The Latest: Virus infections continue rapid spread in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa — Coronavirus infections continued a rapid spread across Iowa, pushing hospitalizations and patients in intensive care to new highs as Iowa medical centers prepared for an onslaught of patients.
Iowa public health officials reported 3,533 new confirmed cases Friday and 14 more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 27% on Oct. 22 to nearly 42% on Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, keeping Iowa’s rate second in the nation behind South Dakota.
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a new high of 912 and those in intensive care units remained at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic at 188.
Officials at the state’s largest hospital systems are warning Iowans that if the current infection rate continues, they will be overwhelmed with patients. Their preparations for the surge are forcing them to curtail other medical procedures, shift personnel from surgical duties to intensive care and expand ICU beds.
“We cannot outrun this. There truly is no other option at this point. It very simply comes down to avoiding others,” said Dr. Nicole Gilg, chief of the primary care clinic section at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Italy hits daily record cases at nearly 38,000; Europe tries lighter lockdowns
— Russia daily coronavirus cases top 20,000, adds record deaths
— Poland registers 27,100 new daily virus cases
— Democrat Joe Biden has overtaken President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia, putting him on the cusp of winning the presidency in the U.S.
— Puerto Rico’s Health Department will provide free rapid testing at toll booths across the island in a bid to slow down coronavirus infections.
— Iconic Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company appeals to readers for support after pandemic-linked losses put the future of the Left Bank store on the Seine River in doubt.
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/virus-outbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
HELENA, Mont. — A nursing facility in Butte has reported 10 COVID-19 related deaths in less than two weeks and Gallatin County is enacting stricter measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Montana state officials have reported a record 437 hospitalizations and confirmed infection case numbers are nearing 38,000. The nursing facility deaths were reported by Continental Care & Rehabilitation. The Gallatin County health board is requiring bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m. and reducing capacities for restaurants, bars, gyms and other gathering places. In Flathead County, the health department says it does not have enough staff to alert all close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19. Health staffers will notify anyone who is in a high-risk group or work in restaurants, schools or healthcare settings. But those who test positive are being asked to notify any other close contacts of their potential exposure and a requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure.
SALEM, Ore. – Following a record-breaking day of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, officials on Friday announced new restrictions that will be implemented in at least five of the state’s counties as part of a two-week pause on social activities.
The updated safety measures, which begin Nov. 11, include halting visitations to long-term care facilities, reducing the capacity of indoor dining at restaurants to 50 people, encouraging all business to mandate work from home and urging Oregonians not to gather with people who do not live in their household, but if they do to limit it to six people.
The counties containing Portland and state capital Salem are among the counties concerned by the new restrictions.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 805 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, breaking the state’s previous daily record of 600. On Friday the health authority reported 769 new cases, increasing the number of cases in the state since the start of the pandemic to 48,608. The death toll is 716.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his staff are being tested for the coronavirus after a staffer in the capitol building tested positive on Friday.
Justice says he was tested minutes before a noon press conference where he announced a record high of new cases. The state reported 540 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
The employee who tested positive on Friday morning works for the attorney general, according to Curtis Johnson, a spokesman for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
West Virginia reported seven additional virus-related deaths, bringing the confirmed death toll to at least 487.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Department of Health reported a record 5,454 new coronavirus cases and 36 deaths on Friday.
The case total shattered the previous day’s total by more than 1,000. State health officials are bracing for more hospitalizations.
The seven-day rolling average of daily cases in Minnesota has risen from 1,578 on Oct. 22 to 3,222 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Minnesota has totaled 170,307 confirmed cases and 2,591 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
MOSCOW — Azerbaijan has registered a daily record of 1,465 coronavirus cases.
The country reported 17 more deaths on Friday.
Azerbaijan Airlines says a flight carrying 120 Cuban doctors had arrived in the country to assist in efforts against the virus.
Azerbaijan has recorded more than 62,000 cases and 811 deaths.
ROME — Italy registered a one-day record of nearly 38,000 coronavirus cases.
The Health Ministry reported 37,809 cases on Friday, about 9% higher than the previous day. There were more than 234,200 swab tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
On Friday, some 16 million people in a swath of northern Italy and in one southern region were under “red zone” measures, unable to leave their towns and all but essential shops closed.
Lombardy, one of the regions, reported nearly 10,000 new cases on Friday. As opposition lawmakers and local politicians railed against the new rules, Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza pleaded in Parliament for the nation to pull together in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.
Italy has reported a total of 862,681 coronavirus cases. With 446 more deaths, the confirmed death toll stands at 40,638, sixth highest in the world.
ATHENS, Greece — Cars streamed out of Athens and long lines formed at retail stores on Friday, the last day before Greece goes into a second nationwide lockdown for three weeks.
Greece announced 2,448 coronavirus cases and 14 deaths on Friday. All retail stores except those selling essential items such as food, medication and fuel will be shut.
In Thessaloniki, which went into lockdown earlier this week, about 200 people gathered to protest the measures, shouting slogans and throwing eggs at police and journalists. Clashes broke out with riot police, who responded with tear gas and percussion grenades.
Greece’s confirmed total stands at 52,254 cases and 715 deaths.
PHOENIX — Arizona reported nearly 2,000 daily coronavirus cases and 22 deaths on Friday.
