Alaska Weighs Prioritizing Vaccine For Inmates As Prison Outbreak Grows
More than 700 inmates in one prison have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In news from other states, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing increasing complaints about his handling of the pandemic, Philadelphia is closing some shelters for homeless people and federal officials announce they have found a mink in the wild that has the coronavirus.
Anchorage Daily News:
The Biggest Coronavirus Outbreak In Alaska Is Unfolding In A Prison. Will The Incarcerated Be Prioritized For Vaccines?
The largest Alaska outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic so far is unfolding right now, within the walls of a prison in the Mat-Su Borough. At Goose Creek Correctional Center, 708 inmates had active coronavirus infections as of Monday. Other jails face worsening outbreaks, too: 112 inmates at the Anchorage Correctional Complex and 68 in Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center have the virus. Statewide, 19 incarcerated people have been hospitalized during the pandemic. Three have died. With a limited supply of vaccines now arriving, a debate over when incarcerated people should receive the vaccine is playing out across the country -- and in Alaska. The question: Should prisoners be seen as a vulnerable population living in a congregate setting and given priority access to the vaccine? (Theriault Boots, 12/14)
With His Star Dimmed, California’s Newsom Could Face Recall
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has had a rough year. The next one might be even tougher as a recall effort appears to be gaining momentum, fueled partly by outrage over the first-term Democrat dining with friends at an opulent restaurant while telling state residents to spurn social gatherings and stay home. It’s not uncommon in California for residents to seek recalls but they rarely get on the ballot — and even fewer succeed. Several launched against Newsom faded but another attempt is drawing greater attention as his fortunes change while he enters a critical stretch in his governorship. (Blood, 12/14)
U.S. Finds First Case Of Coronavirus In Wild Animal, A Utah Mink
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday that it confirmed the first known case of the coronavirus in a wild animal, a mink. The discovery increases concerns about outbreaks in mink as the virus has killed more than 15,000 farmed mink in the United States since August. ... The USDA said in a notice that it confirmed the case in a “free-ranging, wild mink” in Utah as part of wildlife surveillance around infected farms. Several animals from different wildlife species were sampled and all tested negative, the USDA added. (Polansek, 12/14)
Philly’s COVID-19 Hotels For Homeless People Are Shutting Down Over Loss Of Federal Funding
Citing funding constraints, Philadelphia officials will move the residents of two COVID-19 hotels — temporary housing for seniors or people with serious medical issues that put them at high risk for severe illness — elsewhere in the city in the coming days. Housing activists and some residents of the hotels have decried the decision, saying the city hasn’t communicated effectively with the people living there about the move. They said the confusion had driven at least one hotel resident to go sleep on the streets again, and feared there would be more. (Whelan, 12/15)
Meanwhile, in Detroit, officials are considering a behavioral health-police partnership.
Detroit Free Press:
Program Aims To Help Detroit Police Respond To Mental Health Issues
The city of Detroit announced Monday a partnership with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network that it hopes is a step toward fixing a "broken system" by adding behavioral health support to police, 911 call takers and homeless outreach workers. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he is passionate about and has long sought this program, because it is personal to him: His best friend was killed in the line of duty by someone who had been in and out of mental health treatment. (Witsil, 12/14)