Tag: Event


School Event Occurs Despite COVID Outbreak, Causes Montco Spread

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA — While the fall coronavirus surge is chiefly attributed to cooler weather and more time spent indoors, officials say that decisions made by both institutions and individuals have also been instrumental in foiling suppression.

One string of cases in Montgomery County was traced to a recent recreational event which was held at a private school in Philadelphia. The event occurred even though school officials and participating students knew of a recent outbreak in the school.

>>Montco Warns Of ‘Exponential’ COVID Surge, Hospitalizations Rise

A student from Montgomery County attended the event, and became contagious without showing symptoms, according to Commissioner Val Arkoosh. Not knowing he was infected, he attended a different recreational event in Montgomery County days later, passing the virus on to at least five adults.

Two of those five adults were coaches of youth sports teams, Arkoosh said. Those two coaches then spread it to children on their teams.

“This is an illustration of quickly this can spread, how individuals who are contagious, who don’t have symptoms, can infect a number of individuals,” Arkoosh said. “And how those individuals can continue to spread the virus.”

The county did not specify the nature of the event in Philadelphia or provide details on where the spread occurred in this instance in Montgomery County. But transmission has been everywhere, especially in schools that have reopened.

There have been a total of 564 “close contacts” with the virus in schools that have reopened across the county thus far this school year, officials said Wednesday. They did not say how many of those individuals had tested positive.

The number was a result of the county’s robust contact tracing program. A close contact is defined as any student who is within six feet of a student who is infected.

Where these contacts take place largely depends on the school. Many schools are large enough, or have been able to plan their reopens carefully enough, that students are almost always six feet away from one another in classrooms.

However, there are many places where this is impossible. One infected student could easily become a “close contact” for dozens throughout a single school day, officials note.

This article originally appeared on the Norristown Patch

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Melania Trump talks Covid diagnosis in solo campaign event

Melania Trump made her first solo appearance of the campaign Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where she touted her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign before charging that Joe Biden would “destroy America” as president.

The first lady opened her remarks, which came as her husband has been trying to woo back suburban women, by referring to her family’s battle with the coronavirus this month.

“We are all feeling so much better now thanks to healthy living and some of the amazing therapeutic options available in our country — thank you again for your well wishes!” she told group of about 200 mostly masked supporters in a barn in Atglen.

The rally Tuesday was the first lady’s first in more than a year. She was supposed to make a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania last week but it was postponed because of a “lingering cough” from the virus that also infected her husband and their son Barron.

Mrs. Trump offered a much softer message on the virus than the president, who has dismissed its threat at recent campaign appearances, repeatedly insisting that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.

“I know there are many people who have lost loved ones or know people who have been forever impacted by this silent enemy — my family’s thoughts and prayers are with all of you through this difficult time,” she said, calling for unity in combatting the virus.

“I believe in our incredible doctors, nurses, medical professionals and scientists,” Mrs. Trump said. She also urged Americans to “remember to follow CDC guidelines so that together we can minimize the spread of the virus until a vaccine can be developed” — even though her husband has routinely flouted those guidelines with his campaign rallies and fundraisers.

Trump also praised her husband’s tweeting — but not his tweets.

“For the first time in history, the citizens of this country get to hear directly and instantly from their president every single day through social media. I don’t always agree the way he says things, but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves,” Trump said.

She also promoted her “Be Best” anti-cyberbullying initiative and the “language of love” before taking a page from her husband’s playbook and ripping Biden’s “socialist” policies, the media’s focus on “idle gossip,” and Democrats’ “sham impeachment.”

“Joe Biden’s policies and socialist agenda will only serve to destroy America and all that has been built in the past four years. We must keep Donald in the White House so he can finish what he’s started and our country can continue to flourish,” she said.

Mrs. Trump told the crowd it’s been “the greatest honor and privilege to serve as first lady of this amazing country,” and urged them “to get out and vote on Nov. 3.”

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Rand Paul Makes False Comments About COVID-19 During Virginia Event

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday made multiple false comments about COVID-19 during an event in Virginia. Paul was stumping for Republican congressional candidate Nick Freitas.

