The Latest: Czech Republic sees surge in new infections
PRAGUE - The Czech Republic and neighboring Slovakia have made big leaps in new coronavirus infections, setting a new record for the fourth day in a row.
The Department of Health says the daily increase hit 8,618 confirmed cases on Friday, more than 3,000 more than the previous record set in the nation of over 10 million a day earlier.
There have been a total of 109,374 cases with 905 deaths in the Czech Republic since the pandemic began. Of those, nearly 27,000 tested positive in the first five days of this week, while 146 died this week, according to Saturday's data.
The government has responded to the record increase with a series of new restrictive measures. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Friday that he could not rule out a lockdown of the entire country.
In Slovakia, the Ministry of Health reported 1,887 new cases of infection on Friday, more than 700 more than the day before.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic says the government is preparing further restrictive measures, which will be announced on Sunday.
HERE YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
- Trump says experimental drugs may have saved him from viruses
- WHO reports new daily high in global COVID-19 cases
- Trump official says vaccine expected from January
Canada's most populous province bans indoor dining in restaurants and bars in Toronto and Ottawa, and gyms and theaters closings as Ontario posted a record of 939 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday.
- Intensive care units across France are replenishing with COVID-19 patients. Doctors are trying to create new intensive care beds elsewhere to accommodate the sick and ask what went wrong.
- Chancellor Angela Merkel says the federal government will help soldiers and public health experts in German cities where the number of coronavirus cases is rising sharply.
- Follow AP's pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE HAPPENS WHAT OTHER HAPPENS:
DELHI - India's confirmed coronavirus cases are approaching 7 million with an additional 73,272 reported in the past 24 hours.
The Ministry of Health reported 926 additional deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 107,416 deaths. The deaths have remained below 1,000 for the seventh straight day.
In India, the coronavirus has been spreading more slowly since mid-September when daily infections hit a record of 97,894 cases. So far this month, an average of more than 70,000 cases are being treated each day, while the recovery rate has exceeded 85%.
However, health experts have warned that during major festivals later this month and November, communities have the potential for the virus to spread.
"We have to work aggressively to make sure coronavirus cases don't increase dramatically during the winter months and the Christmas season," said Dr. Randeep Guleria, a government health expert.
Experts say India's fragile health system has been strengthening in the past few months but could still be overwhelmed by an exponential increase in cases.
Consumer activity is gradually recovering and millions of factory workers who fled the cities when India imposed a two-month strict lockdown on March 25 are returning.
SANTA FE, N.M. - New Mexico is losing ground in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 as newly reported daily infections hit a record 488 cases.
Three more deaths from the pandemic were announced by state health officials on Friday as the death toll from the pandemic topped 900.
Bernalillo County, the most populous urban area in the state, had 135 new cases while Dona Ana had 81 cases. Lea and Chaves counties together made 77 new cases.
The state's infection and positivity rates for the spread of the virus are rising as Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration holds on to the line of emergency health restrictions.
WINDOW ROCK, Arizona - Enrolled members of the Navajo Nation are eligible for payments of up to $ 1,500 as part of the tribe's response to the coronavirus.
President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Friday approved the $ 49 million plan passed by the Tribal Council. Funding comes from the tribe's share of federal funding for coronaviruses.
Adults are eligible for payments of $ 1,500 and minors of $ 500.
Nez said in a statement that there are not enough funds to cover payments for all enrolled members of the tribe, so the money should be directed to the elders and those most in need.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The University of Rhode Island has issued a two-week housing order for brother and sister houses due to a high number of coronavirus cases.
The school sent the notice on Friday along with its Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association.
Students are only allowed to leave Greek homes for doctor visits and other essential services such as grocery shopping and important employment. Students will take virtual classes while taking shelter.
Students and chapters that do not conform to guidelines can be suspended or dismissed.
The school based its decision on statistics showing a much higher rate of coronavirus positivity among students in Greek apartments at over 11% than in off-campus apartments at under 4% or in the overall on-campus population at 0.65%.
ALBANY, NY. - A federal judge has refused to block New York's plan to temporarily limit the size of religious gatherings at COVID-19 hotspots.
US District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ruled Friday after hearing a lawsuit filed by rabbis and synagogues who said the restrictions were unconstitutional.
They had tried to postpone enforcement at least until after this weekend's Jewish holiday. The rules limit the prayer service in certain areas to a maximum of 10 people.
The judge said the state has an interest in protecting public safety.
RENO, Nevada - Reno, a recent surge in COVID-19 cases at the University of Nevada, is causing the school to suspend classrooms effective November 30th.
UNR officials also urge most students not to return to dormitories after Thanksgiving.
