Tag: Governor

 

Governor bans indoor dining in Chicago as virus cases surge

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Surging COVID-19 cases in Chicago prompted Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday to ban indoor dining and bar services and limit the number of people gathering in one place.

The rules taking effect Friday will force diners and bar patrons outdoors and shut down service at 11 p.m. No more than 25 people may gather at one time, or fewer if that number would exceed 25% of room capacity.

“We can’t ignore what is happening around us, because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring,” Pritzker said, referring to the start of the pandemic, when health care resources were pushed to the limit because of the overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases.


Chicago, which comprises Region 11 of the state’s 11 COVID-19 monitoring regions, joins six other regions subject to what the Pritzker administration calls “resurgence mitigations.” A day earlier, Pritzker imposed the restrictions on Region 10, Cook County outside of Chicago and Lake County to the north.

After a summer of declining case numbers — Illinois fared better than many other states, particularly in the South and West — they began climbing again in August and jumped precipitously this month. There were 4,000 new infections and 46 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing total cases to 382,985 with 9,568 deaths.

There were 2,758 hospitalized, an 86% increase from a month ago, and both intensive care patients at 595 and the 241 on ventilators represented increases in the 70% range.

Other regions which hit the mitigation bar did so when positive rates of COVD-19 test results topped 8% for three consecutive days. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state public health director, said the latest additions, Cook County on Monday and Chicago on Tuesday, have seen the troubling rise in numbers of sick people requiring inpatient treatment as well as a jump in positive test results.

“Based on current trends, we soon could face reduced hospital bed availability and overwhelming our health care systems,” Ezike said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, predicted the action taken by the governor, pointing out that while COVID-19 is not as prevalent in Chicago as during the pandemic’s early days in March, the number of confirmed cases is doubling every nine days.

“COVID is widespread here in Chicago, and we need you to double down on the things that you know work,” Arwady said. “Please as much as you can, if there are interactions you’re having that are not essential, back off on those.”

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Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.

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Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

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Federal judge rules against gym owner who sued CA governor

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

dkasler@sacbee.com

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Joaquin County and Lodi officials that had been filed by the owner of three Sacramento-area gyms after officials ordered the shutdown of fitness centers last spring because of COVID-19.

After a Zoom hearing in Sacramento federal court, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez agreed to requests by the defendants that the lawsuit be dismissed and found that the coronavirus pandemic was so dangerous that officials were within their authority when they first ordered the closures.

The orders were “a constitutional response to an unprecedented pandemic,” Mendez said.

Attorney John Killeen argued for the state that since Newsom’s original stay-at-home orders the state has loosened restrictions on fitness centers, including allowing some outdoor exercising and indoor workouts in San Joaquin County at 10% of capacity.

“A number of restrictions have been lifted,” Mendez said.

“I just don’t see any basis for allowing this lawsuit to go forward in the district court,” he added.

The suit was brought by Sean Covell, owner of Fitness System gyms in Land Park, West Sacramento and Lodi, and argued that the shutdown orders violated the Constitution and were costing his operations huge amounts of revenues and lost memberships.

The lawsuit was one of numerous complaints filed by fitness centers, churches and businesses against orders Newsom and health officials issued to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The lawsuits have largely been unsuccessful, although some are pending and yet another involving gyms in Dixon and Sacramento was filed in federal court in Sacramento on Monday.

Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.

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Idaho governor orders return to some COVID-19 restrictions

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Monday ordered a return to some restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus as intertwined health care systems across the state showed early signs of buckling.

The Republican governor returned the state to stage 3 of his four-stage reopening plan and said indoor gatherings will be limited to 50 people or fewer, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25% of capacity.

“Idaho is at a critical juncture,” Little declared during the Statehouse news conference with a heavy police presence as protestors could be heard shouting in the hallway. “This is unacceptable and we must do more.”


Little, who wears a mask in public and encourages others to do so also, didn’t order a statewide mask mandate, something many health care professionals have sought. But many residents in red-state Idaho oppose such a mandate.

State officials continue reporting surging infections daily, with 650 more on Sunday for a total approaching 60,000 along with 573 deaths.

The state’s positivity test rate is fourth-worst in the nation, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The restrictions announced Monday also include a mask mandate for all long-term care facilities and physical distancing for gatherings of all types. Employers should continue allowing teleworking for at-risk workers or make special accommodations in the workplace.

