The latest AP stories on COVID-19 outbreak in the United States
- United States
Alaska is reporting its highest number of new coronavirus cases a day after the state's largest hospital announced it had entered crisis protocol and started rationing care because of a flood of COVID-19 cases. Officials on Wednesday reported 1,068 new virus infections, which is 13% higher than last week. State officials say 201 Alaskans are hospitalized for COVID-19, and 34 of them are on ventilators. The state's chief medical officer says hospitals continue to be stressed and there isn't capacity for patients who have COVID-19 as well as those with other needs. Statewide, there are about 1,100 non-intensive care unit beds in hospitals, with only 302 available Wednesday. Only 21 of the state's ICU beds are open.
___ Reno (Nevada), Sep 16 (AP) The Nevada Hospital Association is urging people to avoid going to emergency rooms except in true emergencies, especially in northern Nevada where a resurgence in coronavirus infections is running double the rate in the Las Vegas area.
Health officials say the 30-day average for daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents has increased fivefold in the Reno-Sparks area over the past six weeks — from 354 at the beginning of August to 1,621 now. The statewide rate is 951, and it's 720 in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.
The head of the hospital association says that as a result, “many hospital emergency departments in northern Nevada are at capacity with patients.” State officials said Wednesday that 1,090 people were hospitalized at the beginning of the week for confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the coronavirus.
___ Houston, Sep 16 (AP) Some of the 15 Texas school districts that have been sued in the past week for defying Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates are pushing back against the lawsuits. One school district said Wednesday it doesn't have such a mandate and isn't sure why it's being sued. Another district that has made masks part of its student dress code said its requirement for face coverings has resulted in its schools having among the state's fewest COVID-19 absences.
At least eight counties and cities and 87 school districts or systems in Texas have imposed mask mandates hoping to tamp down the pandemic, which has overwhelmed many of the state's hospitals with COVID-19 cases.
State Attorney General Ken Paxton began suing school districts last week.
___ Los Angeles, Sep 16 (AP) Public health officials in Los Angeles County will begin requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for patrons and workers at indoor bars, wineries, breweries and nightclubs next month.
The new initiative in the nation's most populous county begins Oct. 7, with proof of at least one vaccine dose required. According to the county's Department of Public Health, proof of full vaccination will be mandatory by Nov. 4.
Health officials strongly recommend the same precautions for indoor restaurants but have not chosen to mandate proof of vaccination for them.
The new restrictions come ahead of the holiday season, which brought a massive surge in infections to Los Angeles last year.
___ Washington, Sep 16 (AP) The US government will spend $470 million to learn more about long COVID-19, its causes and potential treatments.
The National Institutes of Health announced the plans Wednesday with a grant awarded to NYU Grossman School of Medicine and a goal of enrolling up to 40,000 adults and children nationwide. The effort, dubbed RECOVER, will involve researchers at more than 30 U.S. institutions.
'This is being taken with the greatest seriousness… at a scale that has not really been attempted with something like this,'' Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, said at a briefing Wednesday.
Collins says its estimated 10% to 30% of people infected with COVID-19 may develop persistent, new or recurring symptoms that can last months or perhaps years.
Long COVID is an umbrella term for symptoms that linger, recur and show up for the first time four weeks or more after an initial infection. It also includes heart inflammation and multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but serious condition that can occur in children after a COVID-19 infection.
Pain, headaches, fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, chronic coughs and sleep problems are among the reported symptoms of long COVID. Possible causes include the virus lingers in tissues and organs or it overstimulates the immune system. ___ St. Paul (Minnesota), Sep 16 (AP) A Minnesota judge has rejected a request by concerned parents to force a stateside mask mandate in all schools.
Ramsey County District Judge Thomas Gilligan said the court was “gravely concerned” about the risks of COVID-19 for Minnesota children, but said in his ruling the court lacks the legal authority to order Gov. Tim Walz to issue the directive that the parents sought.
The longshot legal challenge was unique in that it sought to force the governor to declare a peacetime state of emergency and follow it with a mandate, Minnesota Public Radio reported. In other states, governors who've tried to prevent school districts from requiring mask use have been blocked by courts.
Maine Senate President Troy Jackson tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the highest-ranking official in state government to contract the virus. Senate Major Leader Eloise Vitelli also says she had received a positive test.
Jackson says he's isolating after testing positive. He hadn't experienced symptoms but decided to undergo a rapid test after learning a close contact had the virus. Jackson said he was grateful to be vaccinated since vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing severe symptoms and hospitalizations. Vitelli says she was experiencing only mild symptoms on Wednesday.
According to officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, the child died last week in the St. Louis area. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports task force officials wouldn't reveal more information, such as the child's age, citing privacy concerns.
The death brings the total number of Missouri children younger than 18 who have died from COVID-19 to six, according to state health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox. On Sept. 7, there were a record 1,133 positive test results for Missouri children younger than 18, topping 940 set on Nov. 9, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Missouri Hospital Association.
Some local health departments in the St. Louis area have reported up to a third of new cases are among children.
Dr. Clay Dunagan, chief clinical officer for BJC HealthCare, cited the more infectious delta variant and schools not taking steps to reduce spread, such as requiring masks. Children younger than 12 aren't eligible for vaccines, and vaccination rates among teens lags that of adults.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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- Tim Walz
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- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- NYU Grossman School of Medicine
- St. Louis
- The National Institutes of Health
- Los Angeles County
- The Nevada Hospital Association