Colorado breaks record for Covid-19 average case count
From CNN’s Andy Rose
The state of Colorado is seeing its highest seven-day average count of Covid-19 cases.
“We are at our highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic,” state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said at a news conference Tuesday. “We have had three waves of illness. A spring wave, a July wave and now a fall wave.”
The one-week rolling average was listed at 960 as of Tuesday. The record for a single-day case count was set Oct. 15 at 1,155. Health officials say some of the increase compared to the early days of the pandemic is likely to be due to higher testing capacity, but it is still a dangerous trend. “We cannot go on as we have been,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “The status quo is not acceptable.”
The biggest concern is the possibility of stressing the state’s hospital capacity.
“We are still seeing an increase in hospitalizations,” Polis said, amounting to about one out of every four hospital beds being filled with a coronavirus patient.
“We are projected to exceed the level of hospitalizations we saw in the spring in about mid-November,” Herlihy said. She added that, with more people likely to be indoors and gathered together during the holidays, they could exceed their intensive care capacity by late December.
4:42 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Former FDA commissioner predicts US is a week away from "rapid acceleration" in Covid-19 cases
From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard
In about a week, the United States may see a "rapid acceleration" in Covid-19 cases, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, predicted on Monday.
"It's going to be a difficult fall and winter. I think we're about two or three weeks behind Europe – so we're about a week away from starting to enter a period where we're going to see a rapid acceleration in cases," Gottlieb told CNBC's Shepard Smith.
"We're seeing hospitalizations go up in 42 states right now, cases are going up in 45 states, and there really is no backstop," Gottlieb said. "The summer was a backstop of sorts to the spring surge and we have no therapeutic backstop and this season, the fall and winter season, is when this coronavirus is going to want to spread."
4:40 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Wisconsin reports more than 4,500 new cases on Tuesday
From CNN's Kay Jones
There are 4,591 new cases of Covid-19 in Wisconsin today, according to state health officials.
Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the numbers include backlogged cases that accumulated when the state's electronic disease surveillance system went through an upgrade and enhancement over the weekend.
She said that the numbers may be higher over the next few days as they work through importing the data.
Wisconsin has 178,482 total positive cases since the pandemic began. Palm said that 43% of the state's total cases have come within the past month and 62% over the past two months.
"Covid-19 is spreading in every community across our state," Palm said. "In recent weeks we've asked you to stay home and to wear a mask if you go out because it was safe to assume that the virus is everywhere in Wisconsin."
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said during the press conference that the ruling made by a circuit court judge on Monday denying a temporary injunction on the state's emergency order limiting public gatherings to 25% capacity was critically important in helping prevent the spread of the virus.
He said that he wants to see small businesses, including restaurants and bars, succeed but that it won't happen until everyone starts taking this pandemic seriously.
4:24 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Canada’s Covid-19 cases surpass 200,000 as trick-or-treating becomes a virus casualty in some cities
From CNN’s Paula Newton
Canada continues to battle a second wave of Covid-19 as total cases top 200,000 and deaths near the grim milestone of 10,000 victims since the pandemic began.
Alarmingly, public health officials say hospitalizations continue to rise as the positivity rate nationally during the last week is now above 3%, and higher than that in hotspots like Montreal and Toronto.
“Here, and around the world the fight against this virus is far from over. In order to win it we have to keep working together,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a press conference Tuesday.
While schools remain open for in-person learning throughout most of the country, there have been targeted restrictions in many urban centers with restaurant and bar closures, limits on social gatherings and closure of gyms and theaters.
While new, daily cases have plateaued and the growth rate of new cases has stabilized, Canadian hospitals are seeing more patients who are critically ill.
“The number of people experiencing severe illness is also increasing. Over the past 7 days there were on average over 950 individuals with COVID-19 being treated in Canadian hospitals including close to 200 in critical care and an average of 22 deaths reported each day,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada during a press conference in Ottawa.
Trudeau was asked about Halloween Tuesday as several cities in Ontario, including Toronto and Ottawa, recommended against trick or treating on Halloween night saying community transmission of the virus was too high.
"We know that it's not easy, and it's frustrating," Trudeau said adding, "Unfortunately, all of us are having to make sacrifices of different types, particularly kids."
Trudeau confirmed his three children will be following local public health guidelines and would not be trick or treating in Ottawa on Halloween night.
The issue of Halloween divides even doctors with some saying trick or treating is a relatively low risk activity given it is outside.
A Toronto infectious disease specialist tweeted that the ban on trick or treating didn’t "sit right."
