June 29 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Julia Hollingsworth, Amy Woodyatt and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:02 a.m. ET, June 30, 2020
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5:25 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

CDC official calls spread of Covid-19 in US "discouraging"

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Im

The extent of the spread of coronavirus across the US is discouraging and it could be difficult to control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

“What we hope is we can take it seriously and slow the transmission in these places,” Schuchat said at a JAMA Live event. “But what I think is very discouraging is we’re clearly not at a point where there’s so little virus being spread that it’s going to be easy to snuff out.” 

While the spread of the virus cannot necessarily be stopped, it can be modified by personal behavior, Schuchat said. She said people need to continue to wear face coverings, practice good hand hygiene and socially distance to try to help slow and control the spread. 

“I think there was a lot of wishful thinking around the country that, hey, summer, everything’s going to be fine, we’re over this. And we are not even beginning to be over this,” she said.

“We just need to expect this virus to continue to circulate, but in terms of the weather or the season helping us, I don’t think we can count on that,” Schuchat added. 

5:15 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Oregon governor enacts statewide face mask requirement

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has now required the state’s residents to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces beginning July 1, according to a statement released today.

Face covering requirements are already mandated in eight counties but this would broaden the mandate to the whole state, the statement explained.

“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing,” Brown said in the statement. 

“If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public,” she added.

5:08 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

There have been more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases in Los Angeles

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Cars wait in line at a Covid-19 testing center at Dodger Stadium, on June 25, in Los Angeles, California.
Cars wait in line at a Covid-19 testing center at Dodger Stadium, on June 25, in Los Angeles, California. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Since beginning to reopen several weeks ago, Los Angeles is seeing an alarming rise in cases, positivity rates, and hospitalizations, Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

There are now more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles, with yet another single-day high of at least 2,903 new cases reported today.

"We did not expect to see this steep an increase this quickly," Ferrer said in a news conference.

The positivity rate in Los Angeles has jumped to almost 9%. About a month ago, the positivity rate in the county was at 4.6%.

Speaking specifically to those not taking health orders seriously, Ferrer said, “If you’re not part of the solution… you’re part of the problem.”

About half of the bars surveyed did not comply with physical distancing and employees were not wearing masks. Retail shops were in compliance about 65% of the time, and about 83% of restaurants were following orders.

“While it’s disappointing to take a step back on our recovery journey, it’s critical that we work together to protect the health of our residents and the capacity of our health system,” Ferrer said.
5:10 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Governor warns that Oregon hospitals could be overwhelmed "within weeks"

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown warned that the state needs to take further action to keep the number of new Covid-19 cases under control and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” Brown said in a statement on Monday.

She said "over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties." The governor urged people to keep Fourth of July celebrations “small and local.”

“Another spike in cases after the upcoming holiday weekend could put Oregon in a dangerous position,” Brown added.

Some context: Oregon has seen a steep growth in Covid-19 cases in June including the state’s highest day of new cases, 222, on June 16, according to the state’s health authority.

4:50 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Minnesota can now test about 20,000 people a day, governor says

From CNN's Raja Razek

Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, administers a free Covid-19 test at the Minneapolis Armory on Saturday, May 23.
Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, administers a free Covid-19 test at the Minneapolis Armory on Saturday, May 23. Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune/AP

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the state has tested over half a million people for Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. They now have the capacity to test 20,000 Minnesotans on any given day, he announced at a news briefing on Monday.

Walz said that during the last weeks of April, it became apparent that a disconnect between the federal responsibility on testing and the state's responsibility was causing a problem in the United States. 

"At that point in time, we were like many states, striving to keep up and catch up with that testing, so we called for the Minnesota moonshot," Walz said. "My goal was, is to try and get us in the first week in June to be able to test at a capacity of more than 10% of our population to be tested, and to have the daily capacity to test 20,000 people."

He said the state worked with the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic and other health systems to create their own supply that was "independent of those supply chain breaks."

"I am here today to announce that we have reached those goals. Over half a million tests have been given in Minnesota, it will actually be a little over 600,000 today, and we do have the capacity now to test 20,000 Minnesotans every given day," Walz said.

Minnesota has a total of at least 35,861 Covid-19 cases. Approximately 1,435 people have died statewide.

4:48 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

University of Texas at Austin will shorten its fall semester

From CNN's Bianna Golodryga

University of Texas at Austin.
University of Texas at Austin. Shutterstock

University of Texas at Austin announced new details Monday on the fall semester and class structure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans include a shortened academic semester, an “instructional continuity plan” in the event professors fall ill, a mix of online and in-person classes and a flat tuition no matter the mode of instruction, its board said.

UT’s semester will begin on Aug. 26, with in-person instruction ending Nov. 25 — the day before Thanksgiving.

The class day will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with courses “more evenly distributed,” and each course will have an “instructional continuity plan,” which will include a teaching partner, who will take over the class in the case of an emergency or if an instructor becomes ill.

Like many Texas schools, UT-Austin will offer classes online, hybrid and in-person options for students, but all is subject to change, according to UT’s Interim President Jay Hartzell.

4:47 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Leicester becomes first city in UK to have a local lockdown imposed

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic

A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England.
A city council worker carries rubbish from a coronavirus testing centre at Spinney Park on June 29, 2020 in Leicester, England. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The British city of Leicester will have certain coronavirus restrictions reimposed because its infection rate is three times higher than the next highest local area, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Monday evening. 

Nonessential shops will close starting Tuesday, and schools will close on Thursday, Hancock said, adding that vulnerable pupils and children of key workers will continue attending class.

Hancock also asked those residing in Leicester to stay at home as much as they can, and recommended against all but essential travel to or from the city and the surroundings.

Pubs, restaurants and hair salons, which will reopen in the rest of England on July 4, will have to remain closed in Leicester.

The UK health secretary said that the decision to reimpose restrictions was "difficult" but that it was "important.

"We do not take these decisions lightly, but with the interests of the people of Leicester in our hearts," Hancock said.

The health secretary denied that the number of known infections in Leicester was higher because more tests were being performed there, saying that the proportion of positive results showed that there was a higher prevalence of the virus in the city. 

The measures will be reviewed in two weeks, Hancock said, and urged people to follow the rules.

4:41 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

Rhode Island governor extends mandatory mask order

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sits during a news conference Monday, June 22, in Providence. David Goldman/AP

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo extended several executive orders until August 3. She announced the decision today because she will not have a news conference on July 4 when these orders are set to expire.

Here's what will remain in effect:

  • Order requiring face coverings.
  • Order on quarantine rules.
  • Order requiring health insurers to cover telemedicine. She also said she will work with the state legislatures to make this permanent.
  • Order that extends time law enforcement has to complete a background check from seven days to 30 days for a gun permit.
  • Extending the disaster declaration.

Some context: Earlier today, Raimondo imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine starting Tuesday for people coming from a state with a 5% or greater positivity rate.

The quarantine rule currently applies to 23 states as of Monday, and Rhode Island will keep a list of states impacted by the rule updated weekly based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, Raimondo said.

4:48 p.m. ET, June 29, 2020

New Hampshire testing program aims to identify symptomless carriers

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

About 3,000 people have signed up for coronavirus testing under a statewide program aimed at identifying people who have no symptoms, the New Hampshire governor’s office said Monday.

The Asymptomatic Spread Assessment Program (ASAP) is open to all residents of the state.

The testing program is “a community challenge meant to help the state identify asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 by challenging residents to go out and get a test even if they don’t think they have Covid-19,” Ben Vihstadt, a spokesperson for Gov. Chris Sununu, told CNN by email.

“The governor wanted to create a community-based challenge as a way to increase community testing. For quite some time, the state has had the resources to offer a test to anyone who wants one, and this was one way to encourage folk to go out and get a test,” Vihstadt said.

Sununu announced the program with a tweet on June 5 and followed up with details about his own testing experience on the social media outlet on June 7. “I have no symptoms, but it only took 10 minutes to book an appointment online and 2 minutes to take the test from my car. Easy. Painless. Done,” he tweeted

Anyone in New Hampshire can get a test by going to the state’s online portal and requesting one under the ASAP program, Vihstadt said.

The program was put in place to “help identify the extent of asymptomatic spread throughout the state, and to identify asymptomatic carriers before they become unknowing spreaders.”

Vihstadt said so far roughly 3,000 appointments for testing have been made through the program. 

Testing programs that look for asymptomatic spreaders of Covid-19, such as ASAP, are important tools when it comes to trying to control the pandemic, said Gigi Gronvall, associate professor and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.