Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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New York City Raises Alarm About More Cases In Orthodox Jewish Communities

Media outlets report on news from New York, Maine, District of Columbia, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and more.


The New York Times:
N.Y.C. Warns About Rising Virus Cases In Hasidic Neighborhoods 


New York City’s Health Department warned Tuesday evening that Covid-19 was spreading at increasing levels in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, a worrisome indicator after a couple of months of declining or flat transmission. City health officials said that they were especially concerned about a clear uptick in transmission among some of the city’s Hasidic communities, which were devastated by Covid-19 in the spring but had seen few cases in the summer. (Goldstein, 9/22)

In news from the East —


Fox News:
Maine Officials Ramp Up Coronavirus-Related Business Citations In ‘super-Spreader’ Wedding Aftermath 


Authorities in Maine have issued over a dozen citations to businesses in noncompliance with coronavirus restrictions since late August, marking a rush from just two since the pandemic began, according to a news outlet. The Portland Press Herald/Sunday Telegram reported 14 “imminent health citations,” penalizing businesses for dismissing preventative measures, including social distancing and wearing of masks. If the business violates the citation within 30 days, the state then issues a temporary license suspension, per the report. The outlet reportedly obtained state health inspection program records, which revealed temporary suspension of food and beverage licenses for two businesses. (Rivas, 9/22)


The Washington Post:
Capitol Hill Baptist, A Large Evangelical Church, Sues D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Over Coronavirus Restrictions


A large, prominent evangelical Capitol Hill church late Tuesday filed a legal challenge to the District, alleging the city government is violating the First Amendment by facilitating and tolerating massive anti-racism protests but forbidding worship services — indoor or outdoor — of more than 100 because of covid-19. The complaint filed by the 850-member Capitol Hill Baptist Church is the first legal challenge by a religious organization to the capital’s coronavirus restrictions. There have been two others in the region — one in Virginia and one in Maryland — since quarantine measures began, and final decisions are pending in both. (Boorstein, 9/22)


The Washington Post:
Virginia Legislator With Covid Warned His Church, But House Colleagues Say They Weren’t Informed 


The day after Thomas C. Wright Jr. tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office sent an email to Victoria Christian Church, warning fellow worshipers that the Republican state legislator from Lunenburg might have unwittingly exposed them. “Because he was in church this past Sunday, he felt it necessary to inform you of his positive test results,” Wright’s legislative assistant, Tammy Brankley Mulchi, wrote on Aug. 26. (Vozzella, 9/22)

In news from the Midwest and West —


USA Today:
Michigan City Closes Playgrounds After Discovery Of 41 Razor Blades


A group of people at a Michigan playground discovered 39 razor blades on the equipment, prompting authorities to close playgrounds across the city, police said. Officers recovered an additional two blades after they were called at about 4:40 p.m. Monday to the playground, according to a news release from the Eaton Rapids Police Department. “Some of the blades appeared to have been placed intentionally to cause harm,” police said on Facebook. (Berg, 9/22)


USA Today Network:
In One Michigan County, Almost Half Of COVID-19 Cases Tied To Farm Outbreaks


Seasonal workers who packed asparagus at a west Michigan farm initially chalked up their exhaustion, dizziness and headaches to the demands of working 13 hour-shifts seven days a week. But then some workers lost their sense of taste and smell and had a hard time breathing. By mid-June, it was clear that Todd Greiner Farms in Hart was dealing with a major COVID-19 outbreak among its workforce. (Jackson, Warikoo and Gee, 9/22)


Reuters:
Wisconsin Sounds Alarm After Surge In COVID-19 Cases As Nation Surpasses 200,000 Deaths 


Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency and extended a face coverings mandate into November to fight a flare-up of coronavirus cases, as the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 200,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. In-person social gatherings led to cases skyrocketing among people aged 18 to 24, Evers said, as he pleaded with students who returned to colleges for the fall semester to stay out of bars and wear masks. (Caspani and Holland, 9/22)


AP:
Utah Governor Increases Pandemic Restrictions In 2 Cities


Gov. Gary Herbert will increase pandemic restrictions in two Utah cities. But he stopped short of implementing any mask mandates as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state, state officials announced Tuesday. Herbert is imposing new restrictions in the cities of Provo and Orem that will limit social gatherings to 20 people starting Wednesday. The state health department is granting one exception to the new rules that will allow team sports, but without spectators. (Eppolito, 9/22)

In nursing home news —


AP:
Virus Outbreak Reported At Blair Nursing Home North Of Omaha


An outbreak of the coronavirus has occurred at a nursing home in the Omaha bedroom community of Blair, with more than two dozen residents and staff infected, health officials said. The Three Rivers Public Health Department reported in a Friday news release the outbreak at Crowell Memorial Home in Blair, which is about 20 miles northwest of Omaha. The facility is licensed for 108 assisted living and skilled nursing beds. (9/22)


Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Georgia Updates Nursing Home Visit Rules


Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration this week updated nursing home and assisted living visitation rules to pave a clearer path for families to resume seeing loved ones amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new guidelines still restrict visitations in homes that have active coronavirus cases and in counties with high infection rates. But the new guidelines ease some of the more stringent requirements that were part of Kemp’s initial order issued Sept. 15. They bring the state’s rules in line with federal guidelines released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last Thursday. (Schrade, 9/22)


San Jose Mercury News:
Bay Area Nursing Homes, Hospitals Fined For COVID-19 Violations


Nursing homes in the South Bay and East Bay — along with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center — were issued fines on Tuesday for failing to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure, said the state agency which oversees workplace safety. Cal/OSHA issued the largest penalty against the Santa Rosa Police Department, where a 43-year-old detective died of the virus in late March. (Debolt, 9/22)



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