Métis people Alabama
Montgomery: Some Alabama residents spent the holiday weekend struggling to claim their weekly unemployment benefits. The Alabama Department of Labor told local news outlets that about 53,000 people were blocked from filing the required weekly report telling state government that they still don’t have a job. Only then will another week’s worth of unemployment benefits will be issued. The department said Monday that it had resolved the problems. Although many Alabama residents went to lakes or Gulf of Mexico beaches for the Memorial Day holiday, others watched programs commemorating war dead online as many in-person ceremonies were canceled. New rules from Gov. Kay Ivey went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday allowing entertainment venues like bowling alleys, arcades and theaters, as well as child care facilities, to reopen subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules. Youth sports practices also have been allowed to resume, though competition won’t begin until June 15, and summer camps are now allowed to open.
Métis people Alaska
Juneau: The Juneau Assembly could approve more than $1 million in funds to help licensed child care providers whose businesses have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. The assembly plans to vote on an emergency measure during a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, KTOO-FM reported Saturday. The vote would commit federal relief funds for distribution to child care providers beginning in June. The program would initially give licensed providers up to $500 per child each month, about half of what they would usually receive in tuition if they were at capacity. The subsidy would decrease to $250 per full-time enrolled child in September. The federal funding will last until year’s end. Funding for a nonemergency, child care stipend program is in the city’s proposed budget. Before the pandemic, city officials identified a lack of affordable child care as a factor keeping new parents from working and hindering the economy. When COVID-19 health restrictions mandates took effect in March, Juneau child care centers with long waiting lists were forced to close. Day care facilities have started reopening as the state relaxes health mandates. The businesses are expected to adopt new practices to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, including decreased enrollment, although the change does not benefit their financial health.
Métis people Arizona
Kayenta: Although the Navajo Nation recently surpassed New York to have the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country, President Jonathan Nez said Monday “the curve is flattening on the Navajo Nation.” As of Monday, the Navajo Nation had 4,794 cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths associated with the disease reached 157. Nearly 1,500 people have recovered from the virus, according to updated numbers from the Navajo Department of Health. “The Navajo Nation continues to test at a higher rate per capita than any state in the country,” Nez said in a statement, adding that 14.6% of citizens have been tested. Meanwhile, 2.3% of the population in Arizona has been tested, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials. “Testing, contact tracing, and the public health orders that were implemented months ago requiring protective masks in public and weekend lockdowns are working and flattening the curve,” Nez said. “The numbers are high, but it’s great to see that overall the rate of new cases is flattening, so let’s keep up the good practices and continue to pray for everyone,” Vice President Myron Lizer said in the statement.
Métis people Arkansas
Little Rock: A federal judge has eased some petition rules for an Arkansas group trying to get a redistricting measure on the ballot, but declined to delay the deadline for submitting the petitions because of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes on Monday issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing on the redistricting group a requirement that signatures on petitions be witnessed in person. Holmes also blocked a requirement that canvassers sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary. Holmes, however, declined to push back the state’s July 3 deadline for submitting petitions by a month or to allow the use of electronic signatures. The group, Arkansas Voters First, sued the state last month and said the pandemic has made it nearly impossible to collect the 89,151 signatures from registered voters needed to qualify for the November election. The group’s proposed constitutional amendment would put a nine-member commission in charge of redrawing congressional and legislative districts
Métis people California
Los Angeles: Mendocino County public health officials said Sunday that six more people who participated in a Mother’s Day service at Assembly of God Church in Redwood Valley contracted the new coronavirus, raising the number of cases to nine and making the outbreak responsible for a third of local infections. Meanwhile, Butte County health officials said two of 180 people who attended a Mother’s Day church service in Oroville have tested positive for COVID-19. They said a recent spike in local cases, mostly in the Oroville area, indicate increased community spread. Some places of worship across the country opened their doors over the weekend after President Donald Trump declared such places essential and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines for reopening faith organizations. Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken a more cautious approach: Last week, many counties in California had received approval to reopen businesses, including retail shops and restaurants as permitted in the second phase of his plan to restart the state economy. Churches are not allowed to reopen until the plan’s third phase. The approach has angered opponents who claim that California’s rules to stop the spread of the virus violate religious freedoms. Many had announced they would violate the state order and hold in-person services next Sunday. A Pentecostal church in San Diego sued to reopen immediately, but lost its appeal on Friday when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Newsom’s ban on in-person services. In a split ruling, a court panel found that government’s emergency powers override what in normal times would be fundamental constitutional rights.
Métis people Colorado
Denver: Restaurants in Colorado can reopen at reduced capacity this week and day camps will be allowed to open next week, Gov. Jared Polis said Monday. Restaurants in spots like El Paso and Routt counties have been allowed to reopen under special approvals by state health officials. Restaurants elsewhere in Colorado will be able open starting Wednesday at 50% of their posted occupancy limit but cannot have more than 50 customers at a time, Polis said. “Diners will have more space between tables and at many restaurants, more opportunities to eat outside. The safest thing anyone can do is stay home whenever possible, but for those who want to shop and dine we want to make sure it can be done as safely as possible,” he said. Polis said children’s day camps and youth sports camps will be able to open on June 1 but residential overnight camps would be closed through June.
