NEW YORK — New York City’s health commissioner has issued an order reiterating that private schools in some neighborhoods have to follow pandemic safety protocols.
The directive comes amid concerns about an uptick in coronavirus cases in certain Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods with large Orthodox Jewish populations.
The order says that nonpublic schools in the specified areas must maintain six feet of distance between people and that face coverings are required in all buildings.
New York City’s current overall infection rate remains low, but official figures indicate the affected neighborhoods accounted for 20% of the city’s coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— New York City to offer expanded outdoor dining year-round
— Virginia Gov. Northam and wife test positive for virus
— French Open limits fans to 1,000 per day as cases spike in Paris
— Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida in a move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus.
— Minnesota halts coronavirus study after reports of intimidation. The survey teams were going to 180 neighborhoods to offer free testing for the virus and for antibodies.
— Virus disrupting Rio’s Carnival for first time in a century. Annual Carnival parade of flamboyant samba schools won’t be held in February.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania has asked a federal appeals court to put on hold a ruling that found Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions on gatherings to be unconstitutional.
Officials told the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday that medical researchers have determined that so-called superspreader events where many people gather are driving the spread of the coronavirus.
The move came as the governor accused President Donald Trump of blatantly disregarding social distancing and mask requirements during frequent campaign rallies in Pennsylvania, a battleground state for the Nov. 3 elections.
Another Trump rally is planned for Saturday. The campaign says everyone will get a temperature check, be given a mask and have access to hand sanitizer.
HELENA, Mont. — The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council is imposing a 14-day lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge on the reservation east of Glacier National Park in Montana.
The tribe’s business council says the shutdown will begin at midnight Sunday.
Statewide, Montana reported 323 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus infections Friday and five more deaths.
More than 100 of the new cases involve people between the ages of 20 and 29, while 67 were confirmed in people 19 and younger. State health officials have said reopening schools and colleges have contributed to an increase in cases.
BOSTON — An outbreak of coronavirus infections at a major Boston hospital has grown to 19 confirmed cases.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital originally said it had identified 10 cases among staff and patients connected to two inpatient units.
A new hospital statement says 98 employees have been tested to date, and 11 of them tested positive. In addition, it says 50 patients have been tested, with eight positive.
An additional 445 people are in the process of being tested, and the hospital expects the number of positive cases to grow.
No other areas of the hospital have been affected.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas says it recorded more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases in two days in one of its biggest spikes of the past two weeks, and most of the cases were in rural counties in the central and western parts of the state.
The state health department said Friday that of the 10 counties with the biggest per-capita increases in cases, eight had fewer than 7,200 residents and all were in western or central Kansas.
The biggest spikes for the two weeks ending Friday were in Cheyenne County in the state’s far northwestern corner and Pawnee County in central Kansas.
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s movie theaters and other venues can reopen in two weeks after nearly seven months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic, and the limit on how many people can attend funerals and other indoor events is being raised.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also issued an order Friday requiring the vast majority of students to wear masks in classrooms as of Oct. 5, and mandating that public and private schools publish information on coronavirus cases.
Indoor cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities and trampoline parks can reopen starting Oct. 9. A 10-person cap on indoor events has been revised to instead allow 20 people per 1,000 square feet or 20% of fixed seating capacity, up to a maximum of 500 people.
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority has reported 457 new confirmed coronavirus cases, the state’s largest daily total since the the start of the pandemic.
Officials on Friday attributed the rise in cases to Labor Day celebrations, the return of college students to campus and the interruption of testing during recent wildfires in Oregon.
Health experts had said last week that the rate of virus transmission in Oregon was in a “downward trend,” but case numbers have been rising this week.
More than 32,300 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Oregon since the start of the pandemic. The death toll is 542.
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top infectious disease expert is cautioning people not to let pandemic fatigue weaken efforts to keep the coronavirus from spreading.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says that “people are exhausted from being shut down” and some give up on doing things that contain the virus.
The head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases made the comment Friday in a podcast with a medical journal editor.
Fauci urges people to remember that “there is an end to this” and “we just have to hang in there a bit” as researchers work on a vaccine. Fauci says that “what we don’t want to have to do is to shut down again” if cases really spike.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the second time this week, South Carolina health officials say a lab failed to report thousands of coronavirus tests over several months.
Officials said Friday that about 400 of the more than 7,000 tests dating back to July at the Doctors Care clinic chain were positive for infections.
The delay in testing both prevents officials from tracing any contacts a person testing positive had and from getting an accurate picture of the spread of the virus. Labs are required to report both positive and negative tests to the state within 24 hours.
On Tuesday, state officials said the Augusta University Healthcare system in Georgia failed to report the results of 15,000 coronavirus tests on South Carolina residents from May to September. About 2,000 of those were positive.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has reported a jump of 1,086 new coronavirus cases, the second consecutive day of new cases exceeding 1,000.
Four more people died, pushing the state’s death toll from the virus to 1,303.
Data from state health and education departments released Friday indicate the virus is circulating in schools and nursing homes.
The report says 6,917 children under age 17 in Iowa have tested positive for the virus, an increase of more than 800 in a week. It also shows 3,372 educators testing positive.
The state also reports 50 nursing homes in Iowa have an outbreak of the virus, with more than 1,000 residents testing positive currently.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas reported Friday that it had more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases over two days, and most of the biggest spikes over the past two weeks occurred in rural counties in the central and western parts of the state.
The state Department of Health and Environment said Kansas has had 56,592 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 1,366 or 2.5% from Wednesday.
The health department also reported an additional 11 COVID-19-related deaths over two days to bring the pandemic total to 632. Deaths continued to represent about 1.1% of the reported cases.
The biggest spikes for the two weeks ending Friday were in Cheyenne County in the state’s far northwestern corner and Pawnee County in central Kansas. For both, the increase was 17.31 reported cases for every 1,000 residents, or six times the state’s rate of 2.82 new cases for every 1,000 residents.
Of the 10 counties with the biggest increases in cases per 1,000 residents, eight had fewer than 7,200 residents, and all were in western or central Kansas.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma health officials on Friday reported an increase of 1,276 confirmed new coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths as they grapple with outbreaks at several state prisons.
The latest numbers bring the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 82,520 and the total number of deaths to 993. It was the ninth consecutive day that new cases topped more than 1,000.
The state’s Department of Corrections currently lists seven prison facilities as coronavirus “hot spots,” a designation that means at least 20% of the inmates within celled housing units test positive or 15% of inmates test positive within open-bay housing units.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported 1,357 active coronavirus cases and 3,262 total cases as of Thursday with two confirmed COVID-19-related deaths and seven other inmate deaths possibly due to the virus, pending autopsies by the state medical examiner.
The department also said the deaths of three staff members may be COVID-related, pending autopsies.
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced outdoor dining for New York City restaurants will be extended year-round and made permanent.
The program allowing restaurants to seat customers on sidewalks and parking spaces has been seen as a lifeline for cash-strapped businesses trying to survive the pandemic. More than 10,000 restaurants are taking part in the program.
The mayor told WNYC public radio he wants the model to become “part of the life of New York City for years and generations to come.”
With cooler weather coming, the city will allow electrical heaters on sidewalks and streets, as well as propane and natural gas heaters on sidewalks. Occupancy will be limited to 25% in full tent enclosures, mirroring rules for indoor dining.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief calls the nearly 1 million deaths from the coronavirus “terrible” and more stringent measures are needed to stop it.
Dr. Michael Ryan says countries still have numerous tools at their disposal to slow the pandemic, including significantly boosting testing and contact tracing systems.
Ryan also called for greater investment into WHO’s fund to develop therapeutics, tests and vaccines. The agency says $35 billion is needed to develop the necessary tools to end the acute phase of the pandemic.
There are currently nearly 985,000 worldwide coronavirus deaths.
TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province is making bars and restaurants shut down earlier in a bid to curb rising coronavirus cases in Ontario.
The government says bars and restaurants will be required to close at midnight, except for takeout and delivery, and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. The province is also ordering all strip clubs to close. The move comes after the province changed the rules for social gatherings last week, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.
Ontario reported 409 new cases on Friday and one new death related to the virus.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities are closing Athens convenience stores, kiosks and other shops at midnight in a bid to stop alcohol-fueled outside parties linked to the spread of the coronavirus.
Health officials says the ban will apply from Friday night to Oct. 4. Bars and restaurants are already closing at midnight in the greater Athens area. But many people buy drinks from convenience stores and party in squares, pedestrian areas and other public areas and ignore distancing rules.
The measure also will apply to the islands of Mykonos and Lesbos.
The country of 10 million recorded 286 new cases and three deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases is nearly 17,000 and 369 deaths.
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