St. Luke’s, with hospitals in southwestern and central Idaho, is reporting that 20% of hospitalized patients are suffering from COVID-19. Its hospital in Twin Falls is postponing elective surgeries and sending children in need of medical care to Boise. On Monday, St. Luke’s told people to stop coming to its emergency rooms for COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Joshua Kern, vice president of medical affairs for St. Luke’s Magic Valley and Jerome, said the surge of patients in that area is approaching a level the hospital might not be able to handle, meaning deciding who gets treatment.

“That’s not good for our staff, having to decide who lives and dies, and it’s not good for the patients,” he said. “The natural outcome of not controlling the virus will be unnecessary deaths.”

State epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said some hospitals are in what’s called a contingency stage, one step below moving into a crisis stage that could lead to the scenario described by Kern.

Primary Health Medical Group, the largest independent medical group in Idaho, has had to close two of its 19 urgent care clinics in southwestern Idaho because of sick or quarantined staff. The clinics are a buffer keeping hospital emergency rooms in the region from getting clogged with patients not needing emergency-level care.

“This surge, this disease today, right now is out of control,” said Dr. David Peterman, a pediatrician and the CEO of Primary Health Medical Group.

The group reports that the positivity rate is up to nearly 7% among 5- to 12- year-olds, and nearly 11% for teenagers. Peterman said it’s not clear if a return to school for teenagers is causing a surge of infections in local communities or

Colorado governor to quarantine after Aurora mayor’s positive coronavirus test

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) says he will self-quarantine after appearing more than a week ago at a press conference with Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman (R), who announced Sunday that he had contracted coronavirus.



Jared Polis wearing a suit and tie: Colorado governor to quarantine after Aurora mayor's positive coronavirus test


© Getty Images
Colorado governor to quarantine after Aurora mayor’s positive coronavirus test

A spokesman for the governor’s office confirmed to the Associated Press that Polis would self-quarantine while waiting to hear from contact tracers. Coffman announced his diagnosis on Twitter, writing that he experienced mild symptoms.

“My symptoms had cleared by Saturday so I went to an urgent care clinic today to get a rapid test so I could be able to go back to the office on Monday and resume my schedule. Unfortunately, the results of the test were positive. I will have to quarantine at home,” Coffman wrote.

Colorado has experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks as many states have seen rates of new infections rise with the beginning of fall. Officials reported 1,922 new cases on Saturday, according to The New York Times, and 550 are hospitalized for the virus across the state.

Polis has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. national coronavirus testing efforts, which he has said are “a complete disgrace” and “almost useless from an epidemiological or even diagnostic perspective.” The U.S. currently has the highest number of coronavirus cases, more than 8.6 million, of any country.

Gallery: Dr. Fauci Just Revealed His Assessment on Trump’s COVID Test Results (Best Life)

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Colorado governor quarantines after mayor tests positive

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is quarantining himself after learning that Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman tested positive for the coronavirus over a week after they appeared with other officials at a press conference, a spokesperson for the governor said Sunday.

In a statement, spokesperson Maria De Cambra said Polis would quarantine while waiting to hear from health officials investigating who else may have been exposed to the coronavirus about whether he should continue to isolate himself.

“He will be under quarantine until the health investigation is completed and he is informed. This is just another reminder of the need to cooperate with contact tracers, quarantine when needed, wear masks, social distance, and if you have any symptoms get tested,” she said.

Coffman, a Republican who previously represented a suburban Denver district in Congress for five terms, announced his diagnosis Sunday on Twitter. He said he came home from work Thursday morning not feeling well, thinking he had a very mild cold, but worked at home to be on the safe side. He said his symptoms cleared by Saturday and he got a rapid coronavirus test done on Sunday, assuming it would clear him to go to back to the office and resume his schedule.

“Unfortunately, the results of the test were positive. I will have to quarantine at home,” Coffman said.


Coffman and Polis attended an outdoor press conference on Oct. 15 to promote Colorado’s mail ballot system, which Coffman helped administer as secretary of state during the 2008 presidential election. Polis’ partner, Marlon Reis, current Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Denver Clerk Paul Lopez and state Sen. Julie Gonzales also spoke at the event. They stood staggered on a sidewalk near a ballot drop off box and each wore a mask until taking their turn to speak at the microphone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises anyone who has been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient to quarantine for two weeks. The risk of spread is considered lower outdoors.

Coffman’s diagnosis came on the same day as Colorado launched a statewide COVID-19 exposure notification system, in partnership with Google and Apple, that allows people to get smartphone notifications if someone they were near has tested positive for the virus. Users have to sign up to get notifications and users’ locations and identities will not be tracked, an announcement from Polis’ office said.

