Coronavirus pandemic in the US

By Meg Wagner, Elise Hammond and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:54 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020
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3:51 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

California governor orders closure of Orange County beaches

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg


California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today a temporary pause on state and local beaches in Orange County.

He said the beaches may open very quickly if the framework and guidelines allow. 

Newsom has consistently reiterated his disappointment and frustration with beachgoers, chiding them for crowding the coast. He noted that only about 5% of beaches in the state actually presented an issue with crowding.

The city council in Newport Beach, California, snubbed the governor’s reproach and voted Tuesday to step up enforcement of physical distancing and keep beaches open.

While the governor is cracking down on beaches, access is being granted for other outdoor spaces. The amended stay-home order loosens up restrictions on hiking, golfing, tennis and other outdoor activities.

“The only thing we don’t want you to do is linger, in ways where you’re mixing,” Newsom said.

Newsom addressed a law enforcement memo disseminated widely last night that indicated all California beaches would be closed. He said the memo never got to him.

The governor went on to say that he just wants "to focus on where there’s a problem.. in a smart, strategic way."

“We don’t want to be heavy-handed about these things,” he said.

5:05 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Public health laboratories around US brace for the long haul as testing and surveillance ramp up

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Scott Becker, chief executive officer at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said clinicians across the United States are bracing for the long haul as coronavirus testing, surveillance and contact tracings ramps up. 

“Early on I thought it was a marathon, I now think it's more of an ultra-marathon with a triathlon attached to it,” Becker said during a Thursday webinar. “Public health lab scientists across the country are really hometown heroes, and they are making a difference."

Megan Crumpler, laboratory director at California’s Orange County Public Health Laboratory, said looking forward, “we will do what we are doing now which is outbreak investigations and move into more of our surveillance troll, similar to what we do for influenza.”  

Becker added public health labs will play an important role in contact tracing.

“There's a huge effort in every state to develop contact tracing teams, and the public health laboratory will be one of the major players in terms of doing the testing for those outbreaks that they find," Becker said. "It's like our usual work but on steroids." 

3:23 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Georgia Democrats call state reopening "reckless and irresponsible"

From CNN's Devon Sayers

Following reports that Brian Kemp will lift Georgia’s shelter-in-place order at midnight Thursday, Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams released a statement saying the decision is "reckless and irresponsible."

“Against the advice of public health experts, and against the will of the majority of Georgians, Brian Kemp is playing a dangerous game by ending Georgia’s shelter in place order before it is safe," the statement said.

"It is reckless and irresponsible for Kemp to use Georgians as the guinea pigs in a public health experiment that will go wrong. Today’s decision will have consequences — for our overworked health systems, for our struggling essential workers, and for our lives," the statement added.

Some background: Kemp was one of the last governors to enact shelter-in-place restrictions, only doing so after admitting he didn’t understand basic facts about the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, his administration admitted that Georgia has failed to meet federal guidelines for reopening the state, after reopening bowling alleys and hair salons well before the data suggests a lasting decline in coronavirus cases.

Covid-19 has ravaged communities across the state, particularly in southwest Georgia, which has had some of the highest coronavirus rates in the country. The virus is taking a disproportionate toll on black Georgians — a recent study shows that 80% of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Georgia were African American.

3:19 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Colorado meatpacking plant reports 6th coronavirus-related death

A sixth JBS USA meatpacking employee died Wednesday night during an outbreak at the company's Greeley, Colorado, plant, according to United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union president Kim Cordova.

"We lost another of our UFCW Local 7 members," Cordova tells CNN.

Cordova did not identify the employee, but said "he was born in 1954 and had worked at the plant since 1989."

3:16 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Central Park field hospital will tentatively close in May

From CNN's Lauren del Valle

The field hospital set up within Central Park seen one April 9.
The field hospital set up within Central Park seen one April 9. William Volcov/ZUMA Wire/FILE

Mount Sinai Health System officials are tentatively planning to close New York City's Central Park field hospital in May, a source familiar with the Mt. Sinai Health Systems operations tells CNN. 

As of today, there are 18 patients at the field hospital, and Mount Sinai officials are tentatively planning to close it the second week of May if the need continues to fall.

About the field hospital: Central Park's East Meadow on the Upper East Side was converted into a 68-bed field hospital designed as a respiratory care unit. It took its first patients at the beginning of April.

3:00 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Georgia's shelter-in-place order will expire tonight

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/FILE

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order declaring that the state's shelter-in-place mandate will expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight.

The governor issued a statement urging Georgians to continue to stay home "whenever possible."

Here's what Kemp said:

"Tonight at 11:59 PM, the statewide shelter in place order for most Georgians will expire. However, moving forward, I am urging Georgians to continue to stay home whenever possible. I want to thank the people of our great state who heeded public health advice, afforded us time to bolster our healthcare infrastructure, and flattened the curve. We were successful in these efforts, but the fight is far from over."
2:55 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

California barber to reopen despite state’s stay-at-home orders: "I’m not going to live in fear"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Juan Desmarais, a barbershop owner in California, is planning to reopen his business this week, defying the state’s stay-at-home orders.

“No one’s going to bail us out and my barbers’ livelihoods as well as my own livelihood is at stake here,” Desmarais told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.

When pressed by Baldwin about risking punishment and fines, Desmarais said, "I'm not going to live in fear. It's not American."  

He added that he would take sanitary precautions like scheduling appointments one-on-one and having barbers wear masks and gloves.

Desmarais said he believes it is his constitutional right to pursue his life and that officials are basically telling him to “walk away” from his business with the restrictions that are in place.

“I’d rather get citations, do as much as I can, work and hustle, not ask the government for a single penny and if I flop, I’d rather flop working than flop just sitting there letting them take away my rights, take away my businesses and take away the legacy I’m going to leave my children,” he said.

A small rural county on the northeastern edge of California plans to reopen businesses, schools and churches starting Friday as well.

2:42 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Pennsylvania records more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has reported 1,397 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the statewide total to 45,763 cases across all 67 counties, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced Thursday.

Of those total number of cases, 2,753 are health care workers and 8,112 are associated with Pennsylvania’s 468 long-term care living facilities, which include nursing homes and personal care homes.

There are 2,706 patients currently hospitalized across the state and 562 patients are currently on a ventilator or breathing machine. 

There have been 2,292 coronavirus-related deaths in the state and to date, all of the deaths have been in adult patients, Levine said.

2:08 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

More than 61,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the US

From CNN's Amanda Watts 

There are at least 1,053,036 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 61,547 people have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases in the country.

On Thursday, Johns Hopkins reported 13,127 new cases and 581 reported deaths. 

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.