New hot spots, sick politicians, mask fights: News from around our 50 states

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From USA TODAY Network and wire reports, USA TODAY
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Montgomery: A multiday increase in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state showed no signs of slowing Monday, as a record high of 1,335 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 infections, and 1,860 people were newly diagnosed. The state’s seven-day average of new cases reached its highest peak yet at 1,484. After an alarming rise in Montgomery County cases earlier this summer that “emotionally and physically exhausted” local health care capacity, according to one local physician, the current surge in cases appears to be heavily concentrated in Jefferson, Madison and Mobile counties. However, the Alabama Department of Public Health has still deemed all River Region counties, along with the majority of the state, “high risk.” Montgomery’s percent positive rate, currently an average of 14.3% over the past 14 days, also remains one of the highest in the state, an indicator public health officials say suggests uncontrolled community transmission.


Kenai: The Kenai Peninsula Fair scheduled for Aug. 14-16 has been canceled due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, its board of directors announced on Facebook. The annual fair in Ninilchik, about 187 miles away from Anchorage, will resume in 2021, the Peninsula Clarion reports. While the board voted unanimously to cancel the fair this year, the rodeo that traditionally happens in conjunction operates independently and is scheduled to continue. The board’s president, Jim Stearns, stressed that a major consideration was an outbreak in Seward, where cases have doubled in the past month. “We don’t want to be responsible for an outbreak on the Kenai Peninsula,” Stearns said.


Phoenix: The state on Tuesday tallied thousands more confirmed COVID-19 cases as it again reported an all-time high in hospitalizations due to the disease. The state Department of Health of Services said the 4,273 additional cases increased the statewide total to 128,097. However, the number of cases could be far higher because many people have not been tested, and some can be infected without feeling sick. A record 3,517 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Monday, with record numbers in use of ICU beds and ventilators. Arizona’s death toll from COVID-19 rose to 2,337 with 92 additional deaths reported Tuesday. Only eight additional deaths were reported Monday, a day when typically few deaths are reported due to weekend reporting lags. Arizona became a national coronavirus hotspot after Gov. Doug Ducey in May relaxed stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. Ducey since has closed gyms and bars and limited restaurants’ capacity, and many local governments have imposed masking reequirements.


Little Rock: David Pryor, a former governor and U.S. senator, is hospitalized in Little Rock after testing positive for COVID-19, his family said in a statement Monday. David Pryor and his wife, Barbara Pryor, both received positive test results Friday for the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the statement. David Pryor, who is 85 and a stroke and heart attack survivor, was admitted Saturday to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Barbara Pryor, who didn’t have symptoms, was quarantining at home. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference Monday that news that the Pryors had tested positive “illustrates that no one is immune from the virus.” David Pryor, a Democrat, served as Arkansas governor from 1975 to 1979 and went on to serve three terms in the U.S. Senate. His son, Mark Pryor, served two terms in the Senate before losing his reelection bid in 2014.


Sacramento: As the coronavirus swept the state with renewed ferocity, the governor once again closed bars, inside dining and, for much of the state, gyms, indoor church services, and hair and nail salons in an effort to prevent COVID-19 cases from swamping hospitals. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a sweeping set of closures Monday as the state recorded more than 329,000 cases and deaths topped 7,000. Hospitalizations have surged by 28% in the past two weeks, including a 20% increase in patients requiring intensive care. That was lower than a 50% hike seen about a week ago, but Newsom said he was concerned about the future and implored people to maintain social distance, wear masks in public and stay home when possible. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts, the two largest in California, announced Monday that they won’t bring students back to classrooms next month because of rising coronavirus hospitalizations and infection rates.


Denver: Cannabis sales in the state set a new monthly record in May, reaching their highest level since broad legalization in 2014. Dispensaries sold over $192 million worth of cannabis products that month, according to data from the state Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division compiled by The Denver Post. That figure is up about 29% from April and 32% from May 2019. Sales at medical and recreational marijuana shops hit monthly all-time highs, with just under $43 million and just over $149 million, respectively. In all, the cannabis industry has sold more than $779 million so far this year and paid more than $167 million in taxes and fees to the state. Colorado dispensaries were deemed essential businesses during the early days of the pandemic when there were statewide stay-at-home orders. So far, monthly cannabis sales this year have consistently outpaced 2019, which was the highest-grossing year on record.