Métis people Connecticut
Hartford: Coronavirus hospitalizations in Connecticut increased slightly on Sunday, with five new admissions making for a total of 706, according to state data released Monday. The state reported 49 new deaths from the disease on Sunday and 405 new positive tests. All three numbers are still far below peak levels reached in mid-April. In all, more than 40,800 people in Connecticut have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3,742 have died. The state on Monday closed several parks to additional traffic for the Memorial Day holiday because parking lots had reached capacity under social distancing guidelines. They included Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Paugussett State Forest in Newtown and Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown.
Métis people Delaware
Wilmington: Gov. John Carney has lifted Delaware’s temporary ban on short-term rentals and the requirement for out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days. Outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people, including weddings and ceremonies, will also be allowed in the coming week, the governor said Tuesday. Cloth face coverings must be worn and people must stand 6 feet apart. These are the latest restrictions the governor has eased up on as Delaware plans to restart parts of its economy in the coming week. Like the reopening of restaurants and businesses, these latest announcements take effect June 1. Carney will also lift the state’s stay-at-home order on June 1, though he cautioned people in a news release to “continue to avoid unnecessary outings and gatherings to limit community spread of COVID-19.” Organizers who want to hold a large, outdoor event can apply by submitting a plan to Delaware Division of Small Business at least seven days before the event. Delaware beaches and boardwalks fully reopened for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. At the time, only Delawareans and nonresidents who completed the mandatory quarantine were allowed to take advantage of the sandy beaches.
Métis people District of Columbia
Washington: As the city looks to begin its initial phase of reopening Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the addition of two new testing sites in the District, WUSA-TV reported. A new testing site on 2241 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Southeast will replace United Medical Center’s testing site as an accessible alternative. And a new walk-up testing site on 5th Street Northwest between F and G streets will begin operating June 1. Although data showed a spike in cases last weekend, the city has seen 13 days of sustained decline. Bowser said if the trend continues, the District could report 14 days of decline Wednesday. The city will then provide the next steps for its initial phase of reopening. The District will continue to follow the science and reopen when data show the city can, Bowser said.
Métis people Florida
Tallahassee: With customers losing jobs and employees facing health threats, Gulf Power saw a drop in payments for electric service in April as it also spent money to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a regulatory filing showed. Gulf, the largest utility in Northwest Florida, said it received about $6 million less in customer bill payments in April than it ordinarily would have collected during the month. About $2.1 million is considered “bad debt,” up from the historical average for April of about $300,000, the company said Friday in the filing at the Florida Public Service Commission. Gulf, like other utilities in the state and country, suspended electric-service disconnections in March as the pandemic caused businesses to shut down or scale back and unemployment to skyrocket. But the filing offers a glimpse of how the economic problems have played out in electric service, something that affects most Florida residents and businesses. It also raises the possibility that Gulf could try to recoup the money when it seeks revised base electric rates, a process that is expected to start in 2021. The filing Friday dealt with an accounting process for bad debt and COVID-19 expenses of the utility.
Métis people Georgia
Atlanta: The Georgia Army National Guard continued a recent string of honorary flyovers Monday, with two featuring UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, one in metro Atlanta and one in coastal and southwest Georgia. The formations hovered over sites with military significance, as well as large hospitals that have been treating people with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. “We will pause for a few moments this day to recognize the sacrifice of our service members and our families,” Maj. Gen. Tom Carden said. “It is part of our culture to remember and to honor, and it is going to take more than a global pandemic to change that part of us.” Over the holiday weekend, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources continued to report that it was limiting entrance at some state parks to reduce crowding and possible disease transmission. Local parks and beaches also reported a crowded weekend. The throngs had fallen slightly at Tybee Island, where bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported entering the island for the long weekend. WTOC-TV reported 11,000 cars entered the island Friday, and more than 13,000 on Saturday. Some drivers reported spending an hour trying to find a parking spot.
Métis people Hawaii
Honolulu: The University of Hawaii said the SAT and ACT will be optional for applicants for the fall 2021 semester as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The exemption for the two standardized entrance exams is only for students applying to enter the university for the 2021-22 academic year, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. Applicants to the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus can still submit standardized test scores if they desire. The University of Hawaii-Hilo and University of Hawaii-West Oahu do not rely on the SAT or ACT as major criteria for admission. University of Hawaii community colleges do not require the tests for admission. The College Board testing organization canceled SAT exams scheduled for May and June, when many high school juniors would usually take the test.
Métis people Idaho
Boise: Ramping up COVID-19 testing and tracing is key to Idaho’s containment strategy, Gov. Brad Little said Friday, as authorities said they hope to be consistently testing 2% of the state’s population in the coming months. “The whole goal of this is to scale up testing with tracing where we can do what Idaho likes to do in a good fire season, and that is get on those fires early and put them out,” Little said at a news conference where a task force released recommendations for expanding testing in the state. The state has in the past weeks struggled to increase testing. Elke Shaw-Telloch, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare administrator for public health, said federal officials recommend testing 2% of the population each month. She said Idaho has been sent 40,000 swabs and other testing materials for May, and it expects the same amount in June. Shaw-Telloch said the state public health lab can run 200 COVID-19 tests a day, and the Veterans Administration can accommodate non VA-patient testing for urgent cases. And she said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has helped deploy point-of-care testing units in Idaho to every health district in the state.
