Tag: Area

 

The Latest: German area goes into de-facto virus lockdown

BERLIN — A second German district has gone into a de-facto lockdown as new coronavirus infections surge in the country and across Europe.

The restrictions in Bavaria’s Rottal-Inn county, on the border with Austria, began Tuesday, news agency dpa reported. Rottal-Inn follows Berchtesgaden, another Bavarian county in Germany’s southeastern corner, which introduced similar restrictions last week.

Schools and kindergartens will be closed and events canceled, and people told not to leave their homes without good reason.

Rottal-Inn has recorded well over 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days. In Germany, measures are required once new infections top the 50 per 100,000 mark.

On Tuesday, the country’s national disease control center reported 11,409 new infections. Another 42 people died, bringing the country’s overall virus death toll to 10,098.

Hospitals and intensive units are filling up again and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed grave concern, saying the current restrictions are not strong enough to slow down the spread of the virus.

Merkel will meet with the state governors Wednesday and the government is likely to introduce further restrictions.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— The coronavirus is getting worse in states that Trump needs to win the most

— U.S. sees coronavirus deaths rising, just like the experts predicted

— European nations enact sweeping restrictions like curfews to try to slow surging infection rates

— In a year marked by fear and death, Americans wrestle with celebrating a holiday hinged on turning fear and death into fun

— World Series is being played at a neutral site in front of smallest crowds in a century, but Dodgers and Rays are just happy that some fans are there

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— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

PARIS — France’s government is holding emergency virus meetings Tuesday and warning of possible new lockdowns, as hospitals fill up with new COVID patients and doctors plead for backup.

President Emmanuel Macron is convening top ministers and Prime Minister Jean Castex is meeting with lawmakers, unions and business lobbies as the government weighs its next steps in the fight against surging infections. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France-Inter radio that “we should expect difficult decisions.”

Among possible new measures for the hardest-hit areas are lengthening existing curfews, full confinement on weekends or all week, and closing non-essential businesses.

Doctors describe growing pressure on emergency services and intensive care wards, where COVID patients now take up 54% of beds nationwide.

France is now reporting more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people each week, and nearly 18% of its widespread tests are now coming back positive. It has reported Europe’s third-highest virus death toll, at more than 35,000 lives lost.

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MOSCOW — Russian authorities on Tuesday have issued a nationwide mask requirement amid a rapid resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak.

Health authorities registered 16,550 new cases and 320 new deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll

‘Pretty awful.’ Two Bay Area counties halt COVID-19 test program run by Google offshoot

A person displays their documentation behind the rolled up car window, to enter the Verily coronavirus free drive-up testing site at Cal Expo in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, March 27, 2020. Area residents who are 18 or older and experiencing mild to moderate symptoms can apply online for Project Baseline's COVID-19 screening in-person testing. The program has been operating in the San Francisco Bay Area before expanding to Sacramento. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A person displays documentation to enter a Verily coronavirus free drive-up testing site at Cal Expo in Sacramento in March. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Amid fanfare in March, California officials celebrated the launch of a multimillion-dollar contract with Verily — Google’s health-focused sister company — that they said would vastly expand coronavirus testing among the state’s impoverished and underserved communities.

But seven months later, San Francisco and Alameda counties — two of the state’s most populous — have severed ties with the company’s testing sites amid concerns about patients’ data privacy and complaints that funding intended to boost testing in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods instead was benefiting higher-income residents in other communities.

San Francisco and Alameda are among at least 28 counties, including Los Angeles, where California has paid Verily to boost testing capacity through contracts collectively worth $55 million, according to a spokesperson for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. About half have received coronavirus tests through six mobile units that travel among rural areas.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has heralded the investment as a game-changer in addressing persistent inequities in access to testing across the state that tend to fall along lines of ethnicity and income. The goal, he said in April, touting six new Verily testing sites, was to “make sure we’re truly testing California broadly defined, not just parts of California and those that somehow have the privilege of getting ahead of the line.”

