August 16 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Jenni Marsh, Tara John, Fernando Alfonso III, Alaa Elassar and Amir Vera, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, August 17, 2020
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4:06 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Ohio reported 40 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, marking the state's highest death rate since July 31

From CNN's Taylor Romine

Ohio reported 40 Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, marking the state’s highest number of deaths reported since July 31 at 47 deaths, according to data from Ohio's Department of Health.

Saturday's death count was well above the state’s 21-day average of 25 deaths per day, the state’s Department of Health reported.

Ohio also added 1,117 new Covid cases on Saturday. The state's total number of deaths is currently listed as 3,826, with 108,287 total cases, the data shows. 

Only two Covid-19 deaths were reported on Sunday. A week ago, Sunday's reported number was one death. 

The Department of Health’s updated data also showed that 82 additional people were hospitalized and 12 people were admitted to the ICU on Saturday. Both of these numbers are under the 21-day average. There are a total of 12,236 hospitalizations and 2,771 ICU cases reported to the state.  

Percent positivity for the state was 4.5% as of Friday, which is under the 4.8% seven-day average, according to state data. 

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

4:05 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Fourth coronavirus cluster identified in UNC Chapel Hill student housing

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

A fourth coronavirus cluster has been identified by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The latest cluster was identified at Hinton James Residence Hall, the university said in a statement posted to its verified Facebook Sunday.

A cluster is defined as five or more cases that are in close proximity in location, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service, the statement said.

On Saturday, the university announced a cluster at Sigma Nu fraternity, and on Friday, it announced clusters in Ehringhaus Community, a residence hall and Granville Towers, a private apartment complex that serves as a housing option for come students.

3:15 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Another Georgia school temporarily suspends in-class learning due to Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN's Nick Valencia and Melissa Alonso

A third Cherokee County school will temporarily end in-person learning after more than a quarter of its students were quarantined and 25 people at the school tested positive for Covid-19, according to a letter sent to parents from the school district and obtained by CNN.

"Over this weekend, the number of positive cases at Creekview High School has increased to a total of 25, with 500 of its 1,800 in-person students now under precautionary quarantine, and additional tests pending that would significantly increase the quarantine total," the letter said. 

The tentative reopen date for in-person learning is Aug. 31, according to the letter.

2:46 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

23 sorority members at Oklahoma State University test positive for Covid-19

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

At least 23 sorority members at Oklahoma State University tested positive for Covid-19, according to the university.

"Last night OSU officials learned of 23 positive COVID cases in an off-campus sorority house. The rapid antigen testing was performed at an off-campus health care facility," a statement from the university read.

The entire sorority house is in isolation or quarantine after the confirmed cases "and will be prohibited from leaving the facility," the university said.

The university and Payne County Health Department are monitoring those involved and conducting contract tracing to prevent further spread.

2:50 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Italy to shutter discos and require masks amid rise in Covid-19 cases

From CNN’s Nicole Ruotolo and Kay Guerrero

Italy is set to publish a new ordinance Monday shutting down discos across the country and making mandatory the use of face masks in the daytime in outdoor areas where there is a risk of crowding, according to Italy’s Minister of Health Roberto Speranza.

Speranza said the ordinance will require the “suspension of all dance activities, both indoor and outdoors, which take place in discos and in any other spaces open to the public.”

In addition, it will make it mandatory “to wear a mask outdoors from 6:00am to 6:00pm in places where there is a risk of crowding," he wrote on Facebook.

The new ordinance comes amid a rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 in Italy.

According to Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, the measure applies to all regions even those with special status and autonomous provinces.

Speranza said the measures are aimed to prevent further spread of the disease.

“We cannot undermine the sacrifices made in the past months. Our priority must be to reopen schools safely in September," he said.

2:40 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

California records nearly 8,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Jack Hannah

California's health department recorded 7,873 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, bringing the state's total to 621,562.

The state also recorded 77 new deaths from the virus, bringing California's death toll to 11,224.

As of Sunday, the 7-day positivity rate is 6.9% and the 14-day positivity rate is 6.4%, the health department said.

To note: These figures may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed. These numbers were released by California’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

2:37 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

More than 169,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US

From CNN's Hollie Silverman    

There are at least 5,379,914 cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 169,745 people have died from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of 2:30 p.m. EST Sunday, 18,749 new cases and 264 new deaths have been reported in the US since midnight.     

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.    


1:46 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

South Carolina reports a 11% Covid-19 positivity rate

From CNN's Melissa Alonso and Natasha Chen 

South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported 537 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday. 

The state's positivity rate as of Saturday is 11%, DHEC said in its daily coronavirus update.  

Some context: Daily Covid-19 cases have decreased in South Carolina since July 19 when 2,374 were reported, CNN's tally shows.

The total number of confirmed cases in South Carolina stands at 105,466, with 1,031 probable and 2,165 confirmed deaths, DHEC said.  

Note: These numbers were released by South Carolina's public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project .

1:08 p.m. ET, August 16, 2020

Mississippi governor defends in-person voting

From CNN's Melissa Alonso


Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves defended the state's plan to conduct November's election without universal mail-in voting on CBS today.

"Every vote that is legally cast in the state of Mississippi will be counted in the November election and I'm confident that once all of those votes are counted that Donald J. Trump is going to win Mississippi and many other states," Reeves said.

Mississippi does not currently allow absentee ballots for anyone with fears of Covid-19 spread. 

"We do not allow mail-in voting in the state of Mississippi. We think that our election process, which has been in place for many many years, ensures that we have a fair process in which we have the opportunity to limit fraud," the governor said. 

"We've already had multiple elections in the last three months" with "very good turn out" and the same will be done in November, Reeves added. 

Some context: Mississippi has one of the nation's highest positivity rates with a 19.5% 7-day rolling average, according to Johns Hopkins University data.