October 26 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Luke McGee and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 5:50 p.m. ET, October 27, 2020
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1:07 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pennsylvania health official warns against small family gatherings during holidays

From CNN's Anna Sturla

Pennsylvania's secretary of health warned against small family gatherings during the holidays during a press conference Monday.

"As we approach the holidays, we need to rethink those gatherings. We need to think about more and more gatherings being virtual, or only staying with the family that you live with," Dr. Rachel Levine said. "I think that's a sacrifice, but that sacrificed could mean people don't get sick in your family."

During part of the conference where she repeated the state's official guidance to avoid larger gatherings, Dr. Levine added that residents should "maybe also though, avoid smaller gatherings."


1:06 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Nurses make up most of the hospitalized Covid-19 cases among health care workers

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Nearly 6% of all hospitalized patients with Covid-19 work in health care and most in that group were nurses, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 4% of health care workers who were hospitalized died.

The CDC-led Covid research team reviewed the charts of nearly 7,000 Covid-19 patients who were in the hospital between March 1 and May 31. 

Most were women. A large proportion were Black. These patients skewed much younger than the general Covid-19 patient population. The median age of a health care professional who was hospitalized was 49, compared to 62 for the country as a whole, the team reported in in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

Nearly 90% of hospitalized health care professionals with Covid-19 had at least one underlying medical condition. The most common, reported at nearly 73%, was obesity. 

In addition to infection prevention and control efforts, the CDC researchers said there is a need for prevention and management programs to help people control their weight. Obesity significantly increases the risk for severe Covid-19 illness.

This research is in keeping with earlier studies. Research in China also found that people in nursing-related occupations accounted for the most cases among the health care profession.

Nurses may be most at risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus because they have extended cumulative exposure time. Nurses have the most close and frequent contact with sick patients. 

12:47 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

New Mexico sets record for hospitalizations 3 days in a row

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

New Mexico has reported record numbers of people hospitalized for Covid-19 for three days in a row, state data shows.

On Friday, the state reported it had 229 people hospitalized for Covid-19, surpassing the previous record high of 223 set on May 15. 

Since then, the number has only climbed. The state reported 264 hospitalizations on Saturday and 287 hospitalizations yesterday, state data shows. 

The state’s dashboard does not specify how these numbers relate to the state’s overall hospital capacity.

New Mexico is currently reporting a total of 41,863 cases of Covid-19 and 967 deaths from the virus.

One thing to note: These numbers were released by New Mexico’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.

2:41 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Dow drops more than 800 points

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stock losses accelerated on Monday with the Dow dropping more than 800 points or 2.8% following a record surge of new coronavirus cases and languishing stimulus talks in DC.

12:44 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

North Dakota has a 10.62% positivity rate over the past 14 days

From CNN's Kay Jones

North Dakota is reporting a 14-day rolling positivity rate of 10.62%, according to the state department of health's dashboard.

The state is reporting at least 527 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, with a little over half of the newly reported cases previously testing negative, the dashboard shows. The positivity rate for Monday's report is at 8.28%.

In total, there have been 38,241 positive cases in North Dakota since the pandemic began with a 13.44% overall positivity rate. 

The state's health department also says that 256 patients are hospitalized statewide who have tested positive for Covid-19. The dashboard shows that 173 of those due to Covid-19 while the others were admitted for other reasons and tested positive after being hospitalized. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by the state'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. 

12:15 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Florida reports more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases  

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Florida health officials are reporting 3,377 new Covid-19 cases and 20 additional deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).    

To date, Florida has recorded a total of 782,013 Covid-19 cases statewide and 16,652 Floridian deaths, DOH data shows. 

A total of 48,281 Floridians have been hospitalized this year because of coronavirus, DOH reports. 

One thing to note: These numbers were released by Florida’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, October 26, 2020

New research shows decline in non-coronavirus hospitalizations during pandemic

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Medical workers load an ambulance outside of Mount Sinai Hospital on September 22 in New York.
Medical workers load an ambulance outside of Mount Sinai Hospital on September 22 in New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Two studies released Monday reveal a decline in hospitalizations during the coronavirus pandemic, supporting concerns that people are delaying necessary medical care.

Researchers from the NYU Grossman School of Medicine examined hospital admissions within the NYU Langone Health system comparing the March through May period for 2020, 2019 and 2018. They found a significant decrease in the number of hospitalizations for non-coronavirus conditions such as heart attacks and appendicitis during the peak of the pandemic. 

The number of non-Covid hospitalizations dropped to 3,657 in 2020 from 6,411 in 2019 and 5,368 in 2018, they reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The drop in hospitalizations was seen for various conditions, from complications of chronic health conditions to emergencies and injuries.

In a separate study, researchers from Stanford University and Weill Cornell Medical Center found a significant drop in hospitalizations across both systems for heart attacks, strokes, appendicitis and bleeding surrounding the brain during the pandemic. 

Their results included a 39% decrease in heart attack cases and 49% decrease in stroke cases at Weill Cornell Medical Center. The researchers note that their findings, in combination with an increasing number of non-coronavirus at-home deaths, reveal a discouraging pattern.

While the researchers note that the results of their respective studies may not be generalizable to the whole population, their findings match previous research showing a decline in hospitalizations across the country since Covid-19 took hold. The concerns they raise are in line with doctors who have been sounding the alarm that deferring care during the pandemic could cost some people their lives.

Multiple factors are likely at play, including loss of income or insurance and changes in patient lifestyle. Many health professionals have suggested that fear of catching Covid-19 has been a driving factor keeping people out of doctors’ offices and emergency rooms at times when they need in-person care. 

11:23 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

A Texas children's hospital is now taking non-Covid-19 patients to help overwhelmed medical center

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

As the University Medical Center of El Paso continues to be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients as local cases surge, El Paso Children's Hospital will begin taking non-Covid patients starting Monday hospital officials tell CNN.  

"It's a banana sandwich here as I'm sure you've heard," UMC Director of Public Affairs Ryan Mielke told CNN Monday.  "We are overwhelmed with patients at this point. However, we have a strong partnership with El Paso Children's hospital." 

Mielke said the ninth floor of Children's is open for non-Covid patients from UMC and the transfers have already begun.   

Mielke said the hospital has received more than 100 additional medical staff and has set up emergency isolation tents in the hospital parking lots where Covid-19 overflow patients are being sent.

Mielke confirmed hospital staff are becoming infected as well.  

“We are not immune by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. 

He said that while the hospital is adequately staffed at the moment, they have asked the governor for additional medical personnel, a service the Department of Emergency Management provides.  

"The bottom line is the coronavirus is spreading fast and it's spreading fast throughout our city," Mielke said.  

11:39 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Dow drops more than 600 points

Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14.
Pedestrians walk past the New York Stock Exchange on October 14. Frank Franklin II/AP

Stock losses accelerated on Monday with the Dow dropping more than 600 points or 2% following a record surge of new coronavirus cases and languishing stimulus talks in DC.