Yet the roadblocks for getting underrepresented populations to use the program soon became apparent to Alameda County officials. In a June letter to California Secretary of Health Mark Ghaly, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and other members of the county’s COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force raised numerous concerns about the Verily protocols.

Among their complaints: People signing up for a test through Verily had to do so online, using an existing or newly created Gmail account; the sign-ups were offered only in English or Spanish; and participants were asked to provide sensitive personal information, including their home address and whether they were managing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity or congestive heart failure, which could expose their data to third-party use.

“It is critical in this crisis that we continue to build trust between government and healthcare providers and vulnerable communities,” the task force members wrote.

Verily had two sites in Alameda County, and one was shuttered by May. The second, located at an Oakland church, closed in August and is set to reopen using a different testing vendor. Alameda County testing director Dr. Jocelyn Freeman Garrick said that while the Verily sites helped the county reach testing goals in terms of raw numbers, they were phased out because of long wait times of a week or more for results, and because the tests were not reaching the residents in greatest need.

Verily does not manufacture the tests used at its California sites. It contracts with major corporations such as Quest Diagnostics and Thermo Fisher Scientific to provide

Stanford Medicine Launches Study Of Greater San Francisco Bay Area Using Safe, Convenient COVID-19 Testing From Home

STANFORD, Calif., Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Stanford University School of Medicine today announced the launch of the Community Alliance to Test Coronavirus at Home (CATCH) Study, an effort that seeks to estimate the true population prevalence of COVID-19 across the 8.5 million population of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and ultimately aid in the effort to reopen schools, workplaces and communities.

The CATCH Study is now seeking participants. A key aim of the CATCH Study is to scale a simple, safe, convenient, and population-scale early diagnostic system to help stop further undetected spread of COVID-19. CATCH utilizes online surveys and home delivered self-collection kits that are able to be rapidly deployed to carry out remote testing in a broad and representative sample of the population, including those underserved and vulnerable populations that might otherwise not be reached or tested. The study is enabled by the Vera Cloud Testing Platform including its novel Vera Home Test Kit, a gentle nasal swab self-collection kit that can be delivered directly to the homes of study participants by existing couriers and package delivery services.

There is no cost to CATCH Study participation, and all residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are welcome to enroll. Every participant joins online, reports their symptoms and exposures to COVID-19 daily, and may also be offered a home test kit at no cost upon reporting. If accepted, within 24 hours a home test kit will be delivered safely and conveniently by express courier to their home, where they can self-collect a sample, which is then delivered to the Stanford Health Care laboratory and tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection. All tested participants are informed of their results privately and securely online via their personal password-protected account within the CATCH website. The unique approach removes any requirement to leave home or shelter-in-place. 

The study is being led by Stanford Medicine researchers Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatric infectious diseases and of health research and policy, Lorene Nelson, MD, associate professor of health research and policy, as well as Dr. Stephen Quake, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics and co-president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

“We encourage as many Bay Area residents as possible to sign-up for the CATCH Study to help increase our knowledge of a virus that has had significant impacts on our communities,” said Dr. Maldonado. “Our main objective is to learn where and how the virus is spreading — whether people are displaying symptoms or not — and which communities are most vulnerable. These insights will help our scientists and local public officials gain a deeper understanding of the distribution of COVID-19 throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area so that they can stop its spread.”

With the effects of COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minority and vulnerable communities throughout the country, and specifically in the Bay Area, one of the key intentions of the study is to address inequities in testing by researching underserved populations. The testing kits will provide

Residential area may impact risk of chronic conditions

Where you live may increase your risk for uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and depression, according to a study. Results indicate that local and regional factors significantly affect individuals with chronic health conditions.

The new study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 60% of United States adults have a chronic disease, with 40% having two or more. Chronic conditions are the primary causes of death and disability in U.S. adults, contributing to the nation’s $3.5 trillion annual healthcare costs.

