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CDC places ‘moratorium’ on releasing new coronavirus health guidance

For the last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped issuing new health information related to the novel coronavirus after altering the procedure by which that information was being shared with the American people, sources with direct knowledge of the change told ABC News.

The type of information that has been withheld has previously been vital to hospitals, health officials and local leaders on the front lines providing updated guidance on how to treat, test and slow the spread of the illness, which has claimed over 200,000 American lives. A source told ABC News that includes additional “guidance on who should be tested and when,” adding, “That stuff won’t get updated.”

From at least Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, the CDC has stopped updating new health guidance and recommendation information, according to the sources. An ABC News review of the CDC website shows a timeline that supports the lack of information being updated.

­­A CDC source familiar with the COVID response called the halt in information flow to the American public a “moratorium,” adding, “Scientists are prevented from updating the CDC website with new information, recommendations and policies surrounding COVID.” A separate source confirmed CDC guidance updates are not currently being published, but disagreed with the categorization of a “moratorium” and instead insisted “agency leadership is just ensuring the review process is being followed.”

“If any updates are made to existing guidance or new guidance is made, the CDC is requiring every piece to have approved talking points and maybe a summary statement,” CDC employees and scientists learned on a CDC conference call Wednesday morning according to a source that was on the briefing call.

The source told ABC News, “We know we have new science, but updates based on new and emerging science are not updated or able to be shared,” including CDC “recommendations on best practices and guidance on how to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading COVID.”

This new requirement will create a backlog of information from over a week ago, according to the sources.

PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield speaks at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee reviewing coronavirus response efforts, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

One source told ABC News within the last several days more precise testing guidance for nursing homes was cleared and has yet to be posted. This delay is in sharp contrast to previous action, when guidance was being posted quickly, the source added.

“If this information is true, it is truly chilling. Political interference with CDC is one of the major reasons why our response to this pandemic has been such a disaster,” said Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the CDC and current president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “CDC is one of

Iowa relaxes quarantine guidance despite rapid virus spread


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a policy change Tuesday to make it easier for Iowa students, teachers and business workers exposed to someone with COVID-19 to avoid a two-week quarantine, despite increasing cases across the state.

Under the new state guidance, workers and children in day cares and schools don’t have to quarantine as long as they and the infected person with whom they were in contact were consistently and correctly wearing face coverings. Only the infected person must go into isolation, while the close contacts should monitor their health.

The change breaks with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which recommends a 14-day quarantine for anyone who is in close contact with someone who has tested positive regardless of mask use.

The Republican governor announced the relaxed guideline during a news conference where she acknowledged that rural counties in the northwest part of the state were suffering from uncontrolled community virus spread affecting all age groups.

With no public health mitigation strategies in place and old routines returning, “the virus is simply spreading from person to person during the normal course of daily activities,” Reynolds said.

Iowa, a state of about 3.2 million people, has been reporting an average of 800 to 900 new confirmed coronavirus cases per day in recent weeks, which gives it one of the nation’s highest infection rates.

The number of patients hospitalized statewide with the virus climbed Tuesday to 376, which was the highest level since late May. The increase has been driven by a surge in northwestern Iowa counties such as Osceola, Lyon and Sioux, which each have a two-week positivity rate of higher than 20%. Fifty long-term care facilities are also facing outbreaks.

A White House coronavirus task force report dated Sunday warned that Iowa’s high positivity and case rates and high number of hospitalizations put the state in a “vulnerable position going into the fall and winter.” The report noted that most of Iowa’s 99 counties have high or moderate levels of community transmission.

The report recommended a statewide mask requirement, reduced capacity for indoor dining and bars, more on-site inspections of infection control practices at prisons and nursing homes, and more testing on college campuses.

Reynolds long ago rejected issuing

Latest Santa Cruz Case Count; County Releases Halloween Guidance

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA — Haunted houses, large parties and indoor mazes should be a no-go in the era of the coronavirus, Santa Cruz County officials announced Monday.

And even if your Halloween costume comes with a mask, you should still wear a face mask, officials said in a news release jointly issued by Bay Area health officers. Maybe this year is the one to focus on decorations and virtual costume contests.

The public should keep a close eye out for COVID-19 symptoms after the holiday — especially three to seven days afterward. Anyone who experiences symptoms can learn how to get tested in Santa Cruz County here.

“These holidays are no different than the rest of the year when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19,” health officials wrote.

Officials gave guidance on which seasonal activities are lower-risk, moderate-risk, high-risk and very-high risk. Here’s the official word on Halloween and Día de los Muertos traditions, according to the county:

Lower Risk

“Stay home, keep it small.”

  • Carving pumpkins, scavenger hunt trick-or-treat with members of your household

  • Outdoor pumpkin patch visit (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Carving pumpkins outside with very small group (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Virtual costume contest

  • Decorating your home

  • Creating in-home ofrendas

  • Preparing traditional recipes and playing music at home to honor loved ones who have died

  • Vehicle-based gatherings, such as drive-through attractions or drive-in movies

Moderate Risk

“If you must.”

  • One-way trick-or-treating, with individually wrapped goodie bags for guests to grab and go at the end of a driveway (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Small outdoor movie night or costume parade (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Themed outdoor dining

Higher Risk

“Please avoid.”

  • Traditional trick-or-treating, which brings people from various households together

  • Rural fall festival outside of your community

Very High Risk

“Not permitted by state and local orders.”

  • Crowded parties, whether indoors or outdoors, are linked to many Bay Area COVID-19 cases

  • Sharing, eating, drinking, talking loudly, singing with people outside of your household

  • Haunted houses

  • Indoor mazes

  • Trunk-or-treat, with candy handed out from cars in parking lots

There have been 2,394 cases of the coronavirus reported in Santa Cruz County as of Tuesday morning, including 10 confirmed deaths and 2,082 recovered cases. Here’s the breakdown by location:

  • Aptos: 103

  • Ben Lomond: 18

  • Boulder Creek: 18

  • Capitola: 63

  • Felton: 24

  • Freedom: 128

  • Santa Cruz: 446

  • Scotts Valley: 56

  • Soquel: 63

  • Watsonville: 1,348

  • Under investigation: 103

  • Unincorporated: 24

This article originally appeared on the Santa Cruz Patch

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