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VA Governor Credits Lack Of Spread Among Staff To Mask-Wearing

RICHMOND, VA — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was cleared to hold in-person meetings Monday after spending 18 days in isolation due to a positive test for the coronavirus that caused minor symptoms in the governor. Both Northam and his wife — Pamela Northam — tested positive for the coronavirus on Sept. 25, a day after a worker in the governor’s mansion received a positive test after showing symptoms.

The local health department in Richmond performed contact tracing of 65 people who had come into close contact with Northam over a period of 48 hours prior to his positive test, all of whom were instructed to quarantine. None of the 65 people, many of whom were staff members, showed any symptoms for the coronavirus or tested positive during their quarantine period, and all of them are back to work, the governor said Tuesday at a news conference in Richmond.

Northam said the lack of spread among his staff demonstrates the effectiveness of wearing masks while on the job. “I truly believe that it is a testament to wearing these masks,” he said.

“My press secretary and official photographer and security detail traveled with me for several hours at a time the week that Pam and I were diagnosed,” Northam explained. “And we wear our masks in the car or on the plane, and thankfully none of them got sick. I would remind every Virginian, masks are scientifically proven to reduce the spread of this disease, plain and simple.”

Northam compared the lack of spread of the coronavirus among his staff to what happened at the White House Rose Garden ceremony where President Donald Trump introduced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court. Many people who attended the event, including Trump, have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

“A gathering where people cavalierly sat together, stood together, hugged each other … no masks, no social distancing, and look at the number of people who tested positive,” the governor said. “We talk about science. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.”

“The guidelines that we are following in Virginia, they work,” Northam emphasized. “And when we don’t follow those guidelines, we have outbreaks like you saw in Washington.”

Northam said that both he and his wife are no longer experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus. But the governor stressed that he understands their experience with the disease was mild compared to the thousands of Virginians who have been hospitalized and died from COVID-19.

Virginia Coronavirus Data

On Tuesday, 1,235 new coronavirus cases were reported in Virginia, bringing the cumulative total to 160,805 cases. The positive average of PCR tests is at 4.5 percent statewide.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, there have been 3,372 deaths and 11,598 hospitalizations among COVID-19 patients in Virginia. Tuesday’s total reflected 11 new deaths across the state.

On a regional basis, the eastern and northwest regions reported a positive average of PCR tests at 4.0 percent as of Oct. 9. Other regional

Virginia governor critical of Trump’s coronavirus response in first appearance since testing positive

About 65 staff members who had close contact with the Northams were told to ­self-isolate for two weeks. Northam said none tested positive, which he called “a testament” to the value of wearing masks.

He noted that masks protected several staff members who could not physically distance from him before he tested positive, including a press secretary, photographer and security detail who traveled in an SUV and airplane with Northam.

He contrasted that with the largely mask-free Rose Garden ceremony last month that Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has called a superspreader event. Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several others subsequently tested positive for the virus.

“No masks, no social distancing — and look at the number of people that tested positive,” Northam said Tuesday, referring to the White House event. “We talk about science, it doesn’t get any clearer than that . . . I would remind every Virginian: Masks are scientifically proven to reduce the spread of this disease, plain and simple.”

Northam, a former Army doctor and pediatrician, said his and his wife’s symptoms were mild. He warned Virginians not to let down their guard, particularly as cooler fall temperatures and shrinking daylight hours make outdoor socializing less appealing.

The governor said he is unlikely to ease pandemic-related restrictions in the near term. He acknowledged pressure to return to in-person education at public schools but urged continued caution.

“Numbers are going up in a number of states across this country, so we’re not out of the woods,” he said. “We’re nowhere close to being out of the woods.”

The greater Washington region on Tuesday reported 1,763 additional coronavirus cases and 20 deaths. Virginia added 1,235 cases and 11 deaths, Maryland added 482 cases and nine deaths, and the District added 46 cases and no deaths.

Virginia’s daily caseload was above its rolling seven-day average, lifting that number to 1,089 — the state’s highest daily average since Aug. 13.

The seven-day average in Northern Virginia rose Tuesday to 264 cases, a four-month high in the region.

Daily caseloads Tuesday in Maryland and the District were below their rolling seven-day averages. It’s the third consecutive day that both jurisdictions reported new infections at or below their recent average amid an uptick that began earlier this month.

