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DC health dept asks WH attendees to get tested

WASHINGTON — The Washington D.C. Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and those attending a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a coronavirus test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s contact tracing efforts for the virus outbreak that infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two U.S. senators, among others.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter says contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient and “there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”

The move highlights the public health dilemma faced by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration regarding the current outbreak. The Trump White House has operated for months in open violation of several D.C. virus regulations, hosting multiple gatherings that exceeded the local 50-person limit and where many participants didn’t wear masks.



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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at and



TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey added 1,300 new coronavirus cases overnight, the highest level since late May.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says most of the positive cases in Ocean County stem from Lakewood, predominantly among white men ages 19-49 and could be related to religious services or celebrations that occurred in late September.

Hospitalizations also increased to 652, the highest level since early August.

Eleven more people died in the last day, bringing the statewide confirmed total to 14,373. The positivity rate for testing stood at 3.69%, while the rate of transmission fell to 1.22, down from 1.27.

The state has stockpiled personal protective equipment, ventilators and the therapeutic drug Remdesivir, Persichilli says.


MADRID — Spain’s health ministry is reporting 12,423 new coronavirus cases and 126 confirmed deaths Thursday, the day a court struck down a partial lockdown in hard-hit Madrid.

With 848,324 infections since the start of the pandemic, Spain has the highest caseload in Europe. The official death toll rose to 32,688, although limits on testing early in the year means the actual number of victims is likely much higher.

The country’s 14-day rate of 256 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants varies greatly from region to region, with Madrid’s 563 topping the charts. That’s five times the European average rate as of Sept. 27, according to data of

Coronavirus cases linked to beer fest in North Carolina, attendees urged to get tested

Attendees of a recent beer fest in North Carolina should consider getting tested for COVID-19 after at least two coronavirus cases were connected to the event, according to a local report.

Those who attended “Mecktoberfest” at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte from Sept. 25 to 27 may have been exposed to the virus, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris told county commissioners on Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported. 

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.

The event, Harris said, involved “very few masks” and “very little social distancing.”

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.


A video from local news station Fox 46 Charlotte shows a crowded beer garden, with few attendees wearing masks.


The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery “has always and will continue to work diligently to ensure that we comply with and adhere to all county, state and national health regulations and recommendations,” a spokesman for the establishment told the Charlotte Observer in a statement. He did not directly answer questions related to Harris’ warning, according to the newspaper.

“It is also perhaps the easiest place in town to enjoy a beer or a meal with friends while social distancing,” the spokesman added.

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