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Virus cluster found at Alaska hockey tournament

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Health officials in Alaska’s largest city on Friday recommended up to 300 people associated with a youth hockey tournament quarantine or isolate after “a cluster” of COVID-19 cases were identified.

The Anchorage Health Department said players, coaches and fans from parts of south-central Alaska and Juneau attended the tournament, which was held Oct. 2-4.

The department said it encouraged everyone who attended who does not have symptoms to quarantine for 14 days, except to get tested, and encouraged those with symptoms to isolate for 10 days, except to get tested.


Dr. Janet Johnston, the department’s epidemiologist, said that means the department is recommending up to 300 isolate or quarantine.

Heather Harris, the department’s director, could not provide “concrete” numbers of positive cases associated with the tournament. She said the tournament organizers said they tried to enforce masking guidelines and kept a contact log of participants.

Contact trace investigations indicated “significant close contact in indoor spaces, including locker rooms, with inconsistent use of face coverings,” the city health department said in a release.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump credits antibody drug for quick recovery

— Spain declares state of emergency in Madrid to contain surge

— As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong

— British government will announce more support for businesses to retain staff in the coming months if they are forced to close because of lockdown restrictions.

— President Donald Trump says he wants to try to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that bars around West Virginia University in Morgantown can reopen next Tuesday, a month after images of maskless college students packing bars led them to be shut down.

Police and state alcohol regulators will step up enforcement in the college town, Justice said at a coronavirus press briefing. The Republican governor abruptly ordered Monongalia County bars to close indefinitely on Sept. 2 — just two days after allowing them to reopen — as many patrons lined up without social distancing.

The owners of 12 restaurants and bars sued the governor and local officials in Morgantown last month in federal court over the shutdown.

“Bars that don’t enforce these guidelines, where we see a bunch of people packed in with no mask wearing … you will be shut down again,” Justice said, adding establishments risk having their licenses suspended.

County officials previously required bars to cut indoor seating occupancy by half, close dance floors and discontinue live performances and entertainment. Restaurants in the county had been able to continue dine-in service without operating their bars. Morgantown city officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of people hospitalized in Oklahoma due to the coronavirus surged to a record one-day high of 749 on Friday,

Alaska dentist who defrauded Medicaid sentenced to 12 years

The Alaska dentist was sentenced after he was convicted on 46 counts of defrauding the federal Medicaid program.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Editor’s Note: The video above is from Jan. 21, 2020.

An Alaska dentist convicted on 46 counts of defrauding the federal Medicaid program has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Seth Lookhart, 35, was also filmed riding a hoverboard during a procedure on a patient who was under anesthesia, KTUU-TV reported Monday.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton found Lookhart guilty Jan. 17 of pressuring patients to needlessly undergo intravenous sedation to bill Medicaid for the service.

Wolverton on Monday suspended eight years of the sentence, leaving Lookhart 12 years of prison time to serve.

The state requested that the court order Lookhart to pay more than $2 million in restitution for Medicaid fraud.

A 25-second video that appeared to have been filmed using a phone showed Lookhart riding a hoverboard into an exam room before removing a tooth from a sedated patient and then pivoting and riding away.

RELATED: A dentist was filmed extracting a tooth while on a hoverboard. He was found guilty on 46 counts

Evidence presented at trial showed other patients were left unattended while sedated, had breathing and heart complications and in some cases nearly died.

Patients also testified they woke from anesthesia to discover Lookhart worked on or removed the wrong teeth or strayed from agreed treatment plans.

The judge said he was particularly struck by numerous text messages in which Lookhart bragged to friends about his crimes.

Lookhart apologized in court while reading a prepared statement.

“While I do not doubt that I was able to render care and alleviate the pain to many people who were in dire need, I also know that I could have and should have maintained better discipline and focus while serving a patient base I came to love,” he said.

Lookhart is scheduled to begin serving his sentence Dec. 7.

RELATED: COVID crunch: Dentists say more people are grinding their teeth

RELATED: Don’t fear the dentist: why skipping appointments during the pandemic could case bigger problems later

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