Mont. pursues action over mask use noncompliance

HELENA, Mont. — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says the state health department is pursuing legal action against several businesses in northwestern Montana for not following a mask mandate and other restrictions meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came Thursday as the state reported 932 newly confirmed coronavirus cases. That was far above the previous one-day high of 734.

The new cases include 173 in Yellowstone County and 112 in Flathead County, where the governor says businesses face legal action.

State officials also have launched a new website to allow people to submit complaints against businesses and events that are not complying with health directives.


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

— France extends curfew to 38 regions because of coronavirus surge

— African health officials expect WHO distribution of rapid virus tests

— Oxford vaccine trial continues amid death report

— Britain offering financial help for bars, pubs and restaurants struggling because of restrictions due to the coronavirus.

— Czech Republic enters second lockdown to avoid health system collapse. New measures include closing stores, shopping malls and hotels.

— Photographer in Dubai providing free photo shoots to laid-off expats forced to leave the skyscraper-studded Persian Gulf city because of the pandemic.

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Follow all of 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:

ROSWELL, N.M. — Officials at a military junior college in New Mexico say the school is under quarantine after more than 60 cadets and employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Those who tested positive are being kept isolated.

The quarantine at the New Mexico Military Institute is expected to last until Oct. 29. Parents will be allowed to visit only in special situations or emergencies, and officials say all campus facilities are being closed to the public for five weeks.

The closure comes as the state struggles with a surge in coronavirus infections. Wednesday marked another record day for daily confirmed cases, with 827, and state health officials reported an additional 669 cases Thursday. That brings the statewide total to nearly 39,380 since the pandemic began.

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BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana will allow more high school football fans to attend games in open-air stadiums beginning Friday if the events are in parishes with low numbers of coronavirus cases in the last few weeks.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday that stadiums will be allowed to have crowds at 50% capacity in parishes where 5% or less of coronavirus tests have come back positive in the previous two weeks. Stadiums have been capped at 25% capacity.

The governor says 26 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes meet the criteria to boost crowd size.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said Thursday that he remains opposed to mandatory mask orders despite being diagnosed with COVID-19, even though he encourages people to wear one.

The Republican lieutenant governor announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he sought a test

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Kiryas Joel School Closures Extended For Non-Compliance

KIRYAS JOEL, NY — Schools in Kiryas Joel will be required to stay closed for an extended period of time as ordered by the Orange County Department of Health due to the spike in new coronavirus cases.

Dr. Irina Gelman, Orange County commissioner of health, said Monday in a statement provided to Patch, that the extended closure affects private schools in the town of Palm Tree and not the public school. No reopening date was given.

She said the rationale behind the decision was because the private schools’ testing data was not reported to the county nor was it reported to the state dashboard.

Additionally, Gelman said many of the private schools did not close when ordered to and, thus, allowed the virus to spread. Also, when inspected or audited, the schools were out of compliance with the commissioner’s order for masking and social distancing.

She said the public school in Palm Tree was not subject to the continued closure orders because they are doing what is required.

Gelman said she has asked the state to require doctors to report the daily number of patients with clinical presentation of symptoms who have declined to be tested for the new coronavirus.

“The data is only valid when it is accurately reported and if people are being tested,” she said.

Gelman said the county health department received reports from doctors recommending tests for patients who showed symptoms for the virus in the Palm Tree and Monroe area where patients refused to have a test administered.

“This is all in compliance with the governor’s continued order to address non-compliant behavior in areas of high prevalence of this communicable disease,” Gelman said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered schools and nonessential businesses closed in areas categorized as “red zones” in Orange County two weeks ago. Houses of worship were also restricted to limited attendance under those orders.

This article originally appeared on the Mid Hudson Valley Patch

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