DANBURY, CT — The city’s public schools will be reopening to a hybrid in-person learning model beginning Oct. 26 for all grades K-12. Preschool is expected to return the following week.
The announcement came in a letter to parents from Superintendent Sal Pascarella on Oct. 2.
A review of the data by the district’s senior administration and medical team showed continued community spread of COVID-19, but a trending down of the numbers since the outbreak’s peak beginning Aug. 21, according to Pascarella.
The public schools pivoted from their original reopening plan in August, after a significant increase in coronavirus cases prompted the State Department of Public Health to issue a COVID-19 advisory for the city. The infection rate in Danbury was 7 percent at the time of the advisory; it now hovers around 5 percent.
All busses will be operating according to all applicable federal, state, local guidelines, Pascarella said. Students are required to wear a mask for the duration of their ride to school, and must be wearing a mask to board the bus.
The district and medical team will continue to monitor the ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and will advise if adjustments to our learning model is necessary, Pascarella said in the letter.
This article originally appeared on the Danbury Patch
Shift Supervisor Geana Silvestri, front, and Fitness Attendant Marvin Espeleta, wipe down and sanitize equipment in the free-weight section of the Paradise Fitness gym in Dededo on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. In the latest round of lifted restrictions by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, gyms, fitness centers and dance studios will be allowed to resume indoor operations, but each will be subject to limits of no more than 25% occupancy load and must abide to applicable Department of Public Health and Social Services guidance. Paradise Fitness, with locations in Hagåtña, Tumon and Dededo, is preparing its facilities to reopen and welcome back its patrons beginning 8:00 a.m., Saturday morning. (Photo: Rick Cruz/PDN)
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on the physical and mental health of residents placed on lockdown. After a month off, Guam residents are ready to hit the gym.
Announced on Oct. 1 by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, fitness and gym centers can reopen on Oct. 3 at 8 a.m. The order will also bring the return of social gatherings, worship services, and parks and beaches — but with strict social distancing requirements.
“We have been getting constant emails and text messages via social media asking when we are going to open,” said Samantha Sablan, the owner of Custom Fitness Guam. “The response is really good; people are looking forward to it.”
The rules and regulations in place from the new order, according to Sablan, were similar to what Custom Fitness followed before the lockdown. Even at 25% capacity, the fitness center operated below the requirement.
“We are not going to have all of our classes at first and are going to limit the number of participants,” Sablan said. “For the most part, we are not changing anything because we were already in compliance with the rules.”
Sablan said Custom Fitness’s capacity accommodates 130 people, but during the pandemic, they welcomed 20 people at any given time.
“We are going to start even smaller this time to make sure people feel comfortable with our safety and cleaning procedures,” Sablan said.
“For the most part, we are not changing anything,” Sablan added.
Masks required at Paradise Fitness
During the first reopening, Paradise Fitness recommended members to wear masks but the protocol
PHOENIX – Four months after a race to reopen state economies led to a summer onslaught of coronavirus infections, several of those same states are moving again to reduce restrictions and return to some semblance of normalcy.
The decisions to end restrictions come as the number of new cases confirmed every day begins to rise once again after a mid-September plateau. Public health experts worry that growing case counts, coupled with the coming influenza season, will contribute to a new spike that will once again threaten to overwhelm hospitals.
Arizona’s Department of Health Services said Thursday that the state’s 15 counties have all met benchmarks needed to reopen gyms, bars that serve food and movie theaters. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said last week that he has no plans to reimplement restrictions even though he anticipates case counts will rise.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week lifted all restrictions on businesses including bars and restaurants. The executive order DeSantis signed also prohibits local municipalities from fining people who violate mask-wearing mandates.
In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) rolled back virtually all restrictions on social gatherings and distancing. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) allowed bars to reopen in four counties where she had ordered them shuttered just three weeks before. Reynolds has also tried to force public schools to open, setting up a clash with the Des Moines Public School district.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) ended restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in 89 of 95 counties. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) became the first governor in the nation to rescind a statewide mask mandate, one he had ordered in August.
“The numbers just simply don’t justify the heavy hand of government telling us that we have to wear a mask,” Reeves told The Hill in an interview Friday. “I will tell you that I continue to strongly suggest to my fellow Mississippians, particularly those that are in the more vulnerable categories, to please continue to wear a mask in public.”
“What you’ll see is that we’ll continue to have great participation by Mississippians and we’ll continue to slow the spread and flatten the curve,” he said.
