Every student and staff member must consent to weekly random COVID-19 testing for 20% of those who attend classes in-person
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and state officials will host a remote news conference on Monday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. to provide an update on COVID-19 in New Mexico and the forthcoming county-by-county framework for the state’s pandemic response. You can watch the press conference live on this page.
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On Friday, the state announced details on a color-coded tier system which will determine what businesses can begin to reopen moving forward. The new system goes into effect on Dec. 2 and will be broken down into three categories based on each county’s gating criteria: green, signifying medium risk, yellow, signifying high risk, and red, signifying very high risk.
New York City Schools Will Reopen With New COVID-19 Testing Protocol
Just 10 days after closing New York City’s schools because of rising coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that the nation’s largest school district will begin a phased reopening next week.
On Dec. 7, buildings will reopen for elementary school students and on Dec. 10, District 75, which serves students with disabilities, will reopen.
Students can only return if they have already signed up for in-person learning. About 190,000 elementary students and their parents must sign a consent form. In total, about 335,000 students out of the 1.1 million in the city have chosen in-person classes. While de Blasio has not announced a timeline for reopening middle or high schools, any school with enough space will eventually move toward in-person classes five days a week, instead of hybrid online and in-person classes.
Previously, the city had a rule that schools had to close if the city reached a 3% testing positivity rate, which caused New York City public schools to close for in-person learning on Nov. 19. The mayor said the city will no longer use that rule.
“Getting our kids back in school buildings is one of the single most important things we can do for their wellbeing, and it’s so important that we do it right,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement. “The unparalleled value of in-person learning for students has been evident in the first few months of school, and we will do everything we can to keep our schools safe and keep them open for the duration of this pandemic.”
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De Blasio said in a press conference that he is focusing on lower grades “because we know studies consistently show younger kids are having less of a negative experience and there is less concern about the spread when it comes to younger kids.” He added that it is important to have young kids in schools “both educationally and socially.”
“Upon reopening, weekly COVID-19 testing will be in effect and testing consent forms will be required for our students to return,” de Blasio tweeted. “Finally, as we reopen, wherever possible we will move to 5 day a week in-person learning. We want our kids in the classroom for as much time as possible. Our families do, too. We’ll work to make it happen.”
New York City’s teachers union said it supported the plan on the condition of stringent testing. “At our insistence, much stricter testing measures will be in place in all schools,” the United Federation of Teachers said on Twitter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who frequently and publicly disagrees with de Blasio, told reporters Sunday that the mayor’s school reopening plan is “the right direction.” Cuomo has ultimate say over schools under the current state of emergency.
“We do have new facts and new information on schools and just about every professional says the schools, especially [grades] K through eight, should be kept open whenever it’s possible to keep them open,” the governor said.
On Sunday, 130 patients were admitted to hospitals and there were 1,636 new cases of the virus in the city, the mayor said. The weekly average infection rate is 3.9%.
11/28 update — Kentucky doubled its number of covid-19 patients on ventilators in the past month
More COVID-19 patients than ever are on ventilators in Kentucky hospitals, the number having doubled in the last month, from 110 to 220.
Written by Al Cross of Kentucky Health News
But that was the only new record in the state’s daily report Saturday, as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend continued, keeping coronavirus testing and laboratory work at lower-than-usual levels.
The state reported 2,437 new cases of the virus, and its seven-day rolling average of daily new cases declined for the second day, to 2,640.
COVID-19 cases in Kentucky hospitals rose slightly, to 1,722, just 25 short of the record set two days earlier. Intensive-care units held 408, just one short of the record set Wednesday. Ventilator cases are also ICU cases.
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Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are expected to keep rising in Kentucky and the nation in the next four weeks, most statistical models are predicting. Nationally, hospitalizations hit another new high Saturday: 91,635.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus over the last seven days was 8.95 percent, 0.1 percentage point above Friday’s figure and approximately the average of the last seven days. A week ago it was 9.19%.
Gov. Andy Beshear reported 14 more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 1,885:a 58-year-old Barren County woman; an 86-year-old Hardin County man; a 70-year-old Hart County woman; a 74-year-old Logan County man; a 73-year-old Marshall County man; a 73-year-old McCracken County man; a 66-year-old Metcalfe County woman; a 75-year-old Monroe County man; a 79-year-old Scott County man; and five women, 57, 71, 78, 84 and 86, from Warren County.
A press release from Beshear’s office “urged Kentuckians to strengthen their resolve in the fight against COVID-19, with the knowledge that help is on the way,” alluding to vaccines that will roll out in the next few months.
