Wednesday October 20th, 2021 11:00PM

The Latest: Midwest governors: Stay home for Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press
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PIERRE, South Dakota — Coronavirus infections are ravaging South Dakota, where more than half of tests have come back positive for weeks.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem won’t issue a mask mandate but suggests smaller gatherings “may be smarter this year.”

Some governors who for months echoed President Donald Trump’s criticism of measures to control the coronavirus are now relenting, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who recently ordered the use of masks statewide.

Republican and Democratic governors from several Midwestern states issued a joint video urging people to say home for Thanksgiving and wear masks to slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine is widely available.

Hospitals in many states are running out of beds and are short on nurses, including in the states where governors are reluctant to act.

“We know what will happen. We know that three to four weeks from Thanksgiving, we will see an exacerbation of the outbreaks,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

CDC scientists believe about 40% of infected people don’t have obvious symptoms but can still spread the virus.

The U.S. leads the world with 11.9 million cases and more than 254,000 deaths.



— Daily COVID-19 deaths in US reach highest level since May

— Russia reports daily record with nearly 25,000 virus cases

— Calif Gov. Newsom’s child in 14-day quarantine

— Republican governors in some hard-hit states are refusing to ask families to limit Thanksgiving celebrations despite warnings from federal health officials that gatherings could worsen a coronavirus surge that’s already spinning out of control.

— No. 4 Clemson at Florida State postponed hours before start in Tallahassee, Florida. Medical staff from both schools couldn't agree it was safe to play.

— Los Angeles County businesses trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic face new restrictions and the prospect of a shutdown on the horizon.


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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The game between No. 4 Clemson and Florida State has been postponed just hours before kickoff on Saturday. Medical personnel from both schools couldn’t agree it was safe to play in Tallahassee, Florida, amid the pandemic. The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the postponement, although it didn’t detail whether it involved coronavirus issues.

Star Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed the past two games after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was to return for his first time since Oct. 24.

There have been 18 postponements this week out of 62 scheduled games. It is the 81st postponement in all of college football this season. It’s believed to be the first postponement on game day.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s children may have been exposed to the coronavirus at school and is in quarantine.

The child began a 14-day quarantine “from the date of exposure” after the family was told a classmate at the private school had tested positive for the coronavirus, spokesman Nathan Click said in an emailed statement Friday.

The rest of the governor’s family is not quarantining because they weren’t directly exposed. The governor, his wife and all four of their children have tested negative for the virus, Click says.

Newsom had a rapid test this week that was negative and will get a regular test this weekend.


LOS ANGELES — California is enacting a nighttime curfew Saturday as spiking coronavirus cases threaten to overrun health care systems. The state’s largest county warned that a more drastic lockdown could be imminent.

The new restrictions say people should stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., except for essential errands. The curfew runs through Dec. 21 and covers 41 counties that contain most of the state’s population.

Authorities say the focus is on keeping people from social mixing and drinking — the kinds of activities blamed for causing coronavirus infections to soar after dipping only a few months ago.

Los Angeles County, the state’s largest with about 10 million people, could see a stricter lockdown as early as next week because of soaring cases and hospitalization levels. The county accounts for a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, but it has about a third of the coronavirus cases and close to 40% of the deaths.

California had a record 13,000 new cases on Thursday and more than 1 million total confirmed cases. The state has 18,653 confirmed deaths, third in the nation behind New York (34,252) and Texas (20,751).


TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran.

The Iranian Health Ministry says the daily deaths have risen above 430 in the past five days, bringing the death toll past 44,000. The total number of confirmed cases has risen past 840,000.

The new restrictions include Iran’s major cities and will last two weeks but can be automatically extended.

Top Iranian officials initially downplayed the risks posed by the virus outbreak, before recently urging the public to wear masks and avoid unessential travel.

All schools in the capital will close and switch to remote learning. Authorities will close shrines in Tehran and cancel mass prayers in mosques, though it was not immediately clear if the same restrictions would apply in other cities, including the holy city of Mashhad.


MOSCOW — Russia reported new daily highs in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths on Saturday.

The national coronavirus taskforce says 24,822 new cases were recorded over the past day, the fourth time in a week that a new high has been tallied. It says a record 467 people died of COVID-19.

The surge in infections is straining Russia’s vast but underfunded health care system, with many infected people reportedly forced to search for sparse hospital beds.

Overall, Russia has recorded more than 2,064,000 confirmed cases and 35,778 confirmed deaths.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s Central Bank says the bank's top management, including the governor, will work from home after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The bank says the move was taken as a precautionary measure. The governor, one deputy governor, seven assistant governors and several other senior officials who had been working at the bank's offices will work from home for two weeks.

It says tests were done on possible contacts of the patient, but all others tested were found to be negative. The bank is located in the heart of the capital, Colombo, where the most cases have been detected in the past week.

Sri Lanka has had an outbreak of the virus following two clusters in Colombo — centered on a garment factory and a fish market.

The confirmed cases from the two clusters grew to 15,764 on Saturday. During the most recent 24-hour period, 435 cases were detected, of which 252 were in Colombo and its suburbs.


TOKYO — Japan is scaling back on the government-backed “GoTo” campaign to encourage travel and dining out, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached a record for the third day straight at 2,418.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision at a government panel on coronavirus pandemic measures.

