The Latest: U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga tests positive for virus
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga said he tested positive for the coronavirus before he was scheduled to appear Wednesday at a Michigan campaign rally with Vice President Mike Pence.
Huizenga said on Twitter that he took a rapid test and was isolating himself while awaiting results from a second test.
Pence spoke for about an hour outdoors at Lacks Enterprises in Cascade Township, near Grand Rapids. Peter Meijer, a Republican running for Congress, greeted and introduced Pence.
“The road to victory runs right through Michigan,” Pence said.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— French President Macron sets curfew, restores state of emergency
— Spain 1st European Union nation to reach 900,000 virus cases
— World Bank OKs $12B for coronavirus vaccines, tests
— Russian President Vladimir Putin announces regulatory approval for a second coronavirus vaccine after early-stage studies.
— Scientists say among 21 developed countries at start of the coronavirus pandemic, those with early lockdowns, solid national health systems avoided more deaths.
— Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Italy after testing positive for the coronavirus in Portugal.
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
OKLAHOMA CITY — The White House Coronavirus Task Force says Oklahoma remains in the red zone for newly reported coronavirus cases, which recommends residents wear masks among the ways to slow the virus’ spread.
“Community spread continues in Oklahoma in both rural and urban areas,” according to the task force report released Wednesday by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Mitigation efforts should … include mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private to stop the increasing spread among residents of Oklahoma.”
The health department said there were 749 people hospitalized Wednesday, down from a record high 760 reported Tuesday. There were an additional 1,121 confirmed cases, bringing the total to 102,614 since the pandemic began.
Health officials also reported 13 additional deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the disease, bringing the death toll to 1,132.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday that the statewide mask order will remain in place but tougher restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes aren’t being reinstated despite recent sharp increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and rates of new infections.
The Republican governor said some people were showing disregard for the safety of others, putting the ability of schools to remain open and health of those most at risk in jeopardy.
“Those inactions are costing, just to be blunt, health care costs, lost wages, business failures. Don’t kid yourself, we’re all paying this bill,” Holcomb said. “… Throwing caution to the wind, ultimately ends up costing us all. It is the literal definition of whistling past the graveyard, pretending this isn’t around us.”
Holcomb decided three weeks ago to lift nearly all of Indiana’s restrictions while extending the mask mandate, which was scheduled to expire Saturday. His new order will extend it for a month.
State health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box also announced that she, an adult daughter and young grandson tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. Box said she wasn’t suffering any COVID-19 symptoms, while her daughter and grandson had mild symptoms.
Holcomb wore a face mask during the online briefing from his Statehouse office for the first time, saying he would be undergoing a coronavirus test later Wednesday and planned to quarantine himself at the governor’s office until he had the results.
AVON, Conn. — Health officials in Connecticut said Wednesday that coronavirus outbreaks at two long-term care centers in the same town have been linked to a resident of one of the facilities and staff who work at both locations. The state Department of Public Health launched an investigation.
Farmington Valley Health District Director Jennifer Kertanis said two dozen residents and 16 staff at the Avon Health Center nursing home in Avon recently tested positive for the virus.
Residence at Brookside spokesperson Ted Doyle said 11 residents and three staff tested positive recently at the assisted living facility about 4 miles (6 kilometers) away.
Kertanis said the outbreak appeared to originate from a Brookside resident who went on an outpatient visit and contracted the virus. Health officials learned of the resident’s positive test on Oct. 1 and said all Brookside residents and staff were tested.
Doyle said two Brookside residents who tested positive died, but one of them was in hospice care and it wasn’t clear what role the coronavirus played in their death.
State Department of Public Health spokesperson Av Harris said the agency is investigating the outbreaks and working with staff at the two centers.
The outbreaks come as Connecticut is seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases. The positive test rate was 2.4% on Tuesday, the highest it has been since June. More than 170 people are hospitalized statewide, also the highest total in several months but far fewer than the peak of nearly 2,000 in the earlier days of the pandemic.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s office says that the Republican is in quarantine after a member of his security detail tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to a statement, Lee had tested negative on Wednesday but he would be in quarantine with first lady Maria Lee.
No other information about the exposure was immediately available.
Along with announcing he’s in quarantine, Lee canceled Wednesday’s in-person COVID-19 briefing. Instead, Lee and Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey will hold a telephone conference call to provide further updates.
PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron announced that 18 million French citizens in nine regions, including in Paris, will have a curfew starting Saturday through Dec. 1.
He also reinstated the state of health emergency for the country, which ended three months ago. The 9 p.m. curfew is aimed at limiting the resurgent coronavirus amid second wave.
Macron says: “Our goal is to curb the virus. We must reduce the number of cases per day to 3,000 or 4,000. Our goal is to reduce private contacts. What is called the curfew is a measure that is appropriate.”
The curfew will apply to the Paris region and to eight others: Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne.
“We won’t go to restaurants after 9 p.m., we won’t’ see friends, we won’t party, because that’s how to pass on the virus,” Macron says.
Patients with COVID-19 occupy a third of intensive care units nationwide. France has 798,000 confirmed cases and nearly 33,000 deaths.
DES MOINES — Iowa reported 1,217 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and 11 deaths.
