Summer camp closes after Covid-19 outbreak in Arkansas
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Camp Ozark, a summer camp facility located in Mount Ida, Arkansas, has temporarily closed down after an outbreak of Covid-19, according to Dr. Nate Smith, the state's cabinet secretary for the Department of Health.
“Camp Ozark shared the information that they had on out-of-state campers and a counselor. They took action. They initially sent campers home and some counselors home, and then, as they had additional cases, they made the decision on their own to go ahead and close down for now,” Smith said. “We support that decision and we appreciate them partnering with us.”
Asked how the outbreak at the summer camp will inform his decision about reopening schools in the fall, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said “it simply means that whenever we reconvene, we’re going to have to adhere to those public health guidelines very strictly and not ignore, not that the summer camps did, but that we realize that when you have that congregation of people, it’s going to be a challenging environment that you’ve got to work with.”
4:10 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Tulsa is seeing an increase of Covid-19 cases after a week of declining numbers
From CNN's Kay Jones
Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said that there was a 20% decline in new Covid-19 cases the week of June 28 through July 4. However, he said there are high numbers being reported this week —nearly 500 new cases in two days — and the trends are showing that those numbers will increase.
Tulsa Health Department reported 266 new cases today, bringing the total number in the county to at least 4,571.
When asked if the cases are going up due to the rally President Trump held on June 20, Dart said that there were several large events a little over two weeks ago, which is about right. "I guess we just connect the dots."
Mayor G.T. Bynum said the rally along with the large "serious seven" events — such as weddings, religious events and more — informed an executive order that goes into effect tomorrow requiring events with more than 500 people to receive guidance from the health department to evaluate safety plans. Event organizers and health officials will work on a case-by-case bases to make safe decisions in relation to the event, according to the executive order.
While hospital capacity is fine right now, Bynum said that this week, "I finally started to hear some concern, not about where things stand today, but where things could look if we continue on this trajectory unchecked."
3:58 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Illinois expands Covid-19 mobile testing program
From CNN's Raja Razek
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday the expansion of the state's Covid-19 testing program to bring testing to areas most in need.
"Governor JB Pritzker announced the expansion of the state's mobile testing operation with twelve COVID-19 mobile testing teams operating throughout Illinois," the statement from the governor's office said. "These twelve teams will offer mobile testing to residents in hard-hit communities and visit facilities like homeless services centers and nursing homes."
The mobile testing sites would offer free drive-thru and walk-up tests to any Illinois resident who wants to be tested, according to the statement. The mobile teams are in addition to the already existing 11 free, state-run drive-thru and walk-up testing sites in the state.
Additionally, the National Guard will transition state-run testing sites to contract workers, according to the statement.
"More than 500 Illinois National Guard (ILNG) members will conclude their missions at the eleven state-run testing sites this month, with contract staffers supporting those sites going forward," the statement read.
3:52 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Covid-19 hospitalizations in California are up 44%, governor says
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
Coronavirus hospitalizations in California are up 44% over the past two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said today in a news conference. That translates to about 6,100 patients.
The number of patients in intensive care has climbed by 34% in the past 14 days.
California has added 11,694 additional cases, but Newsom cautions that approximately 2,000 of those are from a backlog in Los Angeles County. This brings the total number of cases to nearly 290,000.
California’s seven-day positivity rate is about 8%, Newsom said, and the 14-day rate stands at 7.1%. The state is averaging more than 100,000 tests each day.
3:26 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
8 steps schools should take when they reopen, according to a former CDC head's advocacy group
From CNN Health’s Andrea Kane
It could be impossible to operate schools safely in communities where coronavirus infections are out of control, Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said today.
Frieden is now CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an advocacy and public health consultancy group that has put together a plan for how to reopen schools safely.
“The hard truth is that there is no route to zero risk of Covid-19 in the near future, but we can reduce the risk with careful planning and precautions,” Frieden said while speaking at a livestream event today. “But here’s the bottom line: The single most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe has nothing to do with what happens in schools -- it's how well we can control Covid in the community.”
He said that right now, because there are places around the country where the virus is spreading explosively, “it would be difficult — if not impossible — to operate schools safely there until the virus is under better control in those communities.”
When the time comes to reopen schools, Resolve to Save Lives introduced an eight-point plan “designed to complement evidence-based guidelines, such as that from the CDC, and to help education leaders make important decisions for each state and school district,” Frieden said.