Hartford: The state’s chief epidemiologist said Monday that he expects there will eventually be a resurgence of COVID-19 in Connecticut, but the severity will depend upon how much people continue to practice social distancing measures, such as wearing masks and avoiding large groups of people indoors. Dr. Matthew Cartter, appearing at Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s news briefing, said less than 5% of Connecticut’s population of more than 3.5 million people has so far contracted COVID-19. Considering the coronavirus that causes the disease “is just interested in infecting people,” he said there are still a lot of people in Connecticut who have not yet been infected who still could be. “I think clearly our goal and the reason why social distancing is so important – and this is not the time to relax at all – is to try to blunt the resurgence when it occurs,” said Cartter, who noted that steps such as staying home when possible and wearing face masks will work.


Georgetown: Nearly one-third of the 973 inmates held at Sussex Correctional Institution have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirmed Monday. The 303 inmates positive for the virus at the prison outside Georgetown comprise the worst outbreak at any state-run facility during the pandemic. State officials also said Monday that 21 officers at the prison have tested positive, while another 18 are quarantined as they await test results. Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said the virus “predominately hit” three dormitory-style housing units at the prison. DeMatteis said the department is taking “extraordinary measures” to reduce the risk of new infections. After denying inmates face coverings earlier this year, the prison is providing masks to all 900 SCI inmates. Programs, visitation and the intake of new prisoners are also suspended at the prison for now.

District of Columbia

Washington: Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that D.C. has seen zero new deaths from the coronavirus for four consecutive days. D.C. has been on a moderate upward trend in new cases for a week, WUSA-TV reports. Bowser announced that D.C. Health is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control to learn more about the spread of COVID-19 in the area, and 850 randomly selected households will be contacted to participate in the invite-only antibody testing. As the district continues to monitor trends, officials said although the city has flattened the curve, it has not eradicated the virus. Large gatherings are still considered a high-risk activity, and leaders are encouraging residents to seek guidance for hosting gatherings and attending events on the city website.


Fort Lauderdale: The state’s rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases is turning Miami into the “epicenter of the pandemic,” a top doctor warned Monday, while an epidemiologist called the region’s situation “extremely grave.” Those assessments came as Florida recorded more than 12,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Monday after a record-setting weekend, a spike that partly reflects the larger number of tests being performed but also can be attributed to a high percentage of those returning positive. Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledged Monday that the disease is spreading and urged people to take precautions such as wearing masks in public places, social distancing and avoiding crowds. While the outbreak has been spreading through much of the state, it has hit South Florida particularly hard. Its three counties – Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – make up about a quarter of the state’s population but have been responsible for about half the new cases.


Atlanta: Public health investigators are reaching a smaller share of people who may be infected as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state rises, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper finds contact tracers interviewed 37% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 between June 23 and July 8, down from 60% between May 15 and June 22. That’s bad news as confirmed virus cases continue to rise rapidly in Georgia. The number topped 120,000 on Monday, with increases averaging more than 3,300 a day over the past week. That’s the most rapid increase since the respiratory illness arrived in Georgia. Deaths rose to 3,026 on Monday, the fourth day in a row that fatalities have increased. A total of 2,600 people were in the hospital with the virus Monday, another record. With the number of coronavirus infections soaring, it may be impossible to keep up, said Dr. Harry Heiman, a public health professor at Georgia State University.


Honolulu: Public schools are expected to offer a combination of on-campus and online education models mixing schedules and student body sizes to reduce health threats from the coronavirus pandemic. Principals across the state consulted with staff and community members to select learning models from the state Department of Education’s reopening plan, which was announced earlier this month for the school year scheduled to begin Aug. 4. Families can learn about schedules and what to expect directly from their schools or on the education department’s website. About 14% of Hawaii’s elementary schools chose full-time, face-to-face instruction, with the remainder choosing a combination of models. Options include a blended rotation, meaning one group of students attends in-person classes while another group participates in distance learning.


