Illinois institutes COVID-19 restrictions in all 11 regions as U.S. reports 81K new cases

Nov. 1 (UPI) — U.S. COVID-19 cases spiked in the Midwest on Sunday as current and former health officials warned that Thanksgiving gatherings could further increase the spread of the virus.

The United States reported 81,227 new cases and 862 new deaths bringing its world-leading totals to 9,189,715 infections and 230,870 fatalities, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

All 11 regions in Illinois will be placed under resurgence mitigations including prohibiting indoor dining and bar service, closing outdoor dining at 11 p.m. and limiting gatherings to 25 people or less beginning on Wednesday as Region 2 recorded an average positivity rate above 8% for three consecutive days.

“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect the people we love,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.

Illinois recently reported three consecutive record-breaking case days including 7,899 new infections on Saturday.

The state broke the streak on Sunday as it reported 6,980 new cases and 35 additional deaths, bringing the state’s total to 417,280 infections and a death toll of 9,792, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A surge in hospitalizations has also been reported in the region as Ohio recorded 1,629 hospitalizations as of Friday — the state’s highest number since the pandemic began in March.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce, drew heat from the White House on Sunday as he contradicted President Donald Trump’s message that the United States is “rounding the turn” on the virus, warning the country is primed to experience “a whole lot of hurt” as winter approaches.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under the Obama administration, said “things are getting worse around the country” citing 23 states that are accelerating the spread of the virus and 15 states reporting a positivity rate above 15%.

“I think Thanksgiving is really going to be an inflection point. I think December is probably going to be our toughest month,” Gottlieb told CBS News’ Face the Nation.

Gottlieb said, however, he doesn’t believe the United States will reinstate widespread lockdowns as Europe has done in recent weeks.

“I don’t think the political support is here for that even at the state level. I think you’re going to see targeted mitigation. States take local actions, but we’re going to have to start taking more aggressive actions,” he said.

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Germany warns against travel to ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

By Kirsti Knolle

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus as new infection numbers rose above 10,000 a day for the first time.

While infection rates in Germany are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating, with a daily rise of 11,287 cases bringing the total to 392,049. Germany’s death toll stands at 9,905.

“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said.

“We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic,” he said. But he said people must stick to the rules and that Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to test positive for the virus. His spokesman said he had symptoms of a cold but no fever. Government sources said he was fit for work.

Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol.

Britain, except the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the overseas territories, is also seen as a high risk area.

Under the warnings, which take effect from Saturday, travellers returning to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. Quarantine can be lifted early, if a test taken after five days comes back negative.

The surge in Germany also prompted the Danish government to warn its citizens against travel to and from Germany, except for the border state of Schleswig Holstein.

Germany’s move could significantly impact the Alpine countries’ ski season. Especially Austria, which reported a record 2,435 new daily infections on Thursday, is a popular destination for Germans.

Switzerland Tourism’s spokesman Markus Berger said the news from Germany was obviously not good. The industry hoped that the situation would improve over the next one or two months.

“We assume that the winter season can go ahead,” he said.

However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI removed it from its risk list, lifting hopes there for German tourists over Christmas and New Year.

(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro, Silke Koltrowitz and Andreas Rinke and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; editing by Maria Sheahan and Angus MacSwan)

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Ontario fitness chains ask members from COVID-19 hotspots to not travel to other regions to workout



a sign on the side of a building: People lined up outside of an LA Fitness in Milton


© Thebishk/Twitter
People lined up outside of an LA Fitness in Milton

Prominent fitness chains in Ontario are asking for people residing in COVID-19 hotspots to stop travelling to other jurisdictions to workout.

The Ontario government moved Toronto, Peel and Ottawa back into modified versions of Stage 2 amid a rise in coronavirus cases, which meant gyms would be closed for 28 days effective last Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Read more: Toronto, Peel Region move into Stage 2 of province’s reopening plan Wednesday

Now, LA Fitness and Goodlife Fitness have released statements telling members from those three regions to not try to workout in other non-hotspot locations after multiple videos surfaced online of lineups outside certain locations.

“Following the travel recommendations provided by the Ontario Government, GoodLife is asking Members from Ottawa, Peel and Toronto not to visit other GoodLife Clubs in regions outside of their own during this temporary closure,” a statement from Goodlife Fitness read on Thursday.

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“All Members in these regions were automatically placed on freeze on Saturday, October 10, and they are not permitted to book workouts at Clubs in surrounding regions using the GoodLife App or Member Portal.”

A statement from LA Fitness read: “We don’t support or encourage members from Higher Transmission Areas where our clubs have been closed to use our clubs that are open in other areas. In response to these concerns, we have sent the clarifying email noted below to the affected members on October 14, and posted this identical message at the open clubs.”

Read more: Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa under Ontario’s modified stage 2

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said people who travel to other locations are only adding to the problem.

“If we have people traveling around outside of their own home area to get some of these services, that’s going to only add to to our numbers and add to the problem. So please stay where you are. Workout at home if you’re able to.”

Premier Doug Ford warned if the situation continues, the government might have to clamp down on other areas.

“If the spread continues, yes, the answer is yes. But again, we can’t police 14 and a half million people,” he said at his daily press conference, however, he did say for the most part, people have been following the new rules.

“Everyone’s pitched in. Everyone’s helped out. Everyone’s followed, for the most part, the guidelines and protocols. So that’s all we’re asking.”

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