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Jobless Claims Rise on Delmarva, MD Restrictions Upheld

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — More than 51,000 Maryland residents filed for unemployment last week. The state's labor department reported Thursday that 51,108 people filed for unemployment benefits. That's down from 65,805 people who filed for benefits the week before that. More than 607,000 Maryland residents have filed for unemployment in the last nine weeks. The U.S. Labor Department says roughly 38.6 million people have filed for jobless aid in the United States since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces. Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has announced 17 new COVID-19 test sites at CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across the state. 


DOVER, Del. (AP) — The number of initial unemployment claims filed by Delawareans ticked up slightly last week even as businesses begin to prepare for a gradual reopening of Delaware’s economy amid the coronavirus epidemic. Officials reported Thursday that nearly 5,600 initial unemployment claims were filed for the week ending May 16. That’s up from about 5,200 the previous week and the first increase in seven weeks. Almost 96,000 jobless claims have been filed since March 15, and more than $234.7 million in unemployment benefits paid. That includes $142 million in federal funds and almost $92 million from Delaware’s unemployment insurance trust fund. 

Virginia Jobless Troubles

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than two months after the coronavirus pandemic started forcing Virginia businesses to slash their workforces, the state’s unemployment system still can’t keep up with the deluge of calls and emails from laid-off workers who need help. Virginians across the state continue to report that it’s nearly impossible to reach anyone with the Virginia Employment Commission by phone. People instead have turned to social media, legal aid centers or their elected officials for help troubleshooting. Virginia Employment Commission spokeswoman Joyce Fogg acknowledged problems with the phone lines and said the agency has done its best to add staff to accommodate the unprecedented demand.

Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Credit Facebiij
Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD)

Court Upholds MD Restrictions

A federal judge has rejected a challenge by churches and businesses to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake issued the order on Wednesday in response to a lawsuit filed by the two groups, which joined Del. Dan Cox, a Frederick Republican, in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs alleged that their right to travel, free speech and assembly were violated, and that businesses sustained deep losses because of what they call unlawful orders. They were seeking a temporary restraining order to stop enforcement of Hogan's order, but Blake said the plaintiffs failed to show the order was an invasion of rights.

Virginia Medaid Enrollment Up

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says almost 30,000 adults have enrolled in the state’s expanded Medicaid program since he declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Northam said Wednesday that more than 420,000 Virginians have enrolled in Medicaid since the state voted to expand it two years ago. Medicaid is a publicly funded health care program whose costs are shared by the federal and state governments. Expanding Medicaid to low-income, able-bodied adults was a key part of former President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul and is one of Northam’s top legislative achievements.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.