The Latest: Gov. Herbert declares state of emergency in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY — Republican Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency in Utah Sunday and ordered a statewide mask mandate in an attempt to stem a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations that threaten to overwhelm hospitals. Herbert and the Utah Department of Health issued executive and public health orders requiring residents to wear face coverings in public, at work and when they are within 6 feet (2 meters) of people who don’t live in their households.
Herbert, who has repeatedly resisted imposing a statewide lockdown, said that the time to debate masks had passed and insisted his orders won’t shut down the economy.
Businesses that fail to require employees and customers to wear masks and enforce social distancing will be subject to fines from the state labor commission. The order also requires bars and restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. for two weeks — until Nov. 23.
“We want to do this in a way that we have minimal detriment to our health,” Herbert said at a Thursday news conference. “At the same time we also are cognizant about the need to have a healthy economy.”
Local government officials and hospital leaders who had been calling on Herbert to impose a statewide mask order lauded his decision on Sunday, but some sheriffs have said they refuse to enforce it.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Dr. Fauci suggests masks at Thanksgiving gatherings
— Italy reaches daily record of nearly 40,000 coronavirus cases
— States ramp up for biggest vaccination drive in US history
— Governors and other U.S. elected officials show little appetite for imposing the lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring.
— Virus ward doctor runs from dawn to dark in Italy, fears the devastation of the coming winter.
— Many school districts are temporarily shutting down in-person classes as cases rise across U.S.
— Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday announced substantial new statewide restrictions on gatherings and certain businesses in an effort intended to help slow rising cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations from the coronavirus.
The governor’s office said in a news release that the state’s cap on gatherings will be reduced from 250 to 25, the state’s mask requirement will be applied to younger children, and alcohol sales will be prohibited at dining establishments, breweries and wineries after 10 p.m. Those and other new restrictions will take effect at midnight Sunday.
The gathering ban will apply to events such as weddings, but won’t impact schools or restaurants. Restaurants were already subject to capacity limits due to rules requiring that patrons remain socially distanced.
“COVID-19 is surging across the country, and while cases are not rising in Virginia as rapidly as in some other states, I do not intend to wait until they are. We are acting now to prevent this health crisis from getting worse,” Northam said in a statement.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon says Wyoming’s first new public-health orders since last spring to limit the spread of the coronavirus are coming soon.
Gordon declined to go into specifics at a news conference Friday. Gordon says state officials will be meeting with local business leaders in the days ahead to discuss the best approach.
Gordon says many people in Wyoming are being “knuckleheads” by not taking steps on their own to prevent spreading the virus.
Wyoming now ranks behind only the Dakotas for new coronavirus cases per 1,000 people.
Wyoming hospitals report almost 200 people hospitalized with COVID-19, quadruple the number a month ago.
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a statewide two-week “freeze” in the state Friday, which will limit restaurants and bars to take-out only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.
The freeze will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 and aims to limit group activities and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The state has experienced a spike in daily case counts and reached record high daily case counts and positivity rates during the month of November.
As part of the freeze grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores are limited to a maximum capacity of 75%.
Faith-based organizations will also have their capacity reduced to 25 people inside and 50 people outside. However, other facilities — gyms and fitness centers, museums, pools, sports courts, movie theaters, zoos, gardens, aquariums and venues — will have to close their doors completely.
All businesses will be required to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home “to the greatest extent possible.”
Coronavirus cases in Oregon have been increasing since mid-September and began to surge at an “alarming rate” in November.
On Thursday, Oregon recorded 1,122 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19, the first time it had surpassed 1,000 cases. The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is nearly 54,000. The death toll is 746.
NEW ORLEANS — The number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Louisiana jumped by nearly 3,000 in the latest daily figures released by the state health department.
Friday’s figures show the state with a total of 194,685 confirmed cases, compared to 191,889 confirmed cases Thursday. The death toll related to the new coronavirus climbed by 24 to 6,121. More than 176,000 people have recovered.
The latest state health department figures also show hospitalizations have edged back up statewide — hitting 684 after dipping to 676 a day earlier. Hospitalizations, a key figure used in determining what restrictions on gatherings are needed, remain well below the peaks they hit earlier this year — close to 2,000 during a spring outbreak and around 1,600 in late summer. But they have trended gradually upward since early fall.
New Orleans officials have expressed worries about a growing number of cases after recently easing some of the toughest restrictions in the state.
In Baton Rouge, news outlets reported Friday that Mayor Sharon Weston Broome says she’s concerned about the local economy and hospital capacity because the positivity rate in East Baton Rouge Parish has hit 5%.
BOSTON — Massachusetts is planning to open a field hospital in Worcester to prepare for a possible overflow of COVID-19 patients as the disease continues to surge again in the state.
The facility will be located at the DCU Center in Worcester and will include 240 beds. It should be ready to take in patients as early as the first week of December. The partner for the site will be the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center.
The announcement comes as the state has begun recording more than 2,000 newly confirmed cases daily of the disease caused by the coronavirus.