Boise: A man was charged with five felonies after he allegedly fled from authorities and shot a police officer twice after being pulled over on a stolen motorcycle. Matthew S. Kelly, 21, is charged with aggravated battery, assault or battery on certain personnel, two counts of burglary and eluding arrest, Ada County Jail records said. Court records did not indicate if Kelly had obtained an attorney. The Emmett resident reportedly was awaiting an opportunity to enter a plea. The shooting occurred about 7:30 a.m. Monday after a deputy pulled over a man he believed was driving a stolen yellow motorcycle near the rural town of Star. The Ada County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately release the deputy’s name but said in a social media post that he underwent surgery for injuries to his arm and shoulder and is in stable condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.


Chicago: The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been canceled due to health concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers and others during the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Monday. Marathon organizers and city officials cited the challenge of staging the large-scale Oct. 11 event while COVID-19 endures. As of Sunday, Chicago’s health department reported 55,184 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,682 deaths due to complications from COVID-19. Chicago’s event typically draws about 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes and more than 1 million spectators. “Like all Chicagoans, I’m personally disappointed that this year’s event won’t take place as originally planned, however, we look forward to welcoming all runners and their cheering squads once again when the Chicago Marathon returns to our city in full force for another very exciting race,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news release.


West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis holds up his face mask with a Batman logo while speaking during a press conference at the Tippecanoe County Office Building, Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in Lafayette.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis holds up his face mask with a Batman logo while speaking during a press conference at the Tippecanoe County Office Building, Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in Lafayette.

Indianapolis: More cities have decided to impose mask mandates as health officials reported the state’s most hospitalizations of people with coronavirus-related illnesses in nearly a month. West Lafayette’s mayor announced an immediate requirement Monday that face coverings be worn inside all places of business open to the public, all city facilities, public transportation and high-density workplaces. The order from Republican Mayor John Dennis cited the city’s high population density and the expected upcoming return of Purdue University students as risks for spreading COVID-19. A mask requirement announced by Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is scheduled to take effect Wednesday. Winnecke pointed to consecutive days of Vanderburgh County recording its highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections when he announced the mandate Friday. Similar mask requirements are in place in Indianapolis and in St. Joseph, Elkhart and LaGrange counties.


Fort Dodge: Pathologists will determine whether coronavirus killed an inmate in a northwestern Iowa prison, officials said, as the state deals with increasing numbers of people infected with the virus. Ronald Eugene Holdworth, 62, died Saturday morning as he was being taken from the prison to a hospital, a news release Monday from the Iowa Department of Corrections said. The State Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine whether COVID-19 was a factor in his death. The Fort Dodge Correctional Facility has reported more than 100 inmates and nine employees have tested positive for the virus. One inmate at the facility died last week from the virus. Data collected by the state showed nearly 500 new cases of COVID-19 reported since Sunday morning, bringing the state’s total confirmed cases to more than 35,500 since the outbreak began. The state’s online virus-tracking dashboard showed 754 people have died from the virus.


Wichita: The mayor is warning that the city’s hospitals could hit capacity this month as the number of coronavirus patients surges. Mayor Brandon Whipple issued his warning Monday as the Sedgwick County Health Department reported that hospitals are converting rooms to intensive care units, a move that reduces the capacity for other patients, The Wichita Eagle reports. “Just got off the phone with the leadership at our #Wichita hospitals & admitted patients for covid19 are the highest ever,” Whipple said in a tweet. “If these numbers continue at the same rate our hospitals will reach capacity in 2-3 weeks (sooner if we have a 4th of July bump). Please wear your mask.” Statewide, there was another record coronavirus spike Monday, with 1,447 new cases reported since Friday, an increase of 7.8%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 20,058. The true number of infections is thought to be far higher.


Frankfort: Having lost another round in legal fights over some of his coronavirus-related actions, Kentucky’s governor signaled Monday that he’s ready for the state’s highest court to settle the disputes. Gov. Andy Beshear’s comments came after a state appeals court judge kept in place lower court rulings blocking some of his executive orders dealing with crowd sizes amid the pandemic. Beshear, a Democrat, said his office is likely to request that the matter move directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court. He warned that each day a court order remains in place blocking his executive actions is “a day that’s dangerous” for the state, which is dealing with growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. “I haven’t gotten to choose any of these jurisdictions we’ve been in, but we are going to get this thing up to the Supreme Court,” the governor said. “And to me, it’s not about the drama of lawsuits; it’s about saving lives.”


Baton Rouge: State Attorney General Jeff Landry was quarantining Tuesday after testing positive for the coronavirus, though his spokesman said the prominent Republican elected official has no symptoms of COVID-19. Landry spokesman Millard Mule said the attorney general decided to get tested for the coronavirus “out of on overabundance of caution” because he had planned to attend events with Vice President Mike Pence. Pence was traveling to Louisiana on Tuesday to discuss the response to the pandemic as the state is seeing a worrying resurgence in new virus cases. Among the areas of Louisiana with significant surges in the outbreak is Landry’s home region of Acadiana. “The attorney general is quarantining, taking medications prescribed by his doctor and remaining asymptomatic,” Mule said in a statement. He said Landry was isolating “at his property” in Louisiana.


Augusta: State Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon proposed Tuesday that lawmakers return for a special session next month. The Legislature adjourned March 17 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving much of the decision-making during the crisis to Gov. Janet Mills, who declared a state of emergency. “The time is now for the Legislature to return to Augusta and finish the job. With Maine seeing fewer cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths, Maine lawmakers are in a good position to finish our work and deliver for Maine people,” said Jackson, D-Allagash. Gideon, D-Freeport, said the special session would focus on Mainers’ needs during the pandemic by bolstering the economy to aid small businesses, ensuring housing and nutrition needs are met, and making sure schools are prepared for the fall.


Annapolis: The deadline for the state’s residents to enroll in a health care plan is at hand under two special enrollment programs that run through Wednesday. Maryland reopened the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period. More than 49,000 residents have received coverage in the special enrollment period that began in March with Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement of a state of emergency. People who enroll through Maryland Health Connection under the special period will have a coverage start date of July 1. A separate program enables tax filers the option to share information with the state’s health exchange to see if they are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance. So far, nearly 4,000 Marylanders have enrolled in health insurance under this program.


Boston: Public school teachers across the state are asking for a phased-in approach to the reopening of schools this fall. The plan is outlined in a Public School Reopening Proposal released Monday by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts and the Boston Teachers Union. The first phase is a period of preparation for teachers and support professionals that could include setting up classrooms and learning about new health and safety protocols. The second phase would allow teachers to set up one-on-one meetings with students and their families, either in person or remotely, to prepare them for the new health and safety protocols and for evaluating each student’s needs. The third phase is a six-week resumption of lessons, either in-person, remotely or via a hybrid model, to establish the school climate and culture and set expectations and rules. The fourth stage would be a period of assessment.


Grand Ledge: A man was fatally shot Tuesday by a sheriff’s deputy after stabbing another man who had challenged him about not wearing a mask at a convenience store, police said. The shooting occurred in Eaton County, southwest of Lansing, about 30 minutes after the stabbing at a Quality Dairy store, state police Lt. Brian Oleksyk said. A sheriff’s deputy spotted the man’s vehicle in a residential neighborhood and shot him when he tried to attack her with a knife, Oleksyk said. Sean Ruis, 43, of Grand Ledge died at a hospital. He earlier stabbed a 77-year-old man inside the Quality Dairy when he was confronted about not wearing a mask, Oleksyk said. The stabbing victim was in stable condition at a hospital. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered people to wear masks in stores to reduce the risk of the coronavirus.


Duluth: Duluth and Minnetonka are the latest cities to mandate face coverings to help stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Council members from both communities passed the requirement Monday night. Duluth council members voted unanimously in favor of the measure, which requires masks in public indoor places. It takes effect immediately and will remain in place until Gov. Tim Walz ends his local emergency declaration. The mandate does not apply to children younger than age 10 in Duluth or those unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons, the Star Tribune reports. The requirement applies to stores, city buses, places of worship, educational institutions, recreational facilities and apartment lobbies. Those who do not comply with the mandate could be fined $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $1,000 for all subsequent offenses. Violators could also face misdemeanor prosecution.


Jackson: A mask mandate and other restrictions took effect Monday in 13 of Mississippi’s 82 counties as the state continues to see a rapid increase in cases of the new coronavirus, including a steady rise in hospital patients. “This is the worst that it’s ever been for spread of cases in our state,” Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said. Figures released by the state Health Department showed 1,020 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 Sunday, up from 664 on June 22. The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said eight hospitals in Mississippi had no beds available in their intensive care units as of Monday. Four were in the Jackson area. He also said long-term care facilities are seeing an increase of cases because of transmission in communities. Even if people can’t visit loved ones in nursing homes, employees go in and out. “We’re all connected,” Dobbs said. “If you’re 20 years old, and you’re bored of sitting around at home, you know, you going out and partying and may inadvertently kill somebody else’s grandma in the nursing home as you perpetuate the pandemic.”


