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Rep. Hayes tests negative for virus, 3 weeks after diagnosis

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes said a test Saturday showed no signs of the coronavirus in her body, nearly three weeks after she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Democrat, who represents Connecticut’s 5th District, has been documenting her battle against the disease on social media since revealing her positive test results on Sept. 20.

“Tossed and turned most of the night,” she posted on Sept. 21. “Breathing is so labored.”

Hayes said a follow-up COVID-19 test on Saturday came back negative. She said she also received a flu shot and made an appointment with the American Red Cross to donate plasma.

“We can all do our part to keep our community safe,” she tweeted Saturday in a post followed by three mask-wearing emojis and the hashtag “#HealthyATHome.”

In other coronavirus related news:



Sacred Heart University and the University of Saint Joseph are the latest in Connecticut to use the rapid saliva-based coronavirus test developed at Yale.

The schools hope adding the testing method to tests already being conducted will help them identify cases earlier and prevent large outbreaks on campus. Both schools also are using the nasal swab form of testing.

“Over the last few weeks as we saw upticks of positive cases on other campuses we decided to increase the percentage of students tested each week and we also wanted more rapid results,” University of Saint Joseph President Rhona Free said in a statement. “SalivaDirect was able to complete the new level of testing that we needed with quick results.”

Sacred Heart spokesperson Deb Noack said the 900 saliva tests they plan to due each week will augment the 1,300 nasal swab tests that had already been conducted.

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L.A. County reports highest daily COVID-19 case count in 6 weeks

A shopper makes her way past a sign that thanks first responders that rests next to a "Sanitize on the Go," station to keep shoppers safe from coronavirus at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on October 7, 2020. This is the first day customers return to indoor shopping after Los Angeles County eases restrictions and have reopened the malls and the individual stores. <span class="copyright">(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)</span>
A shopper makes her way past a sign that thanks first responders that rests next to a “Sanitize on the Go,” station to keep shoppers safe from coronavirus at the Westfield Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia on October 7, 2020. This is the first day customers return to indoor shopping after Los Angeles County eases restrictions and have reopened the malls and the individual stores. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported its highest count of daily COVID-19 infections since Aug. 22, highlighting the continued dangers of the virus even as more businesses are opening up.

Health officials have been warning that another coronavirus wave is possible this fall even have numbers of cases and deaths have been declining since a serious summer spike.

Los Angeles County has lagged behind other parts of California in reopening due to its continued high numbers of new cases and deaths. But on Wednesday, indoor shopping centers reopened for the first time in months, with limited capacity.

The doors swung open to disturbing news: Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced 1,645 new cases and 30 additional deaths. It’s unclear whether Wednesday’s number signifies a trend or is a one-off linked to a backlog of cases.

“While one day of a high number of cases does not indicate a trend, this is something we need to watch closely,” Ferrer said.

In recent weeks, the county has repeatedly reported less than 800 daily hospitalizations and fewer than 1,000 daily coronavirus cases. And while the average positivity rate has decreased from a summer spike and hit its lowest number since the pandemic began, officials have warned that an ongoing incremental increase in daily case counts could pose a risk of increased transmission.

The numbers underscore the delicate balancing act facing officials, who are trying to carefully reopen the economy without prevent the spike in cases that occurred in the summer. That has caused frustration among some businesses.

For example, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said theme parks like Disneyland must remain closed for now despite intense pressure to reopen.

“We’re going to be led by a health-first framework, and we’re going to be stubborn about it,” the governor told reporters. “We don’t anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger theme parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data.”

County officials reported that the state’s new health equity metric — the positivity rate of a county’s lowest quartile, used to ensure that communities disproportionately affected by the virus progress in step with the county as a whole — did not prevent the county from moving forward. The seven-day average positivity rate for L.A. County is currently 2.8%. For those in the lowest-resourced areas, the number is 4.6%. Both numbers are considered low, and would place the county in Tier 3 if not for the high daily case count.

L.A. County, like others throughout the state, will face a test of time in its ability to maintain

CMS Gives Hospitals 14 Weeks to Start Daily COVID, Flu Reports

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The federal government is giving hospitals 14 weeks to comply with daily reporting requirements for COVID-19.

