Tuesday, September 29, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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Conservatives Ask Judge To Overturn Wis. Governor’s Mask Mandate

The case argues that Gov. Tony Evers doesn’t have the authority to issue such an order. New outlets look at a variety of coronavirus news across the country, including increasing case counts in several states.

Conservative Law Firm Seeks To End Wisconsin Mask Order

A conservative law firm asked a judge on Monday to immediately put an end to Wisconsin’s mask mandate, arguing that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers doesn’t have the authority to issue such an order that comes as COVID-19 cases surge statewide. Attorneys for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed the request in Polk County Circuit Court for an immediate injunction to declare the order invalid and void. It was part of an amendment to a lawsuit they had filed there in August against Evers’ first mask mandate. A court hearing was scheduled for Oct. 5 to consider the motion. (Bauer, 9/28)

In other news from Iowa, Missouri and Kansas —

Des Moines Register:
Report: During COVID-19, Iowa Children May Be More Prone To Abuse And Neglect

Iowa children, and particularly children from non-white families, are more at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect or a household challenge in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new statewide report that looks at adverse childhood experiences. The majority of Iowa adults have reported going through an adverse experience, ranging from divorce to being neglected by adults with substance abuse issues, according to pre-pandemic data collected by the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2017-18. (Ta, 9/26)

Kansas City Star:
COVID-19 And The Flu: Kansas, Missouri Prepare For Winter 

Everyone’s felt the tell-tale signs: the cough that lingers, the fever and chills, the aches and overall fatigue. Often, there was no doubt about what it was. You had the flu, plain and simple. It’s not going to be so simple this winter. Instead, many people who feel ill will be asking a new question: Is it the flu or COVID-19? (Shorman and Gutierrez, 9/27)

In news from Ohio, Maryland and Illinois —

Lawmaker Demands Charges Against Governor Over Virus Orders

A conservative lawmaker took his frustration over Ohio’s coronavirus public health orders to a new level Monday by demanding that criminal charges be filed against fellow Republican Gov. Mike DeWine. Rep. John Becker, a Republican from Cincinnati, says DeWine has exceeded his authority under state law and the Ohio and U.S. constitutions in issuing orders restricting Ohioans movements and activities. He made his demand in Clermont Municipal Court under a provision of state law allowing private citizen affidavits. (Welsh-Huggins, 9/28)

The Baltimore Sun:
Second Baltimore Correctional Officer Dies Of COVID-19, Department Confirms 

A Baltimore city correctional officer died of COVID-19 Monday morning following several months of complications from the virus, according to the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The correctional officer was in his 60s and was a “well-respected” veteran of 26 years, department spokesperson Mark Vernarelli said, adding he worked at a prison facility in Baltimore city. (Jackson, 9/28)

The Baltimore Sun/Carroll County Times:
Carroll County Health Dept.: Two Elder Care Residents Die Of COVID-19; Weekly Community Cases Decline Again

Two more residents of elder care facilities in Carroll County have died of COVID-19 even as the number of weekly community cases declined for the third week in a row. One of the deceased lived at Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Winfield and the other at Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville, according to the Carroll County Health Department. (Blubaugh, 9/28)

Chicago Lets Restaurants, Bars Serve More People Indoors

Restrictions aimed at limiting spread of the coronavirus in Chicago’s restaurants and bars will ease slightly this week, letting more customers dine and drink indoors. Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the decision Monday as Illinois officials said 1,709 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported statewide and 13 more people have died. (9/28)

The latest on the COVID case count —

Portland Press Herald:
Health Officials Fear ‘One Big Fire’ From COVID-19 In Southern Maine

Six months into the pandemic, the coronavirus is continuing to spread at an alarming rate in Maine’s southernmost county, where new cases are being identified at nearly twice the rate as during the previous surges in early April and the end of June and close to triple the current statewide average. Case numbers are also climbing at a worrisome rate in Oxford County, where a paper mill outbreak may be seeding infections in the wider community. (Woodard, 9/27)

Hospitalizations Due To Virus Hit New High In North Dakota

Hospitalizations due to illness from the coronavirus reached an all-time high in North Dakota with 105 people receiving treatment in medical centers, state health officials reported Monday. The record comes a day after state officials met with leaders at two hospitals in Bismarck who told a governor’s task force they are nearing capacity because of COVID-19. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, leads the state with 719 active virus cases. (9/28)

Montana Private Prison Reports COVID Outbreak, 29 Cases

Just over two dozen inmates and detainees at a private prison in north-central Montana have tested positive for COVID-19, prison operator CoreCivic said Monday. Nearly 200 people at Crossroads Correctional Facility in Shelby were tested last Thursday and Friday and 26 of them tested positive, CoreCivic spokesperson Ryan Gustin said in an email to The Associated Press. (Hanson, 9/29)

Kaiser Health News:
Efforts To Keep COVID-19 Out Of Prisons Fuel Outbreaks In County Jails

When Joshua Martz tested positive for COVID-19 this summer in a Montana jail, guards moved him and nine other inmates with the disease into a pod so cramped that some slept on mattresses on the floor. Martz, 44, said he suffered through symptoms that included achy joints, a sore throat, fever and an unbearable headache. Jail officials largely avoided interacting with the COVID patients other than by handing out over-the-counter painkillers and cough syrup, he said. Inmates sanitized their hands with a spray bottle containing a blue liquid that Martz suspected was also used to mop the floors. A shivering inmate was denied a request for an extra blanket, so Martz gave him his own. (Sakariassen, 9/29)

St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Missouri Unveils New COVID-19 Data Dashboard, Total Reported Coronavirus Cases Decreases 

Missouri health officials on Monday reported a total of 123,276 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, a decrease of 130 from the number reported Sunday. The decrease is attributable to Missouri’s new data dashboard, health department spokesperson Lisa Cox said Monday. As Missouri updated its dashboard, officials have done “quality assurance” and removed some cases that had been counted more than once or incorrectly counted as confirmed, Cox said. (Rice, 9/28)

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