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The Latest: 3 million tested for coronavirus in Chinese city

BEIJING -- Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao say they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months.

The city’s health department said Tuesday that no new positive cases had been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far. The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. It broke down those numbers into 13 cases in which people had symptoms and 17 cases in which they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Takeaways: Coronavirus at center of Supreme Cour t hearings

— Defiant Trump defends virus record in 1st post-COVID rally

— As pandemic presses on, waves of grief follow its path

— Black churches mobilizing voters despite virus challenges

— ‘So frustrating’: Doctors and nurses battle virus skeptics

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase over 100 in six days. The steady rise is a cause of concern as officials have lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that the viral spread was slowing after a spike in mid-August.

The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 24,805, including 434 deaths.

Fifty-eight of the new cases was reported from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where transmissions have been linked to hospitals, sports facilities, a funeral home and an army unit.

Thirty-three of the new cases have been linked to international arrivals, including passengers from Russia, Nepal, Japan and the United States.

South Korea relaxed its social distancing guidelines beginning Monday, which allowed high-risk businesses like nightclubs and karaoke bars to reopen and for professional sports leagues to proceed with plans to bring back fans in the stands.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- An ongoing wave of COVID-19 cases in the El Paso area prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to announce Monday that a surge team of medical professionals would be dispatched to the area.

The 75 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists being dispatched will be accompanied by a supply of extra personal protective equipment to support efforts by El Paso hospitals to meet the surge of coronavirus infections. The team will be in addition to the 169 professionals the state previously sent to the area.

As of Monday, 313 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties of West Texas. The state estimated that active COVID-19 cases in El Paso County alone soared from almost 4,000 on Oct. 1 to just over 6,000 Monday. Seven cases were fatal during that period.

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FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky’s governor said Monday that he kept up a busy work schedule despite being confined to the governor’s mansion after being around someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will follow the advice of state public health officials in determining how long he and his family remain quarantined at the mansion. His next COVID test is expected to be Tuesday and then Friday, he said. He added he tested negative last week.

“I’ve asked them (health officials) to treat me like anybody else out there,” the Democratic said. “So I’m going to follow all the rules and all the guidelines.”

Beshear said he had one of his busiest Mondays in a while, and that the biggest challenge of working in quarantine — away from his staff -- was all the time he spent “staring at a screen.”

“I’m working,” he said. “I’m just having to do it like many other families are having to do — remotely with sometimes my kids bouncing in and out, or a vacuum cleaner going.”

In his virtual briefing, the governor reported Kentucky’s highest number of coronavirus cases on a Monday since the pandemic began. He said that offers more evidence that the outbreak continues its recent escalation in the Bluegrass State.

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LAWRENCE, Kansas — Even as Kansas recorded another record spike in COVID-19 cases, Lawrence health officials were hit with a lawsuit over an emergency health order that limits bar hours in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Rita “Peach” Madl, the owner of The Sandbar, a bar near the University of Kansas campus, is asking to be freed from rules requiring establishments with liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. and shut their doors to in-person clientele by midnight. A previous order required establishments to stop selling alcohol even earlier, The Kansas City Star reports.

The Kansas Justice Institute, which helped file the lawsuit Friday, issued a news release Monday claiming the county order “disregards Constitutional rights such as due process and equal protection.”

George Diepenbrock, a spokesman for the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said the agency would not have any comment on pending litigation.

News of the lawsuit came as the state saw an average of 736 new cases for the seven days ending Monday, or 9.8% higher than the previous record of 671 set for the seven days ending Friday. Since Friday, the state added 2,055 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases, an increase of 3.1%, to bring the total for the pandemic to 67,862. The number of COVID-19-related deaths increased by eight to 771.

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NEW YORK — Drugmaker Pfizer has again modified the protocol for its late-stage study of its vaccine against the new coronavirus, this time to include more young participants.

The company said Monday that it’s received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to include adolescents aged 12 through 15 in its global COVID-19 vaccine study.

New York-based Pfizer originally planned for 30,000 participants, but in September expanded that to 44,000 people. That increase was made to boost diversity in the trial population, specifically by including 16- and 17-year-old teens, as well as stable patients with some common chronic infections: hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Pfizer’s trial also includes significant numbers of Hispanic, Black, Asian and Native American participants, plus many people aged 56 through 85. The diversity is aimed at providing information on how safe and effective the experimental vaccine is in people of different ages and backgrounds.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s White House doctor says Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days using a newer rapid test from Abbott laboratories.

The assessment from Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley comes as Trump is traveling to Sanford, Florida, to headline his first campaign rally Monday since becoming infected with the coronavirus. Conley had said in a written memo released over the weekend that Trump is no longer at risk of spreading the virus to others.