Citing a steady increase in Colorado’s coronavirus hospitalizations, state health officials announced new limits Friday on personal gatherings of people from different households in more than two dozen counties. The state is at risk of exceeding the peak in hospitalizations seen in April by mid-November, according to a modeling report released the same day by the state health department and the Colorado School of Public Health.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems

Lt. Governor Tests Positive; Fatal House Fire: The Week In News

BIRMINGHAM, AL — As coronavirus cases have spiked in Alabama after a long period of decrease, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth announced he has tested positive for the virus.

This news comes after state officials announced hospitalizations for COVID-19 are up in the state by more than 150 beds since the beginning of the month.

Also in the news, a fatal house fire in the Huffman area is under investigation, as authorities think foul play may be involved.

Here are those stories and more from the previous week:

Fatal Hit And Run On I-59 Under Investigation

A multi-vehicle wreck on I-59 that caused one motorist’s death is under investigation by the Birmingham Police Department. The incident occurred Oct. 6.

Concern Over Increased Coronavirus Hospitalizations In Alabama

Since the last week of September, when the Alabama Department of Public Health reported 703 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state, the number of patients hospitalized has increased.

Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth announced Wednesday he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Foul Play Suspected In Fatal House Fire In Huffman Area

A house fire Friday morning in the Huffman area of Birmingham resulted in the death of one victim and the hospitalization of another victim.

Birmingham City Schools To Shift To Hybrid Learning Platform

After spending the first nine weeks of the school year learning from home, students at Birmingham City Schools will soon return to campuses, at least part time.

This article originally appeared on the Birmingham Patch

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Texas governor requests use of El Paso-area military hospital for non-COVID-19 patients as cases surge

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Saturday requested to use a medical center at Fort Bliss for non-COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases surge in the El Paso area. The request comes as COVID-19 cases have been increasing throughout Texas and the country.

Abbott said Saturday that he had spoken to Dr. Robert Kadiec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to request use of William Beaumont Army Medical Center to free up beds at the region’s hospitals, according to CBS El Paso affiliate KDBC.

El Paso officials said 1,216 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Saturday, for a total of 10,911 active cases and 38,554 cumulative cases.

El Paso officials said Saturday one person died, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions. There have been 572 deaths in El Paso due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. 

As of Saturday, there were 715 people hospitalized in El Paso County due to COVID-19, including 199 in intensive care and 85 on ventilators.

US-TEXAS-HEALTH-VIRUS-ECONOMY
Cars line up for Covid-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso on October 23, 2020 in El Paso, Texas. 

Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images


Abbott announced earlier this week that he would be sending more than 450 medical personnel to the El Paso area. He also said he will be sending extra equipment including ambulances, patient monitors, patient beds and oxygen concentrators.

“The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much needed support to area hospitals and first responders,” Abbott said in a statement. “The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”  

A report by UT-Austin released Thursday said “the El Paso region has the most threatening projections, with an estimated 85% probability that COVID-19 cases will exceed local hospital capacity by November 8th, 2020.”

According to the same report, five other regions have a more than 25% chance of hospitals being overwhelmed with in 3 weeks: Amarillo (28%), Lubbock (29%), Wichita Falls (30%), San Angelo (29%) and Galveston (33%).

The Texas Department of Public Health reported Saturday more than 89,000 active cases of COVID-19 in the state, including more than 6,000 new cases. 

Coronavirus cases nationwide have been rising, with more cases reported on Friday than any other single day since the pandemic began. 

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Alabama’s lt. governor is COVID-positive. Y’all don’t be so negative.

This is an opinion column.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is getting some nasty messages since he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Guess Karma and Natural Selection caught up with your dumb white ass,” said one email Ainsworth shared with me. “May you die gasping for your last breath!”

It’s probably not a spiritually safe practice to invoke karma in one sentence before wishing someone death in the next, but moving on.

“You’re 1 step closer to (skull emoji, coffin emoji, laughing-through-tears emoji),” one fellow tweeted at him.

Yes, when sending hate-tweets, please limit your hieroglyphics to three.

Let’s be clear, no matter how you feel about Ainsworth, wishing death on people is not OK. No matter how cathartic it might feel, it’s not good for your soul, and from a more secular standpoint, it just gives the folks you’re hate-mailing more reason to believe you’re crazy and they’re right.

Which is a shame, because I believe there’s a lesson the lieutenant governor could learn here, and I think there’s a better message he could send than the one he’s been sharing, before and after his diagnosis.

Since Ainsworth went public with his test (points for transparency), he has been a bit defensive about it. That’s understandable. The lieutenant governor has criticized Gov. Kay Ivey for keeping a statewide mask mandate in place, and he’s said the decision whether to wear a mask should be left to the individual. He still says that, even now.