Political leaders in those states cited positive trends in hospitalizations, even as overall case counts continue to rise.
“We know from some of the models that the public health experts are hypothesizing that there will be increased spread in colder climates,” Daniel Ruiz, Arizona’s chief operating officer, told The Hill. “We are very intentional about what reopening looks like.”
But public health experts warn that some states are putting themselves back on the path to a significant new outbreak, like those that erupted in June, July and August.
“We all want to get back to our normal lives as they were before the pandemic began, but one thing is absolutely clear, that the path to sustained economic recovery and the resumption of public activities is the path laid out by
MANILA, Philippines — Two of the most popular Philippine tourist destinations, including the Boracay beach, have partially reopened with only a fraction of their usual crowds showing up given continuing coronavirus restrictions.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Friday that 35 local tourists, including seven from Manila, came on the first day of the reopening of Boracay, a central island famous for its powdery white sands, azure waters and stunning sunsets. Only local tourists from regions with low-level quarantine designations could go, subject to safeguards, including tests showing a visitor is coronavirus-free.
The mountain city of Baguio, regarded as a summer hideaway for its pine trees, cool breeze and picturesque upland views, has been reopened to tourists only from its northern region, she told ABS-CBN News.
Despite the urgent need to revive the tourism industry, it’s being done “very slowly, cautiously,” she said, adding mayors and governors would have to approve the reopening of tourism spots. “We really have to be careful,” she said.
Like in most countries, the pandemic has devastated the tourism industry in the Philippines, which now has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia at more than 314,000, with 5,504 deaths.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Push to bring coronavirus vaccines to the poor faces trouble
— In Appalachia, people watch COVID-19, race issues from afar
— NFL postpones Steelers-Titans game after more positive tests
— The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and possible COVID-19 relief bill with a price tag above $1.5 trillion.
— France’s health minister is threatening to close bars and ban family gatherings, if the rise in virus cases doesn’t improve.
— Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week to a still-high 837,000, suggesting the economy is struggling to sustain a tentative recovery from the summer.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LOS ANGELES — California’s plan to safely reopen its economy will begin to require counties to bring down coronavirus infection rates in disadvantaged communities that have been harder hit by the pandemic.
The complex new rules announced late Wednesday set in place an “equity metric.”
It will force larger counties to control the spread of COVID-19 in areas where Black, Latino and Pacific Islander groups have suffered a disproportionate share of the cases because of a variety of socioeconomic factors.
Some counties welcomed the news and said it will build on efforts underway. Supporters of a more rapid reopening criticized the measure.
NEW ORLEANS — Starting this weekend, New Orleans bars will be allowed to sell drinks to go and restaurants may operate at 75% indoor capacity instead of 50% since a number of coronavirus indicators have stayed low, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.
The limit for restaurants and other businesses matches the state limit set weeks ago. If all goes well, New Orleans could match all state reopening levels by Oct. 31, with two more
The number of children infected with the coronavirus rose dramatically between April and September, according to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, and by more than 14% in the last two weeks alone – a surge that coincides with schools reopening across the country.
“These rising numbers concern us greatly, as the children’s cases reflect the increasing virus spread in our communities,” Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement. “While children generally don’t get as sick with the coronavirus as adults, they are not immune and there is much to learn about how easily they can transmit it to others.”
Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted
Drawing on data from state health departments, researchers analyzed trends over five months in reported COVID-19 cases and found that the number of children infected rose from 2.2% of all cumulative reported cases nationwide in April to 10% of all cases in September.
Notably, in the last eight weeks, children represented between 12% and 16% of newly reported cases each week, according to the study. In the two-week span of Sept. 10 to Sept. 24, more than 75,000 new child cases were reported – a 14% increase in child cases over two weeks.
As of Sept. 24, officials reported 624,890 cases of COVID-19 in children, which represents 10.5% of all cases.
The new figures come on the heels of reporting by the New York Times that found top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to play down the risk of sending children back to school and pushed public health experts there to use alternate data showing that the pandemic posed little danger to children.
Hospitalizations and serious infections among children are still rare, despite the surge in cases: As of Sept. 10, children represented 1.7% of total hospitalizations and 0.07% of total deaths. Just 0.01% of child cases resulted in death.
The study found substantial variation in case growth by region: In April, a preponderance of cases were in the Northeast. In June, cases surged in the South and West, followed by mid-July increases in the Midwest.
