July 28 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Ed Upright, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:10 a.m. ET, July 29, 2020
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4:56 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

Kentucky governor says he hopes state is "seeing a new plateau" in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said today’s update in Covid-19 cases gives hope that the state “may be seeing a new plateau or stabilization.”

He added however that it is too early to come to that conclusion.

The state today reported 532 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, and a 5.08% positivity rate, which decreased for the first time in four days, the governor said.

“Again, too early to draw conclusions, but I hope I’ve said, I hope that this is us starting to see, because the time period is right, where the facial covering requirement is starting to kick in and help,” Beshear added. 

Beshear said the state is likely to extend its facial covering mandate, previously issued July 9 for a 30-day duration.

5:02 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

Boston mayor says he's concerned about thousands of students returning to school in the fall

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

Boston City TV
Boston City TV

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he’s concerned as thousands of young people come to Boston to start or continue their education in the fall.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Walsh said his administration has been working closely with educational institutions in Boston to understand new protocols and create plans of action in case anyone tests positive for coronavirus in various educational settings. 

“We’re helping colleges plan safe housing options for students to reduce their density on campus,” Walsh said.

The governor’s office issued guidelines in early July outlining for spaces like hotels to be used for temporary student housing to allow colleges the time and space to properly handle social distancing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  

“We’re also working with the state on contract tracing efforts in partnership with all of our colleges along with testing,” Walsh said, emphasizing that these two elements will be “their most powerful tool in ensuring that the transmission rates remain low.”

Walsh said he’s meeting with several college presidents to discuss their opening plans and many of them have been planning different scenarios.

4:46 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

North Carolina reports record high number of Covid-19 hospitalizations

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

At least 1,244 people are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 in North Carolina– the highest number of hospitalizations in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

The state also reported at least 1,749 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the governor said in a briefing today.

Cooper said there have been at least 1,820 deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said today is the highest day of statewide hospitalizations, but hospital space is still available. North Carolina has averaged around 29,000 tests per day over the past week. 

Cohen said North Carolina is seeing a direct correlation with the start of the statewide mask mandate and the stabilizing of trends in the state.

“Seeing glimmers of potential progress does not mean we can let up, it means it’s time to double down,” Cohen said.

Note: These numbers were released by Cooper, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:43 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

Miami-Dade mayor says Marlins should follow 14-day quarantine rule when team returns to Florida

From CNN’s Sharif Paget 

A foul ball sits inside Citizens Bank Park, where the Miami Marlins were playing the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
A foul ball sits inside Citizens Bank Park, where the Miami Marlins were playing the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. Chris Szagola/AP

The Miami Marlins should follow the 14-day quarantine protocol when they return to South Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said Tuesday.

His remarks came just before Major League Baseball announced multiple postponements of upcoming games out of an abundance of caution after multiple Miami Marlins tested positive for Covid-19. 

“They [Miami Marlins] should follow the medical protocol,” Giménez said at a briefing. “If somebody’s been exposed, just like any other person, they need to be tested and self-quarantine for a while, that’s the normal protocol, that’s what we would ask them to do.” 

“I would assume that they would follow the medical protocols and I would assume they also follow the law unless they have some kind of exemption,” he added. 

The mayor said he doesn’t see how MLB teams will be able to contain the spread of the virus among their ball clubs if players are allowed to go back into the community after their games. 

Giménez thinks the National Basketball Association has “the right formula” by putting teams in an enclosed environment, often referred to as a “bubble,” in which the participants live, practice and play all games. 

He also doesn’t expect the county to suffer additional economic hardship if the Marlins’ season were to get postponed.

“There’s no fans, so it’s all TV revenue,” Giménez said. “As far as the county is concerned, it has minimal impact on the county.”  

“They still owe us the rent, whether they play or they don’t,” he added. 

4:38 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

North Carolina restaurants ordered to stop selling alcohol after 11 p.m.

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a news conference on Tuesday.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at a news conference on Tuesday. Pool/North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Starting Friday, restaurants in North Carolina must stop selling alcohol after 11 p.m., Gov. Roy Cooper announced in a news conference today.

Bars will remain closed, Cooper said, adding that “we want to prevent restaurants from turning into bars after hours."