St. Charles: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus is rising sharply in some areas near St. Louis, and hospitalizations in the region are starting to increase too. Data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force shows the seven-day average for coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the region is now 28, the highest level since mid-May. Suburban counties including Jefferson, Franklin and Lincoln have seen steady increases in confirmed cases of COVID-19. But St. Charles County is emerging as a new hot spot, said Dr. Alex Garza of the pandemic task force. St. Charles County has reported 690 new confirmed cases over the past 14 days, vs. 153 cases in the previous 14-day period. On Monday, the county cited the deaths of three elderly residents from long-term care facilities, bringing the number of deaths in the county to 80. Concerns are so high at the General Motors plant in Wentzville that about 1,200 third-shift workers were laid off Monday, in part because many employees are not reporting to work out of fear of becoming infected, GM spokesman Dave Barnas said.


Billings: Visitation to Yellowstone National Park was down 32% in June compared to the same month last year amid concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, the last 10 days of the month saw visitation rates that ranged between 90% and 116% of 2019 numbers, the Billings Gazette reports. In all, the park hosted some 534,000 visitors in June, according to a park press release. The national park’s overall visits are down 49% from last year. Yellowstone was closed in full from March 24 to May 18, when its two Wyoming entrances reopened their doors. Its peak season is May through September. The park’s three Montana entrances reopened June 1.


Lincoln: The state Supreme Court has rejected a petition to grant all 2020 law graduates a license to practice without taking the bar exam. The petition, filed Friday, sought the change in light of the risk posed by law school graduates congregating in one place to take the exam during the coronavirus pandemic, the Omaha World-Herald reports. On Saturday, the state’s high court ruled against the move. “The court is mindful of the challenges inherent in studying for and taking the bar examination in ordinary times, and our decision is not intended to diminish the additional challenges of doing so during a pandemic,” the court wrote. “But the administration of justice does not stop in a public health emergency.” The Nebraska bar exam, usually offered two times a year, will proceed as scheduled July 28 and 29. People taking the exam must test negative for COVID-19 ahead of time, or they will be deferred to a future exam.


Las Vegas: Southern Nevada health officials reported 1,021 new COVID-19 cases in Clark County on Monday – the most ever recorded in a single day. The number of known cases in Clark County, home of the Las Vegas Strip, totals 24,824, according to the Nevada Health Alliance dashboard. The seven-day positivity rate in Clark County was 19.7% on Sunday, the last day for which data was available. The WHO recommends a net positivity rate of 5% in order to safely reopen businesses. The Southern Nevada Health District is also reporting 15 additional deaths. A total of 498 people have died from the contagious respiratory illness in Clark County. The number of Nevadans who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased to 29,619 on Monday. The death toll stands at 612 statewide.

New Hampshire

Portsmouth: The city is moving toward requiring the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The City Council voted 9-0 in favor of a mask mandate resolution Monday night and will meet with the city attorney later this week to write a formal ordinance. Momentum for such a mandate grew after President Donald Trump announced plans to hold a campaign rally at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease this past Saturday. The president later postponed the rally, citing the threat of bad weather. The resolution calls for the wearing of face coverings when people are within 6 feet of each other. It wouldn’t apply to children ages 6 or younger, people with a medical condition for which wearing a mask may pose a risk, or individuals walking, biking or exercising as long as social distancing is maintained. A judge this week refused to strike down Nashua’s mask ordinance while it’s being challenged in court.

New Jersey

Trenton: Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday shot down the prospect of fining travelers from COVID-19 hot spots if they don’t provide contact information to health officials. The first-term Democrat spoke about the new proposal made Monday by fellow Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would impose such a fine. “New York and New Jersey do things a little bit differently,” Murphy said during a radio interview on 104.3-FM. “I don’t know that we will be fining people.” New Jersey joined New York and Connecticut last month in advising travelers from states with outbreaks that they’ll need to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Nineteen states are included, including New Jersey’s neighbor Delaware. The advisory includes states if their seven-day rolling average of positive tests exceeds 10% or if the number of positive cases exceeds 10 per 100,000 residents.

