The Latest: 3 Northeast states install travel restrictions
The Latest on the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak around the world:
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that Washington was mistakenly included on a list of states from which travelers to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut would need to go into quarantine for 24 days because of COVID-19 concerns.
Inslee said people from Washington state won’t be subject to the restrictions announced earlier by three governors from the Northeast.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said restrictions were being placed on travelers from certain states with increasing COVID-19 cases.
The quarantine applies to people coming from states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average, or with a 10% or higher positivity rate over seven days.
Washington state’s recent positive test rate was about 6%
CHARLESTON, W. Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice forced out the commissioner of his public health bureau on Wednesday, hours after he publicly questioned the accuracy of the state’s coronavirus data and detailed growing outbreaks in about a dozen counties.
The abrupt resignation of Cathy Slemp, who was also a state health officer, came after the Republican governor vented during a news conference that West Virginia’s active virus caseload may have been overstated.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office said Justice had expressed his “lack of confidence” in Slemp to the secretary of the state health department, who then asked for Slemp’s resignation. She resigned immediately, the statement said.
In a separate statement, a spokeswoman for the health department said there were discrepancies related to virus caseload data at a state prison.
HOUSTON — Apple has decided to re-close seven of its recently reopened stores in the Houston area because of COVID-19 problems in Texas.
The resurgence of the disease prompted Apple to backtrack and close the Houston area stores on Wednesday afternoon.
The move comes just days after Apple re-closed 11 other stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina because of escalating cases in those states.
Apple closed all of its U.S. stores in March before it gradually started to re-open some last month in an effort to allow shoppers to check iPhones and other products without exposing themselves and company employees to an elevated risk of becoming infected.
JACKSON, Miss. — New numbers from the Mississippi Health Department show the state has had more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Numbers posted Wednesday showed the second-highest single-day increase in new cases in the state, below only the numbers posted a day earlier. Mississippi has had at least 23,424 cases of the disease and had a one-day increase of 526 cases.
State health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says “really bad things are going to happen” if people don’t follow precautions to try to slow the spread of the virus.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that he will withhold $2.5 billion in the upcoming state budget to penalize counties that fail to comply with state mandates on wearing masks, testing and other measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases and decrease hospitalizations.
The money is intended to help local governments pay for services needed because of the pandemic. But it’s contingent upon counties following emergency orders to enforce the safety measures as they gradually reopen the economy.
Newsom’s warning came as the state recorded a 69% increase in new cases just this week, and set several daily records for new cases. Officials reported corresponding increases in the rate of people testing positive and hospitalizations.
The Democratic governor said he views the $2.5 billion fund in the budget that lawmakers are expected to approve this week as a reward, not a punishment for local government.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas has seen its largest jump in new coronavirus cases in more than six weeks with an increase of more than 500 cases in two days.
The state health department on Wednesday reported a total of 12,970 cases of the novel coronavirus, up 4.1% from Monday, when Gov. Laura Kelly urged local officials to postpone lifting their last restrictions on businesses and public activities for another two weeks.
The state also reported an additional two deaths since Monday, bringing the total to 261 since the pandemic began in early March.
The state hasn’t seen such a spike in new cases since early May.
Kansas has had more than 2,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past two weeks, a 20% increase. Deaths have risen 9%, or by 21, during that period.
MIAMI — Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Wednesday at a virtual press conference that “surge teams” will be sent this weekend to areas where doctors are noticing an increase in new COVID-19 infections.
About 100 people will go into such hot spots as Little Havana and Homestead, an agricultural area with vegetable farms and nurseries. The teams will be knocking on doors and handing out kits with masks and hand sanitizers.
Gimenez says officials are noticing an increase of cases among farm workers and will be offering hotel rooms to those who are ill and live in small homes with several people so they don’t infect others.
Gimenez says the county still has an availability of beds, but certain hospitals are out of ICU beds and have had to transfer patients to other centers.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Tulsa health officials on Wednesday reported a record spike in COVID-19 cases in the county but said it’s too soon to attribute any increase in infections to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported a one-day record increase of 482 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the confirmed total to at least 11,510. The previous record of 450 was reported last Thursday.
Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart says the new cases have been linked to gatherings such as funerals, weddings and people going to bars. He says because the incubation period is anywhere from two to 14 days, the virus could be spread for weeks after that by anybody exposed during Saturday’s rally.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum says he’s concerned that residents of the city are getting lax in their daily lives, not socially distancing, not wearing face masks, or frequently washing hands. He says the uptick began long before the rally.
HONOLULU — The U.S. Department of Justice says a traveler quarantine in Hawaii that was imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus discriminates against out-of-state residents.
The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest in a federal lawsuit filed by Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii and are challenging the quarantine mandate.
Travelers arriving in Hawaii must quarantine for 14 days or face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Some tourists and residents have been arrested for breaking quarantine.
The Hawaii attorney general’s office says the Justice Department’s arguments and the lawsuit have no merit.
ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp said Wednesday that Georgia “continues to make solid progress in the fight against COVID-19, even as the number of people hospitalized with the respiratory illness continues to rise.
Kemp made the remarks in a recorded video that his office released Wednesday.
“Our hospitalizations remain low and surge capacity is high,” the Republican said, referring to the state’s efforts to build temporary hospital beds in multiple locations.
Numbers released later Wednesday show that the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections rose to 1,124. That’s the highest number since May 12 and a 44% increase since the number of hospitalized people bottomed out on June 7.
Kemp urged people to wear a mask and keep their distance from others.
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s governor announced Wednesday that people across the state must wear masks or other face coverings in public to fight the spread of COVID-19, and he extended other restrictions by three more weeks to fight a surge in cases.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order that people must wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance. The order also mandates face coverings for employees of businesses, including retailers and restaurants, as well as state employees in the executive branch.
Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are punishable by misdemeanor.
The governor also said restrictions limiting capacity at retailers, restaurants and public gatherings will remain in place for three more weeks.
The order comes as the state reports its second-highest, one-day jump in virus cases at around 1,700. About 900 people are currently hospitalized, also representing the second-highest mark in that category.
Cooper said the state currently has sufficient hospital capacity, but that could quickly change if virus trends don’t improve.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— International aid group says data in some countries show sharp discrepancy between coronavirus cases in men and women.
— US virus cases surge to highest level in 2 months.
— Indian armed forces personnel to provide medical care for coronavirus patients kept in New Delhi railroad coaches.
— The spread of the coronavirus is prompting soaring demand for medical oxygen, which is expensive and hard to get in much of the world. Scarce oxygen supplies are another basic marker of inequality both between and within countries from Peru to Bangladesh. Across Africa, only a handful of hospitals have direct oxygen hookups, as is standard across Europe and the United States.
— Americans are unlikely to be allowed into Europe when the continent reopens its borders next week, due to how the coronavirus pandemic is flaring in the U.S. and President Donald Trump’s ban on Europeans entering the United States. European nations appear on track to reopen their borders between each other by July 1, and their EU representatives are debating the criteria for lifting restrictions on visitors from outside Europe.
— Major League Baseball has issued a 60-game schedule that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will be MLB’s shortest season since 1878. Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania now exceed 83,000, the state Department of Health said Wednesday.
The department reported 495 new infections and 54 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 6,515.
Many of the deaths were residents of nursing homes or personal care facilities.The total death toll in those facilities is now 4,467, or nearly 70% of Pennsylvania’s total deaths attributed to the coronavirus pandemic.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government has announced a significant relaxation of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, allowing high schools to reopen and sports to resume with fans in stadiums — if they stick to social distancing rules and don’t chant.
In a nationally broadcast press conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that among other steps being taken to ease lockdown measures starting next month include allowing sex workers to go back to work and outdoor festivals to resume if visitors stay 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) apart.
Rutte said he hopes “everybody will enjoy the freedom but will act responsibly.”
Restrictions on public transport will also end July 1, with passengers allowed to sit in all seats on trains and buses, although wearing face masks will remain mandatory on public transport.
Discos and night clubs, which have been the sources of new infection clusters in other countries coming out of lockdowns, will remain closed.
The Dutch official death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak stands at 6,097, although the true number is higher because not every person who died as a result of a suspected coronavirus infection was tested.
AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott says the state is facing a “massive outbreak” in the coronavirus pandemic, and some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients.
In a series of interviews Wednesday with television stations, Abbott said Texas would again pass 5,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 4,000 hospital patients. Texas passed both thresholds for the first time Tuesday.
Abbott did not detail what “localized” restrictions might be put in place.
The Republican aggressively pushed to reopen the state in May. He acknowledges that state officials are now closely watching hospital space.
Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in the U.S., said Tuesday that it was admitting adult patients across its campuses to free more hospital bed space in the Houston area.
GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei said Wednesday that most of the 240 workers in the country’s National Laboratory have tested positive for COVID-19.
The president told the government’s TGW Radio that despite the infections the lab continues processing COVID-19 tests. He characterized it as a “crisis.”
During the first months of the epidemic in Guatemala, all of the nation’s COVID-19 testing was centralized at the lab. But as the number of cases has grown, the government has allowed public hospitals to test samples as well.
Citizens have complained recently of waiting more than a week for test results.
Giammattei earlier announced that 158 people at the seat of his government have tested positive for the virus.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s new confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocketed Wednesday by 5,500, a 25% jump from the previous record set last week and triple the level of just two weeks ago.
The rapidly escalating daily figures continue a trend that began when Florida started reopening its economy last month and have caused several counties and cities to implement emergency orders requiring the wearing of masks in public places and crack down on businesses that aren’t enforcing social distancing rules.
Two weeks ago, Florida’s one-day record for confirmed coronavirus cases was 1,601, set in mid-May. That has been exceeded every day since June 12 and the seven-day average for tests coming back positive has tripled from 3.8% on June 1 to 13%.
The state now has confirmed more than 109,000 cases since March 1. There have been 3,281 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, a jump of 43 since Monday.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma health officials on Wednesday reported a record one-day spike in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, with 482 positive tests reported in a 24-hour period.
That’s the third time in the past week the state reported record one-day increases, including the previous high of 478 new cases on Sunday and 450 on Thursday, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
The agency also reported an additional COVID-19 death on Wednesday, a Garfield County woman in the 36-to-49 age group. That brings Oklahoma’s statewide death toll to 372 and the total number of confirmed positive cases to more than 11,500.