The recent caseload rise across the region has coincided with the outbreak at the White House, although local health officials have said it’s unclear whether there’s a connection.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

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Coronavirus Outbreak ‘Likely’ To Get Worse In Ohio, Governor Says

COLUMBUS, OH — A somber Gov. Mike DeWine said Ohio faces a difficult stretch in its battle with the coronavirus.

“Things will get better…but in all likelihood things will get worse before they get better,” DeWine said. “The virus is tough. It is cunning. It almost has a mind of its own.”

The governor expressed his confidence in a forthcoming vaccine, but urged Ohioans to don masks and follow health guidance. DeWine wants more compliance with mask guidelines from Ohioans, preferably with at least 85 percent of Ohioans wearing masks in public.

Don’t miss the latest updates from health and government officials in Ohio on the coronavirus. Sign up for Patch newsletters and news alerts.

To keep the economy fluttering with life, Ohioans will need to wear masks, DeWine said. To keep the state’s remaining institutions open and functioning, including schools and sports, Ohioans must also follow social distancing guidelines.

“Wear masks when you are in any place where you will see others. The virus wants us to get complacent because it needs us to spread it,” DeWine said.

The governor said the vigilance and sacrifices of Ohioans has kept the state’s COVID-19 outbreak from hitting cataclysmic proportions and has prevented largescale outbreaks. However, the virus has been spreading rapidly across the Buckeye State.

DeWine highlighted Ohio’s surge in new cases and rising positivity rates on COVID-19 tests. Two weeks ago, Ohio was confirming approximately 1,000 new cases per day. Over the past seven days, Ohio has averaged 1,400 new cases per day.

Other early indicators of COVID-19 spead have been spiking, DeWine said. Visits to medical offices, people reporting COVID-19-like symptoms and other metrics have been jumping rapidly.

“This shows just how this virus has spread throughout the state,” DeWine said.

Here are all of Tuesday’s COVID-19 numbers in Ohio:

More reading:

This article originally appeared on the Across Ohio Patch

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The Latest: Texas governor says surge team sent to El Paso

AUSTIN, Texas — An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to announce Monday that a surge team of medical professionals would be dispatched to the area.

As of Monday, 313 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties of West Texas. The state estimated that active COVID-19 cases in El Paso County alone soared from almost 4,000 on Oct. 1 to just over 6,000 Monday. Seven cases were fatal during that period.

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

— Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett faces Senate despite virus

— Trump insists he’s free of virus, ready for campaign trail

— Britain expected to tighten restrictions on hard-hit northern cities like Liverpool

— EU nations gear up to adopt traffic-light system to identify outbreaks

— Four Swiss guards who protect 83-year-old Pope Francis have the virus

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— 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:

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s governor said Monday that he kept up a busy work schedule despite being confined to the governor’s mansion after being around someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will follow the advice of state public health officials in determining how long he and his family remain quarantined at the mansion. His next COVID test is expected to be Tuesday and then Friday, he said. He added he tested negative last week.

“I’ve asked them (health officials) to treat me like anybody else out there,” the Democratic said. “So I’m going to follow all the rules and all the guidelines.”

Beshear said he had one of his busiest Mondays in a while, and that the biggest challenge of working in quarantine — away from his staff — was all the time he spent “staring at a screen.”

“I’m working,” he said. “I’m just having to do it like many other families are having to do — remotely with sometimes my kids bouncing in and out, or a vacuum cleaner going.”

In his virtual briefing, the governor reported Kentucky’s highest number of coronavirus cases on a Monday since the pandemic began. He said that offers more evidence that the outbreak continues its recent escalation in the Bluegrass State.

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LAWRENCE, Kansas — Even as Kansas recorded another record spike in COVID-19 cases, Lawrence health officials were hit with a lawsuit over an emergency health order that limits bar hours in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Rita “Peach” Madl, the owner of The Sandbar, a bar near the University of Kansas campus, is asking to be freed from rules requiring

Kentucky governor says he had busy work day in quarantine

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s governor said Monday that he kept up a busy work schedule despite being confined to the governor’s mansion after being around someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will follow the advice of state public health officials in determining how long he and his family remain quarantined at the mansion. His next COVID test is expected to be Tuesday and then Friday, he said. He added he tested negative last week.

“I’ve asked them (health officials) to treat me like anybody else out there,” the Democratic said. “So I’m going to follow all the rules and all the guidelines.”