Hospitals that fail to meet the requirements will be barred from participating in Medicare and Medicaid, as announced in late August in a final rule.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will send letters on October 7 to all 6200 hospitals that receive reimbursement from the two federal health programs informing them of how well they are doing now, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma on a press call. 

Verma would not give an estimate on how many hospitals are currently not compliant. But Deborah Birx, MD, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on the call that 86% of hospitals are currently reporting daily.

Federal officials on the call also announced that hospitals would have the option to begin reporting certain data on influenza starting October 19, but that it would become mandatory a few weeks later.

The reporting is important “to really ensure that we’re triangulating all data to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations, and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Birx said.

The federal government began a new hospital reporting system in April but did not require hospitals to participate until it quietly issued guidance in mid-July informing facilities that they should no longer report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The move perplexed many public health experts and epidemiologists, who expressed concern that asking hospitals to use a new data system during a pandemic could result in delays and lost information. The new HHS data collection site, HHS Protect, is being managed by a private contractor, not the CDC, which also raised alarms.

The final CMS rule issued in August went into effect immediately, without any chance for comment or revision. CMS said at the time that the pandemic was reason enough to skip over the normal bureaucratic process.

Hospitals were not pleased. But Verma claimed that since then CMS had been working with hospital organizations on enforcement.

“We’re going to do everything we can to facilitate reporting, including an enforcement timeline that will provide hospitals ample opportunity to come into compliance,” she said.

Hospitals that do not comply will get a notice every 3 weeks. Three weeks after the second notice, they’ll get weekly notices for a month, and a final termination notice at 14 weeks.

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), however, said their members were still not happy. “It is both inappropriate and frankly overkill for CMS to tie compliance with reporting to Medicare conditions of participation,” said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn in a statement. He called the CMS proposal “sledgehammer enforcement,” and said that the continuing data request might weaken hospitals’ response to the pandemic because it would divert time and money away from patient care.  

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of

1,402 Coronavirus Cases, 4 Deaths In Kane County In Past 3 Weeks

KANE COUNTY, IL — Kane County’s longest stretch without a coronavirus-related death came to an end over the weekend when public health officials announced two additional deaths from the virus.

Public health officials recorded more than 1,400 coronavirus cases and four deaths over the past three weeks, which includes a 17-day span without any related deaths.

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The 1,402 cases recorded since Sept. 15 represent more than 10 percent of all coronavirus cases recorded in Kane County since the start of the pandemic in March.

Statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health show 13,634 Kane County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 329 have died from related conditions, as of Monday.

Illinois Coronavirus Update Oct. 6 — Don’t miss updates in Kane County as they are announced — Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.

Kane County’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has fluctuated between 50 and 85 cases since July 25. Its seven-day average did not surpass 50 cases at any point in the previous six weeks, public health data shows.

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The county’s seven-day average sits at 63.5 cases, as of Monday.

The positivity rate in Region 8 — made up of Kane and DuPage counties — stands at 4.9 percent, as of Friday. Kane County’s positivity rate has dropped by two full percentage points — to 5.3 percent — in less than two weeks, public health data shows.

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Public health officials have imposed new restrictions on three of Illinois’ 11 coronavirus-management regions after positivity rates there surpassed 8 percent for at least three days.


This article originally appeared on the Aurora Patch

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New Coronavirus Cases Top 1K In Virginia For 1st Time In 2 Weeks

VIRGINIA — The Virginia Department of Health reported 1,116 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, up from the 966 cases reported Friday. The new cases bring the cumulative case total in the state to 150,803.

The daily increase topped 1,000 cases for the first time since Sept. 18 when 1,242 new cases were reported. State health officials also reported a cumulative total of 11,191 hospitalization since the start of the pandemic and 3,270 deaths, an increase of 20 deaths since Friday.

The breakdown of new cases by region as of Saturday was 283 in the southwest region, 260 in the central region, 221 in the northern region, 187 in the northwest region and 165 in the eastern region. The seven-day average of new cases across Virginia is now 771.

The positive average of PCR tests remains at 4.7 percent, below the 5 percent rate recommended by the World Health Organization before reopening. The total of PCR tests completed in Virginia stands at 2,113,878, up 19,517 from Friday.