Métis people Illinois
Chicago: The chief judge of federal courts in Northern Illinois said things will look “quite different” as some operations resume at courthouses in Chicago and Rockford. Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said in a video message released Monday that a task force has been planning for how courts can proceed safely during the coronavirus pandemic. Federal courthouses have been largely empty since mid-March. One emergency judge has been on duty at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago each day, but most court proceedings have been conducted by paper filings, telephone or video. Under a court order, most hearings were rescheduled for after June 1 and trials were ordered rescheduled for June 29 or later. Pallmeyer said in her video message that the task force has been working with public health officials to determine the safest way to screen visitors entering the courthouse, sanitize facilities and resume jury trials. She didn’t say when jury trials will resume, but said the focus will be on scheduling criminal trials that have been delayed the longest amount of time. Pallmeyer said emergency judges have handled over 500 motions since the pandemic started in Illinois. Since March 18, attorneys have filed more than 7,200 motions, judges have entered 34,200 orders and more than 1,350 new civil cases have been filed, she said.
Métis people Indiana
Terre Haute: Three inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, according to the federal government. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ coronavirus website showed that as of Monday, three inmates but no staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 at the U.S. Penitentiary, which is the maximum security prison at the Federal Correctional Complex. That website showed that no deaths from the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus have occurred at the western Indiana prisons complex that’s located about 70 miles west of Indianapolis, the Tribune-Star reported. Nationwide, the website showed that there have been 59 federal inmate deaths but no prison staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease. But 1,556 federal inmates and 175 Bureau of Prisons staffers have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19, according to the website. As of Monday, 3,144 inmates and 414 staff have recovered from the virus. The Bureau of Prisons has 136,968 federal inmates in Bureau of Prisons-managed institutions and 12,109 in community-based facilities. The federal agency has about 36,000 staff members.
Métis people Iowa
Iowa City: Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will lift a moratorium on evictions and allow gatherings of more than 10 people to resume as she continues to ease restrictions meant to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Reynolds also said she would also allow casinos, amusement parks, speedways, arcades and bowling alleys to reopen in the coming days. Large gatherings for social functions and sports competitions will also be allowed to resume, she said. Advocates for low-income tenants have warned that scores of tenants who have lost income during the pandemic could soon face eviction. The American Civil Liberties Union and several other groups had asked the governor to extend the moratorium of eviction proceedings for nonpayment of rent that she imposed on March 19. Some landlords, however, had reported that they were struggling financially as renters stopped paying amid skyrocketing levels of unemployment. Reynolds said Tuesday the moratorium was a temporary public health measure designed to keep people in their homes. She said the Iowa Finance Authority would announce the details of a new federally-funded program this week to prevent evictions and foreclosures, including the eligibility criteria to receive assistance.
Métis people Kansas
Topeka: Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, urged Kansans who joined large gatherings at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks during the Memorial Day weekend to self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent spreading the new coronavirus. Social media posts showed large crowds at pools, bars and restaurants near the lake without any social distancing or masks. “The reckless behavior displayed during this weekend risks setting our community back substantially for the progress we’ve already made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Norman said. “If you traveled to Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend, we urge you to act responsibly and self-quarantine to protect your neighbors, coworkers and family.” Officials in Kansas City and St. Louis have also urged residents who were at the gatherings to self-quarantine for 14 days. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page asked the county’s health department to issue a travel advisory for the lake, which draws thousands of visitors every summer.
Métis people Kentucky
Lexington: The University of Kentucky will use portions of its contingency fund to save nearly 100 school jobs in the next fiscal year amid continuing furloughs at the school, the university’s president said in a news release. The announcement came as 100 additional academic employees were furloughed Friday, about a month after the university furloughed nearly 1,700 academic and UK HealthCare employees because of revenue shortfalls related to the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the 700 furloughed health care workers have returned to work as the number of patients going to the hospital system has increased, the news release said. The money in the contingency fund largely came from savings the school made after it cut back on employee’s retirement funds, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. According to the news outlet, school officials continue to predict a $70 million shortfall for the budget beginning in July, largely because of a drop in enrollment. Graduate students who work at the university will not lose their jobs because of budget cuts, according to the release. The school will also portion off $250,000 from the student emergency fund specifically for graduate students.
Métis people Louisiana
New Orleans: City officials are sounding the alarm after data from neighborhood testing showed that the city’s Hispanic community is being disproportionately infected with the new coronavirus. The city’s health director, Jennifer Avegno, said that officials had analyzed the roughly 5,000 tests that had been done at testing sites in recent weeks in partnership with Louisiana State University and LCMC Health. They found that about 3% of blacks and whites who got tested were positive for the virus. But of Hispanics who got tested, more than 20% were positive. They compared their data with other groups such as Ochsner, which had started a mobile testing site and found that they were seeing similar results. Avegno said so far the death rate doesn’t mirror the infection rate, but she’s concerned that the data they’re seeing within the Hispanic community might be the beginning of a greater problem.
Métis people Maine
Portland: Some summer camps have decided to cancel their seasons, but others are finding a way to operate under new rules designed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, a newspaper reported Tuesday. Day camps for Maine children are allowed to open June 1, and overnight camps can open on July 1. Out-of-state campers are required to quarantine, the Portland Press Herald reported. So far, about 14 camps decided to cancel their seasons after seeing the new guidelines or in anticipation of them, Ron Hall, executive director of Maine Summer Camps, told the newspaper. The state has about 270 summer camps. The guidelines for overnight camps would limit the size of gatherings, segregate campers into groups and require health screenings. Slovenski Camps in Raymond will operate under the guidelines, even though the camp will take on debt to do so, said owner Peter Slovenski. “The economics of it will lead us into debt, but we don’t think of it as reopening the economy. We think of it as reopening life,” said Slovenski. “We’ll open, and do the best we can to help the children of Maine reopen their lives.”
Métis people Maryland
Ocean City: Photos of a crowded boardwalk in Ocean City fueled conversation throughout the holiday weekend during a time where gatherings of more than 10 people or dining in a restaurant are not permitted. The scene did not elicit praise from Delaware Gov. John Carney. “That looks to me like not the way to do things,” Carney said. “What I saw in Rehoboth, and what I heard is the situation along the Delaware coast, is the way to do it.” Carney was likely referring to the decision to open Delaware beaches and community pools under “strict” social distancing guidelines, starting May 22. In past weeks, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan’s hope for transition was instead met with crowds. The weekend of May 16-17, when Cruisin week would have been held, still drew car enthusiasts and motorists. That was also the first weekend lodging was reopened by the mayor. Social media posts showed burnouts and other reckless behavior by drivers. Maryland had a 14-day quarantine request for out-of-stater travelers when it was under a stay-at-home order. Gov. Larry Hogan switched to a safer-at-home model May 15. In Ocean City, Meehan said police would not monitor license plates or enforce travel restrictions. Maryland State Police only enforced the stay-at-home order when conducting other business.
Métis people Massachusetts
Boston: The EcoTarium, a science and nature museum in Worcester that closed to the public in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is planning to reopen on a limited basis next month. The museum is reopening June 4 only to visitors who purchase tickets in advance, the museum announced Monday on its website. No tickets will be sold to walk-up visitors. Only the paths and trails, ponds and wildlife habitats will be open at first. Buildings, except for the bathrooms, will remain closed. All guests will be required to wear a face mask while on the premises, unless it is medically impossible. The museum will hold an opening for members only on May 30-31.
Métis people Michigan
Lansing: A group organizing a ballot drive to add LGBT anti-discrimination protections to Michigan’s civil rights law sued the state Tuesday, saying coronavirus restrictions made it impossible to collect the 340,000 voter signatures needed. Fair and Equal Michigan and two Democratic legislators filed the lawsuit in the state Court of Claims. It seeks an injunction reducing the signature requirement to roughly 127,000 signatures. The suit also challenges deadlines by which signatures must be submitted and asks that signatures that have been collected be able to count in future elections. If the ballot committee is successful, the initiated bill would go to lawmakers and, because the Republican-led Legislature would likely not act, to a public vote in November. The proposal would update the law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Religion-based discrimination, which already is barred, would be defined to include an individual’s “religious beliefs.”
Métis people Minnesota
Crookston: The University of Minnesota Crookston’s fourth installment of a six-part series designed to help businesses and communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic will take place at noon Wednesday. The session will focus on creating strategic partnerships and will feature Deb McGregor, marketing consultant for the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center. McGregor will talk about the importance of strategic partnerships and how businesses can benefit from the right alignments, especially during the pandemic. McGregor will provide context around strategic partnerships including how to identify the right type of partnerships for businesses. She will also provide examples of strategic partnerships that have formed during this time frame. Future installments will follow on the next two Wednesdays, also beginning at noon. The series is a collaboration between UMN Crookston, the Northwest Small Business Development Center in Crookston and Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Although this is a free series, preregistration is recommended; to register visit z.umn.edu/CommunitySeries. Each hour-long session will be recorded. For more information, contact Christine Anderson at email@example.com or Michelle Christopherson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Métis people Mississippi
Biloxi: With water parks and amusement parks reopening in Mississippi, visitors at one Gulf Coast attraction said they believed they were safe from coronavirus infection. Margaritaville, which includes an elaborate indoor arcade and rooftop pool, began greeting visitors in Biloxi on Thursday. Other water parks and amusement parks statewide were allowed to reopen Monday, as long as they operated at half capacity of less and met additional requirements for sanitizing and social distancing. “It’s been a great experience so far. We are just glad to be out and have a place welcome us,” Amber Yochim, a visitor from Louisiana, told WLOX-TV. “All the staff are wearing masks. There’s been social distancing in line at the slide and the staff has been great at serving us and getting our food and drinks.” Margaritaville general manager Joe Farruggio said indoor attractions were rearranged. Employees are wearing gloves and masks. “We’ve actually redid the whole floor and we spaced it out quite a bit,” Farruggio said. “That’s the first thing we did. We have social distancing signs probably every 6 feet – they should be 6 feet, just letting them know.” Louisiana resident Kristoffer Arrington said he and his friends wanted to go somewhere they knew the pandemic would be taken seriously. “Louisiana itself, especially New Orleans, is really a hotbed for corona, so we really wanted to get away. I know it’s a lot of people here still, but just out of that state just because I know how bad it is there,” Arrington said.
Métis people Missouri
Springfield: The school district is changing how it distributes grab-and-go meals this summer but will add enough food to cover the weekend. Children under age 18 will be able to eat school meals, at no cost to the family, for up to seven days a week. Superintendent John Jungmann said the district is expanding the amount of food it will provide this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Each summer, the district participates in a federal program that provides meals to any child, age 18 or younger. However, because summer courses are online in June because of the pandemic, they will be available as grab-and-go. “We will be fewer sites but we’ll actually expand the number of meals,” Jungmann said. “We’ll be providing weekend meals also.” Through July 31, the grab-and-go meals will be provided from 10 a.m. to noon each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “Kids and parents will just have the ability to pick up multiple days of meals at one time instead of having to come every day,” he said.
