of positive tests over the past two weeks is more than double the national average, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Larry Jones, who heads the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence, said local health departments are struggling to keep up with contact tracing, which helps determine how a disease is spreading. Missouri on Sunday reported 4,131 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Missouri has risen over the past two weeks, from about 1,789 new cases per day Oct. 24 to about 3,126 as of Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


Helena: A nursing facility in Butte has reported 10 COVID-19-related deaths in less than two weeks, and Gallatin County on Friday enacted stricter measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Montana has hit a record for hospitalizations, and the confirmed number of infection cases was closing in on 38,000, state officials said. The state health department confirmed 986 more cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total for the past week to 6,040, or an average of 863 cases per day. Over the previous week, the daily average was 779. Montana has reported 418 deaths, which may not include all 10 deaths tied to the outbreak at the Continental Care & Rehabilitation nursing facility in Butte. The Gallatin County health board on Friday said bars, restaurants and casinos must close by 10 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m. They must also limit group sizes at tables to six adults plus children who are with a parent or guardian.


Omaha: The state continues to report record numbers of new coronavirus cases and people hospitalized with the virus. Health officials said the surge in cases over the past month continued Friday with 2,681 new cases and 748 people hospitalized with the virus. Both those were new records, and the state’s rate of new cases was the seventh-highest in the nation. The state said 27 new deaths were reported Friday to give Nebraska 701 deaths. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has increased over the past two weeks from 836.71 new cases per day Oct. 23 to 1,408.86 new cases per day Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Also Friday, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said nine more staff members had tested positive for the virus to give it a total of 225 staff members who have been diagnosed with the virus. The department said the ill staffers are all isolating themselves at home.


Carson City: Democrats successfully won reelection in the swing state’s two battleground congressional districts. First-term Rep. Susie Lee won reelection to a second term by defeating former professional wrestler Dan Rodimer in the 3rd District. Republicans believed the Las Vegas-area district offered them their best chance at unseating an incumbent. Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford was reelected in the state’s other battleground district, defeating Republican former Assemblyman Jim Marchant. Lee and Horsford’s victories cement a six-year hold on Nevada’s swing districts, which Democrats have won in the three most recent elections, and helps Democrats hoping maintain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where many races remain too early to call with votes left to be counted. The result sends Nevada’s existing delegation back to Washington, D.C.

New Hampshire

Concord: Dartmouth-Hitchcock is again putting strict limits on visitors to its hospitals and outpatient clinics in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Effective Friday, visitors are banned under most circumstances. Limited exceptions will be made for pediatric patients, women giving birth, patients at the end of life and those in a few other circumstances. The return to more restrictive policies applies to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon as well as the health system’s outpatient clinics and facilities. Officials said their decision was based on the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in both New Hampshire and Vermont. Meanwhile, the state’s court system said it is suspending in-person hearings for a few days after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

New Jersey

Trenton: Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday named his associate counsel to lead the commission that will oversee the state’s new recreational marijuana marketplace. Dianna Houenou, who serves as legal counsel to Murphy’s administration, will chair the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Before working in Murphy’s administration, Houenou was policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey. Murphy, a Democrat, made the announcement just days after New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana for people 21 and older. The amendment goes into effect at the start of next year and calls for state regulators to set up a marketplace for the legal sale of the drug. It’s unclear when marijuana will be ready to hit retail shelves in the state. Advocates for legalization said the soonest they expect it could happen toward the end of 2021.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: State officials have the power to impose civil penalties when enforcing public health orders that call for businesses to restrict their operations amid a public health emergency, the state Supreme Court said Friday. The unanimous written opinion details the legal reasoning for an oral decision made by the court in August in a case brought by businesses that challenged health orders issued as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had petitioned the court to resolve the dispute. Lujan Grisham has warned that more restrictions could be imposed as early as this week as infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase. She also said she has been disappointed in enforcement, pointing to businesses and country clubs in Albuquerque and elsewhere that hosted Halloween parties despite the ban on gatherings.