The incidence of risk factors for developing or dying from chronic conditions depends on where you live in the U.S. For example, the prevalence of high blood pressure in 2019 was almost 44% in West Virginia, but only 26% in Utah.

Even within a U.S. city, the incidence of a chronic condition can vary dramatically. Data from the 500 Cities Project reports that adult rates of high blood pressure range from 4.9–71.0% in different areas of Chicago.

It is unclear if these geographic variations in health disparities are due to differences in socioeconomic status, age, and gender between the two areas or caused directly by the place where someone lives.

Previous studies used Medicare claim data to evaluate how diagnosis rates and healthcare use change when individuals move to a location with a different health outcome level.

However, prior research failed to observe health outcomes over time. To address these shortcomings, Aaron Baum, Ph.D., and other Mount Sinai researchers conducted a new study. They evaluated the incidence and changes in health outcomes 3 years before and 3 years after study participants moved once.

They did so in a quarterly fashion, evaluating health outcomes four times each year.

This retrospective study of approximately 5 million adults, conducted at the Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System from 2008–2018, examined the national claims data from the Veterans Health Administration’s integrated healthcare records. About 1 million of the trial participants moved once during the study.

Researchers identified individuals who moved based on zip code and tracked primary health outcomes, including uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and depressive symptoms.

The trial used statistical methods to adjust for the participant’s characteristics, the period since they moved, and national trends that could interfere with the results’ accuracy.

The results demonstrate a 27.5% change in the incidence of uncontrolled blood pressure and a 15.2% change in depressive symptoms of the between-area difference after moving.

The incidence of uncontrolled diabetes and obesity changed to a lesser extent in movers: 5.0% and 3.1%, respectively.

The trial also shows an increased risk of an uncontrolled chronic condition after moving to a place where the uncontrolled disease is more prevalent.

Movers had a 7% increase in uncontrolled blood pressure, a 2% increase in obesity, a 1% increase in uncontrolled diabetes, and a 3% increase in depressive symptoms when moving from a 10th to a 90th percentile prevalence zip code for a health outcome.

The

Dentist Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta Explains the Field’s Most Common Area of Practice, Centered Around Preventive and Restorative Care

Press release content from Accesswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / October 9, 2020 / Focused on preventive and restorative services intended to promote optimum oral health, general dentists make up more than two-thirds of the profession. A popular dentist based in the so-called Peach State of Georgia, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta explains more about the field.

“Often I’m asked, ‘What is general dentistry?’” says Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, speaking from his office in the Gwinnett County city of Norcross.

According to Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, as many as 80 percent of all qualified individuals-those using their dental degree in some fashion-in the United States are considered general dentists. “Distinct from those who are focused primarily on one area of dental practice, such as periodontics, general dentists handle an array of different services, vital to the continued oral health of their patients,” he explains.

The general dentistry field, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta goes on to illustrate, primarily covers preventive and restorative services. “General dentists may also take care of cosmetic procedures,” adds the expert, “as well as overall health concerns, such as in the case of obstructive sleep apnea.”

For many people, the one healthcare provider that they see more than any other is their dentist. Invariably, this will be a general dentist, says Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta. “As general dentists, we are the primary providers of dental care to patients of all ages,” he points out.

Routine visits, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta suggests, to a family dentist, are the most common occurrence in a general dentistry practice, followed by professional cleaning, and, in the presence of decay, the process of filling an affected tooth.

The majority of patients are advised, Dr. Roach says, to visit their dentist at regular intervals to keep their pearly whites in tip-top condition. “Anywhere from quarterly to once or twice per year should be the norm for a typical patient,” proposes Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta, “although a quick conversation with your chosen dentist will provide a more concrete idea.”

All general dentists, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta reports, have successfully completed four years of education at an accredited dental school. “They will also have fulfilled the requirements of their local state licensing board,” he explains, “including testing and, in some instances, continuing education.”