“I know we’re tired,” Beshear said in the release. “I know many of us are disappointed we couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or enjoy Black Friday shopping the way we usually do. But I promise you: we have come so far and we are almost there. Hang on, Team Kentucky.”
Beshear “reminded Kentuckians to shop safely, purchasing gifts online when possible and avoiding crowded stores,” the release said. “If families do need to shop in person, he encouraged them to keep their time inside stores to a minimum and use curbside pickup whenever possible.”“Though we have to do it differently, please support our small businesses this weekend and holiday season,” Beshear said. “Shopping small supports some of our local businesses that have suffered the most economically as we’ve battled COVID-19. Let’s show them we have their backs.”
Beshear and Health Commissioner Steven Stack again reminded Kentuckians that receiving one negative test for the virus days before a gathering can’t guarantee that you won’t infect others at that event.
“Persistence is key to limiting the spread and preventing further COVID-19 related deaths,” Stack said. “Don’t give in to mask fatigue. Wear your mask correctly. Vaccines are around the corner and may well be the weapon we need to defeat this illness; until then, every Kentuckian has to rise to this great challenge of our times to care for and protect each other by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and staying home if you are sick.”
In other coronavirus news Saturday:
Counties with 10 or more new cases were: Jefferson, 474; Fayette, 224; Warren, 88; Boone, 86; Madison, 82; Kenton, 78; McCracken, 75; Boyd, 57; Christian, 51; Jessamine, 48; Laurel, 47; Campbell, 43; Pulaski, 39; Greenup, 36; Hardin, 36; Oldham, 33; Barren, 32; Lewis, 32; Floyd, 28; Whitley, 24; Nelson, 23; Garrard, 22; Bullitt, 21; Lincoln, 21; Boyle, Franklin and Lee, 20; Taylor, 19; Hart and Simpson, 18; Graves, Pike and Scott, 17; Calloway, Clinton, Hopkins and Spencer, 16; Carter, Johnson, Mason, Shelby and Woodford, 15; Estill, LaRue and Letcher, 14; Breathitt, Marshall and Menifee, 13; Anderson, Casey and Wayne, 12; Grant and Livingston, 11; and Daviess, 10.
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals received briefs opposing Beshear’s appeal of a district judge’s order that his ban on in-person schooling could not extend to religious schools that are obeying other state rules. Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who joined the case filed by Danville Christian Academy, said more than 20 religious schools filed briefs in support.
In the final minutes of Friday’s basketball game between the University of Louisville and Seton Hall, two adults were ejected from the Yum Center over violations of its mask policy, the arena’s manager told the Courier Journal.
“The number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. could be nearly eight times higher than current reported cases, according to a new model by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports Katie Camero of McClatchy Newspapers. Through September, 6.8 million infections were reported, “but when researchers adjusted for potential false-negative test results, incomplete reporting of cases and asymptomatic or mildly ill individuals who never got tested, they learned there may have actually been about 52.9 million infections.” The researchers estimates that 84% of Americans have yet to catch the virus.
Health Officials Warn Public of COVID-19 Outbreak at Awaken Church
In an effort to notify all individuals who may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, San Diego County public health officials took a rare step Saturday by releasing the location of a COVID-19 outbreak.
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The county is asking that all those who attended indoor services and events at the Balboa Avenue campus of Awaken Church between Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 to quarantine for 14 days from the last time they were at the church and to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. People who attended church functions during the time period should also be tested for COVID-19, county officials said.
Identifying the site of a COVID-19 outbreak is rare in San Diego County because contract tracers are generally able to identify exposed individuals and ensure appropriate measures are taken to prevent additional spread. In the case of Awaken Church, public health investigators have been unable to identify and notify all of those exposed.
The county notified church officials about the outbreak on Nov. 23.
An announcement posted Nov. 17 on the church’s website gives an overview of safety measures being taken by church leadership and their mission to serve congregants during the pandemic:
“Awaken Church will continue to provide the safest in-person & online services.
Under CDC standards, our campuses will continue to be sanitized and cleaned. Our “Polar Ionization units” kill 99.4% of pathogens and viruses in the air, making our church locations the ‘safest’ places to be in San Diego.
In keeping our First Amendment right, we will continue to minister to those who are the most affected by all the COVID-19 lockdowns. Specifically tending to those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and addiction.
Beyond any reasonable doubt, it has been proven that in times of crisis the light of the church and the uplifting power of the gospel restores that much needed, life-saving, hope and faith that continues to carry the human spirit through all trials and tribulations!”