The Latest: New virus cases drop for 3rd day in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New cases of coronavirus illness in Illinois dropped Monday for the third day in a row, but officials fear the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings will push the numbers back up.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said there will be no change in current restrictions on social interaction for several weeks. They ban indoor food service, limit retail-store capacity and cap gatherings at 10 or fewer.
“We are still very much in a precarious place …,” Pritzker said. “I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December.”
November’s end marked a period as ghastly as April or May, when the virus first crawled through the state. Total cases rose 77% to 726,304. Deaths stood at 12,278 — 26% higher than at the beginning of the month.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots
— Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel
— U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days
— Virus forces businesses to adapt or close down on the streets of London
— New York City to reopen its schools to in-person learning, tests students more for COVID-19
Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday.
The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over.
“By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference.
A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state.
Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents — has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction.
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago.
The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown.
The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending.
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is reporting a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations for a single day.
The state Department of Health said Monday that 1,008 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, marking the first time the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has topped 1,000. Numbers have risen steadily since Nov. 10, when 669 virus hospitalizations were reported.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday on Twitter that the record comes ahead of an “anticipated Thanksgiving acceleration” in coronavirus cases.
“This is truly serious,” he wrote. “Protect yourselves and your family now. We all know how.”
The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 153,250 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,807 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening. That’s an increase of 1,485 cases and one death from the day before. The death occurred Saturday and was identified through a death certificate.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hospital and nursing officials fear that if COVID-19 cases continue unchecked there won’t be enough nurses to staff new hospital beds in the near future in the Kansas City metro area.
Kansas health officials on Monday added 4,425 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday, bringing the total to 157,446. Data showed that Kansas averaged 2,198 new confirmed and probable coronavirus a day for the seven days ending Monday. That is below the record average of 2,766 cases.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 31 to 1,560.
It is too soon to see how Thanksgiving gatherings have impacted coronavirus numbers, but medical providers expect to see another rise in hospitalizations in 10 to 14 days once people begin showing symptoms.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 87 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 5,105 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 227 coronavirus patients were in ICU units, with 39% of ICU capacity remaining in Kansas.
MIAMI — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children “is not really very big at all” and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms.
The Republican governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind online to return to in-person instruction.
Florida has seen cases rise again, now totaling more than 990,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 18,700 people have died with COVID-19 since March.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Coronavirus deaths continued to increase in Iowa in the past two weeks as the state ends November posting 687 deaths. That’s a 34% increase from the 512 deaths reported in October.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that there were 1,200 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours.
Data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows the state’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate of 40.2% remained third highest in the nation behind Idaho and South Dakota. Hospitalizations continued a gradual decline after peaking at more than 1,520 patients two weeks ago.
Laura Shoemaker, a spokeswoman for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, said the hospital’s decrease in COVID-19 patients — to 56 patients on Monday from 84 a week earlier — was mostly due to hospital discharges.
SEATTLE — More than 30 patients and staff at Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital are suffering from coronavirus — the biggest spike in cases to date — and more than 150 have tested positive since the virus first hit the facility in March.
Ten Western State Hospital patients on a single ward got sick within a few days of each other after a nurse tested positive about a week ago. The patients ranged in age of 62 to 82 and were moved to the hospital’s special COVID-19 ward so they’re kept away from other patients.
Hospital officials say 12 workers tested positive within a three-day span last week. Most were on the same ward as the patient spike.
Officials are scrambling to find nursing staff to work on the COVID-19 ward and have offered overtime pay.
Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman Kelly Von Holtz said the new spike in cases reflects the increase being seen across the country.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said on Monday that hospitals across the state will reduce elective surgeries to ensure there is enough space to accommodate coronavirus patients as the number of cases continues to surge.
Hospitals will be able to maintain their available bed capacities “at this moment,” the Republican governor said at a news conference. “But the worst days are ahead of us.”
State health data shows the number of people hospitalized with the virus in West Virginia jumped 29% in the past week to a record 597, including 162 in intensive care units. The number of hospitalizations has more than doubled in the past month.
And active virus cases statewide have jumped 62% in the past two weeks to 16,788.
ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Government spokesman Marko Milic says Plenkovic is feeling fine and will continue to perform his duties from his home.
The announcement came after Plenkovic’s wife tested positive for the virus on weekend. Plenkovic’s initial test came out negative but was repeated on Monday.
Croatia has faced weeks of soaring infections with the new coronavirus. On Monday, Croatia reported a record death toll of 74 fatalities in the past 24 hours and 1,830 new infections.
The government on Monday also tightened travel restrictions requesting a negative test for most people seeking to enter the country.
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page says the county is in crisis mode as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals strain to treat patients.
During a briefing Monday, Page repeated earlier warnings that the area’s hospitals could run out of intensive care beds sometime this week. He also said the National Guard could be called in to help hospitals deal with the overload of patients.
On Sunday, area hospitals said they were using 77% of the total staffed beds and 89% of their intensive care beds.
Page said the region will be severely tested during the next few weeks and urged residents to follow safety protocols.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s most populous state on Monday tightened restrictions again on activities due to rising cases of COVID-19.
Sao Paulo state Gov. Joao Doria ordered shops, including bars and restaurants, to limit themselves to 40% capacity and to operate only 10 hours a day in the state of 46 million people. All must close by 10 p.m.
The measure comes a day after municipal runoff elections across Brazil, campaigns that involved gatherings of voters that experts fear have exacerbated viral spread.
Brazil has reported more than 172,000 deaths from the disease, second only to the United States. It has been averaging more than 500 deaths and nearly 35,000 new infections a day.
TRENTON, N.J. — All indoor youth sports in New Jersey will be suspended starting Saturday because of the climbing COVID-19 caseload.
Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that the pause would begin at 6 a.m. and go until Jan. 2. It covers all youth sports, but excludes college and professionals athletics.
The Democrat also said that the outdoor gathering limit would be reduced from 150 to 25 people beginning Dec. 7. The change won’t affect outdoor dining.
New Jersey, like much of the country, has seen spiking cases and hospitalizations.
The weekly average of new daily cases topped 4,000 on Monday, up from 3,500 earlier this month and above the nearly 1,000 seen in October. Murphy said Monday that New Jersey’s hospitalizations reached nearly 3,000, a level not seen since May.
MADRID — Health authorities are urging Spaniards to keep awareness against the coronavirus high after people went out in mass for shopping or admiring Christmas lights over the weekend.
Silvia Calzón, State Secretary for Health, said that authorities have insisted for months on the need to “respect a physicial distance, not a social one.”
Authorities are worried that travelling will increase during an upcoming bank holiday on the country’s Constitution Day, increasing the virus spread before Christmas and now that new cases and hospitalizations are waning.
Spain’s 14-day infection rate dropped to 275 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Monday, from a high of 529 cases on Nov. 9. It was the first time in 45 days that the variable closely followed by epidemiologists has been under 300.
The country has officially logged 1.6 million infections and over 45,000 deaths confirmed for COVID-19 since the beginning of the year.
SAN JOSE — Officials in Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, have imposed a mandatory quarantine for anyone who has traveled more than 150 miles (240 kilometers) away from the county, including those who may have traveled to see loved ones over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The county now has the highest case rate in the San Francisco Bay Area, health officer Dr. Sara Cody said.
The new measures start Monday and will last through Dec. 21 for now. While they are among the strictest in the Bay Area, Cody’s order stops short of a full business shutdown ahead of the holiday season. It also exempts church services and protests, which are constitutionally protected.
It’s unclear how officials planned to enforce the rules.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president has announced the most widespread lockdown so far amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, extending curfews to weeknights and full lockdowns over weekends.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a curfew would be implemented on weekdays between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am. He also announced total weekend lockdowns from 9:00 pm on Friday evenings to 5:00 am Monday.
The new measures are scheduled to begin Tuesday. Grocery stores and food delivery services would be exempt from the lockdowns within certain hours.
Turkey resumed reporting all positive cases last week, after only reporting symptomatic cases for four months, bringing daily infections to around 30,000. The new numbers now put Turkey among the worst-hit in Europe.