Four regions have averages below 5 percent — the northern region with 4.2 percent, the central region with 4.3 percent, the eastern region with 4.6 percent and the northwest region with 4.8 percent. The southwest region has an average above the statewide average — 6.0 percent.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients stand at 906 statewide on Saturday. The breakdown of hospital patients by region is 239 in the central region, 208 in the northern region, 198 in the eastern region, 168 in the southwest region, and 93 in the northwest region.

The current hospitalizations, as of Saturday, include 191 in the intensive care units and 103 on ventilators, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Ventilator use stands at 21 percent among all Virginia patients, and ICU occupancy remains at 80 percent. There are no hospitals reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment in the next 72 hours.

Virginia residents in the 20-29 age group have the greatest number of positive tests, at 131,370 cases, or 20.1 percent of the state total. People older than 80 represent the highest number of deaths, at 1,566 people, or 47.9 percent of the number of Virginians who have died from COVID-19.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area between Friday and Saturday:

  • Alexandria: 3,893 cases, 326 hospitalizations, 70 deaths; increase of 20 cases and one death

  • Arlington County: 4,026 cases, 505 hospitalizations, 151 deaths; increase of 17 cases and two hospitalizations

  • Fairfax County: 21,176 cases, 2,176 hospitalizations, 590 deaths; increase of 112 cases and seven hospitalizations

  • Fairfax City: 137 cases, 14 hospitalizations, eight deaths; no changes

  • Falls Church: 72 cases, 13 hospitalizations, seven deaths; increase of one case

  • Loudoun County: 6,954 cases, 437 hospitalizations, 126 deaths; increase of 38 cases and one hospitalization

  • Manassas: 1,936 cases, 130 hospitalizations, 24 deaths; increase of six cases

  • Manassas Park: 613 cases, 55 hospitalizations, eight deaths; no changes

  • Prince William County: 12,667 cases, 923 hospitalizations, 209 deaths; increase of 27 cases, and one hospitalization;

Coronavirus patients in hospital in UK doubles in two weeks

General view of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (PA)
General view of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (PA)

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus has doubled in two weeks as cases continue to rise across the country.

The government said there were 2,276 people in UK hospitals as of October 1, just over double the 1,107 who were receiving treatment on September 17.

There has been a steady increase in hospital admissions throughout September and shows no signs of changing over the first week of October.

There were 6,914 new cases of coronavirus in the UK Thursday, slightly down the past two days where numbers were above 7,000.

During the height of the pandemic in April there were around 19,000 people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK.

Graph patients in hospital with COVID-19 in the UK. (UK Government)
Graph patients in hospital with COVID-19 in the UK. (UK Government)

Read more: Only UK area to come out of local lockdown back on the government’s watchlist

England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty, said yesterday at a press briefing: “In the North East, North West but also in London, we are seeing a significant uptick in the number of people who are entering intensive care.

“This is not yet at a stage where it is threatening our ability to have intensive care – there is still significant capacity in the NHS system – but this is definitely heading the wrong way.”

Whitty presented a graph at the briefing that showed ICU admissions in London jumped from 0.18 per 100,000 people in the week ending 13 September to 0.42 per 100,000 in the week ending 20 September.

There were similar figures for the Midlands, North West, and the North East and Yorkshire.

Graph showing ICU admissions across England. (UK Government)
Graph showing ICU admissions across England. (UK Government)

Read more: Liverpool, Warrington and parts of North East face tighter coronavirus restrictions

The government has continued to encourage people to follow the guidelines with Boris Johnson insisting as long as people obeyed the rules the country would be able to avoid another full lockdown.

There are signs the government’s new measures are beginning to slow the rate of infection in the UK.

A study found restrictions across the north of England may be pushing down the growth of the coronavirus epidemic, the leader of a large-scale Covid-19.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React study – the largest research of its kind in England – said new rules appeared to be taking effect but warned that all age groups were contracting the virus.

Prof Elliott told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his study had found a seven-fold increase in the number of people carrying the virus at the age of 65 and over.

Watch: UK coronavirus cases rising – why are deaths still low?

He added: “In the very recent data, and we’re talking about people who did swabs last Saturday, it does seem that the rate of increase of the infection may have slowed a bit.

“So that