The latest AP stories on COVID-19 outbreak in the United States:
This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants. Olympia US, Sep 10 AP Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that starting next week, the states indoor mask mandate will be expanded to include outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, regardless of vaccination status.
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The Republican governor said the Biden rule “requires pushback and response” but declined to say how the state would respond. Ducey has encouraged people to get vaccinated but has worked aggressively to block mandates of all kinds, including for vaccines and face coverings. Ducey said the Biden administration rule will lead people to quit their jobs, leaving businesses and schools in a lurch. (AP) ___ Los Angeles, Sep 10 (AP) The Los Angeles board of education has voted to require students 12 and older to be vaccinated against the coronavirus if they attend in-person classes in the nation's second-largest school district.
The board's vote Thursday makes Los Angeles by far the largest of a very small number of districts with a vaccine requirement. Nearby Culver City imposed a similar policy last month for its 7,000 students. LA has about 630,000 students.
Under the plan for Los Angeles, students 12 and up who participate in sports and other extracurricular activities need to be fully vaccinated by the end of October. Others would have until Dec. 19.
___ Minneapolis, Sep 10 (AP) More than 100 Minnesota schools from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade reported infections last week as students returned to classrooms across the state, according to a weekly COVID-19 report released by the Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday. The figure is up from previous weeks but remains a fraction of the number of infections reported in schools during a surge in virus cases statewide late last year.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during a Thursday briefing that officials remain concerned about the growth in cases in school and childcare settings and the broader implications that has for transmission in communities as students go back to school. Malcolm stressed vaccinations for all people 12 and older, as well as masking for all students, teachers, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status, among other mitigation methods.
“The decisions we make as individuals don't just affect us individually, they have ripple effects that go deep into the community,” she said. “We do know, all of us, how important in-person learning is for students and we need to take the right actions to make that in-person learning possible and safe.” Just over 72% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 68% have been fully inoculated as of Tuesday, according to a state dashboard.
___ Little Rock (US), Sep 10 (AP) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said President Joe Biden's order that private businesses require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is not the right answer for boosting vaccination rates.
“I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom,” Hutchinson, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, said in a statement. “The same principle should protect the private sector from government overreach that requires them to vaccinate all employees.” Some of Arkansas' largest employers are already requiring workers to get vaccinated.
___ Helena (US), Sep 10 (AP) Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte is calling a new vaccination mandate that could affect as many as 100 million Americans “unlawful and un-American.” Gianforte, a Republican, said in a Tweet on Thursday that he is “committed to protecting Montanans' freedoms and liberties against this gross federal overreach.” Montana is the only state in the U.S. with a law that makes it illegal for private employers to require vaccines as a condition for employment. That new requirement appears to clash with parts of the mandate, which tells all private businesses with 100 or more employees to require them to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly for the respiratory virus.
The Montana law was passed earlier this year by the Republican-dominated state Legislature despite pushback from the state's hospital association and other medical groups straining under the weight of a new surge in COVID-19 infections.
A Montana Hospital Association spokesperson said in an email on Thursday that their legal counsel will evaluate the new mandate to determine how to comply with federal and state law.
___ Jackson (US), Sep 10 (AP) Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves sharply criticized President Joe Biden's announcement that employers with at least 100 workers would have to require the workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19. “The President has no authority to require that Americans inject themselves because of their employment at a private business,” Reeves wrote on Twitter. “The vaccine itself is life-saving, but this unconstitutional move is terrifying. This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.” ___ Olympia (US), Sep 10 (AP) Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Thursday that starting next week, the state's indoor mask mandate will be expanded to include outdoor events with 500 or more attendees, regardless of vaccination status. The new requirement — which takes effect Monday — comes days after a similar outdoor mask mandates took effect in the state's two most populous counties, King and Pierce, due to rising COVID-19 cases. An indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, has been in place in Washington since Aug. 23. Last month, Oregon was the first state to reinstitute a statewide mask requirement for outdoor public areas where people are close together.
___ Hartford (US), Sep 10 (AP) Connecticut officials expressed concerns about inconsistent mask wearing and people shunning coronavirus vaccines after 37 people became infected in outbreaks at a summer camp, group home and a party.
Gov. Ned Lamont and acting state heath Commissioner Deidre Gifford said most of the people who became infected were not vaccinated and some of them spread the virus to relatives who did not go to those locations. All three outbreaks happened last month. Officials did not release the locations of the three outbreaks.
Also Thursday, the state Department of Correction reported that a 78-year-old state prison inmate died after contracting the coronavirus for a second time.
The male prisoner was detained at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield and died early Wednesday morning. Officials said he had several underlying health issues and had recovered from his first coronavirus infection last December.
The inmate, who was serving a 40-year sentence for sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, was the first state prisoner to die from COVID-19 since January and the 20th inmate to die during the pandemic.
The measure aims to push back against governors in Iowa, South Carolina and other states attempting to block schools from requiring masks among students and teachers. Some states, including Florida, have withheld the salaries of school leaders who have required masks in defiance of state orders.
Those schools will soon be able to apply for federal grants under Project SAFE to make up for any money lost due to implementing public health measures backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says school officials should be thanked, not punished, for taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and “this program will allow them to continue that critical work of keeping students safe.” The money will come from an existing pool of federal funding that the Education Department can use on a range of student safety initiatives. The agency says it will invite districts to apply in the coming weeks.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)