Beshear said he had one of his busiest Mondays in a while, and that the biggest challenge of working in quarantine — away from his staff — was all the time he spent “staring at a screen.”

“I’m working,” he said. “I’m just having to do it like many other families are having to do — remotely with sometimes my kids bouncing in and out, or a vacuum cleaner going.”

Beshear’s wife, Britainy, and their two children also are in quarantine.

“We’re doing great,” Beshear said. “I feel great. My family feels great. We are trying to be really positive about this situation.”

In his virtual briefing, the governor reported Kentucky’s highest number of coronavirus cases on a Monday since the pandemic began. He said that offers more evidence that the outbreak continues its recent escalation in the Bluegrass State.

Beshear announced Sunday that he and his family were potentially exposed the day before by a member of his security detail who later tested positive for COVID-19. Beshear has said they received a call from a contact tracer to alert his family of the possible exposure.

The member of his security team is showing mild symptoms of the virus, the governor said.

“He’s a tank,” the governor said. “He’s going to be great. We know he’ll make a full recovery, and we’re checking on him every day.”

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

The governor — who has a statewide mask mandate in place — has said his family and the security official who drove with them Saturday all wore facial coverings. Beshear has said his family was not in contact with anyone else following the potential exposure.

Meanwhile, the governor reported 643 new coronavirus cases statewide Monday. It continues a string of increases on recent Mondays, when case numbers are typically lower than most other days in the week because many labs are closed on Sundays. Last week, Kentucky posted 543 virus cases on Monday, compared with 456 and 406 cases the prior two Mondays, he said.

“So you can see a steady increase,” Beshear said. “That means that we’ve got to do better, because we have more contacts out there — whether it’s our kids in schools,

Ex-NJ governor Chris Christie says he’s out of the hospital

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2017 file photo, New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J. Christie tweeted on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2017 file photo, New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J. Christie tweeted on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, that he has tested positive for COVID-19.Julio Cortez/AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday he has been discharged from a New Jersey hospital where he spent a week, following his announcement that he had contracted the coronavirus.

“I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center,” Christie said in a Saturday morning post on Twitter. “I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me for the last week. Thanks to my family & friends for their prayers. I will have more to say about all of this next week.”

Christie announced Oct. 3 that he had tested positive and said hours later that he had checked himself into the hospital after deciding with his doctors that doing so would be “an important precautionary measure,” given his history of asthma.

Christie was part of a string of virus cases connected to President Donald Trump’s inner circle. In addition to Trump and first lady Melania Trump, multiple people who had traveled with the president or attended events with him recently contracted the virus.


Trump’s former 2016 rival told The Associated Press on Oct. 2 that the last time he was with the president was Sept. 29 in Cleveland during preparations for his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden. He tweeted the morning of Oct. 2 that he had last tested negative ahead of that first presidential debate and was not having any symptoms then.

In 2013, during Christie’s first term as New Jersey governor, he underwent lap-band surgery and lost a significant amount of weight. Two years before that, he was hospitalized for difficulty breathing. The 58-year-old, who uses an inhaler, once called himself “the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen.”

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The Latest: California Governor Tests Negative for Virus | World News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has tested negative for the coronavirus.

The governor’s office said Newsom was tested on Wednesday after someone in the governor’s office tested positive. The staff member who tested positive had not interacted with Newsom or anyone else who often sees the governor.

The governor’s office said Newsom took the test out of “an abundance of caution.”

Newsom said Wednesday that he has been tested many times and has always been negative. California has reported more than 834,000 coronavirus cases and more than 16,300 deaths.

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

— Washington DC health department asks Rose Garden attendees to get tested

— Paris hospitals on emergency footing as ICUs fill with coronavirus patients

— Am I immune to the coronavirus if I’ve already had it?

— President Trump says he’s ready to hold campaign rallies, credits an experimental drug treatment with helping recovery from COVID-19.

— Coronavirus infections in Ukraine began surging in late summer, hospitals are ‘catastrophically short of doctors.’

— The NFL’s Tennessee Titans had another positive test, bringing the team’s outbreak of COVID-19 to 23.

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

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BEIJING __ China, which has four coronavirus vaccine candidates in the last stage of clinical trials, announced Friday that it is joining the COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX.