The eight points are:
Shield the most vulnerable
Reduce risk wherever possible, which may mean re-engineering the school environment
Keep the virus out by restricting access and requiring visitors to wear face masks and wash their hands
Reduce occupancy, which may include a split shift or a week-on/week-off schedule
Reduce mixing by dividing students into smaller groups
Have teachers and students wear masks all day long
Implement new health and safety protocols, including more frequent cleaning
Prepare for cases; have protocol in place for when Covid-19 cases develop
“We don't live in an ideal world, and we don't have all the information we wish we had about how to protect our children's health and future. We need to use the best available information to continue to learn so we can figure out how to improve the safety of our children at schools, the robustness of our society and of our economy,” Frieden said.
He said reopening schools is something we must do to more fully open our society and our economy.
“We can succeed if we take careful steps forward and respond rapidly to new information or cases. Our children's future depends on it,” he said.
3:08 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Brazil's president vetoes parts of law that protects indigenous people against Covid-19
From CNN’s Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed several points of a law aimed at protecting indigenous communities against Covid-19 on Wednesday, according to the government’s Official Gazette.
He vetoed points that assured access to drinking water, free distribution of hygiene products like soap and toothpaste, cleaning and disinfection materials for indigenous communities and mandatory emergency funds for indigenous people’s health.
Parts that dealt with the emergency provision of additional hospital beds and intensive care units to indigenous people, and the acquisition of ventilators and blood oxygenation machines were also turned down.
More on this: The law establishes an emergency plan to combat the pandemic in indigenous territories and asserts that indigenous peoples and other traditional communities are considered "groups in situations of extreme vulnerability" and at high risk for public health emergencies.
The text, approved by the country’s Congress on May 21 and by the Senate on June 16, still has to go back to Congress, which will decide whether to approve presidential vetoes.
The publication of the law with Boslonaro’s vetoes takes place on the same day Supreme Court judge Luis Roberto Barroso ordered the federal government to take measures to protect indigenous communities against Covid-19.
Barroso asked for the creation of a national emergency plan, the installation of sanitary barriers and the establishment of a "Situation Room" to manage the response to the disease in indigenous territories.
For isolated and recently contacted indigenous people, the judge ordered the removal of outsiders from indigenous lands.
The action, which mandates that all indigenous people must have access to the public indigenous health system, was initiated by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB)
The latest numbers: According to APIB, until June 7, more than 12,000 indigenous people were infected with novel coronavirus, and at least 445 died since the beginning of the pandemic in the country. According to the Brazilian Indigenous Health service (SESAI), 3,421 indigenous people were infected and 184 died of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.
SESAI only counts indigenous people living in indigenous territories, not urban centers.
2:59 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Clinical trials have begun for inhaled version of remdesivir
From CNN's Wes Bruer
Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, has announced the start of clinical trials for an inhaled version of the antiviral drug to treat Covid-19 patients who do not require hospitalization.
The trial will be comprised of 60 healthy individuals ages 18-45 in the US to determine the safety and tolerability of the drug in this format.
“With promising data emerging from the randomized, clinical trials of intravenous remdesivir administered to hospitalized patients, it became clear that efforts were needed to investigate the drug’s potential in the outpatient setting. Significant research efforts have been undertaken to deliver remdesivir in an inhaled, nebulized format. We are pleased to announce the initiation of a Phase 1a clinical study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of an investigational, inhaled solution of remdesivir in healthy volunteers,” Gilead Sciences Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merdad Parsey said in a statement Wednesday.
Remdesivir, which is currently administered intravenously through infusions, is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration to treat coronavirus infections.
“Additional clinical trials evaluating remdesivir in combination with anti-inflammatory medicines, in vulnerable patient populations and in outpatient settings are ongoing or planned to initiate in the near future,” the statement said.
2:59 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Covid-19 hospitalizations up 70% in Miami-Dade County
From CNN's Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt
In the past 13 days, Florida's Miami-Dade County has seen a 70% increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being hospitalized.
The number of intensive care unit beds being used has risen to 84% and the use of ventilators is at 116%, according to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County government.
3:00 p.m. ET, July 8, 2020
Chile continues downward trend of daily Covid-19 cases as two regions ease lockdowns
From CNN's Tatiana Arias
Chile's Ministry of Health reported 2,064 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 303,083.
The number of new cases represent an increase of 0.69% in the last 24 hours, the lowest figure recorded since early May, according to CNN's count.
However, health authorities reported 139 new deaths on Wednesday, a sharp increase of 2.16% on the new number of daily deaths since July 4 – bringing the death toll to 6,573.
Lockdown easing measures were announced Wednesday for the regions of Aysen and Los Rios and they will take effect starting next Monday.
“I thank our people who have allowed us to start this de-escalation process very slowly and very carefully," Chile’s Health Minister Enrique Paris said.
For those regions, sporting events of 10 people maximum in enclosed spaces and up to 50 in open areas are now permitted.
People older than 75 can now go outside once a day. Theaters, cinemas, restaurants and cafes can operate at a 25% maximum capacity, according to Chile’s authorities.