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Wednesday July 28th, 2021 11:31PM

The Latest: Virus outbreak straining Fiji's medical system

By The Associated Press
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji’s medical system is showing signs of strain as a coronavirus outbreak grows. The Pacific island nation reported a record 791 new daily cases and three deaths.

The Ministry of Health says that due to the increase in cases, it will no longer test people for the virus in their homes in and around the capital. The ministry has also suspended all pregnancy services in and around Suva until July 26, saying people experiencing pregnancy emergencies or labor should go directly to Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

Fiji has reported 59 deaths since the outbreak of the delta variant in April, although officials aren't counting 19 of those as virus fatalities because the patients had serious pre-existing conditions. Home to 940,000 people, Fiji had reported just two COVID-19 deaths before that.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— As global COVID-19 deaths top 4 million, a suicide in Peru

— Japan to declare virus emergency lasting through Olympics

— As New York salutes health workers, Missouri fights a surge

— Companies around the U.S. are scrambling to figure out how to bring employees back to the office after more than a year of them working remotely.

— Indonesia is facing a devastating coronavirus surge as hospitals grapple with soaring cases amid widespread shortages of oxygen.

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— Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic as long lines snake around testing stations in the capital, where the virus has accelerated following months of complacency.

The 1,275 new cases announced Thursday marked the second straight day above 1,200 and exceeded the previous one-day record of 1,240 set Christmas Day.

More than 1,000 of the infections were in the greater Seoul area, which is home to half the country’s 51 million people.

The viral surge is a worrisome development in a country where 70% of the people are still waiting for their first vaccine shot.

The country has struggled to maintain public vigilance with warmer temperatures and months of fatigue luring larger crowds to restaurants, bars and parks.

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PORTLAND, Maine — Health officials in Maine say more than half the eligible population is now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in every county in the state.

Maine has one of the highest vaccination rates in the U.S. More than two-thirds of people age 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Data from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services show that the state’s highest vaccination rate is in Cumberland County, which is the state’s most populated as home to Portland. The rate there is about 80%.

The county with the lowest rate of eligible people fully vaccinated is Somerset, a mostly rural area where the rate is about 53%. That’s still a higher number than many states.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — At least nine people who work at the California state Capitol have contracted the coronavirus, triggering a return of the mask mandate for lawmakers and staff.

Masks have been required in public spaces inside the Capitol throughout the pandemic. But fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff had been allowed to remove their masks in their offices.

Four of the new cases at the Capitol are people who were fully vaccinated.

State data shows such cases are rare. The state has confirmed just 8,699 coronavirus infections among the more than 20 million people vaccinated in the state.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Hospital leaders in Utah are renewing their pleas for people to get vaccinated as the state experiences another surge in COVID-19 cases from the faster-spreading delta variant.

State health officials told reporters Wednesday that the delta variant — first identified in India — has begun to surge in Utah over the past month and now represents about 80% of cases in the state.

The surge is largely occurring in unvaccinated people who are being infected and hospitalized at six times the rate of vaccinated people.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Utah now ranks fourth in the nation for new cases per capita.

Utah has averaged about 386 confirmed cases per day over the last week, nearly double the case rate the state was experiencing at its lowest point in early June.

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RENO, Nev. — The COVID-19 positivity rate in Nevada has more than doubled over the last month to 7.9%, and health officials say the average number of new daily cases statewide has climbed to its highest level since February.

Meanwhile, Nevada reported its second death from the delta variant, a man in his 50s in Washoe County with an underlying health condition who had not been vaccinated. The delta variant was first identified in India.

Nevada’s 14-day rolling average for new cases had dropped to 132 the first week of June, with the positivity rate bottoming out at 3.3% on June 9.

But the 377 new cases on average reported July 4 was the highest since 375 in February. That’s also the last time the state’s positivity rate was this high, reaching 8.3% on Feb. 23.

Nevada’s positivity rate peaked at 21.2% on Jan. 12, a month after the average number of new cases reached a record-high of 2,740 on Dec. 12, 2020.

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BERLIN — Germany’s disease control center says the delta variant of the coronavirus has become dominant in the country and continues to quickly spread.

The Robert Koch Institute says according to their latest analysis, 59% of new infections were caused by delta by the end of last month. The center says in its weekly report Wednesday, the Delta variant had nearly doubled within one week.

Some 33.2 million people, or 39.9%, are fully vaccinated in Germany. More than 47.5 million people, or 57.1%, have received their first shot.

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