New Mexico

Albuquerque: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s revamped public health order took effect Monday, and some restaurant owners aren’t happy that they have been ordered to roll back indoor dining. The owners say that they have gone to great lengths to make their establishments safe and that the governor has offered no evidence New Mexico’s uptick in cases has anything to do with restaurant service. The New Mexico Restaurant Association has helped organize an online petition. Restaurants across the state also planned to protest the Democratic governor’s prohibition of dine-in service by having all staff gather in front of their establishments and hold up signs with the number of employees being affected by the decision. The association estimates out of the 82,000 people employed by the industry, more than 50,000 jobs have been lost due to the pandemic and resulting public health orders. Association CEO Carol Wight said only about 20,000 of those jobs have come back as restaurants were allowed to resume some limited indoor dining in June.

New York

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing blistering criticism over an internal report that found a controversial state directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes was “not a significant factor” in some of the nation’s deadliest nursing home outbreaks. Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report released last week for flawed methodology and selective stats that sidestepped the actual impact of the March 25 order, which by the state’s own count ushered more than 6,300 recovering virus patients into nursing homes at the height of the pandemic. And some accused the state of using the veneer of a scientific study to absolve the Democratic governor by reaching the same conclusion he had been floating for weeks – that unknowingly infected nursing home employees were the major drivers of the outbreaks.

North Carolina

Charlotte: The mayor said she would support banning alcohol sales after 10 p.m. in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The Charlotte Observer reports Mayor Vi Lyles voiced her support after images circulated on social media of crowded gatherings at local restaurants and bars. Lyles said at Monday night’s City Council that she would sign such an order if a policy group recommends it. Lyles’s statement followed those of Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio. She told reporters that policymakers were discussing the action. Restrictions on alcohol sales are already in place in places such as Orange County, North Carolina, and in South Carolina. More than 1,500 people have died from the coronavirus in North Carolina.

North Dakota

Bismarck: Health officials on Monday reported a record number of hospitalizations in the state due to the coronavirus. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, 43 people are currently hospitalized, up five from Sunday. New diagnoses of the coronavirus also reached a new high in North Dakota on Monday, The Bismarck Tribune reports. The Health Department reported a record 108 new diagnoses in 20 counties. North Dakota has confirmed 4,442 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Monday’s test results include 28 new cases in Cass County and 21 new cases in Burleigh County. No new deaths are reported, leaving North Dakota’s death toll at 87.


Cincinnati: Complaints about maskless people have started to roll into local health departments. But information and action by local authorities are scarce as cases of COVID-19 spike throughout the state and country. Clermont County, according to health department officials, has had 60-70 complaints since Friday, when the county was declared “red” by the state and fell under Gov. Mike DeWine’s order mandating masks. The Cincinnati Enquirer has requested the individual complaints from Clermont County but hasn’t yet received them. The Butler County General Health District received 32 complaints from July 9, when DeWine signed the order, through Monday. In each case, the health department’s response stated an inspector would “follow up.”


Norman: Spring 2020 graduation ceremonies at the University of Oklahoma are moving to 2021. OU announced Tuesday that it would postpone in-person graduations to May of next year. The university honored spring graduates this year with a virtual ceremony. “Our goal has always been to give the Class of 2020 a meaningful graduation experience that recognizes their achievements and resilience,” President Joseph Harroz Jr. said in the announcement. “Although we were able to honor our graduates in a virtual Commencement ceremony last spring, we look forward to providing them with the traditional celebration they deserve in May 2021.” Weeks after all classes moved online in March, OU rescheduled its in-person commencement to Aug. 8-9. The university believed it would adequately protect attendees if the ceremony took place outdoors, officials said, but hosting a lengthy commencement outside in August would present heat-related health risks.