New York

Albany: Restrictions in some New York City pandemic hot spots will be rolled back, even as the state prepares to combat coronavirus flare-ups upstate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. The governor said he’s considering imposing additional social distancing restrictions in “microcluster” zones in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas because of rising infection rates. The addition of more of those zones upstate reflect the shifting state strategy as COVID-19 becomes a worsening problem beyond New York City, once an epicenter of the pandemic. The governor also said the National Guard will increase its presence at airports to help make sure travelers from non-neighboring states can provide proof of a negative coronavirus test. “In general, downstate New York is doing better than upstate New York, which is a total reversal from the first phase of COVID,” Cuomo said during a telephone briefing.

North Carolina

Raleigh: Republicans pressed state election officials Friday to make public more information about the number of outstanding ballots from last week’s election that could be counted. Nearly a dozen Election Day races in North Carolina, including those for president and U.S. Senate, remained too early to call because as many as 172,000 ballots had either yet to be counted or rejected, or could trickle in before this week’s deadline to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day. The actual number of ballots that will arrive is likely to be less, however, because many people who requested absentee ballots ended up voting on Election Day or perhaps didn’t vote at all. And past elections show a significant portion of the 41,000 provisional ballots cast Tuesday will be rejected.

North Dakota

Bismarck: A child with COVID-19 has been confirmed to have a rare condition that causes inflammation in different parts of the body, state health officials said Friday. The child, who was discharged from the hospital and is resting at home, is the first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in the state. “This development is an unfortunate reminder that COVID-19 can impact people of any age, even children,” Dr. Joan Connell, Department of Health field medical officer and pediatrician, said in a statement. “The best way to help prevent your child from getting MIS-C is to take action to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus and teach your child how to do the same.” MIS-C – short for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children – can inflame the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. Children with it have experienced persistent fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue. Long-term effects are unknown.


Columbus: The number of coronavirus cases in the state has continued to spike despite pleas from the governor for people to help slow the spread. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from 2,084 new cases per day Oct. 22 to 3,748 new cases per day Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in the state has also risen over the past two weeks from 4.96% on Oct. 22 to 7.93% on Thursday, according to the tracking hub. The Health Department on Friday reported 5,008 probable and confirmed cases, another daily record high. Ohio has reported more than 240,000 probable and confirmed cases to date, including 5,494 deaths. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday that he planned to announce additional measures soon to slow the spread of the virus.


Oklahoma City: The number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the state Saturday more than doubled the previous one-day record, and the Department of Health said a backlog of cases and possibly duplicate reporting were the reason. There were 4,741 new cases, bringing the total to 136,492 since the pandemic began, the department said. The previous one-day record of 2,101 new cases was recorded Thursday as cases in the state have surged in recent weeks. “We have reason to believe that our normal case count would have continued on an upward trajectory without the backlog and duplication,” which is due to a transition from a manual to electronic reporting system, according to a health department statement. In a statement, Gov. Kevin Stitt called on residents to wash hands often, socially distance and voluntarily wear masks at indoor public places.


Salem: Following a record-breaking day of COVID-19 cases in the state, officials announced new restrictions Friday that will be implemented in at least five of the state’s counties as part of a two-week pause on social activities. The updated safety measures, which begin Wednesday, include halting visitations to long-term care facilities, reducing the capacity of indoor dining at restaurants to 50 people, encouraging all businesses to mandate working from home, and urging Oregonians not to gather with people who do not live in their household – but if they do to limit it to six people. If people have multiple get-togethers, which is discouraged, it should be the same social circle of six people. “Let me be clear, we cannot allow this disease to continue to spread so rapidly in our communities. Lives are at stake,” Gov. Kate Brown said.


Philadelphia: Bail has been set at $750,000 each for two men authorities said were armed with loaded handguns when they were arrested near the city’s convention center where votes were being counted. Joshua Macias, 42, and Antonio LaMotta, 61, traveled from the Virginia Beach, Virginia, area in a Hummer and did not have permits to carry the weapons in Pennsylvania, police said. They were charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a license and carrying a firearm on a public street. The men were stopped Thursday about a block from the vehicle, Macias with a .40-caliber Beretta handgun inside his jacket and LaMotta with a 9 mm Beretta in a holster, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. An AR-style rifle and ammunition were found inside the vehicle, Outlaw said.