“The goal should be to find ways to do things safely rather than cancel. Halloween shouldn’t be too tough to do safely: Outside, wearing masks, restricted to family units, distant from others - is about as low risk as it gets,” tweeted Dr. Isaac Bogoch with the University of Toronto.
Some editorials were scathing with The Globe and Mail’s medical specialist Andre Picard writing, “We’ve spent months being spooked by a virus. It’s time for a little pushback,” he says in an opinion piece, adding, “This is masked, distanced candy-collecting. To suggest that is dangerous is downright diabolical.”
There is little indication local authorities will relent before Halloween although officials said that they were relying on individual compliance and they were not planning any enforcement initiatives.
4:00 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Arkansas governor tests negative after possible Covid-19 exposure
From CNN’s Rebekah Riess
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has tested negative for Covid-19 after being in a meeting Friday with an individual who later tested positive, the governor said.
After contact tracing took place, the governor was notified early Monday morning, that there were questions about his exposure, “even though I had remained over six feet away from the individual,” Hutchinson said.
The governor said as a precaution, he was administered an antigen Covid-19 test early Monday morning, followed by a PCR test that was also negative.
According to Hutchinson, the meeting with the infected individual did not lot rise to the level of CDC quarantine guidance. The governor said that “out of an abundance of caution,” he would be limiting his meetings in order to make sure no one is inadvertently exposed.
“That's a comfort matter, I don't want people in a meeting with me that feel uncomfortable, because I might have been around somebody that, even though they were 10 feet away, that there might have been, that they ultimately tested positive. And so this is really out of an abundance of caution,” Hutchinson said.
Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. José Romero said it is the Health Department’s recommendation that the governor undergo testing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and again on Monday of next week, with both rapid tests and PCR based test being offered to the governor. Additional testing will be added as necessary, the health secretary said.
3:54 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Coronavirus hospital admissions increasing in France
From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer in Paris
For two days in a row, the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus rose by more than 700 in 24 hours, according to numbers released by the national health agency on Tuesday.
In the last 24 hours, 795 new coronavirus patients were admitted to the hospital, according to the health agency.
The overall number of people currently in the hospital for coronavirus now stands at 12,435.
On Monday, the number of new hospital admissions for coronavirus had risen by 743, to 11,640.
To compare, last Tuesday there were 257 new Covid-19 hospitalizations in France, according to the health agency website.
3:47 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Conference cancels season-opening football game due to local Covid-19 cases
From CNN's David Close
The Mountain West conference has canceled the season-opening football game between the New Mexico Lobos and the Colorado State Rams, blaming coronavirus cases within the county the Lobos play.
The conference statement says, "Due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in Bernalillo County and in accordance with state guidelines, the University of New Mexico is unable to participate in the scheduled football game on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Colorado State University."
University of New Mexico is based in Albuquerque, a city within Bernalillo County.
The game, scheduled to play in Fort Collins, Colorado, has been declared a no contest and will not be rescheduled.
The conference had originally postponed all 2020 fall sports back on Aug. 10. In late September, the Mountain West reversed course and announced an eight-game, conference only regular season to start Oct. 24.
There are five other Mountain West football openers slated to kick off this Saturday.
3:43 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
New Jersey governor encourages small gatherings for the holidays
From CNN's Amanda Glodowski
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants residents to buy into the idea of holiday celebrations that are “smaller, inside your bubble, maybe even outside if the weather allows” he said during a gaggle with reporters.
Murphy added that celebrating this way, “buys us the ability to have a more normal experience for next year’s holidays.”
Murphy said that while he suspects recent Covid-19 spikes in the state are due to increases in gatherings and that they are “beyond our ability to effectively regulate or easily enforce compliance.”
He added that in the past, gatherings around high religious holidays that happened more publicly were easier to regulate.
Murphy did not comment on a timeline for if and when any Covid-19 restrictions would be rolled back for the state.
Murphy mentioned conversations he had with Dr. Anthony Fauci where he was told New Jersey is entering the second wave in a “very strong position,” adding that even though cases are up, they are from a “very low base.”
“That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels, let our hair down, or however you want to put it,” Murphy said. “We have entered this rising of cases in a stronger position than any state but it’s incumbent upon us to double down.”
3:37 p.m. ET, October 20, 2020
Hungary's justice minister tests positive for coronavirus
From CNN's Hilary McGann in London
Hungary's justice minister, Judit Varga, has tested positive for coronavirus.
In a Facebook statement Tuesday, Varga said she has "mild respiratory symptoms" and will work from home during the quarantine period.
Hungary has recorded at least 48,757 cases of coronavirus and 1,211 deaths so far in the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.