Advocates Express COVID Concern About California Prisoner Transfers

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News is from California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Mississippi, Texas, Utah, Rhode Island and North Carolina.

San Francisco Chronicle:
Potential Transfers Out Of San Quentin Raise Dire Concerns For Inmates

State prison officials are planning to transfer dozens of young men to the Valley State Prison in Chowchilla — a facility that is already overcrowded, at 139% of its design capacity, and where 27 prisoners have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks, according to interviews with multiple incarcerated people. The preparations come just days after an appeals court ordered that San Quentin’s prison population be cut in half after its disastrous coronavirus outbreak this summer. (Cassidy and Fagone, 10/29)

NH Times Union:
Restaurants To Keep Customer Databases Due To COVID-19

Hours after the hospitality industry requested it, Gov. Chris Sununu approved a requirement that restaurants keep a temporary database of diners to more quickly contain cases of COVID-19 linked to a business. Starting Saturday, all restaurants must get and keep on file the name and telephone number of at least one person in each dining party. (Landrigan, 10/29)

And many states cope with a surge in COVID cases —

Boston Globe:
New Data Shed More Light On Source Of Coronavirus Clusters Around Mass. 

Amid a surge of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, new state data indicate that dozens of clusters in the past month have been identified in child care settings, nursing homes, senior living centers, restaurants and food courts, and from organized athletic activities. Yet many of these clusters — identified as two or more confirmed cases with a common exposure — resulted in a relatively small percentage of the roughly 20,000 new confirmed cases for that period. By far the largest number of clusters counted by Massachusetts are from households, defined as a shared residence of people who are not identified with another cluster. (Lazar, 10/29)

Bangor Daily News:
With Coronavirus On The Rise, Big Gatherings Should Be Avoided, Not Bragged About

Maine, like many other states, is seeing a troubling rise in coronavirus cases. Ninety-four new cases were reported on Thursday, the largest single day increase since the pandemic began in March. Unlike that original surge in the early days of the pandemic, new cases have been rising in predominantly rural areas rather than Maine’s dense urban counties. Rural outbreaks have been tied to church services, nursing homes and schools. Because of rising coronavirus case numbers across the country, some states and cities are reimposing restrictions on businesses and other activities. State and local governments are having to step in because of a lack of a coherent, coordinated federal policy to limit the spread of the virus. (10/29)

Long Island ‘Superspreader Events’ Threaten To Undo Progress

Two recent “superspreader events” on Long Island, N.Y., show the impact of large gatherings during virus outbreaks — and threaten to undo the months-long efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the area. Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone announced fines on Wednesday against a country club and a homeowner for hosting events in violation of social-gathering limits. (Wamsley, 10/29)

Mississippi Clarion Ledger:
Jackson Mayor Addresses Record Homicides, Coronavirus In City Address

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba gave his third State of the City address Thursday night, focusing much of his attention on the record surge in gun violence in the capital city and the coronavirus pandemic. “We started 2020 set for another year of growth,” Lumumba said. “Instead we found ourselves hit with a record flood and a pandemic that derailed life as we know it.” (Vicory, 10/29)

Dallas Morning News:
State Investigating Frisco Memory Care Center After 10 COVID-19 Deaths In Less Than A Month

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is investigating a Frisco memory care center that has reported 10 deaths in the past month. The Denton County health department has reported eight deaths at the Saddle Brook Memory Care Center in the last three days, including two deaths on Thursday. The facility said there were two more deaths that are expected to be announced by the county in the coming days. (Keomoungkhoun, 10/29)

The Salt Lake Tribune:
Governor Calls For Action But State Strategy Is Unchanged As Utah Sees 1,837 New COVID-19 Cases, 10 More Deaths 

With Utah reporting 1,837 new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations nearly reaching a new record high Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert declared that “the time for talk is over — it’s time for action. ”But that action isn’t coming from the Utah Capitol. Herbert said local governments will have to decide whether to enforce the mask orders and gathering restrictions that are in effect in almost every county — rules that many Utahns have defied or ignored. (Alberty and Means, 10/29)

In other news from Rhode Island, North Carolina and Texas —

Fatal Drug Overdose Deaths In Rhode Island Are On The Rise

The number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island is on the rise, and the coronavirus pandemic could be partially to blame, state health officials say. There were 233 accidental drug overdose deaths in the first seven months of this year, compared to 185 during the same period last year, the state Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday. While all drug fatal overdoses increased 26%, opioid-involved fatal overdoses increased 33%. (10/29)

North Carolina Health News:
High PFAS In Pittsboro Residents’ Blood 

A new Duke University study has found that the concentrations of some potentially cancerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — are two to four times higher in the blood of Pittsboro residents than the U.S. population as a whole. The study also found that some types of PFAS chemicals found in Pittsboro residents’ blood are “strikingly similar” to those found in the blood of Wilmington residents during an earlier study conducted by N.C. State and East Carolina universities. (Barnes, 10/29)

USA Today:
Train Derailment In Texas Leaks ‘Corrosive’ Product, Prompts Evacuation Orders For 600 People; No Injuries

A train derailment in Texas prompted officials to ask nearly 600 residents to evacuate their homes and will take days to clean up — but the local emergency management office reported no injuries. A Kansas City Southern train derailed around 7:30 a.m. in Mauriceville, Texas, near the state’s border with Louisiana. The derailment involved 25 cars, according to the Orange County Office of Emergency Management. Most of the cars were loaded; 10 were empty. “Five confirmed tank cars were breached, four were leaking a petroleum product that did not represent a risk to the general population and the fifth involves a corrosive product that is being contained,” the Office of Emergency Management said in a Facebook post.  … A one-mile “exclusion zone,” which initially impacted 600 residents, was set up while cleaning and containment were underway. (Culver, 10/29)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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