Proudly practicing dentistry for more than two decades, Dr. Frank Roach is based in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metropolitan statistical area city of Norcross. Norcross, in turn, is located in Gwinnett County – a suburban county of Atlanta in the north-central portion of Georgia. Home to almost a million people, Gwinnett County is the second-most populous in the so-called Peach State after Fulton County.

In addition to general dentistry, Dr. Frank Roach Atlanta also focuses on dental implants, veneers, and teeth whitening, among a number of other services. In his spare time, Dr. Roach is a keen scuba diver, an avid tennis player, and is the proud guardian

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what happened Oct. 16 with COVID-19 in the Chicago area

The state also said the seven day-average of coronavirus tests coming back as positive has climbed to 5.1%, surpassing a threshold recommended by the World Health Organization for safely reopening economies.

The record comes as the state also reports the highest number of test results returned in a 24-hour period. The 87,759 results reported Friday outstrips the previous high of 74,286 on Sept. 19. There were 2,529 newly confirmed cases that day.

There also were 38 more fatalities reported Friday, bringing the statewide death toll to 9,165 since the pandemic began. In all, there have been 336,174 known cases of COVID-19 in Illinois.

Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools announced Friday that all students will continue with remote learning when the second quarter starts in November but that some of the district’s “most vulnerable” children will have the option to begin returning to schools before the end of the calendar year.

In explaining their rational for offering in-person classes first to pre-kindergarten and some special education students, CPS officials cited enrollment figures they released Friday that show a drop of 34% in total preschool enrollment from last year.

Here’s what’s happening Friday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area and Illinois:

5:40 p.m.: Lake County moved off COVID-19 warning status, but officials warn return to all-remote schooling is a possibility

Lake County was removed from orange COVID-19 warning status by the Illinois Department of Public Health Friday, and is now the only county along the Wisconsin state line not so situated, according to department’s website.

While the reclassification may give residents a temporary sigh of relief, Hannah Goering, the marketing and communications manager for the Lake County Health Department, said it could be short-lived.

5:25 p.m.: COVID-19 numbers are rising in Illinois. How worried should the Chicago area be?

Illinois just announced a record number of new COVID-19 cases. Positivity rates for coronavirus testing are up too. So are hospitalizations and deaths.

But a deeper look at the data can soften the sense of alarm somewhat — at least for the Chicago area, where many pandemic metrics have remained steady for months until some recent upticks. And the state as a whole is still in better shape than its neighbors on most of those same statistics.

As a pandemic-weary public braces for winter, the latest Illinois figures have prompted researchers and public health officials to offer a mix of warnings and reassurance. They worry a second surge may be starting in Illinois while also noting that the shifting pandemic threatens some areas more than others.

3:45 p.m.: Kane, Will counties back on state COVID-19 warning list; Kane health director outlines ‘concerning’ trends

Kane and Will counties have returned to the state’s list of those showing “warning signs” of increased coronavirus risk.

They were among 34 counties statewide on the list Friday, based on measures of the virus’ spread. Their addition to the warning list came the same day Illinois public health officials announced a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases for the second

Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, October 17: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world


As healthcare workers throughout the country continue to battle coronavirus, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle confirmed Friday an outbreak in a surgical unit has infected four patients, killing one. Ten Harborview staffers have tested positive for the virus, and 30 more are in quarantine after possible exposure.

Chances remain low, however, that a vaccine for the virus will be approved before Election Day — and on Friday, pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer Inc. announced it cannot request emergency authorization of its vaccine before the third week of November.

Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post updates on the pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the Pacific Northwest and the world. Updates from Friday are here, and all our coronavirus coverage can be found here.

(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

The coronavirus pandemic sidelined many Seattle-area food trucks. Here’s how the survivors made it

Lorelei Johnston, manager of the BeanFish food truck, pushes a cart toward the kitchen where she picks up supplies for the day ahead. The food truck stays overnight at Chop Kitchens in White Center, the commissary where food trucks park and where owners and their employees do kitchen prep. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)
Lorelei Johnston, manager of the BeanFish food truck, pushes a cart toward the kitchen where she picks up supplies for the day ahead. The food truck stays overnight at Chop Kitchens in White Center, the commissary where food trucks park and where owners and their employees do kitchen prep. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a food truck in a global pandemic, swing by Chop Kitchens in White Center. 