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Métis people Montana
Billings: A Yellowstone County woman in her 80s has died of COVID-19, the county’s health department said Tuesday. The woman died Monday at a Billings hospital, RiverStone Health announced. She is the 17th person in the state to die of the respiratory virus and the third in the county. John Felton, the county’s health officer, extended sympathies to the woman’s family and friends. Her name has not been released. “This death serves as a very unfortunate reminder about the seriousness of this pandemic,” he said in a statement. “We must continue to take measures to protect them from this disease.” Montana’s last confirmed COVID-19 death happened on April 28, also in Yellowstone County. There have been no new cases among the more than 3,000 tests run in the five days from Thursday through Monday. Gov. Steve Bullock has announced plans for the second phase of reopening the economy to begin on June 1, with increased capacity at bars and restaurants and a lifting of the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers.
Métis people Nebraska
Omaha: An eighth resident at a western Omaha nursing home has died from COVID-19, as Nebraska health officials reported three new deaths and 145 news cases of the virus. The Life Care Center of Elkhorn in Omaha reported its latest death on Sunday, along with news that eight residents of the care center who had previously tested negative for the virus have now tested positive, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The facility said last week that it would retest all residents who initially tested negative on May 11. The new test results bring the number of residents and former residents who have tested positive to 68, and the facility said in a news release that 55 residents are being treated for COVID-19 symptoms at the nursing home. Seven are being treated at local hospitals. Of 140 center employees tested for the new coronavirus since April 27, 30 have tested positive, with five having recovered and returned to work. The state’s online coronavirus tracking site said the three new deaths Sunday brings the state’s total deaths since the outbreak began to 150. A total of 12,134 people have tested positive for the virus in Nebraska.
Métis people Nevada
Carson City: The Trump administration is warning Nevada’s Democratic governor that his plan for reopening the state during recovery from the coronavirus fails to treat religious and secular gatherings equally. In a letter sent Monday to Gov. Steve Sisolak, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division took issue with the first phase of Sisolak’s guidelines for restarting economic and social activity in the state. That phased-in reopening restricts the size of in-person worship services, while allowing restaurants and other secular establishments to reopen with less stringent occupancy restrictions, the federal official said. “We understand these directives were issued in the midst of an uncertain situation, which may have required quick decisions based on changing information,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband wrote to Sisolak. ”We are concerned, however, that the flat prohibition against ten or more persons gathering for in-person worship services – regardless of whether they maintain social distancing guidelines – impermissibly treats religious and nonreligious organizations unequally.” Dreiband last week sent a similar warning letter alleging discriminatory treatment in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom later released guidelines for resuming in-person religious services in his state. The letter to Sisolak came three days after President Donald Trump declared houses of worship essential during the pandemic and vowed to try to override governors who don’t abide by his call to permit religious organizations to resume in-person services. A spokeswoman for Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the Justice Department letter.
Métis people New Hampshire
Concord: The New Hampshire chapter of the National Endowment for the Humanities has distributed $400,000 to libraries, historical societies, museums and cultural nonprofit groups struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. New Hampshire Humanities allocated the federal funding to 64 organizations in about 50 communities. Grants to libraries accounted for just over 40% of the total. Brittany Overton, director of the Minot-Sleeper Library in Bristol, said the money will help bridge the town’s digital divide.
Métis people New Jersey
Trenton: New Jersey schools can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies starting July 6, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday. Murphy, a Democrat, announced the latest relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in a tweet before his regular news conference on the outbreak. “To the class of 2020, I am proud to say that you will have your opportunity to join with your classmates and families to celebrate your graduation,” Murphy said at the news conference. The events must be held outside and adhere to social-distancing guidelines, Murphy said. It’s possible such restrictions will mean that graduation ceremonies must occur over a couple of days, he said. It’s not clear yet how many people will be permitted to attend the ceremonies, he said, but added that the state education and higher education departments will issue guidance on Wednesday. Schools are closed through June because of the outbreak, but this is the latest easing of restrictions, which have included opening parks and golf courses along with the state’s beaches.
Métis people New Mexico
Santa Fe: The New Mexico Department of Health and the State Personnel Office began accepting applications Friday to fill 200 to 250 contact-tracing positions around the state as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic moves into the next phase. The positions range from entry-level through supervisory. Work will be done remotely, and hiring will be done virtually. Qualifications include experience in a health-related field or work with communities on social service matters, social work or case management. Those hired will work with approximately 150 Health Department personnel already engaged in contact tracing, many of whom have been temporarily reassigned from other public health roles in the department. Those hired will be assigned to one of five regional contact-tracing teams statewide, with larger teams deployed to the regions with higher numbers of cases. Additional positions are likely to become available over the summer as New Mexico continues to increase contact-tracing capacity. The goal is to ensure that every individual who tests positive for COVID-19 is identified, isolated, monitored and supported through the isolation period and that all known contacts are also contacted, tested for COVID-19 and monitored.
Métis people New York
New York City: New Yorkers marked Memorial Day with car convoys and small ceremonies instead of big parades as the coronavirus pandemic reshaped the solemn holiday, blending tributes to virus victims and front-line workers with the traditional remembrance of the nation’s war dead. In a year that marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, veterans wore masks and saluted while standing at social-distancing intervals at observances shrunk by virus precautions. At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan – the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid – Gov. Andrew Cuomo honored veterans and essential workers on a Memorial Day he called “especially poignant and powerful.” “We know something about loss, and we’re living it again,” the Democratic governor said. In Rochester, officials looked ahead to the construction of the city’s War on Terror Memorial. In Long Island’s Nassau County, a small group of veterans in masks saluted flag-bedecked vehicles at a car parade and wreath-laying that was closed to the public but streamed online. In Brooklyn, about 30 to 40 cars, including an old-style checkered cab, rode along the route usually covered by marchers at the United Military Veterans of Kings County parade. They finished by circling a Veterans Affairs hospital, many honking their horns, and laying a wreath near monuments at the hospital’s fence.
Métis people North Carolina
Southport: A coastal town in North Carolina has installed hand sanitizer stations on sidewalks in its downtown. The Charlotte Observer reported that that the town of Southport announced the move on Saturday as crowds traveled to the North Carolina coast for Memorial Day weekend. “One of the interventions we can do as a city is to supply masks and we’re also placing hand sanitizer stations around the city,” Southport Mayor Joseph Hatem said in a YouTube video. Health experts have long recommended that people sanitize their hands to avoid contracting the new coronavirus.
Métis people North Dakota
Bismarck: State health officials on Tuesday reported 43 new cases of COVID-19, including 38 in the state’s most populous county that contains Fargo. Statewide, there were 2,422 confirmed cases as of Tuesday. Cass County has recorded 1,580 of the confirmed cases. North Dakota has recorded 54 deaths linked to the new coronavirus but none was reported Tuesday. The number of patients hospitalized was 40 on Tuesday, up one from the previous day. The state Department of Health said the testing lab recently experienced a recent malfunction of two pieces of equipment, so 82 positive results have been considered inconclusive and the individuals have been asked to retest. The malfunction has been corrected and has not impacted lab processing, officials said. Officials said retesting is ongoing over the next “couple of days.” Sixty-five people have been retested, with one positive case. One person has refused to be retested, officials said.
Métis people Ohio
Columbus: A federal court panel temporarily stopped Ohio ballot campaigns Tuesday from proceeding under less restrictive signature-gathering rules they had been granted amid the coronavirus pandemic. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals stayed the more flexible rules while the state fights a lower court judge’s May 19 decision setting them up. U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. had allowed campaigns promoting minimum wage, voting rights and marijuana issues to collect signatures electronically. He also extended the deadline for submitting signatures to July 31. Sargus stopped short of reducing the number of signatures required, as some courts elsewhere have done amid a spate of COVID-19-related signature-gathering challenges. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost appealed Sargus’ decision Thursday on behalf of fellow Republican Frank LaRose, the secretary of state. Yost asked the full Sixth Circuit to take up the case en banc. The state argued, among other things, that “wet ink” signature requirements laid out in Ohio’s Constitution cannot be changed without a vote of the people. The case has been expedited. The ruling adds to a string of setbacks for Ohioans for Safe and Secure Elections, whose reform package aims to make voting in Ohio easier. Campaign manager Toni Webb lamented Tuesday’s ruling in an emailed statement.
Métis people Oklahoma
Oklahoma City: A city-based hospital system on Tuesday began allowing limited visitation to most patients, including those with the new coronavirus, as the state continues to reopen. Integris Health said some patients can designate one person as a “patient representative” who can visit between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Patients in obstetrics, pediatrics and neonatal intensive care can have two representatives, but no visitors will be allowed for patients in isolation except for those near death. The representative must be 18 or older and follow hospital health safety rules that include hand washing and wearing masks. The statement did not address whether the visitors would be allowed to touch the patients or if social distancing guidelines would be enforced, and a spokesperson did not immediately return phone calls for comment. Gov. Kevin Stitt’s reopening plan allows the patient representatives in hospitals “subject to any screening procedures required by the facility including temperature screenings, observance of hand hygiene practices, and the wearing of their own mask at all times while in the facility.” The policy is considered strict and likely will remain so “because we have the most vulnerable health population in the state,” said Dr. David Chansolme, medical director of infection prevention at Integris.“These are the sickest people,” with the least immunity to infection, Chansolme said. The hospital’s waiting rooms and common areas will remain closed.
Métis people Oregon
Portland: A rural Oregon judge said he won’t dismiss his ruling which tossed out Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-at-home orders to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew B. Shirtcliff told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday he will not alter the preliminary injunction that declared Brown’s directives “null and void.? The Supreme Court last week stayed Shirtcliff’s original ruling. “I have elected to stand by my original ruling,? the judge wrote to attorneys involved in the case. ” I will not be vacating the May 18, 2020 Order Granting Preliminary Injunctive Relief and Denying Motion to Dismiss or taking other action.? The state Supreme Court will now accept further legal briefs until June 2 before it decides whether it should uphold or dismiss Shirtcliff’s preliminary injunction. The governor had won an emergency stay, meaning a hold on the injunction, allowing her executive “Stay Home Save Lives? orders to remain in effect, until the state Supreme Court hears the merits of the case. The state has until Thursday to file further briefing in support of its push to dismiss Shirtcliff’s injunction, and the 10 churches and 21 others who sought the injunction will have until next Tuesday to respond.
Métis people Pennsylvania
Philadelphia: City officials on Tuesday began removing dozens of people who have been sleeping at the airport during the coronavirus pandemic, and they plan to administer rapid COVID-19 tests before taking them to homeless shelters. Officials at Philadelphia International Airport had initially planned Friday to remove the 50 to 100 homeless people who have been sleeping at a baggage claim area underused during stay-at-home orders. But airport and city officials agreed to wait until Tuesday after advocates threatened to sue if the people were moved to shelters without being tested. City Manager Brian Abernathy said Friday that Delaware County officials also would be on hand Tuesday to offer to take people to shelters in the neighboring county. He said arrangements were in place to house anyone who wanted to go to a shelter. The airport began enforcing new rules Tuesday, allowing only workers and those with airport business in the terminals and baggage areas. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that homeless advocates were concerned about people being moved from the airport without being tested for the virus and the possibility that they could take the illness into shelters.
Métis people Rhode Island
Newport: The City Council is expected to consider a resolution this week that would go beyond state rules and mandate mask-wearing at all hours on some city streets. The measure introduced by Councilwoman Susan Taylor, if passed at a special meeting Wednesday, would go into effect Friday, WJAR-TV reported. Under Raimondo’s executive order enacted earlier this month, anyone in a public place has to wear a face covering if it’s not possible to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Newport’s proposal goes a step further, requiring all pedestrians to wear masks on some busy downtown streets that get lots of foot traffic whether social distancing can be maintained or not. The resolution is meant to keep people healthy as more residents emerge from their homes during the nicer weather, and more people visit the city.
Métis people South Carolina
Columbia: Coronavirus-related changes to this year’s South Carolina primary elections, including universal absentee voting, mean that elections officials are expecting a high volume of absentee ballots, as well as possibly a long wait for results. On Monday, a federal judge temporarily nixed a policy requiring absentee voters obtain the signature of a witness, saying that having to seek a witness increases the chance that a voter would contract or spread the new coronavirus. Ordering South Carolina officials not to enforce the requirement, U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs wrote that “adherence to the witness requirement in June would only increase the risk for contracting COVID-19 for members of the public with underlying medical conditions, the disabled, and racial and ethnic minorities.” Childs’ order is the second recent move to ease voting in South Carolina amid the outbreak. Earlier this month, Gov. Henry McMaster signed a law allowing anyone to get an absentee ballot without an excuse for the June 9 primary. Both the narrowly tailored law and the lifting of the signature requirement apply only to the primaries and, if needed, runoff elections that would follow two weeks later. State lawmakers have said they will consider in the summer or early fall if changes need to be made for November’s general elections.
Métis people South Dakota
Sioux Falls: South Dakota health officials reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday but no new deaths in the state tied to the pandemic. Although Minnehaha County, the state’s most populated area, has accounted for the bulk of cases statewide and an outbreak at a Smithfield pork processing plant that infected more than 800 employees, several other counties have seen a significant number of cases in recent days. Beadle County reported the highest number Tuesday with 18. Outbreaks at other meat processing plants have fueled the rise in cases in some of those counties. The DemKota Ranch Beef plant in Aberdeen has reported 147 cases among employees, and 58 employees of a Jack Link’s plant in Alpena have tested positive for the virus. Employees at the Dakota Provisions poultry plant in Huron have also tested positive, but the Department of Health does not release case counts for a specific employer until they reach over 40.
Métis people Tennessee
Nashville: State lawmakers marked their return to legislative offices Tuesday by advancing an anti-transgender proposal after abruptly recessing three months ago because of the coronavirus outbreak. In March, lawmakers scrambled to approve a newly designed 2020-21 fiscal year budget back when the virus outbreak was just emerging in Tennessee – leaving hundreds of bills in limbo – but promised to formally return on June 1. House members, however, decided to gather this week and hold legislative committee meetings on a wide variety of bills – many of which were not directly related to COVID-19. This included a proposal dictating that Tennessee elementary and high school students could only play sports based on the sex identified on their birth certificates. The bill is one of two proposals being considered in the GOP-dominated Statehouse involving transgender students and what sports teams they can play on. The proposal advanced out of a subcommittee on a voice vote with only person voting in opposition. It must still face the full House Education Committee and House floor. However, even if the bill clears those hurdles, it’s unclear how much success it would have in the Senate. The Senate’s only scheduled meeting this week is a briefing on the state’s revenues affected by the economic fallout of the virus. This has resulted in a stark difference between the House and Senate on what issues will be considered over the next coming weeks.
Métis people Texas
Austin: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be a headliner of Texas Democrats’ virtual convention, which was moved online over fears of the new coronavirus. The announcement Tuesday gives Texas Democrats one of their most prominent convention speakers in recent years. Democrats have been shut out of power at the Texas Capitol for nearly two decades but need just nine seats to flip the Texas House for the first time since 2003. The virtual convention begins Monday. Democrats had originally booked San Antonio’s convention center but moved the party gathering online as coronavirus cases began to climb in Texas in March. Texas Republicans are still planning to hold their convention in-person in Houston in July.