But Wednesday night, Ainsworth wanted to make clear he’d been wearing a mask when he thinks he contracted the disease.

“Because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk,” he said.

Now, others on social media have found pictures of Ainsworth not doing either of those things. Heck, he shares them on Twitter. But I’ll let that be.

Again, there’s a bigger lesson to be learned here.

Ainsworth tested positive on Wednesday and says he suspects he contracted the disease at his church on Sunday. Aside from a runny nose — which he told me allergies give him much of the year — he hasn’t had any symptoms. He had been active on Monday and Tuesday, and he played tennis the night before he tested positive. If it weren’t for his pastor informing him a member of his Sunday school class had fallen ill, Ainsworth says he might never have checked.

And that’s the thing. And let’s shout this one so the sinners’ pew can hear it: Masks aren’t to protect you from the disease; they protect others when you have the disease and don’t know it.

It doesn’t matter so much whether Ainsworth wore a mask at church. It matters whether the person he got it from was wearing a mask.

And it matters less whether he was wearing a mask on Sunday than if he wore

Watch live: New Jersey Governor Murphy gives briefing as state battles new rise in COVID-19 cases

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is holding a COVID-19 briefing Thursday after the state reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for four days straight. It’s no longer just a few hotspot counties causing the virus to spread — the problem is now widespread in the state, CBS New York reported.

Murphy said Wednesday he was self-quarantining out of an abundance caution because a senior member of his staff tested positive for the virus. He stressed he had no symptoms and has tested negative twice this week, including on Wednesday. 


How to watch Murphy’s COVID-19 briefing today

  • What: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gives briefing on COVID-19 
  • Date: Thursday, October 22, 2020 
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • Location: New Jersey 
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN New York in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device 

Hospitalizations are increasing in the state and more schools are delaying reopenings.  

“This is not something we didn’t expect. We expected a second wave to happen in the fall. But the question is how bad it gets. That means peak, and how quickly we get to that peak,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital, Newark.

Dr. Elnahal said this week the hospital was already nearly at capacity with non-COVID patients. Now virus-related hospitalizations are increasing again.

“Signs are pointing that this is about to get worse,” Dr. Elnahal said. “When you start to hit levels of 3 or 4% positivity, you can expect even more admissions. And most concerningly… we did have one COVID-19 death last week for the first time in many weeks.”

“The other patients will have to delay their care even more,” Dr. Elnahal added.

State health officials say it’s mostly indoor gatherings and parties contributing to the spike, not schools or businesses. Murphy says that makes it harder to contain.

“As far as we can tell, these are mostly gatherings that are beyond our ability to effectively regulate or easily enforce compliance,” he said.

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Kansas governor calls for help with statewide mask mandate

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is again calling for a statewide mask mandate as the coronavirus case count continues to climb in rural parts of the state that don’t require them.

Kelly said Wednesday that two-thirds of the state’s COVID-19 cases are now coming from outside the Wichita and Kansas City region. Over the summer, she issued an order requiring Kansas residents to wear masks, but more than 90 counties chose to opt out. She said she now plans to speak with House and Senate leadership to work toward a bipartisan requirement with more teeth.

“We cannot sit by as the cases continue to rise in our rural communities, threatening lives and businesses,” she said.


Her announcement came after the state health department reported that Kansas had 1,488 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases since Monday, bringing the total number of infections reported in the state to 74,456. That pushed the rolling seven-day average for new cases to another record of 757. The department also reported 80 additional COVID-19-related deaths, most of them stemming from a review of death certificates, bringing the state’s fatality toll to 952.

According to data from The COVID Tracking Project, the seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Kansas has risen over the past two weeks from 15% on Oct. 6 to 19.4% on Tuesday. Only four other states are faring worse.

On Monday, the health department in rural Norton County reported a coronavirus outbreak killed 10 residents in a nursing home in northwestern Kansas. It said all 62 residents and an unspecified number of employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the virus.

“For months, many have mistakenly shared the idea that this virus would never reach our rural and lower population communities. Now it is worse in those towns and counties than it is in in our cities,” she said. “Harmful anti-mask and anti-science rhetoric has politicized our ability to tackle a public health issue, much of it coming from our elected officials.”

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, said in a statement shared by a spokesman that he had not been contacted by the governor’s office to discuss a statewide mask mandate yet but is “happy to talk and discuss a mask mandate because it is better than a business shutdown, which he doesn’t want to talk about.” Denning added that he wants the discussions to include a statewide testing plan that is “crucial to dealing with the virus.”

Meanwhile, a 45-page plan that Kansas filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

Phil Griffin, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau director for disease control and prevention,