Researchers underscored that the data is limited because states differ in how they report it, and it is unknown how many children have been infected but not tested. In addition, they said, it’s unclear how much of the increase in cases among children is due to increased testing capacity – though CDC data from public and commercial labs shows the share of all tests administered to children, about 5% to 7%, has remained stable since late April.
“We will continue to closely monitor children’s cases, with hopes of seeing the upward trend turn around,” Goza said. “We encourage parents to call their pediatricians and get their children into the office for well visits and vaccinations, especially now that some schools are reopening and flu season has arrived.”
Moderator Chris Wallace will ask about COVID-19 and the Supreme Court, so we expect questions about President Trump’s response to the pandemic and the looming oral arguments for a Trump-backed lawsuit that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Also, New York City is reporting an uptick in cases, and the global COVID-19 death toll has passed 1 million.
Let’s start with NYC…
New York City reports uptick in COVID-19 cases as schools try to reopen
New York City reported that its daily positivity rate of coronavirus tests surpassed 3 percent on Tuesday for the first time since June, with the bulk of the increase coming from certain Queens and southern Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) called the 3.25 percent positivity rate “cause for real concern” in a Tuesday press briefing. The nine at-risk ZIP codes are predominantly Orthodox communities. De Blasio said the statewide rate is about 1 percent.
The city, an early U.S. epicenter for the pandemic, saw its numbers steadily fall over the summer but has seen an increase in recent weeks.
The uptick is disrupting the city’s attempts to reopen schools, which de Blasio has already delayed. The mayor said that if the city’s seven-day rolling average reaches 3 percent, public schools will have to close again.
Read more here.
Global coronavirus death toll passes 1 million, with no end in sight
More than a million people worldwide have died after contracting the novel coronavirus less than a year after it first spilled over to humankind, a devastating toll that includes deaths in both the wealthiest and some of the poorest countries.
At least 33 million people have tested positive for the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the true number of infected is likely multiple times higher. Surveys in the United States and other nations have suggested that only about 1 in 10 people who contract the virus ever test positive.
According to a Johns Hopkins University count, the global COVID-19 death toll stood at 1,000,555 by Monday evening.
And the true number of deaths is likely substantially higher as well. Excess mortality rates across the world show more people have died this year than is typical – signs either that the virus is killing more people than currently known, or that people with other health issues are unable or unwilling to access the treatment they need.
Read more here.
Student gatherings, congregate living contribute to rapid coronavirus spread at universities: CDC
Student gatherings and congregate living settings likely contribute to the rapid spread of COVID-19 at universities, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
The move to vastly expand U.S. testing comes as confirmed new COVID-19 cases remain elevated at more than 40,000 per day and experts warn of a likely surge in infections during the colder months ahead. It also comes just five weeks before the November election, with Trump facing continued criticism for his handling of the crisis.
The tests will go out to states based on their population and can be used as governors see fit, but the Trump administration is encouraging states to place a priority on schools. White House officials said at a Rose Garden event that 6.5 million tests will go out this week and that a total of 100 million tests will be distributed to governors over the next several weeks.
Officials said the administration is emphasizing testing in schools because it’s important to the physical, social and emotional development of students to be back in classrooms to the degree that’s possible. The Abbott Laboratories tests would allow parents to know whether their symptomatic child has COVID-19. In some cases, states could undertake some baseline surveillance, like testing a proportion of students per week or per month to make sure that the incidence of COVID-19 is low.
“You have too many states that are locked down right now,” Trump said. “The governors are … nobody knows what the governors are doing actually.”
The tests will come from a previously announced supply of 150 million ordered from Abbott. The company’s rapid test, the size of a credit card, is the first that does not require specialty computer equipment to process. It delivers results in about 15 minutes.
Rapid, convenient testing is considered essential to reopening the U.S. economy. But the effort has been plagued by problems since the earliest days of the outbreak.
First, the government lost pivotal weeks distributing, then correcting a flawed test developed by U.S. scientists. Then, for months private labs and hospitals struggled to ramp up testing capacity due to shortages of key supplies, including testing chemicals.
The issue is politically sensitive for Trump as he grapples with the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans. For months, Trump has prodded state and local leaders to open schools this fall.
Only in the last two months has U.S. testing capacity generally exceeded demand. The government’s top testing official, Adm. Brett Giroir, told Congress last week that the nation will soon have the capacity to run 3 million tests per day, on average. The U.S. has been averaging about 900,000 tests per day, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.
Giroir demonstrated the ease with which the test is given, self-administering the nasal swab then placing it on a piece of paper that contained six drops of liquid.