Rhode Island

Central Falls: Protesters gathered near a prison that houses federal detainees Friday, denouncing the facility’s contract with U.S. immigration authorities and pointing to a surge in coronavirus infections among detainees. Demonstrators blocked roads leading to the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, where authorities say more than 150 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19. Activists have repeatedly called for Wyatt’s closure, saying conditions are subpar. The publicly owned but privately operated lockup has about 540 inmates in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In April, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal class-action lawsuit seeking the release of dozens of detainees, saying the virus was spreading “uncontrollably.” More than two dozen detainees subsequently were freed.

South Carolina

Columbia: Two days after his opponent proclaimed victory in South Carolina’s 1st District, freshman U.S. House Rep. Joe Cunningham conceded defeat Friday, saying he was proud of the work he had done in his single term in Congress and pledging to continue to work toward bipartisan progress as a private citizen. Standing in front of the U.S. Customs House in Charleston, Cunningham told supporters that he had called Republican Nancy Mace to offer support and congratulations. “She’s now my representative,” Cunningham said. “I’m rooting for her.” The Associated Press called the race for Mace early Wednesday morning, but Cunningham did not concede, citing scanning issues with absentee ballots in one of the district’s counties. In her victory, Mace, 42, becomes the first Republican woman elected to Congress in South Carolina and only the second-ever woman from the state elected to a full House term.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: More than 100 state residents have died of complications due to the coronavirus in the first eight days of November, health officials said Sunday. The Department of Health confirmed 13 deaths in the past day, for a total of 111 this month and 536 since the start of the pandemic. The overall death count is the 24th-highest per capita in the country in the past two weeks, Johns Hopkins University researchers said. The state reported 1,426 positive tests for COVID-19 since Saturday. South Dakota ranks second in the country behind North Dakota in the number of new cases per capita in the past two weeks. The top five counties with the most cases per capita in that time are Bon Homme, Dewey, Buffalo, Potter and Sanborn, according to the COVID Tracking Project. There are 546 people being treated in hospitals in the state, up 31 in the past day. Of those, 96 are in intensive care units, and 69 are using ventilators.


Johnson City: Health officials in northeastern Tennessee say they do not have enough nurses to combat COVID-19 inside the region’s hospital system. “There are no longer enough nurses to fill the need that we have,” Ballad Health Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Smithgall told WJHL-TV. According to Ballad Health, the hospital system is looking to hire 350 registered nurses to fill its nurse shortage. “In the last eight weeks, we’ve had more than 900 patients admitted to COVID-19,” said Ballad Health Chief Administrative Officer Eric Deaton. After hitting 200 inpatients last week, the health care system has adjusted its COVID-19 surge plan to receive 300 inpatients. “These numbers represent lives; they’re non-encouraging,” Deaton said. “In fact, it’s really becoming a tragedy in the increased rates that we’re seeing.”


El Paso: A district judge on Friday upheld an order from El Paso County’s top elected official shutting down businesses while the region fights an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases. The decision from Judge Bill Moody of El Paso’s 34th District Court came as federal military medical teams deployed to the border region at the request of the state. The county’s top elected official, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, ordered a two-week shutdown of nonessential activities late last month. In making his decision, Moody pointed out that during the Spanish flu pandemic in the early part of the 20th century, city and county elected officials had authority to respond as they “thought was necessary to protect the health and financial interests of their individual communities.” Chris Hilton, an attorney with the Texas attorney general’s office, said the state would appeal.


Salt Lake City: The state’s largest teachers union called for the governor to move all public secondary schools in high coronavirus transmission areas to remote learning Friday as the state reported a single-day record of 17 COVID-19 deaths. The Utah Education Association also called for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert to suspend all extracurricular activities that can’t comply with social distancing guidelines in high transmission areas from the Thanksgiving holiday throughout winter break. “We are now seeing multiple schools repeatedly shift back and forth from in-person to at-home learning due to outbreaks,” the union wrote in a statement. “This cycle is obviously not helping to control the virus spread and, as educators, we can unequivocally state the continual interruptions are not in the best interest of student learning.”