Conley says in a fresh update released Monday that Trump tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days using a newer 15-minute test. He did not say when Trump was tested.

Trump announced Oct. 2 that he had tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus. He was admitted to Walter Reed military hospital that night and released on Oct. 5.

Over the weekend, Trump addressed scores of supporters who crowded onto the White House lawn from a balcony.

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PITTSFIELD, Maine — The Maine company that makes specialized swabs for coronavirus testing is ready to open a third manufacturing plant.

Guilford-based Puritan had already opened one factory in Pittsfield to expand production, and on Monday announced it’s now taking over the former San Antonio Shoemakers factory in Pittsfield for a third manufacturing location.

The project will produce 50 million swabs per month and is funded by a $51.2 million coronavirus relief grant announced by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in August. Construction company Cianbro is partnering on the project.

Puritan is one of only two companies that produce the specialized swabs that are needed as testing ramps up during the coronavirus pandemic. The other manufacturing facility is in Italy.

The Trump administration already provided $75.5 million through the Defense Production Act for the first Pittsfield facility that opened this summer. It’s expected to be producing 90 million swabs by mid-November.

Together the two Pittsfield sites will account for hundreds of jobs.

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DES MOINES, Iowa — As Iowa surpassed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases Monday and remained the fourth-highest state for rate of infection, the mayor of Des Moines expressed concern that President Donald Trump’s rally this week at the city’s airport could become a super-spreader event.

The state averaged 1,300 new cases per day over the past four days, and during that time there were an additional 46 deaths. As of Monday morning, Iowa had reported 100,052 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,464 deaths from the disease since the pandemic started.

Trump plans a Wednesday rally at the Iowa Air National Guard hangar at the Des Moines International Airport. He acknowledged Oct. 2 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and he now plans to resume campaigning despite skepticism about whether he could spread the virus.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie told The Des Moines Register on Sunday that he’s worried that Trump’s visit could become a super-spreader event.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Mark Smith said the state should not be hosting the event.

“In no way, shape or form should Governor Reynolds or any of our Republican leaders allow for this event to happen. Iowans need a President who will put the health and safety of the country above their own ego,” he said in a statement.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the event will be in an open door airplane hangar with temperature checks and masks.

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BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has unveiled a new $171 million initiative that he said will help tenants and landlords cope with the fiscal challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Republican governor said in a statement Monday that the goal of the initiative is to keep tenants in their homes and ease the ongoing expenses of landlords once the state’s pause on evictions and foreclosures expires on Saturday.

About $100 million will go to expand the capacity of the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program to provide relief to renters and landlords struggling because of the pandemic. Another $49 million will go to rapid rehousing programs for tenants who are evicted and at risk of homelessness.

Other funds will help provide tenants and landlords with legal services during the eviction process and support mediation programs to help tenants and landlords resolve cases outside of court.

Landlords have called the pandemic eviction ban unconstitutional, arguing that it restricted their free speech and their ability to acquire compensation for unlawful land taking. Meanwhile, housing advocates have called for passage of a comprehensive eviction prevention measure intended to help stabilize renters, homeowners and small landlords for a year.

When the state moratorium expires Saturday, a moratorium established by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will take effect in Massachusetts and prevent evictions through December for qualified tenants.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage said Monday that he had tested positive for the virus on October 6 after developing symptoms over the prior weekend.

Staff working in the governor’s office began working from home following his diagnosis.

Those who had come into contact with Cage were also tested, including Gov. Steve Sisolak, who tested negative.

Officials also reported 569 new confirmed cases and 3 new deaths on Monday. The number of new cases and positivity rate remain higher than they were in early September, before Sisolak relaxed restrictions on gatherings and before a state task force loosened thresholds for “high risk” counties.

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Officials at a West Virginia health system have said the network is again banning visitors from its hospitals as community spread of the coronavirus increases in the region.

News outlets reported that Mountain Health Network announced Monday that most visitors will not be allowed in its medical centers, including at St. Mary’s in Huntington, one of the largest hospitals in the state.

Officials say essential caregivers will be allowed for patients in labor and delivery, in the pediatrics unit and in the neonatal units. A statement from the system also said patients nearing the end of their life also will be allowed limited visitors.

At urgent care centers and emergency rooms, only one patient will be allowed in an exam room, though a parent or guardian can accompany minors.

The policy was first enacted in March as the virus began to spread, but it was lifted in June with Mountain Health medical centers allowing restricted visitation.

As of Monday, at least 385 people had died from COVID-19 in West Virginia, with the state reporting more than 4,500 current active cases. State data said Cabell County, the site of several of Mountain Health hospitals, had among the highest total case counts with 1,020.