According to the Daily Beast, Paul told the crowd how he would run a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I owned a restaurant, I’d have a whole wing for senior citizens or for anybody who is worried about getting sick, and I would say, ‘All my servers have already had it,'” Paul said. “If I had a cruise ship … everybody would have had the infection that works on the boat.”

Paul, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19, claimed he was now “immune” to the virus. 

“I’ve had it. I can’t get it again,” Paul said. “I can’t give it to you, and I can’t get it.”

Paul demonstrated a false understanding of how COVID-19 is spread. There have been multiple cases of former COVID-19 patients being reinfected. 

Paul also falsely claimed that cloth face masks do not work.

“I’m not telling you not to wear a mask,” Paul told rally-goers. “The cloth masks … I’m just telling you the truth, they don’t work. Ninety-seven percent of viruses go through a cloth mask.”

According to MIT Medical, there is steadily accumulating evidence that cloth face masks work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, by containing respiratory droplets. Masks, along with social distancing, are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Paul has frequently argued against shutdown policies to combat the pandemic, due to the economy. He has also clashed with the nation’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and criticized New York’s response to the pandemic.

On Twitter, Paul was ripped for his comments about restaurants as well as for his reputation.

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More than 100 coronavirus cases and 3 deaths linked to North Carolina church event

A North Carolina church’s multi-day event has led to more than 100 cases of the coronavirus and three deaths, health officials said.

The outbreak is linked to the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, which held convocations from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11.

Mecklenburg County’s Deputy Health Director said that a large number of people, including many from out of state, attended the events.

“I do not have a definitive count, I can say confidently from video that we’ve seen there were at least hundreds of people,” Raynard Washington said during a briefing Tuesday. “My understanding is that there were probably more than 1,000 involved over the course of that week.”

Local health departments in South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey and New York have been made aware of the outbreak.

The United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 23, 2020. (Google Map)
The United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 23, 2020. (Google Map)

Health officials in Mecklenburg County, where the church is located, said Friday that 99 residents have tested positive, along with two in Iredell County. Of those confirmed cases, five have been hospitalized and a dozen are at the Madison Saints Paradise South Senior Living center.

One of the three deaths was at the center, Washington said, noting that at least four residents attended the church’s convocations.

The senior center declined to comment Friday and the church could not immediately be reached.

The health department said it is in the process of reaching out to more than 137 people who had close contact with the confirmed cases.

Around the country, church events have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks.

In Maine, more than 40 people tested positive for the virus after Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County held a fellowship rally earlier this month. Maine’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah said that about 100 to 150 people attended the rally and masks were available, but not routinely used.

And at least 10 cases have been tied to Calvary Baptist Church, also in Maine, after its pastor officiated an indoor wedding that has since been labeled a superspreader event linked to over a hundred infections and at least eight deaths.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said one outbreak at a church in Ohio County “spread like wildfire” after a man with the virus attended a single church service leading to at least 91 infections across five counties.

“We have been very careful throughout this pandemic to exempt religious services from any regulations,” the governor said. “The only exception to that is that we are now asking people who attend church to wear a mask.”

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Coronavirus cases linked to live music event at Virginia restaurant, attendees asked to self-quarantine

A live music event at a restaurant in Henrico, Va., is linked to a “cluster” of cases of the novel coronavirus, local health officials said this week when encouraging residents who may have been exposed to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 over the next 14 days. 

Anyone who attended the live music event on Oct. 9 at JJ’s Grille on Staples Mill Road may have been exposed to the coronavirus, said officials with the Henrico County Health Department (HCHD) in a news release posted to the Virginia Department of Health website. 

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. (iStock)

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. (iStock)

“While there have been no reported cases of exposure associated with live music or group events held on dates before October 9, HCHD is still evaluating the potential for further exposures and would recommend that individuals who have visited the establishment after October 9 monitor for symptoms and consider being tested for COVID-19 infection,” health officials said. 

Dr. Danny Avula, the director of Richmond’s and Henrico’s health districts, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the restaurant voluntarily closed for a temporary period of time after the cases were identified. 


“In an office setting, you know everybody who works in the office and spent 15 minutes within 6 feet of an affected individual, but at these types of settings, it’s harder to do that,” Avula said of why the health district publically announced the outbreak, as a “lack of cooperation with contact tracing efforts and delays in testing” impacted health official’s efforts to notify everyone who could have been exposed, the newspaper reported. 


Officials did not provide a number of people who have tested positive, but Avula said some 75 people, including staff and restaurant patrons, have been contacted. 


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Free Drive-Thru Mask Event In Harford County Planned Wednesday

BEL AIR, MD — The Harford County Health Department is hosting a drive-thru mask event for Harford County businesses Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Businesses will be able to visit 120 South Hays Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday to pick up their masks.

Register to specify the number of masks and to reduce the wait time.

The free event is held in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health as part of its campaign to promote mask usage.

“Wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19, and we welcome any business who is in need of masks for their staff or guests to drive-thru on Wednesday,” Acting Harford County Health Officer Marcy Austin said in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to distribute masks for our local community, without charge, to continue with safety precautions against COVID-19.”

There are 3,430 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Harford County as of Tuesday, Oct.20, according to state health officials.

The timing of Wednesday’s drive-thru mask giveaway was intentional, local health experts said, as the flu season typically begins in October.

“Especially with the upcoming flu season, your actions can define the health of our community,” Harford County Health Department Emergency Coordinator Lisa Swank, R.N., said in statement.

“The Harford County Health Department is encouraging all residents to continue to wear masks and social distance, especially during flu season,” Swank said. “This is why we are providing Harford County businesses with free masks to distribute to their patrons and employees during this time of year.”

The most recent flu surveillance report from the Maryland Department of Health shows no positive test results for influenza so far, although there was one influenza-related hospitalization for the week ending Oct. 3, officials said.

In early October, Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland was shifting its coronavirus strategy as flu season arrives, bracing for a potential hospital surge and ramping up its flu testing capacity.

Both coronavirus and influenza are contagious illnesses that can be spread through respiratory droplets.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing face coverings in public, maintaining 6 feet of distance and frequently washing hands to prevent the spread of illness.

People in Maryland are required to wear face coverings inside most businesses if they are older than 2. Among the exceptions are those who have medical conditions that preclude mask wearing and patrons who are eating and drinking.

The Harford County Health Department at 120 South Hays Street is hosting its drive-thru mask event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.

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This article originally appeared on the Bel Air Patch

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Zoom announces new online event platform OnZoom, third-party apps

  • Zoom is introducing OnZoom, a new way to host events — free and paid — using the popular videoconferencing tool.
  • Zoom has come to be used to host all kinds of events amid the pandemic, from board meetings and conferences to fitness classes and concerts. The new OnZoom platform includes the ability to charge for tickets, as well as a directory of public event listings.
  • Zoom is also launching a new kind of app integration, called a Zapp, that can bring information from productivity tools like Dropbox, Slack, or Asana directly into a video chat.
  • Facebook launched its own features for paid videoconferencing events over the summer.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As the pandemic drags on, Zoom is releasing a new way to host online events — importantly, now including paid events — as well as new types of apps that integrate outside business and productivity tools like Slack, Dropbox, and Asana directly into Zoom meetings, the company announced Wednesday. 

Zoom has become a household name amid shelter in place and social distancing mandates, with users turning to the videoconferencing app to host events from board meetings and conferences to yoga classes and concerts. It’s led Zoom’s business to skyrocket, but also forced the company to rethink its ambitions beyond its original enterprise approach. 

The online event platform, called OnZoom, adds features to Zoom that make it easier to host online events — notably, by allowing event organizers to sell tickets for paid events on Zoom, thanks to an integration with PayPal. There will also be an event marketplace, where people can find and sign up for public events, free and paid.

At launch, the events platform is only available to US users, but will be available more globally next year. There’s no additional fee for paid users to try out OnZoom through the end of 2020, but Zoom says that it plans to revisit the possibility of taking a cut of ticket sales next year. 

Notably, Facebook announced something similar earlier this year, allowing businesses, creators, educators and media publishers to host paid events on Facebook Live or its Messenger Rooms app. Facebook has said it won’t collect fees from tickets sales until at least August 2021.

The catch is that you will have to be a paid Zoom user to set up events with OnZoom, with a capacity ranging from 100 attendees, up to 1,000 for enterprise users. For anything larger, users can livestream the event with a Zoom Webinar license. 

The company bills it as being well-suited for other companies to host their own conferences, for fitness instructors to hold paid lessons, for nonprofits to set up fundraising events and many other use cases.

The company also promises that OnZoom will have security features built in, allowing hosts to monitor and moderate attendee behavior, as well as a system for users to report their fellow attendees.

Earlier this year, Zoom became known for so-called “Zoom-bombing,” when uninvited guests would crash a meeting and display

A spin class became a superspreader event. Why are fitness instructors excluded from workers’ compensation if they fall ill on the job?

Back injuries, knee pain, shoulder problems — and now, COVID-19.

They are daily risks faced by fitness instructors and personal trainers across the province. But unlike millions of employees in other sectors, gym staff are not entitled to workers’ compensation when they get sick or hurt on the job.

It’s a long-standing exclusion to the workers’ compensation system that critics say needs urgent change, especially in light of a Hamilton spin studio outbreak that may have exposed upwards of 2,500 people to COVID. Two staff members at the studio contracted the virus.

“Our bodies are on the line,” said Toronto-based group fitness instructor Vidya Sri. “The laws are completely out of date.”

Under current provincial legislation, gyms and fitness studios are exempt from mandatory workers’ compensation coverage. That means they do not need to pay insurance premiums to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board — and their employees cannot access benefits following a workplace accident or illness.

Gyms can voluntarily opt into the workers’ compensation system. There are 1,653 fitness establishments in Ontario, according to Statistics Canada; of those, 24 have elected to provide compensation coverage to workers, data from the WSIB shows.

Coverage means workers are eligible for loss-of-earning or health-care benefits following a work-related illness or injury.

A 2019 report on working conditions in the Ontario fitness sector by Larry Savage, a professor of labour studies at Brock University, found nearly a third all instructors and trainers had sustained an injury on the job. Half reported not having paid sick days.

“The lack of WSIB coverage and paid sick days make gym and fitness club workers less willing to disclose illness or injuries out of fear of reprisal or loss of income,” Savage said.

“The pandemic only makes this bad situation worse by increasing the likelihood that clients and other workers will contract COVID-19 if gym and fitness club workers decide to come in to work sick in order to avoid loss of pay.”

As part of his research, Savage told the Star he made inquiries with the Ministry of Labour about the history of the gym exclusion but “no one could or was willing to explain” why it existed.

Around 76 per cent of Ontario workplaces are required to pay into workers’ compensation. Legislative change is needed to amend the list of excluded employers. When asked if the government is considering reform, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour said workers’ health and safety was its “top priority.”

“With only a handful of exceptions, those workplaces that aren’t subject to mandatory coverage can choose to purchase coverage from the WSIB,” the statement said.

Planet Fitness outlets account for 10 of the gyms that voluntarily signed up for coverage, according to the WSIB’s data. Other than F45 Guelph, part of a relatively new but popular fitness chain, none of the gyms that opted into the workers’ compensation system are major players. (Other establishments included the “Orillia Agricultural Society” and “Retro Rollers.”)

In response to questions from the Star,

No Drive-Up Prescription Take Back Event In Solon This Year

SOLON, OH — Solon residents are able to use the police department’s drug collection box to get rid of unwanted medications.

National Prescription Drug Takeback Day is Oct. 24. Solon police usually hold a drive-up event to encourage residents to dispose of unwanted medications, but due to COVID-19 that event won’t be held.

Instead, residents can dispose of unused or expired drugs (pills only) in a collection box at the Solon police department. The box is available every day, all day.

The last National Prescription Drug Takeback Day was held in October 2019. More than 230 police departments in Ohio participated in the event.

During that one day in October 2019, Ohio officials collected more than 50,000 pounds of unwanted prescription medications. Since the DEA launched the event, more than 500,000 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected in Ohio.

“DEA’s Take Back Day events have been extremely successful in not only removing potentially dangerous unused drugs from our nation’s medicine cabinets, but also in raising awareness of their link to addiction and overdose deaths,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon after the October 2019 event.

This article originally appeared on the Solon Patch

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