The country signed an agreement with GAVI, the co-leader of the alliance, on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Initially, China did not agree to join the alliance, missing the global deadline to join in September.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement that “we are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX.”

The alliance is designed so that richer countries agree to buy into potential vaccines and help finance access for poorer ones. The Trump administration in the U.S. had declined to join the alliance.

The exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute are not yet clear. .

HARTFORD, Conn. — Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force says she is concerned about the uptick in coronavirus cases in the Northeast.

She said Thursday at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford campus that a “very different” kind of spread is happening now.

She says it’s not happening in the workplace so much because people are taking precautions. She says more people are becoming infected because of indoor family gatherings and social events as the weather cools.

She says that was a lesson learned in the South during the summer when people went indoors for air conditioning.

BOISE, Idaho — The number of Idaho residents collecting unemployment dropped for the 22nd consecutive week as the state’s reopened economy continues recovering, while at the same time coronavirus pandemic deaths hit 500.

The Idaho Department of Labor said Thursday that the number

Kentucky governor takes action as state fights becoming next COVID-19 hot spot

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vowed to halt a recent escalation of COVID-19 cases after reporting 17 more coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, marking one of the state’s highest one-day death tolls since the outbreak began earlier this year.



a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.


© Bryan Woolston/Reuters, FILE
Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

“What that shows is we are — in our total case count — in an escalation, meaning last week was more; this week will be more than that, it appears,” Beshear told reporters at a press conference Thursday.

State health officials reported 910 new coronavirus cases on Thursday after shattering records earlier this week, with rural and urban areas seeing massive spikes in new infections. Of the newly reported cases, 146 were children under the age of 18 with the youngest victim being 3 months old.

MORE: Health officials urge Americans to get flu vaccine as concerns mount over possible ‘twindemic’

Last week the state saw its highest total of new infections reported over a seven-day period, but the governor said the state was on track to top that figure this week.

“When we have a lot of cases, sadly a lot of death follows,” Beshear warned.



a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women's and Children's Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.


© Bryan Woolston/Reuters, FILE
Emergency medical personnel transport a patient into the emergency department of Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, as all wear masks to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Louisville, Ky., March 24, 2020.

The 17 coronavirus-related fatalities reported on Thursday followed four COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday.

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The new deaths meant that as of Thursday, a total of 1,191 people had died from the coronavirus in Kentucky since the start of the pandemic. Seniors above the age of 80 account for more than half of those deaths.

Residents between the ages of 20 and 49 account for the bulk of statewide cases, but health officials are urging residents of all ages to take the virus seriously. People in the 20-29 age group appear to have the highest rates of diagnosis, according to state data.

To help combat the spread of the virus during Halloween, Beshear asked parents keep their children away from crowds and to use another approach to traditional trick-or-treating. He and state health commissioner Dr. Steven Stack asked residents to place individually wrapped candy outside on their porches, driveways or tables in lieu of the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating.

“We have put together the best guidance we can for Halloween to be safe. But we can’t do things exactly like we did them before, and we all ought to know that,” Beshear said. “Having a big party right now during COVID puts everybody at risk. Let’s not ruin Halloween for our kids by it spreading a virus that can harm people they love.”

MORE: Gov. Reeves takes action as Mississippi shapes up to become nation’s next COVID-19

Alabama governor extends pandemic rule requiring face masks

Published


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gov. Kay Ivey and health officials extended an order requiring face masks in public Wednesday, arguing that the requirement — while unpopular among many — has proven effective at helping control the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

The five-week extension, announced during a Capitol news conference, means the mask requirement will be in effect on Election Day and through much of the remaining high school and college football seasons.


Ending the mask ordinance could harm the state by leading to a “false sense of security,” Ivey said, and a “safe environment” is needed for in-person voting.

The mask rule, which took effect in mid-July, was set to expire Friday but will continue through Nov. 8 under a health order released by Ivey. It requires anyone over the age of 6 to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when it’s impossible to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.



In a move aimed at combatting isolation among people in nursing homes and hospitals, residents and patients will now be allowed one visitor or caregiver at a time.

More than 2,500 people in Alabama have died of COVID-19, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, giving the state the nation’s 21st high death count. Alabama has reported 153,554 positive results out of 1.1 million tests for an overall positivity rate of 13.7%, according to the COVID Tracking Project.


But the illness caused by the new coronavirus has spread at a slower pace since the state enacted the