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‘Please Stay Home’: Wisconsin Admits First Patient To Field Hospital

Daily new cases and deaths are still rising in the state. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said, “We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today.” News is from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Utah and Alaska, as well.

ABC News:
Wisconsin Admits 1st Patient To Field Hospital, Reports Record COVID-19 Deaths 

Wisconsin admitted its first patient to a field hospital in the Wisconsin State Fair Park, near Milwaukee, on Wednesday, the same day that the state reported a record 48 deaths from the novel coronavirus. The field hospital, a 530-bed facility which opened last week, is meant to relieve pressure on local hospitals, which have been rapidly filling with COVID-19 patients as Wisconsin’s outbreak worsens. In some areas, 90% of ICU beds are full, according to the governor’s office. (Schumaker, 10/22)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Wisconsin Coronavirus: State Reports 3,413 New Cases, 22 Deaths

All but four Wisconsin counties are reporting a very high level of COVID-19 activity, according to state data, as the state continued its descent Thursday into a dire public health crisis. …”This virus is spreading silently,” Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the state Department of Health Services, said in a news conference of the asymptomatic people likely infecting others. (Carson, 10/22)

In news from New Jersey and Massachusetts —

Murphy: Exposure To Staffer Who Tested Positive For Covid Occurred Over Drinks

A trip to a German beer hall in Hoboken, N.J., will cost New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy his weekend. Murphy, who on Wednesday announced he would be entering quarantine after being alerted during a press conference that Mike DeLameter, his deputy chief of staff, had tested positive for coronavirus, said Thursday morning that his exposure to DeLameter happened over drinks. “At the table, you’re having a drink, you’re eating something. By definition, you’re taking your mask off,” Murphy said during an interview on radio station 1010 WINS. (Sutton and Landergan, 10/22)

In news from Alabama, Georgia and Texas —

The Hill:
Alabama Lieutenant Governor Tests Positive For COVID-19 

Alabama’s lieutenant governor tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday after previously criticizing a statewide mask mandate. “After being notified this afternoon that a member of my Sunday school church group had acquired the coronavirus, I was tested out of an abundance of caution and received notice that the results proved positive,” Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth (R) said in a statement. (Jenkins, 10/22)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Effort To Privatize Ga. Prison Health Care Draws Fear From Experts, Advocates

Georgia Department of Corrections officials hope to save money by privatizing all health care at state prisons, a proposal that alarms experts and people who’d been incarcerated in a system they say already has a rock-bottom medical budget. GDC is researching how the prisons could have medical services provided by a for-profit firm rather than Georgia Correctional HealthCare, part of the state’s medical school at Augusta University, according to documents obtained through the Open Records Act. (Sharpe, 10/22)

Macon Telegraph:
Middle Georgia COVID-19 Update 

The state of Georgia has seen stability in both test positivity and new cases according to the most recent report from the White House coronavirus task provided by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom in D.C. The state of Georgia now ranks 35rd in the country for new coronavirus cases per 100,000, after leading which led the nation in the category in mid-August. The state had 83 cases per 100,000 people last week, lower than the national average of 117. Both of those numbers are up from a week ago as the country as a whole continues to see a rise in new cases. (Baxley, 10/22)

Georgia Ranks Near Bottom Of US For Flu Vaccine Rates Study Says 

As government and public health officials warn of a potential coronavirus/flu “twindemic” this winter, a report says Georgia has one of the lowest flu vaccination rates in the country. The analysis, compiled by insurance and research firm AdvisorSmith, examined the last vaccination rates in states across the last three flu seasons. (Raymond, 10/22)

In news from Michigan, Illinois, Utah and Alaska —

Detroit Free Press:
Whitmer OKs COVID-19 Protections For Workers, Businesses

Workers will be able to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, and businesses will gain legal protection if people get sick at their operations as long as they have followed government rules related to the virus under a series of bills signed into law Thursday in Michigan. The legislation approved by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was touted as a bipartisan approach to dealing with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and could reflect a continuing change in tone from state leaders as they grapple with a new, resurgent phase of the illness. (Lawrence, 10/22)

Chicago Tribune:
Some Restaurants In Illinois Are Defying Closure Orders As Ban On Indoor Service Spreads To Chicago Suburbs 

Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent order to shut down indoor service at bars and restaurants in northwest Illinois due to the coronavirus, Fozzy’s Bar and Grill near Rockford was among those that stayed open.Owner Nick Fosberg said he had to leave the doors open to keep his employees working, pay his bills and stay in business. He says the workers wear masks, and customers wear masks on their way in and out, while tables are spaced 6 feet apart, at 25% capacity. “We’re sticking to what we were doing and being safe about it,” he said. “We’re getting a ton of support. People are happy someone finally stood up and said, ‘I’m not closing.’” (McCoppin, 10/22)

Anchorage Daily News:
COVID-19 Outbreak Expands In Overcrowded Fairbanks Jail

A coronavirus outbreak in an overcrowded Fairbanks jail is growing, with 55 inmates now testing positive. The Alaska Department of Corrections first acknowledged the outbreak on Saturday, when the DOC said that 33 people had tested positive for COVID-19 at Fairbanks Correctional Center, which houses a mix of people arrested but awaiting trial and sentenced prisoners. The jail also serves as an intake facility for people from all over northern Alaska entering DOC custody. (Theriault Boots, 10/21)

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