Stressing the need for “utmost caution,” he says the campaign’s travel discounts will no longer apply to hard-hit areas and discounts on eating out will temporarily end.

Japan has never had a total lockdown. It has had fewer than 2,000 confirmed deaths related to the coronavirus. But worries have been growing about a spike in infections over the three-day weekend. Monday is Labor Thanksgiving, a national holiday.


NEW DELHI — India has reported 46,232 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the situation particularly alarming in New Delhi.

Intensive care wards and the capital’s main crematorium are near capacity, and health officials this week found the prevalence of infections in markets much higher than expected. The city has added an average of 6,700 cases each day in recent weeks.

The next two weeks in the post-festival season, including celebrations for the Diwali holiday, are going to be important in determining which way the virus will go. The Health Ministry on Saturday also registered 564 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total confirmed deaths to 132,726.

While the pace of new cases in the country of 1.3 billion appears to be slowing, experts have cautioned that official figures may be offering false hope since many infections are undetected.

The two states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have announced night curfews in at least in eight cities from Saturday. Northern Rajasthan state is also imposing restrictions on the assembly of more than four people during nighttime.


SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has reported 386 new cases of the coronavirus in a resurgence that could force authorities to reimpose stronger social distancing restrictions after easing them in October to spur a faltering economy.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Saturday brought the national caseload to 30,403 and 503 deaths.

More than 270 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health workers have struggled to track transmissions in schools, private tutoring academies and religious facilities.

Infections were also reported in other major cities including Busan, Daejeon, Gwangju and Asan.

South Korea has so far managed to weather its COVID-19 epidemic without major lockdowns, relying instead on an aggressive test-and-quarantine campaign and mask-wearing.

Officials eased distancing measures to the lowest level in October, which allowed high-risk venues such as nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and fans to return to professional sports.

But the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases says the country could be reporting more than 1,000 new infections a day in a week or two if social distancing measures aren’t effectively strengthened.


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday announced $135 million in grants and loans to help businesses and workers hurt by new restrictions he imposed through mid-December.

Inslee says businesses can apply for the assistance to help blunt the impact of restrictions that took effect this week, including the closure of fitness facilities and gyms, bowling centers and movie theaters, and the requirement that restaurants and bars provide only outdoor dining and to-go service.

The economic package also includes $20 million in rental assistance and $15 million in utility payment assistance for those with low income. All of the funding is part of federal coronavirus outbreak assistance funds distributed to states.


CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has announced new limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings. But he has not implemented a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases surge across the state.

The Republican governor and state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist say public gatherings will be limited to 25 people or fewer without restrictions. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 25% capacity, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 50%.

The new order goes into effect Tuesday. No statewide mask mandate was approved, though nearly all of the county health officers have called for one as virus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have substantially increased in recent weeks.


AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has surpassed 8,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time since the summer surge, and doctors are amplifying pleas to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small.

Texas reported more than 11,700 new cases Friday, once again approaching record highs. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ruled out shutdowns and says cities and counties need to enforce restrictions already on the books, including occupancy limits and masks.

The Texas Hospital Association is appealing for families to keep holiday gatherings “very small” as doctors and nurses struggle to keep up with rising caseloads. The group says staff are “tired and emotionally drained” and worried about the health of their own families.


NEW YORK -- Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato has been hospitalized with the coronavirus.

The New York Post reported Friday the New York Republican was being treated at a Long Island hospital.

“I’m weak but I feel good,” the 83-year-old told the newspaper in a phone interview. He says he has a light fever and congestion.

D’Amato says he started feeling unwell late last week, and didn’t know where he had gotten exposed to the virus. He says he had been mainly working from home, where he lives alone.

D’Amato served as one of the state’s senators in Congress from 1981 to 1999.


LOUISVILLE, Kentucky -- Kentucky reported a record 3,825 new daily coronavirus cases on Friday as new restrictions took effect.

Private indoor gatherings are limited to two households, with a maximum of eight people. For roughly three weeks, bars and restaurants must close indoor dining, allowing curbside pickup, delivery and outdoor dining services.

Event venue capacity is limited to 25 people. Gym capacity is lowered to 33%, and group classes, team practices and competitions are prohibited. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has encouraged houses of worship to refrain from in-person services. There is no statewide mask mandate in Kentucky.

“Remember, your decisions are going to be what determines how many people live or die. Do your part,” said Beshear, urging Kentuckians to follow the new requirements.

Kentucky has reached 152,206 confirmed total cases. There were 20 deaths, bringing the confirmed death total to 1,762.


DETROIT — A judge on Friday declined to halt a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan that is one of the most recent coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

The state health department reported a new daily high of confirmed coronavirus cases, 9,779, and 53 more deaths.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo says a restraining order halting the indoor dining ban wouldn’t be appropriate, especially when the state hasn’t had a chance to respond to the lawsuit.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, which has thousands of members, is suing to try to stop the indoor dining ban that began Wednesday. The group says restaurants can take further steps to reduce coronavirus risk without cutting off customers.

The group says its members were being unfairly treated compared to other businesses. The judge, however, wasn’t swayed.

“Individuals who patronize the businesses that remain open can do so — and must do so — while wearing a face covering. ... In contrast, individuals cannot eat or drink while wearing a mask,” Maloney said.

Maloney scheduled the next hearing for Nov. 30, nearly two weeks into the three-week ban.


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