The Department of Health Services registered 1,996 confirmed cases, increasing the state’s totals to 254,764. There have been 6,109 confirmed deaths.
Arizona, a national hot spot in June and July, has seen a gradual increase in cases and hospitalizations.
The COVID-19-related hospitalizations stood at 1,082 on Thursday. The hospitalizations topped 1,000 on Tuesday for the first time since late August.
The rolling average for daily new cases went from 880 on Oct. 22 to 1,470 on Thursday. The average for daily deaths rose from 10 to 24 and the average for test positivity grew from 9.1% to 12.7%.
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani authorities will impose a mini-lockdown in selected areas of major cities, sealing off hot spots to contain the rising coronavirus.
The government says the restrictions will start Saturday. Indoor weddings will be banned but outdoor gatherings will be allowed if guests adhere to social distancing rules.
Authorities will fine those not wearing masks and violating social distancing rules.
The development comes hours after Pakistan reported 1,376 new cases and 30 deaths from the coronavirus on Friday.
The country has registered 340,251 confirmed cases and 6,923 deaths since February.
PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo authorities ordered a weekend lockdown following a spike in daily coronavirus cases.
There were a record 728 new coronavirus cases on Friday, 12 times more than a month ago, and 12 deaths. The Health Ministry ordered the stoppage of most activities and businesses from Friday 6 p.m. to Monday 5 a.m.
Only bakeries, pharmacies, small retail shops, fuel stations, health clinics and other supply lines can operate. People and private cars will be prohibited from traveling in seven communes, including the capital, Pristina.
Kosovo reached up to 266 cases per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks compared to 50 cases a month ago, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The National Institute of Public Health reports Kosovo has a total of 22,934 confirmed cases and 732 deaths.
WARSAW, Poland — Poland registered 27,100 new coronavirus cases and a record 445 deaths on Friday. It’s using a soccer stadium as a field hospital.
The first patient was brought to a temporary COVID-19 hospital at Warsaw’s National Stadium, offering 300 beds with a capacity of some 1,200.
The giant stadium was built for the EURO 2012 soccer championships. It’s served as a conference center and concert hall, but never as a hospital.
Most positive cases were in southern Poland and in the Warsaw province, among the nearly 83,000 daily tests.
According to the Health Ministry, Poland has nearly 494,000 cases and 7,287 confirmed deaths in a nation of 38 million.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Oslo has shut down restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms, cinemas and theatres to help curb the coronavirus.
Officials in the Norwegian capital introduced Friday what they called a “social closure of Oslo.”
Mayor Raymond Johansen says to bring down the infection rates, “we must shut down where people gather.” However, schools will remain open.
Oslo has 1,456 confirmed cases, up 129 from the previous day. Norway has a total of 23,225 cases and 285 confirmed deaths.
MOSCOW — Russia’s daily number of new coronavirus infections topped 20,000 on Friday, setting a new record since the beginning of the pandemic.
Russia’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases — currently the fourth largest in the world —has exceeded 1.7 million following a quick spread of contagion since September. The government’s coronavirus task force has reported 29,887 deaths since March.
Of 20,582 new cases reported Friday, Moscow accounted for 6,253 infections, the capital’s highest number since May.
Despite new daily records, authorities insist there is no need to impose a second lockdown or shut down businesses nationwide. They argue that the health care system is capable of handling a surge in infections.
Russian media, however, have reported on overwhelmed hospitals, drug shortages and inundated medical workers in some regions, indicating the health care system is under significant strain.
GENEVA — The United States is urging the head of the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to attend the U.N. health agency’s annual assembly next week, pointing to its “resounding success” against COVID-19.
China has effectively blocked Taiwan from attending the World Health Assembly in recent years since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Her pro-independence administration has run afoul of Beijing, which considers Taiwan as part of China.
The U.S. appeal to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus comes after the Trump administration over the summer took action toward pulling the United States out of the U.N. health agency next year. Taiwan is not a U.N. member state.
Taiwan, a country of some 23 million people, has tallied just 569 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just seven deaths from the pandemic, according to a compilation of global figures by Johns Hopkins University.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenian police say they have detained 10 people following violent protests in the capital Ljubljana against lockdown measures designed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Several hundred angry protesters on Thursday threw bottles, flares and rocks at the police who used tear gas and water cannon to disperse them in a rare riot in what in the usually calm Alpine nation.
The gather was organized in violation of a ban on gatherings that is in place in Slovenia as part of anti-virus rules. Public broadcaster RTV Slovenia says some of the protesters attacked media crews, hitting a photojournalist on the head.
Slovenia’s authorities have introduced an overnight curfew and a set of restrictive rules after facing a surge in infections in the nation of 2 million people.
BERLIN — Germany’s health minister has warned of hard times ahead unless the country can “break” the rising trajectory of coronavirus cases.
Jens Spahn told lawmakers in Parliament on Friday that “the situation is serious,” noting that the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in the country’s intensive care units has doubled in the last 10 days.
“As of today the health system can cope with this,” he said. “But a doubling every 10 days is something the best health system in the world can’t cope with in the long term.”
Germany’s disease control agency reported a new record of over 21,500 confirmed infections in the country in the past day, and 166 further deaths.
Laboratories in Germany are also warning that they are reaching capacity, and urging stricter criteria for which people can be tested.