Tree boom, suncatchers, tracing changes: News from around our 50 states

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Alabama

Montgomery: The state set a record of more than 2,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals Monday as some facilities began to postpone nonemergency procedures amid staff shortages. There were 2,079 patients in Alabama hospitals with COVID-19 – the highest number since the pandemic began, according to numbers from the Department of Public Health. Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the Alabama Hospital Association, said at least three hospitals have begun to postpone some procedures. “I still don’t see anything to break the spread between now and getting through Christmas … and frankly I’m increasingly frustrated about why it is so difficult for individuals to be willing to wear masks,” he said. “The election’s over. It should no longer be political. People are dying.” He said some facilities have as many as 100 staff members out with COVID-19. Decatur Morgan Hospital President Kelli Powers said the north Alabama hospital is beginning to struggle with staffing, has had to create additional intensive care unit beds and had to borrow two ventilators. She said the hospital is facing competition with states for nurses who can make large sums by working as travel nurses out of state.

Alaska

Anchorage: Funding for a program providing housing assistance to city residents during the coronavirus pandemic is expected to be depleted by the end of the year, and applications have been closed. Anchorage Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson said the available funds in the COVID-19 Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program were expected to be exhausted by the end of December, The Anchorage Daily News reports. Quinn-Davidson issued a statement calling on Congress to provide additional funding for the federal relief initiative. The Anchorage Assembly allocated $20 million of the city’s federal coronavirus relief funding to the program, which in April began providing financial assistance to residents requiring assistance paying rent or mortgages.

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