School officials said Friday they plan to have students return to dormitories for the spring semester and resume a combination of distance and classroom teaching on Jan. 25. In the meantime, however, all classes will be conducted remotely.
Only students who are exposed to extenuating circumstances are allowed to reside on campus. In the past few weeks, one in nine new cases in the county has been linked to the UNR.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Health officials in Alaska's largest city recommended up to 300 people linked to a quarantine or isolate for youth hockey tournaments on Friday after "a group" of COVID-19 cases were identified.
The Anchorage Health Department announced that players, coaches and fans from parts of south-central Alaska and Juneau participated in the tournament, which took place October 2-4.
The department said it is encouraging all participants who have no symptoms to quarantine for 14 days except for testing, and encouraged those with symptoms to isolate for 10 days except for testing.
Dr. Janet Johnston, the department's epidemiologist, said the department recommends up to 300 isolates or quarantine.
Heather Harris, the director of the department, was unable to provide a "specific" number of positive cases related to the tournament. She said tournament organizers tried to enforce masking guidelines and kept a contact log of participants.
Investigations into contact traces found there was "significant close contact indoors, including locker rooms, with inconsistent use of face coverings," the city health department said in a press release.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Governor Jim Justice announced on Friday that bars around West Virginia University in Morgantown could reopen next Tuesday, a month after pictures of maskless college students packing bars caused them to close.
Police and state alcohol regulators will step up enforcement in the university town, Justice said at a coronavirus press conference. The Republican governor abruptly ordered the bars in Monongalia County to close indefinitely on Sept. 2 - just two days after they reopened - as many patrons lined up with no social distance.
The owners of 12 restaurants and bars sued the governor and local officials in Morgantown last month in federal court over the closure.
"Bars that do not enforce these guidelines, where a group of people are present without a mask ... they will be closed again," Justice said, adding that there is a risk of their licenses being suspended.
District officials previously urged bars to halve indoor seating, close dance floors, and suspend live performances and entertainment. The restaurants in the county were able to continue their dining service without their bars operating. Morgantown City officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
OKLAHOMA CITY - The number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus in Oklahoma rose to a record high of 749 a day on Friday, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.
The number of patients either hospitalized with the virus or being screened for infection surpassed the 738 high reported on Wednesday.
The department also reported 1,524 newly confirmed cases of the virus, the second highest daily increase since 1.7.14 new cases on July 21, for a total of 97,088 cases. There are six more deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, which increases to 1,091. According to the Health Department, there were 13,515 active cases of the virus as of Thursday and 82,482 people have recovered.
NATCHEZ, miss. - A brother and sister in Natchez both died from the coronavirus, said Adams County coroner James Lee.
On Friday October 2, a 73-year-old woman died of the virus-induced COVID-19 disease and her 69-year-old brother died two days later, Lee told the Natchez Democrat.
"I've seen a spike in COVID deaths in Adams County over the past month and it's very scary to me," Lee told the Democrat earlier this week. Lee said his 25-year-old granddaughter was hospitalized with the coronavirus. "I'm not going to lie. I'm very scared of this virus and what I see. I just wish we would take it seriously."
Mississippi is among the top 20 states with the highest number of new cases per capita in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University analyzed by The Associated Press. The data were evaluated over a period of 14 days.
The Mississippi Department of Health announced Friday that more than 103,000 cases and at least 3,000 deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Mississippi, which has a population of around 3 million as of Thursday evening. That represents an increase of 862 confirmed cases and six deaths based on numbers reported the previous day. The deaths occurred between September 19 and October 8, and were later recorded using death certificates.
HELENA, Montana - Montana reported more than 700 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday and has exceeded 200 deaths since the pandemic began in mid-March. An increasing number of cases in the state's most populous county likely means that residents there will face more restrictions to help stop the spread of the respiratory virus.
On Monday, Yellowstone County's health officer John Felton announced fall benchmarks that would result in the county health authorities capping bar, restaurant and church capacity to 25%. If the county crossed a daily average rate of 40 cases per 100,000 people by the last week of October, restrictions would begin November 2, he said.
However, if the county were to exceed an average rate of 50 cases per day per 100,000 population a week earlier, restrictions would begin immediately, Felton said. Companies selling alcohol have to close at 10 p.m.
The county confirmed 439 cases Monday through Thursday, including 155 on Thursday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Barbara Schneeman said on Friday. If 126 more cases are confirmed on Friday and Saturday - the numbers would be reported on Saturday and Sunday - the restrictions would be put in place.
The county would likely announce the restrictions on Monday, but would give companies time to make adjustments, Schneeman said.
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