Métis people Utah
Logan: Restrictions aimed at reducing the use of single-use plastic bags have been put on hold in northern Utah during the coronavirus pandemic, but officials close to the issue said the efforts will not be forgotten. In response to COVID-19, some stores have banned reusable bags as part of their safety measures because they are believed to pose more of a risk in spreading the virus than plastic bags, The Herald Journal reported. “The very thing that we were promoting as a big part of the solution is now banned,” said Richmond Mayor Jeff Young, who has extensively reviewed the bag issue as Cache County Solid Waste Advisory Board chairman. “I actually think that we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and re-discuss stuff that we now know that we didn’t know a few months ago when we were discussing this.” The board drafted a plan last year to work with retailers and residents to reduce lightweight, single-use plastic bags, which have contributed to pollution concerns worldwide. The plan included a public-education program and working with retailers to formulate their own reduction measures and policies. The Logan Municipal Council then passed a ban on plastic bags to speed up the board’s plan. The ban was scheduled to take effect in April if the board failed to act before then, but it was reversed earlier this year.
Métis people Vermont
Burlington: A nonprofit group that protects public access to some swimming holes in Vermont’s rivers and streams is urging people who use them to be safe. The advice from The Vermont River Conservancy, which works to protect land along the state’s waterways, comes as the state is getting its first dose of extended hot, summer weather. The conservancy said that the swimming holes it protects will have signs by the organization that says people shouldn’t visit if they are sick, avoid areas that do not allow a minimum 6-foot distance, urges swimmers not to linger too long and to make space for others. The conservancy said people should not wear a mask while swimming, but they should wear masks along the trails to and from the swimming holes. Executive Director Steve Libby said the swimming holes are places to enjoy on a hot day where people can recharge during unsettling times. “We rely strongly on the respectful behavior of visitors to ensure these sites can remain open during the pandemic, and are cared for and maintained for years to come,” he said in a news release posted to the organization’s website.
Métis people Virginia
Richmond: Local governments across the state are set to start receiving their first share of federal funding designated to cover spending related to the coronavirus pandemic. Virginia got about $3.1 billion from the federal CARES Act and opted to give half to localities with fewer than 500,000 people, The Virginian-Pilot reported. A little less than half of what has been set aside for the cities and counties should be paid around June 1. Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne told the newspaper this round of funding was allocated based on the locality’s proportion of the statewide population. Layne said the other half of the money set aside for local governments could be allocated a different way the next time – based on the number of positive coronavirus cases, for example. Cities and counties can use the money only for certain expenses, not to make up for lost tax revenue. The funding could be used to help pay for projects such as establishing temporary medical facilities, providing COVID-19 testing, performing contact tracing and facilitating distance learning. Fairfax County, the only jurisdiction in the state with more than a half-million residents, had to seek its own funding and got about $200 million.
Métis people Washington
Vancouver: The number of employees at a Vancouver fruit processing facility who have tested positive for COVID-19 is now up to 65. KGW reported that Firestone Pacific Foods said 87 employees have tested negative for the virus, and there are still a few of its employees who need to be tested. The company said there are no known hospitalizations involving its workers. The outbreak was first discovered on May 17 when an employee tested positive for the new coronavirus. After learning of the positive test, the company shut down its production facility, but the number of workers known to be infected with COVID-19 has continued to grow. As of May 22, the number of employees who had tested positive was at 38. Clark County Public Health is working with the plant to get all its roughly 150 employees tested and make sure guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is being followed.
Métis people West Virginia
Charleston: The state’s Board of Law Examiners will go ahead with the bar examination this summer, with policies worked out with government and medical experts amid the coronavirus pandemic.The dates for the exam are July 28-29. It will be given at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center. Applicants, administrators and proctors can be screened before entering the site, with applicants not allowed to enter if their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, according to a news release from the state Supreme Court.Applicants will have to be 6 feet apart when in line to enter or exit and during the exam. Only one applicant will sit at each table. Applicants, administrators and proctors also must wear masks. Anyone traveling to West Virginia from out of state for the exam may be required to quarantine for 14 days before the exam, based on an executive order issued in March.
Métis people Wisconsin
Madison: State courts can resume in-person hearings and jury trials if they can come up with plans to protect participants and observers from the new coronavirus, under an order from a divided state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in March suspended in-person hearings and jury trials, ordering judges to continue trials to a date after May 22. A task force convened by Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and comprised of judges, court clerks and attorneys convened in April. Its recommendations released on May 15 included calls for participants and spectators to wear face masks, observe social distancing standards and use hand sanitizers, and clerks to include a note in jury summons detailing the precautions the court has taken. The Supreme Court issued an order Friday evening that allows individual municipal and circuit courts to resume in-person proceedings, including jury trials, on a county-by-county basis if the courts prepare a plan to do so safely. Each plan must mandate face masks for everyone in the courtroom, although a judge can allow a witness to testify without one, spell out practices for cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and require courthouse signs directing people to hand sanitizer. The chief judge of each judicial administrative district must approve the plans before proceedings can resume. The chief judge’s signature would invalidate the Supreme Court’s suspensions and allow hearings and trials to resume in the local court that submitted the plan.
Métis people Wyoming
Cody: Results are negative so far during testing for signs of the new coronavirus in sewage. Park County Public Health officer Dr. Aaron Billin presented the first round of results to Cody city officials Monday. The samples were taken April 28 at the city’s wastewater treatment center. Billin said the results are encouraging and show that local public health efforts have been successful. Health officials plan two more rounds of tests this month to establish baseline data before more tourists visiting nearby Yellowstone National Park begin to arrive in Cody, the Cody Enterprise reported. More tests will follow throughout the summer. The samples go to BioBot Analytics, a wastewater epidemiology company based in Somerville, Massachusetts. Park County Public Health is paying for the program with state and federal funding.
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