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Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

7,000 more hospital beds needed for COVID-19 surge, state predicts

Expecting COVID-19 cases to peak in two to four weeks, the state is predicting it will need 7,000 more hospital beds to handle the worst scenario of patient influx, Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday, April 1.

Still in the early stages of coping with the coronavirus, the state has only 3,414 in-patient beds available, only 32% of its capacity, 534 intensive care unit beds and 838 ventilators, it was revealed during the governor’s daily press conference done remotely from the State Capitol. More licensed, unstaffed beds are available.

The peak could hit April 19 or 20, the governor said, noting the state is not prepared for the number of hospitalizations that could occur but is planning to “close the gap” on that shortage.

Two weeks ago, the state estimated it had 15,000 licensed, unused beds and an additional 12,000 hospitalized people.

Read more: https://dailymemphian.com/section/coronavirus/article/12506/state-projecting-7000-more-hospital-beds-needed
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 02:43 AM (0 replies)

State to deploy National Guard to build temporary hospitals

Gov. Kristi Noem announced Thursday afternoon that she would deploy the state’s National Guard to help build hospitals around the state, starting in Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

While hospitals in the state are already working on building up their capacity to add more beds and prepare for a surge, Noem said the National Guard would be setting up additional temporary hospital structures outside of pre-existing hospitals and clinics.

The National Guard would first help set up hospital capacity for 100 beds specifically for COVID-19 patients in Rapid City and Sioux Falls and then look at other communities that need help.

Noem said the state is using some federal funding to help cover the costs of the National Guard, which she said can be expensive to mobilize. She said she would release the details of which units will serve first at a later date.

Read more: https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/state-and-regional/state-to-deploy-national-guard-to-build-temporary-hospitals/article_f6c9a30a-e6eb-5595-a846-8acca7926315.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:36 AM (0 replies)

S.D. legislative panel directs Senate to open investigation of leaders Greenfield, Langer

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — An official investigation was ordered Thursday into the conduct of the South Dakota Senate’s top two Republicans during the final night of 2020 legislative session.

The Senate’s majority and minority caucuses will name five Republicans and four Democrats to look into an allegation that Senate Republican leader Kris Langer and Senator Brock Greenfield were intoxicated at the Capitol.

The report is due no later than June 30.

The Legislature’s Executive Board voted 12-1 for the motion from Senator Jim Bolin, the Senate Republican assistant leader. House Republican leader Lee Qualm seconded the motion.

The meeting was by teleconference. Greenfield, who is Senate president pro tem, chairs the board. Langer also is a member of the board. The two voted against adding Bolin’s request to the agenda Thursday.

Read more: https://www.keloland.com/news/capitol-news-bureau/s-d-legislative-panel-directs-senate-to-open-investigation-of-leaders-greenfield-langer/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:21 AM (0 replies)

Keystone, Casinos in Big Economic Trouble as Coronavirus Kills Tourism

Coronavirus won’t kill everybody, but it could put everyone in Keystone, including city government, out of business:

…the sales-tax revenues from food and drink, lodging and retail sales make up nearly three-quarters of the town’s annual $1.25 million budget, putting Keystone’s financial fortunes at the mercy of the tourism trade and almost entirely reliant on money spent by visitors.

“The town has kind of set itself up to be extremely sensitive to sales tax because we don’t have much property tax,” said Cassandra Ott, finance officer in Keystone. “Considering the town is mostly tourism-based, I would say the majority of that is from visitors.”

And this year, with fears of COVID-19 keeping tourists away so far and into the foreseeable future, the town might have to undergo some painful belt-tightening. Local businesses that are open year-round or which opened in March for the early tourism season report that sales are already down by 65% or more, and the spring-break season appears to be a complete loss [Bart Pfankuch, “Tourism Slowdown Could Devastate Keystone, S.D., Gateway to Mount Rushmore,” South Dakota News Watch, 2020.03.31].

On the other side of the state, Royal River Casino in Flandreau is closing “in the best interest of our guests and team members.”

Senator Marion Michael Rounds tells Pfankuch and fellow SD News Watcher Nick Lowrey that South Dakota’s tourism season will be “extremely difficult, if almost nearly non-existent.” Those 48,000 idle tourism workers might be good candidates for a new Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration, dispatched to the Black Hills, the Badlands, and elsewhere around the state to build roads and parks and dinosaurs for people to come see and enjoy in South Dakota when we’ve all had our new shots and can get back to touring our great state and nation.

Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 01:13 AM (0 replies)

USC puts summer classes online to keep students from returning amid coronavirus outbreak

COLUMBIA — In-person classes will not resume at South Carolina’s largest college until the fall semester in an effort to avoid spreading coronavirus across campus and the state’s capital city.

The University of South Carolina will hold summer classes online because the COVID-19 outbreak is not expected to peak until May, shortly before those courses begin, school President Bob Caslen said.

“Our top priority remains your health, safety and wellbeing,” Caslen wrote Thursday. “It was clear that allowing students, faculty, staff and visitors to return to campus this summer could be dangerous.