During the initial spike of the virus in the spring, the state opened five field hospitals across Massachusetts.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci is recommending masks at Thanksgiving gatherings if the coronavirus status of people is unknown.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert told “CBS This Morning” that “even if it’s a very small group, to the extent possible, keep the mask on.”
Fauci says if families have either quarantined or been tested for the coronavirus, it’s not as necessary. But he says it’s wise to take precautions.
“There is community spread right now,” he said. “(People) don’t have symptoms, they don’t know they are infected. So, we need to pull more testing into the community.”
The U.S. set a single-day record of more than 160,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday.
“If you do the things that are simple public health measures, that soaring will level and start to come down,” Fauci said. “You add that to the help of a vaccine, we can turn this around. It is not futile.”
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice ordered the wearing of masks at all times in businesses and other indoor spaces starting at midnight.
The Republican governor say businesses will need to post signs notifying entrants of the mask requirement under his executive order. Justice urged businesses that encounter patrons not wearing a mask to call the police.
“It’s just silly to be in a public building with strangers walking around without a mask on,” Justice said at a press conference Friday. “Even if you have this macho belief or whatever it may be, it’s silly.”
Justice says public and private schools must use remote instruction from Thanksgiving through Dec. 3. All winter high school sports are postponed until Jan. 11.
On Friday, the state reported 563 coronavirus cases, bringing the total to more than 28,000. West Virginia added 11 deaths to reach 565 confirmed deaths.
WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump will make remarks in the Rose Garden on Friday about Operation Warp Speed, the effort to get a vaccine to the public quickly and safely.
Trump has avoided public gatherings since Election Day and has declined to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump received a briefing on Operation Warp Speed on Friday.
The briefing occurred one day after the U.S. set a single-day record of more than 160,000 coronavirus cases.
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s new daily coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and deaths have hit new records.
The General Directorate for Health reported 6,653 confirmed cases on Friday, with 2,799 people in hospital and 69 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Portugal surpassed 200,000 cases in the country of 10.5 million people.
Tighter restrictions on movement, including a weekend curfew from 1 a.m., took effect this week as part of a state of emergency.
Portugal’s 14-day average cases per 100,000 people is 636, according to the European Centre for Disease Control. That’s higher than in neighboring Spain, with 590.
NAPLES, Italy — Italy hit a new high of nearly 41,000 coronavirus cases on Friday.
The regions of Campania and Tuscany were designated red zones, signaling the dire condition of a hospitals struggling with new admissions.
Italy’s new cases reached 650 per 100,000 Italians. Densely populated Campania, which includes Naples, had 4,079 cases. That’s the third-highest daily total behind Lombardy with 10,634 and Piedmont with 5,258, both of which have been red zones since last week. Tuscany added 2,478 cases.
Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris told The Associated Press that ‘’the health system is under massive pressure and on the verge of collapse.’’
Italy has confirmed 1.1 million coronavirus cases. The country reported 550 deaths on Friday, bringing the known death toll to more than 44,000.
O’FALLON, Mo. — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced strict new regulations to slow the spread of the coronavirus
Page, a Democrat, announced a one-month “Safer at Home” order that starts Tuesday.
St. Louis County residents will stay home except to go to work or school, shop, exercise or for medical care. Residents were advised to establish social groups of 10 or fewer family and friends.
The city of St. Louis, which is not part of the county, separately issued an order Thursday that prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people, effective Saturday.
St. Louis County includes Ferguson and other cities. In-person service at bars and restaurants will be shut down, though carry-out and outside dining will be allowed. Businesses, gyms and places of worship will be reduced to 25% capacity. Those inside must wear masks.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Two members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives confirmed Friday they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus.
Republican state Reps. Kevin Wallace of Wellston and Tammy Townley of Ardmore confirmed in statements to The Associated Press that they tested positive.
The announcement comes just days after a swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol where many lawmakers and families weren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Wallace says he tested positive before Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony and took his oath privately, without any other members present. He says he’s asymptomatic and quarantining.
Townley says she previously tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies this summer and was surprised by her positive test.
MONTPELIER, Vt. — Gov. Phil Scott announced new restrictions on Friday amid a recent surge in coronavirus cases, closing bars to in-person service and banning multiple-household gatherings.
The recent increase in cases comes after Halloween, when people gathered for parties, the Republican governor said.
Many of the state’s clusters were traced back to private gatherings such as baby showers, tailgate parties, deer camps and barbecues “where multiple households are getting together and not wearing masks or staying physically separated for long periods of time,” he said.
The restrictions take effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday, when bars and social clubs will be closed to in-person service but may offer take-out. Restaurants must close to in-person service by 10 p.m. each night. The state is requiring restaurants, gyms, museums, and other establishments to keep a daily log of visitors.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he and the governors of Oregon and Washington have issued travel advisories urging people to quarantine.
A statement from Newsom’s office Friday says the advisories urge against non-essential out-of-state travel. It recommends people quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourages residents to stay local.
California recently surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases.