Another US city will be requiring people to wear masks in public.
Beginning July 3, Columbus, Ohio, will require people to wear a face covering when out in public, the city's Health Department announced Thursday.
“We must stay the course of maintaining social distancing, washing hands and wearing facial coverings. So today I am signing an executive order to mandate face coverings in Columbus,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted.
Ginther said the city has distributed more than 40,000 masks.
Asked if employees at the Ohio State House in Columbus would be required to follow the mayor’s order, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said, “I certainly hope that everyone will follow those orders, they are not unreasonable."
"I want to congratulate the mayor and all the mayors for doing this. I think it makes eminent sense to do it," he added.
Read Ginther's tweet:
4:13 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
At least 152 Covid-19 cases linked to Michigan bar outbreak
From CNN's Melissa Alonso
There are at least 152 Covid-19 cases currently linked to a bar in East Lansing, Michigan, Amanda Darche, public information officer for the Ingham Health Department, tells CNN.
On Tuesday, 107 cases were linked to the Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub. Health officials asked anyone who visited the establishment June 12 and June 20 to self-quarantine, CNN has reported.
The 152 current cases include "128 primary cases and 24 secondary cases," Darche says. Secondary cases are people who were infected but did not visit Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub.
On its website, Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub says patrons "voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19" when visiting.
Some more context: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Wednesday closing indoor service at bars throughout most of lower Michigan “following recent outbreaks tied to bars," she said.
6:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Tulsa mayor announces new initiatives to balance economic and health risks
From CNN's Gregory Lemos
The mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, G.T. Bynum, announced today three new initiatives as positive case rates climb to "an unacceptable new normal" in his city.
Speaking at a news conference with his chief health official, Bynum did not address any link to the rise in cases and President Trump’s June 20 rally in Tulsa.
Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, also did not specifically address any potential community spread that may have resulted from the Trump rally, but did address gatherings where the purpose is to "congregate in close contact with other people" as "a potential risk for spreading Covid-19" and advised people to wear masks and socially distance.
As the city continues to try to balance economic and health risks, here are the initiatives announced by the governor:
A new safety certification system: Bynum said this would allow local businesses and organizations to submit a safety plan, specific to their facility, to the Tulsa Health Department for approval. The department will either suggest improvements or approve them as “certified.” "Then that organization will be able to tell their clients or their congregants that they have a Tulsa Health Department certification plan," Bynum said.
Gatherings: Bynum said organizers putting on an event with over 500 people must develop a safety plan approved by the department to move forward. The requirement goes into effect on July 16.
Face coverings: All employees of bars and restaurants will be required to wear face coverings while they are at work. "This is something that we should have put in place on May 1," Bynum said. "As we go through something as unprecedented as this, we continue to see things that in retrospect we wish we had put in place." Bynum has not yet issued a mandatory mask wearing order but said he would expeditiously if Dart deemed it necessary.
The latest numbers: Dart said at least 136 new cases were reported during the week of June 21-27.
3:51 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Discussions continue around who will get the Covid-19 vaccine first, CDC director says
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
Important conversations are continuing in Washington around who in the United States will be among the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine once one becomes available, health officials said during a Senate appropriations hearing on Thursday.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in the hearing that the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice has been mulling over who should be prioritized. ACIP held a meeting last week during which it was considered that maybe the highest priority should be given to health care personnel and essential workers.
In a previous ACIP meeting, some other proposed priority groups that were discussed included adults ages 65 and older, long-term care facility residents, people with high-risk underlying medical conditions and pregnant women, among others.
"Clearly the most vulnerable and those individuals who are at greater risk for mortality have to be considered as well as those individuals at great risk for infection because of what they do," Redfield said during the hearing on Thursday, adding that health care workers and caregivers specifically are at an increased risk.
"Depending on which vaccine is approved, it might have particular characteristics making it more or less appropriate in given populations," Redfield said on Thursday. "At the end of the day, it’s really going to be dependent on the characteristics of the particular vaccine product."
Such discussions around how the vaccine should be distributed could extend beyond ACIP, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
"This may be a moment to actually bring together a group of big thinkers who could take a high-level view of this and lay out a value of principles that could be utilized by the CDC committee ACIP," Collins said during Thursday's hearing.
"That might be something best done by an organization that is not itself governmental," Collins told lawmakers. "We are having a conversation very early on with the National Academy of Medicine about whether they would be the place to convene such a discussion, and we can keep you posted on that."
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, said during the hearing "put me down as thinking that's a good idea" in regard to including the National Academy of Medicine in discussions around vaccine distribution.
4:22 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Median age for new Covid-19 cases in Tampa area is 34, Florida governor says
From CNN’s Angela Barajas
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the median age for new cases in Tampa's Hillsborough County throughout the pandemic is now down to 34.
“One of the things that's driven the increase cases has been increasing positivity rates amongst young people," DeSantis said.
Florida's governor made the comments alongside Vice President Mike Pence at the University of South Florida Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in Tampa. The governor addressed the media before a scheduled briefing with other White House coronavirus task force officials.
Earlier today, Florida marked a new record daily high of infections since the start of the pandemic. The Florida Department of Health reported 10,109 additional coronavirus cases, which broke the previous record of more than 9,500 new cases in a single day reported on Saturday. The state's total cases are more than 160,000, according to data released by the state today.
The governor also warned Floridians to take precautions ahead of the July 4th weekend.
He advised people to stay away from enclosed spaces when retreating from the heat, avoid large crowds and “close contact situations”.
“In Florida when it’s hot, people retreat to the AC. They get close together, they have a party. You’re much better off being in the 95 degree heat than being in that enclosed space with poor ventilation," he said.
3:37 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
How California is encouraging people to stay home and wear a mask
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
California is launching an ad campaign to encourage residents to wear masks, keep their distance and stay home, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a news conference.
The public service announcements harness the celebrity power of the state starring Snoop Dogg, Larry David, Kim Kardashian, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
“The evidence is overwhelming. Masks keeps Californians healthy,” Newsom said, adding, “This is not a partisan issue. This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue.”
In addition to PSAs — some of which were released earlier in the pandemic — billboards and other ads will go up in cities across the state.
The campaign will feature languages other than English, including Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
Funding for the promotion comes from a combination of public and private funds. The state is contributing just over $10 million and private foundations are kicking in more than $27 million.
3:27 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Ohio implements multi-level Covid-19 public health advisory system
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that the state will implement a new warning system to provide local health departments and community leaders data and information to help combat Covid-19 flare-ups as they occur in different parts of the state.
The Ohio Public Health Advisory System has four levels to provide guidance on the severity of the problem each Ohio county, the governor said. The levels are determined by seven data indicators that identify the risk level for each county and a corresponding color code to represent that risk level.
These seven indicators include new cases per capita, sustained increase in new cases, proportion of cases not congregate cases, sustained increase in ER visits, sustained increase in outpatient visits, sustained increase in new Covid-19 hospital admissions and ICU bed occupancy.
Here's what each alert level means:
Alert Level 1 (yellow) –– A county will have triggered zero or one of the seven indicators, and there is active exposure and spread of Covid-19. Currently, 53 Ohio counties are at Alert Level 1, DeWine said.
Alert Level 2 (orange) –– A county will have triggered two or three of the seven indicators, and there is increased risk of exposure and spread. Currently, 28 Ohio counties are at Level 2 and have seen case growth in the community in the last two weeks.
Alert Level 3 (red) –– A county will have triggered four or five of the seven indicators, and there is very high exposure and spread. There are currently seven Ohio counties at Level 3, where risk is very high and residents should limit activities as much as possible and wear a mask when going out, DeWine said.
Alert Level 4 (purple) –– At the highest level, a county will have triggered six to seven of the indicators, and there is severe exposure and spread. According to the governor, there are currently no counties at this level.
3:18 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
California's coronavirus cases top 240,000
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
There are at least 240,195 coronavirus cases in California and 6,163 reported deaths, according to state data.
Hospitalizations and those in intensive care are once again at an all-time high with single-day increases of more than 3% each. Covid-19 patients make up for about 30% of all hospitalizations, according to state data.
Well over 4.3 million tests have been conducted in the state and the positivity rate continues to climb. Over the past 14 days, the positivity rate has now reached 6.3%.
California’s Department of Public Health continues to process a backlog of case reports, reallocating cases to the dates the test results were confirmed.
Cases increased by 1.7%, with the addition of 4,056 new cases.
Note: These numbers were released by the California Department of Public Health, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project
3:15 p.m. ET, July 2, 2020
Facebook and Instagram to send users to CDC for coronavirus information
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
As Covid-19 cases in the US continue to rise, Facebook said on Thursday it would begin to promote information about face coverings and other preventive measures on its two social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram.
The alerts, in English and Spanish, will have links to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where users can get more information, Facebook said.
“On Facebook, we’ll be sending an alert at the top of everyone’s News Feed and directing them to the COVID-19 Information Center to learn more, which will have additional prevention tips and links to the CDC for additional information,” Facebook spokespeople said in an email to CNN.
“On Instagram, we’ll be putting a prompt at the top of everyone’s Feed that encourages people to wear face coverings and directs them to the CDC to learn more," the email added.
The alerts are beginning in the US with plans to expands further soon.