“We feel the risk of communal infection to the campus and the surrounding community in this closed-campus environment is still unacceptable.”

College of Charleston, the state’s third-largest university, also will hold summer classes online.

Read more: https://www.postandcourier.com/health/covid19/usc-puts-summer-classes-online-to-keep-students-from-returning-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/article_53769dea-7533-11ea-9f01-e74f0841d62c.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Fri Apr 3, 2020, 12:05 AM (0 replies)

SC lawmakers consider brief return next week to handle stalled budget

COLUMBIA — South Carolina legislative leaders are considering briefly calling lawmakers back to the Statehouse next week to extend government funding at current spending levels while they wait for the state to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, and House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, are eyeing a single-day return for both chambers next Wednesday to approve a funding measure as well as a yet-to-be-drafted resolution to adjourn the Legislature until later in the year, according to an internal email obtained by The Post and Courier.

The decision has not yet been finalized, as the leaders are still soliciting input on the plan from other lawmakers. Peeler sought advice from a state health department physician, who said that it would be best not to return at all, but if needed it would be better to return sooner than later.

Some would prefer to wait until later, fearful of exacerbating the risk of spreading the virus and sending a confusing message to residents who have been asked to stay home.

Read more: https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/sc-lawmakers-consider-brief-return-next-week-to-handle-stalled-budget/article_858d675c-7437-11ea-af10-5f54a5ab306a.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 11:47 PM (0 replies)

No one asked Mark Sanford, but he thinks the coronavirus relief bill is a bad idea

Like a growing contingent in the Lowcountry, Mark Sanford is unemployed.

After ending his quixotic Republican challenge to President Donald Trump, Sanford retreated to what he calls "the Farm," family property at Coosaw Plantation an hour south of Charleston. Describing himself as "random ex-governor trying to figure out what he’s going to do next," Sanford has mostly kept to himself during the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the state and nation

But the former governor and unapologetic libertarian still has thoughts — a lot of them — on the federal government's ever-growing debt, especially with the recently approved $2.2 trillion aid and stimulus package.

Those $1,200 checks for taxpayers are "nonsensical and dangerous in economic terms," in Sanford's estimation.

"These are non-offset funds, which means we are going straight to the Chinese and other lenders around the world or to ourselves and borrowing the money," he said. "You’re putting in the one pocket and taking out the other … We’re digging some mighty, mighty holes."

Read more: https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/no-one-asked-mark-sanford-but-he-thinks-the-coronavirus-aid-is-a-bad-idea/Content?oid=31100542
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 11:09 PM (1 replies)

Scallop Industry Kicks Off Season On Uncertain Terms Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The scallop industry has been growing steadily over the last few years, valued at over $500 million. But the coronavirus spread has brought it to a halt, mostly because restaurants are no longer buying.

New Bedford scallop fisherman Eric Hansen says there’s usually an influx of landings when the season starts but the coronavirus spread has changed everything.

"I’m questioning myself whether I’m going to make a trip or wait to see if maybe there are restaurants open and a demand starts again," Hansen said. "But right now everything is in flux."

Hansen noted he's worried about whether it’ll be safe to send his crew out during the crisis.

Read more: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/scallop-industry-kicks-off-season-on-uncertain-terms-amid-covid-19-crisis
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 10:46 PM (1 replies)

Judge lets rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine go home, citing COVID-19

NEW YORK (AP) — Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was ordered immediately freed from a Manhattan federal lockup four months early Thursday by a judge who cited his asthma and the greater danger he would face behind bars during the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer made the ruling a day after telling lawyers on both sides that he intended to do so. He cited “a raging and virulent pandemic that has entered federal prisons in New York City.” Prosecutors did not oppose the action.

“In light of the heightened medical risk presented to Mr. Hernandez by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extraordinary and compelling reasons to reduce Mr. Hernandez’s sentence,” he said.

Last week, the judge said he would have sentenced the 23-year-old performer, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, to home confinement rather than prison when he announced the sentence in December had he known then of the coronavirus.

Read more: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/judge-lets-rapper-tekashi-6ix9ine-go-home-citing-covid-19
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 10:39 PM (1 replies)

DMV closes all operations after employee tests positive for coronavirus

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles closed its operations Thursday and Friday after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

“We have been informed that a DMV staff member has tested positive for COVID-19,” Department of Administration spokeswoman Brenna McCabe said. “We understand that this is a difficult time for both customers and state employees. Keeping everyone safe must be our first priority. For that reason, DMV operations are temporarily closed to the public today, April 2 and tomorrow, April 3 so we can conduct some additional cleaning in the facility. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers. Please check the DMV website for updates.”

The DMV also canceled all road tests through April 10.

The division had already curtailed operations to allow service only by reservation at its Cranston headquarters, and implemented a “90-day grace period for driver’s licenses, permits, identification cards, and vehicle registrations due to expire in March and April.”

Read more: https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20200402/dmv-closes-all-operations-after-employee-tests-positive-for-coronavirus
Posted by TexasTowelie | Thu Apr 2, 2020, 10:19 PM (0 replies)
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