“Slowing the spread of this virus requires targeted strategies that help lower the risk of transmission,” Cooper said in a statement. “This will be particularly important as colleges and universities are scheduled to start, bringing people all over the country to our state. We have seen case numbers increase among younger people, and prevention is critical to slowing the spread of the virus.”

The order will not apply to grocery stores, convenience stores or other entities permitted to sell alcohol for off-premises consumption, according to the governor.

4:27 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

Biden says he has not been tested for coronavirus

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Joe Biden arrives at his campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday.
Joe Biden arrives at his campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Andrew Harnik/AP

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday he has not yet been tested for coronavirus. 

"No, I have not," said Biden, when asked by a reporter, "Have you been tested yet?" in the question and answer period of a news conference he hosted near his home in Wilmington, Delaware

The former vice president previously told CNN's Jake Tapper on May 24 that he'd not been tested because had not experienced symptoms, adding that he was following medical experts' advice — including keeping distance from his grandchildren when they visit and ensuring everyone who enters his home, including the Secret Service, wears gloves and masks.

“I have not been tested for the coronavirus," said Biden at the time. "I have had, thank God, no symptoms that I'm aware of,” he added.

Biden, 77, is considered to be among those in a high-risk risk category, according to to CDC guidelines.

4:12 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

US stocks finish lower

From CNN Business’ Anneken Tappe

US markets closed in the red on Tuesday. After hopes for Washington’s next pandemic stimulus package boosted stocks at the start of the week, investors now worry that drawn-out negotiations will make it difficult to come to a deal. 

On top of that, earnings season continues to show that corporate America is struggling with the pandemic. Both McDonald’s and 3M missed analyst expectations in their results and were among the weakest Dow stocks of the day.

Here's where the market closed today:

  • The Dow finished 0.8%, or 205 points, lower.
  • The S&P 500 closed down 0.6%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell 1.3%
4:23 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

Portuguese islands make masks mandatory in public

From CNN's Duarte Mendonca and Lauren Kent

A view of Camara de Lobos, on the southern coast of Portugal's Madeira Island.
A view of Camara de Lobos, on the southern coast of Portugal's Madeira Island. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Getty Images

The Portuguese islands of Madeira will make wearing a mask mandatory in all public spaces, both indoors and outdoors, starting on Saturday, the regional government announced today.

"The mandatory use of the mask is an additional measure to protect people from the region. We are one of the safest regions in the world, and as such, we have to adopt a good practice of individual and collective protection," said Pedro Ramos, Madeira's Regional Secretary for Health and Civil Protection. "If we all collaborate, we will win. Tourism wins, the regional economy and public safety wins." 

Several groups of people will be exempt from the mandatory mask rule, including children up to the age of 10 and people who are "incapacitated, with the lack of ability to place or remove the mask." 

The Madeira government also said it is giving every person who arrives a "free, beautiful mask from our region" to emphasize mask-wearing and to show visitors that Madeira has "its epidemiologic situation under control."

The popular tourist destination, which is an autonomous region of Portugal off the northwest coast of Africa, has kept its number of coronavirus infections low, with only 105 confirmed cases. Of those, 97 are recovered cases and eight are active cases, according to the latest data from the regional government. 

4:09 p.m. ET, July 28, 2020

At least 13 patients in Massachusetts health facility test positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Laura Ly

At least 13 patients and 23 employees have tested positive for coronavirus at Baystate Health in Massachusetts.

These cases were related to an outbreak stemming from an employee who traveled to a hotspot in the US, as well as “simple lapses” in break rooms where people convened without masks and without appropriate social distancing, according to Mark A. Keroack, the president and CEO of the facility. 

An employee traveled to an area in the US that’s been identified as a hotspot and upon return was diagnosed with coronavirus, Keroack said in a statement earlier this week. 

Keroack also said staff convened in break rooms and removed their masks without observing proper social distancing protocols. 

“These simple lapses were able to happen in spite of our screening employees for fever and other symptoms before every shift, mandating mask usage and social distancing throughout the facility,” the statement said.

“Baystate has reached out to all patients who received care on the unit during the time period of July 15-23, and they are being tested. Baystate has been conducting testing and contact tracing of employees who were working on the unit, as well as those employees who spent more than 15 minutes on the unit during this same time period.” 

The 36 people with the virus were identified by Monday morning.

“This event reinforces that COVID-19 is highly contagious and requires vigilance in order to contain its spread,” Keroack said.