Massachusetts troopers to quit over vaccine mandate; New York contingency plan in place ahead of deadline: COVID-19 updates

The State Police Association of Massachusetts said dozens of soldiers plan to leave their jobs after a judge on Thursday denied a motion to postpone the COVID-19 vaccine mandate from Governor Charlie Baker.
"We are disappointed with the judge's decision, but we respect her decision. It is unfortunate that the governor and his team have decided to issue one of the strictest vaccination mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives," said SPAM President Michael Cherven in a statement .
As a result of Judge Jackie Cowin's ruling, "dozens of soldiers have already filed their resignation papers, some of whom plan to return to other departments to offer sensible alternatives such as wearing masks and regular testing," the union wrote.
The union is also aiming to have COVID-19 infections listed as an occupational injury.
The move comes as vaccination efforts against first responders come under scrutiny as more authorities see mandates and an increase in cases.
In Los Angeles, public health officials have noted more than 200 coronavirus outbreaks among police or fire departments across the county since the pandemic began, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 211 outbreaks, which account for more than 2,500 cases between March 2020 and last month, account for 9% of total workplace outbreaks across the county, the newspaper reported on Sunday. Although police and fire brigade vaccination rates have increased and the number of individual coronavirus cases per outbreak has decreased since last winter, outbreaks have occurred regularly.
The data showed that 38 outbreaks were identified with public safety authorities in April 2021 - most in a month since the pandemic began. A month later, 35 outbreaks - the second most common - were recorded by the county health department.
Vaccination rates for Los Angeles Police and Fire Department employees generally lag behind the 68% of eligible county's residents who received their vaccinations.
Critics have accused the city's police and firefighters of neglecting public safety - and their sworn obligations to uphold them - by refusing to be vaccinated.
Also on the news:
► "The View" contributor Ana Navarro says she tested negative for COVID-19 three times after the dramatic on-air moment on Friday when she and co-host Sunny Hostin were informed they tested positive - right before a studio interview with Vice President Kamala Harris.
► In Milwaukee, Lancaster School will move to virtual learning by October 5 after three percent or more of the entire school population tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days, according to a press release from the Milwaukee Public Schools on Sunday.
►President Joe Biden urged those eligible for a COVID vaccine booster to take it, calling it a "key step" in the fight against the pandemic. Biden said he also plans to get his booster asap.
? Numbers Today: The US has recorded more than 42.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 688,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Global Total: More than 231 million cases and 4.7 million deaths. More than 183 million Americans - 55% of the population - have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
? What we read: Some vaccine-resistant people are thrilled with the idea that the shot is the "mark of the beast". Is there a reference to the Bible? Read more here.
Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY's Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
New York Reveals Plan If Mandate Results In Health Worker Shortage
Engaging the National Guard, hiring workers from other states and countries, and declaring a state of emergency are some of New York's options for health care workers to quit instead of getting a COVID-19 vaccine before Monday's deadline, says Governor Kathy Hochul. Today is the deadline for all health care workers in New York to receive the first shot of the COVID vaccine. The state introduced the mandate last month, and despite lawsuits and threats that hundreds of workers could quit their jobs, Hochul met the deadline.
"We are still fighting COVID to protect our loved ones and we must fight with every tool available to us," Hochul said in a statement. Read more here.
- Joseph Spector, New York State Team
Officials warn of COVID vaccine protests in Cincinnati
Anti-vaccine protesters attempting to block highways in the Cincinnati area as part of nationwide protests face crime charges, Hamilton County prosecutors said. Prosecutor Joe Deters said his office learned Monday morning of protesters' plans to close highways across the country to denounce mandates for masks and COVID-19 vaccines.
"I want to be very clear," said Deters in a press release. "Anyone who tries to close the highways in Hamilton County will be removed from their vehicles, charged with public service crimes and sent to jail."
Posts have surfaced on social media platforms, particularly TikTok and Facebook, urging truckers and other drivers to participate in the Patriot Shutdown protests by blocking traffic at certain highway mile markings, including three locations in Hamilton County , Amy Clausing, a spokeswoman for the prosecution office, told The Cincinnati Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network.
- Quinlan Bentley, Cincinnati Enquirer
Alabama lawmakers are considering using virus funds to build prisons
Alabama lawmakers are due to begin a special session today that will focus on a $ 1.3 billion prison construction plan to build at least three new prisons and renovate others. The projects would be phased out and borrowed $ 785 million, $ 150 million in generic fund dollars, and $ 400 million from the state's $ 2.2 billion stake in the American Rescue Plan funded. Governor Kay Ivey and Republican lawmakers have defended the use of the COVID funds, stating that it will allow the state to essentially "pay for cash" part of the construction and to use state dollars and pay interest on a loan avoid.
"We don't have to borrow that much money and pay all the money back," Ivey told reporters this week about why the virus funds should be used to build the prison.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Massachusetts State Soldiers Will Quit Due to COVID Vaccine Mandates

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