Before COVID-19, the commercial commissary was a bustling mother ship for nine food trucks. The vendors prepped their meals in the big commercial kitchen, raced out to crowded spots like South Lake Union or a farmers market or a festival and returned a few hours later — often just as others were leaving for evening shifts. “It was just nonstop,” recalls Avery Hardin, who launched his Layers Sandwich Co. truck with his wife Ashley at Chop Kitchens last fall. 

All that changed when COVID-19 came to town this spring. Office parks became ghost towns. Festivals canceled and diners hunkered down at home. The food truck bubble collapsed like a mishandled soufflé. 

Today, just four of Chop Kitchens’ 10 current tenants take their trucks out with any regularity, say owners Vatsana Nouanthongme, 53, and Montanee Suthanasereporn, 44, two former truck vendors who opened the commissary in 2017 in an old Dairy Queen. Most of the rest of the big trucks, each of which can represent investments of $75,000 or more, now sit in the commissary’s big, fenced lot waiting for better times.

Chop Kitchens is probably a microcosm of the larger food truck business.

In King County, the official tally of “health-permitted food trucks,” which includes both trucks and trailers, fell from 460 in January 2020 to 327 as of September, according to the Washington State Food Truck Association. 

It isn’t clear how much of that decline is pandemic-related — but it’s also unclear how many of those 327 are actually operating. Anecdotally, vendors say, many trucks are either temporarily parked or working just a few days a month. 

Read the full story here.

—Paul Roberts

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UCSF study in Bay Area neighborhood reveals 10% of those tested have COVID-19 antibody

UC San Francisco released a preliminary analysis Thursday of data from a coronavirus testing effort in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood and it confirmed what other similar studies have found: The novel coronavirus disproportionately affects the Latino community.

UCSF, in conjunction with local community groups, offered free, voluntary COVID-19 testing Sept. 26 and 27 in Fruitvale, a corner of Alameda County that has had the highest rates of COVID. Fruitvale is 50% Latino and home to one of the largest Mayan-speaking populations outside of Mexico, according to UCSF. Many residents live in multigenerational households.

Nearly 2,000 people were tested for either active infection or antibodies.


A total of 1,099 people were tested for active infection with nose swabs, and of those, 4% tested positive (29 adults and 10 children).

Of those with coronavirus, 95% were Latino, though they represented 62% of individuals tested, according to UCSF.

Of the 859 individuals (803 adults and 56 children) who were tested for the COVID-19 antibody, 10% were positive, suggesting past infection. Latino individuals had a positivity rate of 12% and those of Mayan heritage 27%.

At a Friday morning press conference, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called the study results “disturbing but not unexpected data” revealing the health disparities in the city. “And let’s be honest, in the world,” she added.

“Our data further identifies the Mam speaking, Mayan population as particularly high risk within the Latino community,” Dr. Alicia Fernandez, a professor of medicine and director of the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence, said in a statement. “More testing and targeted public health messaging are needed, as are efforts to make essential work safer.”

Researchers also gathered data to examine the overall impact of the pandemic and found 25% of Latinos who received a nose swab test have seen a reduction in income, 15% have lost their jobs and 42% face food insecurity. Sixty-one percent of Mam (Mayan) speakers said they were food insecure.
 
“It is not new that we are the underserved and one of the most vulnerable groups in the area, and now with COVID-19 we are facing an even greater crisis especially with access to health services, housing, food and financial support. That is why we are here today, we are here to ask for more testing and assistance with essential needs,” Rosendo Aguilar, Fruitvale community member and Mam speaker, said in a statement.

UCSF study conducted a similar effort in San Francisco’s Mission District in April and found 95% of positive individuals were of Latino heritage.

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