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Outdoor meeting places used for recreation in Nevada will be closed until further notice in order to curb the spread of Covid-19, Gov. Steve Sisolak said Thursday.
The order includes public gyms, swimming pools and golf courses. Sisolak said people can continue to play sports on their own private property.
Additionally, as most Christian denominations begin to celebrate the Easter week, Sisolak is prohibiting public worship services, except those that can be done with no more than 10 people.
“This wasn’t easy,” Gov. Sisolak said in a Wednesday news conference. “In these trying times, I have clung to my faith to guide me.”
The new Nevada orders also close retail showrooms for businesses like car dealerships and furniture stores.
Sisolak said these areas “encourage customers to wander around and touch products, and that sort of shopping experience can lead to a higher likelihood of spreading the disease.”
Although grocery stores can continue to operate as essential businesses, they can no longer sell food on open display, such as salad bars, bulk candy and freshly-ground coffee.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state was "trending in the right direction" at a news conference on Wednesday.
Overall, Louisiana had 746 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 17,030. There were 70 new deaths reported.
Edwards noted that there are currently 1,983 hospitalized patients who have tested positive, down from yesterday, which was at 1,996.
"So overall the hospitalization number is up, but the rate of growth in hospitalizations is in line with us being on a lower trajectory for case growth than where we were last week," Edwards said.
"The number of new hospitalizations suggest that we're trending in the right direction, but thus far the number of deaths is higher than we want it to be to have corroboration of that. And so the two most essential data points are not in agreement. Overall we think we probably are hitting in a better direction with a lower trajectory and that we're starting to flatten the curve, but we can't be sure yet."
Louisiana testing center closes temporarily: The Alario Center coronavirus testing site announced that it would close today, due to a lack of test kits, the Jefferson Parish said on Wednesday.
“A new supply shipment, which was expected to arrive today, is now delayed,” the parish announced via Twitter, before mentioning that it is anticipating a reopening on Friday.
More than 400 coronavirus cases are linked to one jail in Chicago, local officials said, making the Cook County Jail the largest known source of infections in the US outside of medical facilities.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office said Wednesday that 251 detainees and 150 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Of the detainees infected in the outbreak, 22 are hospitalized for treatment and 31 others have been moved to a recovery facility.
One detainee has died of “apparent” complications of Covid-19, sheriff’s officials said, but an autopsy remains pending.
The jail has created a quarantine “bootcamp” to keep detainees that are infected separate from the rest of the jail population.
The jail complex currently houses about 4,700 detainees according to the sheriff’s office. Jail officials have previously said they planned to screen and release nonviolent pretrial defendants.
Peyton Manning, on behalf of the Manning family, donated 140 meals from Drago’s Seafood Restaurant to feed health care workers at Tulane Health System in New Orleans on Wednesday.
“I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to the entire team at Tulane Health System,” Manning said in a video message to Tulane Health System employees. “As healthcare workers on the front lines, you are demonstrating great courage and commitment, and making great personal sacrifices to care for the sick during this national crisis. I know I speak for Louisiana and the entire nation when I say how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Thank you. Be well. Stay strong and keep up the great work.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu expressed his frustration with obtaining crucial medical supplies from the federal government during a press conference in Concord on Wednesday.
The state received 15 Abbott rapid-testing devices last week, as part of the Granite State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Sununu.
However, the Republican governor said they received only a limited number of the cartridges required to perform the tests, and a portion of those must be used for training and calibration purposes.
Sununu hoped to stock two machines with cartridges and get them into the field “fairly quickly,” but when the state requested additional cartridges for the remaining 13 machines, he was told to expect approximately 15% of his requested cartridges.
“Why would you send out 13 machines to a state and not give them any ability to use it? Like none,” Sununu said Wednesday. “There’s literally nothing you can do with this machine if you don't have the proprietary stuff from CDC and FEMA.”
Sununu also said he doesn’t know when to expect that portion of cartridges.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because there's a lot of talk about this device, there was a lot of hype on it nationally, how it was it wonderful, and when they showed up, expectations were set really high, as they should be,” the governor said. “But to actually have 13 of these devices and have no way to use them. I'm banging my head against the wall. I really am. It’s really frustrating.”
Ahead of Passover and Easter, the Department of Homeland Security warned the faith-based community about an "increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence" or use the ongoing coronavirus pandemic situation as an excuse to spread hatred.
In a letter to community members Wednesday, the department reminded houses of worship to review security plans and procedures ahead of congregant gatherings, acknowledging that many people are worshipping remotely at this time.
"[T]here has been an increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence or use the ongoing situation as an excuse to spread hatred," read the letter from the department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, obtained by CNN.
Additionally, stressors caused by the pandemic may contribute to an individual’s decision to commit an attack or influence their target of choice, according to DHS.
The letter is aimed at providing the faith community with guidance for planning of "restoration of normal operations, whenever that may be."
Some context: Officials at DHS have been grappling with how to address concerns about targeted violence amid the ongoing health crisis. The department is trying to balance resources needed to respond to Covid-19 across the country and the need to remind people to be vigilant of potential violence, a DHS official said.
Social distancing creates opportunity to become isolated, more glued to the TV and computer and less social engagement, said the official, adding "no doubt we are all experiencing stress."
Officials are concerned that someone who is already vulnerable could easily be recruited by violent ideologies or that the situation becomes precursor to them carrying out attack.
In addition, the department is aware of individuals using Covid-19 to propagate conspiracy theories, said the official.
A prestigious scientific panel told the White House on Tuesday that it doesn't look coronavirus will go away once the weather warms up.
President Donald Trump has claimed that "when it gets a little warmer [the virus] miraculously goes away."
In their letter to the White House, members of a National Academy of Sciences committee said data is mixed on whether coronavirus spreads as easily in warm weather as it does in cold weather, but that it might not matter much given that so few people in the world are immune to coronavirus.
"There is some evidence to suggest that [coronavirus] may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity; however, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread without the concomitant adoption of major public health interventions," the letter stated.
The letter noted, for example, that a study of the outbreak in China showed that even under maximum temperature and humidity conditions, the virus spread "exponentially," with every infected person spreading it to nearly two other people on average.
The scientists sent the letter to Kelvin Droegemeier at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The letter from the NAS scientists notes that some laboratory studies have shown reduced transmission of the virus under warmer and more humid conditions, but that it's still a concern.
The letter points out that in the real world, the virus is still transmitting in countries with warm weather.
"Given that countries currently in 'summer' climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," the letter said.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield issued new guidelines for essential workers who have been exposed to the coronavirus, saying individuals would need to be asymptomatic to return to work
The guidelines, he said, are aimed at keeping essential workers including first responders, health care workers, employees in the food supply chain and others at work -- even if they might have been exposed to someone who has coronavirus.
“These are individuals that have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case so that they can, under certain circumstances, they can go back to work if they are asymptomatic,” Redfield said.
Redfield said those individuals could return to work if they take their temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing at work.
He reiterated that individuals should stay home if they feel sick, they should not share items used on or near their face and they should refrain from congregating in break rooms and other crowded places.
The CDC’s new guidelines also outlined steps employers should take, including checking temperatures before employees start work, sending anyone who becomes sick home and cleaning commonly touched surfaces more frequently, among others.