Montpelier: Republican Gov. Phil Scott said Friday that comments by President Donald Trump casting doubts on the integrity of the election process are hurting society. Scott said all legal votes cast in the 2020 election need to be counted, including mail-in votes. Scott’s comments came a day after President Donald Trump made baseless claims of fraud in the ballot-counting process for the presidential election. Scott said that the president’s comments are “inciting a lot of rhetoric” and that many of his followers take him at his word. “I don’t believe any of the statements he made last night are true, and I do believe it is hurting our society and our ability to work together,” Scott said. After voting Tuesday, he said he had cast his presidential ballot for former Vice President Joe Biden. He said he had never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate before but had to put “country over party.”


Richmond: Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger has kept her seat in a competitive congressional race in the Richmond suburbs. The former CIA operations officer defeated Republican challenger and state House delegate Nick Freitas in a close race that was called Sunday. Spanberger is considered one of Congress’ more moderate Democrats and was part of a wave of women who helped Democrats retake the U.S. House in 2018. But Freitas had tried to tie Spanberger to her party’s leadership and said it was out of sync with constituents. Spanberger spent nearly a decade with the CIA, working on counterterrorism and nuclear proliferation cases. She is one of two moderate Virginia Democrats who held on to U.S. House seats they flipped from red to blue two years ago, as Democrats’ strength in the Old Dominion continues to grow.


Olympia: The state set a daily record for new coronavirus cases, with 1,777 new confirmed cases announced Saturday, and the state Department of Health warned that COVID-19 cases are spreading in the Puget Sound region. In a statement, the health agency said the high numbers the state has seen over the past week reflect an overall surge that started in mid-September. King, Snohomish and Pierce counties are currently the hot spots in the region, officials said. “COVID-19 is currently spreading very quickly in Washington state,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “We are very concerned that disease transmission will only grow over the next few weeks with the holidays coming up. The threat to overwhelming not just our hospital systems, but our ability to do contact tracing, is real. We need everyone in Washington state to take action now to stop the spread.”

West Virginia

Charleston: The state reported surging COVID-19 case numbers Saturday along with 15 newly reported deaths from the virus. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 655 newly reported cases as of 10 a.m. Saturday for a total of 27,742 total cases and 502 deaths since the pandemic reached the state. The daily case count set a record for the state, a day after West Virginia saw a new peak of 540 cases over 24 hours. On Friday, several government staff and officials including Gov. Jim Justice were tested for the virus after a staffer in the Capitol building tested positive Friday morning. The attorney general’s office later said the employee believed to have the virus tested negative Friday night. Justice said he was tested for the virus minutes before a noon news conference Friday, where he announced the record high of new cases. He also urged West Virginians to get tested at sites around the state.


Milwaukee: State health officials reported a new daily high of more than 7,000 new COVID-19 cases – another new daily record. Saturday’s total of 7,065 confirmed infections is more than 900 cases higher than the previous record, set Friday with 6,141 cases, according to the state Department of Health Services. The state first passed 6,000 daily cases Friday, and Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week also saw record-setting numbers of new cases. The 7,065 positive cases made up 37% of the 18,928 test results reported Saturday by the state health department. The seven-day average of new cases also rose again, hitting 5,394, which is the highest weekly average to date, according to DHS. The state health department also reported 45 more people have died, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,301.


Casper: State health officials reported 646 new coronavirus cases Sunday, the second-highest single-day total of the pandemic in the state. The Department of Health listed 966 new cases Friday, the highest single-day total. The Casper Star-Tribune reports at least 114 people have died of the coronavirus, and more than 14,690 people have tested positive. The new totals come amid a rapid surge in the numbers of cases in Wyoming and throughout much of the U.S. Gov. Mark Gordon has said he is not considering implementing a statewide face mask order but has urged residents to wear masks. Albany County, which includes Laramie; the Wind River Reservation; and Teton and Laramie counties have implemented mask mandates under which residents must wear facial coverings when outside their homes, with some exceptions.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

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