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Coronavirus pandemic in the US
By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner and Zamira Rahim, CNN
As coronavirus cases increase in Alabama, health officials say there is a need for more intensive care unit beds.
“You can [currently] get an ICU bed or an ICU setting, but it is getting tight,” Dr. David Thrasher, a critical care doctor at Montgomery Pulmonary Consultants, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. “The numbers have dramatically increased.”
In a news conference Wednesday, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said the city’s health care system is “maxed” and if that if you need an ICU bed, “you are in trouble.”
“Last weekend, my partner and I, ran on 140 patients over the weekend,” Thrasher said. “That’s twice the one we normally have. Tonight, our group is grinding on about 132 patients and 110 of those I believe are Covid patients.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Alabama was one of 17 states that had registered an upward trend in average daily cases — a rise of at least 10% — over the previous seven days, according to an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
“We have unfortunately lost too many patients, young in the 30s or even younger,” Thrasher said. “So it affects everybody and that’s what everyone needs to realize. It’s a real problem and nobody is immune.”
Wearing a cloth mask or face covering will be required in Minneapolis starting Tuesday, according to a tweet from Mayor Jacob Frey.
The masks must be worn when visiting public indoor businesses and spaces, Frey tweeted.
"This is about keeping friends, family, and neighbors who are elderly or immunocompromised safe," the mayor tweeted.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addressed reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about a misleading chart that was posted on the Department of Public Health's website with the dates out of order, suggesting cases were declining over time.
"I want to take just a moment to address a recent data reporting concern involving the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website. I've said from the very beginning, that we are making decisions based on data, science and the advice of public health officials like (Dr. Kathleen Toomey). We are committed to full transparency and honesty as we weather this health care crisis," Kemp said.
"Georgia families, businesses, local leaders and the press deserve accurate data," Kemp added. 'We're not perfect. We've made mistakes. When we do that, we'll own that, change it and make sure that people are aware of that."
Toomey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said the integrity of the state's data is "absolutely our number one priority."
"We have to have transparency. We are continuing to work to improve all of our reporting systems," Toomey said.
Ahead of this Memorial Day weekend, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said that he wanted to "encourage and wish everyone to have a good, safe weekend following the public health guidelines."
Col. Gary Vowell, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, spoke during the new conference Thursday about precautions being taken this weekend, particularly at beaches.
"The beaches will be saturated with troopers and officers ensuring everyone is compliant with the governor's order on social distancing," Vowell said. "The Department of Public Safety expects everyone to adhere to the executive order issued by Gov. Kemp."
The New York Police Department says 119 members are still out with Covid-19 but 5,593 members have returned to full work duty after recovering from the virus.
Of the 119 members who are still out with the coronavirus, 95 are uniformed members and 24 are civilian members, according to the NYPD.
Some context: As many as 2,800 members of the NYPD were out sick with the coronavirus on April 14, but it’s unclear if that represents the peak number for the department. CNN has reached out to the NYPD several times for more information.
So far, 1,020 uniformed members are on sick report, which accounts for 2.8% of the department’s workforce, according to the NYPD.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said 89 counties will move to phase two of the state's reopening plan on June 1.
Phase two allows bars, bottle clubs and gentlemen's clubs to reopen under the same rules that apply to restaurants. Those rules include limiting occupancy to 50% or 25 people, enforcing social distancing rules, eating only at tables and not bars, and servers wearing masks, Ricketts said.
Weddings can also take place with 25 people or 50% of occupancy, excluding staff, with six people per table and six feet between tables. Self-serve buffets and dancing will not be permitted, according to Ricketts.
Four other counties will move into phase one on June 1, the governor said.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced that in-home child care programs can open starting June 8, while center-based licensed child care programs can reopen to all families on June 15.
“Today is a day of really good news for many people. Child care is one of the areas we know is critical to reopening the economy. It is critical to parents and has been critical to our essential workers,” Secretary Eric Friedlander said today. “It’s always a balance between protecting ourselves and our families and going to back to being healthy at work.”
The maximum group size will be 10 children per group. Children will stay in the same groups all day and staff will be assigned to the same children each day to reduce exposure, Friedlander said.
All adults will be required to wear a face mask at both in-home and center-based child care settings and while children younger than five should not wear masks, older children can wear masks “as they are able," Friedlander said.
Friedlander also announced that all child care programs will receive additional funding for cleaning and personal protective equipment supplies.
Duke University plans to have students back on campus this fall, according to Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's vice president for public affairs and government relations.
"We are making plans for students to return in the fall semester but the specifics, including how many will return, what the calendar will be, testing and safety protocols and other details will be announced by the end of June," Schoenfeld told CNN.
Duke President Vincent Price also sent an email and video message to the Duke community Thursday, saying the school's full plan for the academic year will be based on "a clearer understanding of public health and safety issues than is now available."
"Like every family, community, and business, we're trying to make the best decision possible with only partial information that changes by the day," Price said.
Price said the next academic year will not look anything like the past. He said the university is working to innovate "every part of the Duke experience" including academics and residential living.
Hundreds of additional Duke researchers and scientists are returning to campus this week with new protocols for social distancing, daily monitoring, and contact tracing, according to Price.