President Donald Trump was expected to visit Des Moines on Wednesday for an airport rally held in a cargo hangar. Iowa’s positivity rate of 18.82% ranks fifth in the nation.
The number of people treated in hospitals for COVID-19 reached a new high of 473. A region of southeast Iowa had only 18% inpatient beds available, according to state data.
Iowa’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate rose in the past two weeks from 16.78% on Sept. 29 to 18.82% on Oct. 13, according information from Johns Hopkins University.
In Iowa, there’s been a total of 101,812 confirmed cases and 1,492 deaths.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The city of Beverly Hills, California, has banned trick-or-treating this Halloween to try to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
The action was approved as an urgency ordinance by the City Council on Tuesday night.
The ordinance bars trick-or-treaters from going house to house or car to car, which is described as “trunk or treating.”
People may not provide candy or Halloween treats to anyone outside their own household. The city is also banning pedestrians and vehicles from certain streets on Oct. 31, excluding residents.
California has not enacted a statewide restriction on Halloween but is strongly discouraging those activities and urging families to plan alternatives, including virtual celebrations.
MADRID — Spain has become the first European Union nation to reach 900,000 infections after adding more than 11,000 confirmed cases.
Spain’s health ministry say it has confirmed 908,056 infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which is seventh in the world.
France is next in the EU with more than 750,000 cases, although the exact number of cases in each country depends on the amount of testing.
More than 5,000 new cases were diagnosed in Spain between Tuesday and Wednesday, the ministry says.
Spanish authorities have confirmed 33,413 deaths from COVID-19, ranking eighth in the world. Health experts believe the actual number is much higher because of a lack of testing.
NEW YORK — Facing public skepticism about rushed COVID-19 vaccines, U.S. health officials are planning an extra layer of safety scrutiny for the first people vaccinated when shots become available.
A new poll shows a quarter of Americans say they wouldn’t get vaccinated, a slight increase from 1 in 5 in May. The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found only 46% of Americans want the vaccine and 29% aren’t sure.
Black Americans have been especially hard-hit by COVID-19, but just 22% say they plan to get vaccinated compared with 48% of white Americans, the AP-NORC poll found.
On top of rigorous final testing in tens of thousands of people, any COVID-19 vaccines cleared for widespread use will get additional safety evaluation as they’re rolled out. Some states are planning their own safety reviews.
Among plans from the CDC: Texting early vaccine recipients to check how they’re feeling, daily for the first week and then weekly out to six weeks.
ROME — Italy has recorded 7,332 coronavirus cases, its single biggest single-day increase since the start of the outbreak.
The previous record was 6,557 cases on March 21 when Italy became the European epicenter of the pandemic. However, there is more testing, with 152,000 conducted in the last day.
Another 43 people died, bringing Italy’s confirmed toll to 36,289, the second highest in Europe after Britain.
Public health officials are warning that hospitals are filling up and Italy’s contact tracing is overwhelmed by the number of the new infections. Virologist Andrea Crisanti says the resurgence threatens to create a “vicious circle” of too many infections to trace.
Speaking to RAI TG24 on Wednesday, he suggested a Christmastime lockdown would help stop the chain of transmission and help “reset” the overwhelmed contact tracing system.
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants and other indoor places.
The order issued Wednesday comes as Wisconsin breaks records for new coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
Evers imposed the new capacity limits last week to help curb the spread in the state. It limits the number of customers in many indoor establishment to 25% of capacity.
The Tavern League of Wisconsin sued, arguing it amounted to “defacto closure.” Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel on Wednesday blocked the order and set a court date for Monday.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this year struck down Evers’ “safer at home” order, which the governor has cited as part of the reason why coronavirus cases have spiked in Wisconsin.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s health secretary announced he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Lorenzo González says he’s quarantined himself and alerted all those he’d been in contact.
The U.S. territory of 3.2 million people has reported more than 27,600 confirmed cases and more than 740 deaths.
The island remains under certain restrictions imposed since the pandemic began, including a night curfew and restaurants, gyms and theaters operating at limited capacity.
GENEVA — The Swiss army is stopping weekend leave for some 10,000 recruits for the last two weeks of October to brace against the spread of the coronavirus.
Spokesman Daniel Reist of the Swiss army says the 24 coronavirus cases currently tallied were all contracted during previous leave at home — not among soldiers — so military chiefs opted to suspend the upcoming leave.
Seven of those cases produced mild symptoms, while the others had no symptoms at all. Switzerland has mandatory military service for all young men.
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA — Romania registered a record number of new coronavirus infections with 4,016 on Wednesday as the number of patients in intensive care also surged.
Romania, a nation of 19 million, has a total of 164,477 confirmed cases and 5,601 deaths. More than two-thirds of the confirmed cases were reported since the end of July.
The surge in new infections comes as authorities in Bucharest are considering a partial reopening of cinemas, theaters and restaurants following the recommendations of the National Center for Supervision and Control of Infectious Diseases (CNSU).
Romanian authorities ordered the shutdown of all indoor restaurants, theaters, movie cinemas, gambling and dance venues in the capital in early October. If the recommendations are approved, cinemas, theaters and restaurants will re-open on Thursday with reduced capacity, depending on the number of registered cases in their areas.
City officials have banned larger gatherings such as weddings and baptisms and may impose mandatory mask wearing outdoors.
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