Salem: Gov. Kate Brown on Monday announced two new statewide COVID-19 safety mandates – a ban on indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people and a requirement that people wear face coverings outside if they can not socially distance. The rules come as the state’s coronavirus case count continues to escalate. Oregon reported more cases last week than it did during the entire month of May. “We are here today to sound the alarm,” Brown said. “The COVID-19 disease is spreading rapidly across the state of Oregon. Each and every one of us needs to take action – immediate action – to slow the spread.” Recent projections by the Oregon Health Authority predict that at the current pace, the estimated number of new daily, confirmed infections could reach anywhere from 1,100 to 3,600 in the coming weeks. “We are at risk of allowing the virus to spiral out of control,” Brown said. She made clear that the gathering limit does not apply to churches or businesses.


Harrisburg: The state recorded more than 900 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, though health officials said nearly a quarter of those were the result of a delay in lab reporting. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, reported 331 new virus infections, but only 145 of those were from the prior 24 hours, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. County health officials said the remainder were from tests conducted as early as June 8. Health officials said they are working with the lab to determine the reason for the big delay in test results. Statewide, 216 of the new cases resulted from the delay in private lab result reporting, according to the state Health Department. The state also reported 20 new deaths related to COVID-19, raising the statewide toll to 6,931 since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 96,000 people in Pennsylvania have contracted the virus.

Rhode Island

Providence: The state has moved past the worst of the coronavirus economic downtown, but it may be years before things get back to what is considered normal, University of Rhode Island economist Len Lardaro said. “For Rhode Island, we weren’t doing terribly well before the pandemic hit,” he said Monday. “My own prediction was that by the end of 2020 there was a better than 50/50 chance Rhode Island would have entered a recession.” He said the state wasn’t prepared. “I’m thinking three to five years for Rhode Island before we get back,” Lardaro said. The economic recovery also depends on whether a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, he said.

South Carolina

Greenville: City officials delayed action Monday night on a measure that could have prohibited festivals and large public gatherings for the rest of the summer. Greenville City Council members were considering an emergency measure that would have allowed the city to temporarily stop issuing permits for gatherings involving 50 or more people because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19. But ultimately, council members had questions about how much flexibility was in the proposed measure, as well as how it could affect alcohol licensing at events. Greenville County has recorded 7,253 cases of COVID-19 and 105 related deaths, according to data released Monday by South Carolina’s public health agency. Statistics from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control show Greenville is a hot spot for the coronavirus. The department announced 2,205 new confirmed cases statewide and 23 additional confirmed deaths Tuesday.

South Dakota

Sioux Falls: Health officials on Monday said they have not seen an uptick in community spread of the coronavirus after thousands of people gathered for Independence Day celebrations in the western part of the state. Gov. Kristi Noem has encouraged public gatherings in recent weeks, holding an outdoor fireworks celebration without social distancing at Mount Rushmore on July 3 and pushing for a Professional Bull Riders competition that allowed fans into a Sioux Falls arena this past weekend. She even appeared at that event on horseback, wielding the American flag. While other states in the South and Midwest have broken records in the number of daily cases reported, South Dakota’s report of 25 cases was one of the lowest since April. There are currently 63 people hospitalized with the virus, a number that Noem has said drives her coronavirus strategy.


Nashville: The state reported a record number of new virus cases Monday with 3,314, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. That brings the total number of active cases in Tennessee to more than 65,000. Shelby County had the most cases statewide with 14,163. It was followed closely by Davidson County with 13,976 total cases. Rutherford County had the third-highest number of cases with 3,755, followed by Hamilton with 3,535. Two smaller Tennessee counties continue to lead the country in cases per capita, according to data compiled by the Associated Press. Trousdale County has the highest number of cases per capita in the U.S. with 1,510 active cases in a population of 9,573. Lake County is second with 696 cases in a population of 7,526. Both counties are homes to state prisons that saw large outbreaks of the new coronavirus in May and June, although the current numbers are nearly all from community transmission.


Austin: The state continued to report more than 10,000 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus Monday as Texas tries containing the spread in what has become one of America’s biggest hot zones. As Republican Gov. Greg Abbott warns that the worst is yet to come in Texas, state health officials reported more than 40 new deaths and 5,600 new cases following what had been the deadliest week of the pandemic in the state. There is typically a decline in numbers following a weekend, when reporting from counties is slower. The true number of cases is likely far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick. County leaders in the hard-hit Rio Grande Valley on Monday asked Abbott to give them broader emergency powers as hospitals exceed capacity. Top officials in Houston have also called for stay-at-home orders, while Abbott has said putting Texas back on lockdown is a last resort.


