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Council Rock North Shuts Down Athletics Amid Rising COVID Cases

NEWTOWN, PA — All athletics and activity programs for Council Rock North High School students are shut down until further notice, Principal Susan C. McCarthy told parents in an email Tuesday afternoon.

The move comes one day after the high school decided to cancel in-person classes for the week after three students reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.

Superintendent Robert Fraser’s decision to close the school went against the advice of Bucks County Health Director David Damsker, who did not recommend closing school.

The health department will only recommend closing a school when there is a clear indication that the district’s health and safety plan isn’t working, Damsker told Patch, and there’s no evidence at this point that transmission is happening within schools.

“School closures are very disruptive and don’t help stop people from getting sick outside of school,” Damsker said. “If people continue to have parties and gather, closing school won’t stop any of that from occurring.”

In a follow-up email sent late Tuesday afternoon, McCarthy said two people “from our Council Rock High School North community” reported testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases this week to five.

The district is working with the Bucks County Department of Health to identify close contacts of the individuals who tested positive as part of the contact tracing process, she added.

“As always, please continue to monitor your health and that of your children,” McCarthy said. “If you notice a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19, please remain home and contact your medical provider. Moreover, if you feel uncomfortable, you may keep your children home, and during this time your children may continue to access the classroom and curriculum through interactive livestream.”

Between Aug. 31 and Oct. 13, there have been 131 cases of COVID-19 throughout the 13 public school districts and private schools in Bucks County, Damsker said, with many of those cases linked to activities outside of school.

Parents or guardians concerned about family members are encouraged to contact their child’s physician or the county health department, she said.

This article originally appeared on the Newtown Patch

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Pakistan shuts restaurants with no distancing

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistan authorities have closed more than 100 restaurants and six wedding halls in the financial capital of Karachi over violations of social distancing rules amid a sudden increase in COVID-19 deaths.

The government has also imposed a lockdown in some of the city’s high-risk areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus. A similar crackdown over social distancing rules has also been ordered in other parts of the country.

Pakistanis have been seen routinely violating social distancing since last month when wedding halls were allowed to open on the condition they adhere to such rules.


Authorities earlier reported 13 out of the country’s 15 single-day COVID-19 fatalities in southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.

Pakistan has reported 313,431 confirmed cases with 6,499 deaths.

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

— Trump says he and first lady tested positive for coronavirus

— US hiring l ikely slowed in September for 3rd straight month

— Pfizer CEO pushes back against Trump claim on vaccine timing

— Democrats controlling the House narrowly have passed a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, a move that came as top-level talks on a smaller, potentially bipartisan measure dragged on toward an uncertain finish.

— Mexican workers have confounded economists by sending home huge sums of money during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts had predicted that as the American economy took a dive, migrant workers would send their families less money, known as remittances.

— Madrid and its suburbs are preparing to enter a soft lockdown that restricts trips in and out of the Spanish capital following a weeks-long political turf fight over Europe’s latest infection hot spot.

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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:

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia and New Zealand have announced a partial opening of their borders to international travel between the neighboring countries.

Australian Transport Minister Michael McCormack says passengers will be able to fly to Sydney and Darwin without going into quarantine from Oct. 16 if they have spent at least two weeks in parts of New Zealand that are not considered COVID-19 hot spots.

But New Zealand will continue insist on travelers from Australia going into hotel quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

McCormack says, “We want to open up Australia to the world. This is the first part of it.”

The two countries separated by the Tasman Sea have long said that the return of international travel would begin with a so-called Trans-Tasman Bubble. McCormack says Australian authorities have concluded that New Zealand posed a low risk of COVID-19 transmission to Australia.

But travelers who have visited a New Zealand hot spot — defined as a region that has reported three new infections a day over three days — won’t be exempt from quarantine.

McCormack says the South Australia state capital Adelaide would likely become the next city to allow quarantine-free travel from New Zealand.

He says when New Zealand would allow quarantine-free

California Fitness Chain Explores Options to Ease Debt After Virus Shuts Gyms

(Bloomberg) — In-Shape Health Clubs is exploring strategic options including a debt restructuring, raising capital or a potential sale as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on gym operators, according to people with knowledge of the matter.



A person disinfects dumbbells at a gym.


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A person disinfects dumbbells at a gym.

The California fitness chain, which laid off the majority of its employees in March, is working with an adviser as it considers alternatives after the coronavirus caused it to shut more than 60 locations, said one of the people. They asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

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The company, which has been reopening some of its fitness centers, has been owned since 2013 by Fremont Private Holdings, an arm of the San Francisco-based private investment office for the Bechtel family, and Pulse Equity Partners LLC.

Representatives for In-Shape and Pulse declined to comment, while a Fremont representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Starved of revenue amid government restrictions intended to fight the pandemic, U.S. fitness chains have fallen into distress. Several have filed for bankruptcy, including 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Gold’s Gym International and Town Sports International LLC, the owner of the New York Sports Clubs and Lucille Roberts.

Debt Pile

In-Shape has about $70 million in debt, split across a $17 million revolving credit facility and a $53 million first-lien term loan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company traces its roots to 1981, when a single racquetball club in Stockton, California, was turned into a full-service health club. Before the pandemic, the chain had grown to more than 60 clubs in California, offering swimming, tennis, basketball and other activities, according to the company’s website.

Earlier this month, the California Fitness Alliance — which In-Shape is part of — said it filed legal action in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking to restore “reasonable” access to indoor fitness, citing benefits to physical and mental health.

“We created strict guidelines to ensure public safety when exercising indoors, so Californians could receive the health benefits associated with exercise and help expand the fight against Covid-19,” Francesca Schuler, Chief Executive Officer of In-Shape Health Clubs, said at the time. “When the state briefly reopened, these protocols worked.”

Schuler cited a CFA study showing that of the more than 5.5 million members who checked into 785 fitness centers between June 12 and July 13, only 0.002% tested positive for the virus, with no cases reported as a result from visits to fitness centers.

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