Salt Lake City: Federal inmates have sued officials who run an Ogden jail, alleging a failure to adequately protect them from the coronavirus. Six people charged with federal crimes and held at Weber County Jail filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday, asking for more inmates be released to home confinement and for additional health measures, such as mandating masks and providing hygiene supplies. The lawsuit comes as the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and other groups have protested the jail’s handling of an outbreak that’s led 114 inmates to test positive for COVID-19. The lawsuit says county officials “are aware of the grave dangers posed by COVID-19 and have failed to implement measures to comply with their constitutional obligations to those in their custody.” Attorneys representing the inmates said the jail had only been quarantining newcomers for an average of three days before moving them to the general population.


Manchester: The Vermont Health Department is reporting 30 possible cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the city. Health Department spokesman Ben Truman said that as of 3 p.m. Monday, there were 30 positive antigen results from testing done at the Manchester Medical Center. He said the antigen tests are faster but not as accurate as the diagnostic tests, and so the positive results are not included in the department’s case counts, which are updated every day. Health department officials are working to confirm the positive results. They are also working with people who tested positive as if they were confirmed cases. Contact tracing is underway, as well as efforts to identify any common origins of the suspected cases, he said. A testing site for people without symptoms has been set up for Wednesday at the Flood Brook School in Londonderry.


Richmond: U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith says he’s tested positive for the coronavirus. The Republican congressman, who represents southwest Virginia, said he learned Tuesday that he’d tested positive. He said he does not have “significant” symptoms and is self-isolating. Several other members of Congress have tested positive for the virus.


Olympia: Gov. Jay Inslee is requesting an extension of the state National Guard’s call to continue their work on missions related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent to the Trump administration Monday, the Democratic governor requested an extension of federal authority and funding for the National Guard emergency response operations through Dec. 31, citing the rising cases of coronavirus in the state. In the letter, Inslee notes that currently more than 1,000 guard members are assisting with food banks as well as contact tracing of the pandemic and operating community-based test sites. More than 40,600 people have tested positive for the virus, and at least 1,438 have died.

West Virginia

Morgantown: Gov. Jim Justice moved Monday to close bars in the state’s largest college town and reimpose restrictions on large gatherings as coronavirus cases rise to record levels. Justice, a Republican, ordered bars in Monongalia County to close at midnight for 10 days as the county, which includes West Virginia University, reports a quarter of the state’s active virus cases, largely driven by people in their 20s. The governor also reinstated a 25-person limit on crowd sizes throughout the state, effectively canceling fairs, concerts and festivals, though he said sporting events and swimming pools can continue to operate. Justice last week said he was considering scaling back his reopening strategy after virus cases and several other metrics began to spike. On Monday, the state health department said West Virginia has the most virus active cases since the outbreak began. Total virus hospitalizations are at the highest level since May 1.


Sharaka Berry wears a mask as he walks on Brady Street on Milwaukee's east side Monday.
Sharaka Berry wears a mask as he walks on Brady Street on Milwaukee's east side Monday.

Milwaukee: Wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will be mandatory in the city under an ordinance approved Monday by the City Council. The council also unanimously adopted a separate proposal to provide free masks to city residents. Anyone age 3 and older would have to wear a face covering in buildings open to the public, as well as any outdoor public space when it’s not possible to stay 6 feet away from people who aren’t in the same household. There are exceptions for medical conditions or religious reasons. The ordinance says the Milwaukee Health Department should fine businesses that don’t comply, but it doesn’t specify how outdoor spaces will be enforced. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has said he would sign the ordinance.


Laramie: The University of Wyoming expects about 1,900 fewer students to enroll in the upcoming semester than were enrolled at the university in fall 2019, officials said. The university said 6,212 undergraduates enrolled in fall 2019, while preliminary figures indicate that next semester there will be an 18.8% decrease in enrollment, The Laramie Boomerang reports. A drop in the number of graduate students is likely to be greater, with 1,170 graduate and professional students expected to enroll, a 38.9% decline from last year. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a depressed energy sector in Wyoming are the overwhelming factors for students choosing not to return, said Vice President for Finance and Administration Neil Theobald, who served as the university’s acting president for a year before returning to the vice president’s role.

From USA TODAY Network and wire reports

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New hot spots, sick politicians: News from around our 50 states