SALT LAKE CITY – Utah reported its second-highest daily number of new COVID-19 cases Thursday as the state deals with a troubling surge that started after state leaders allowed businesses to reopen.
The 590 new cases are behind only the 643 on Saturday, state health department figures show. The state has averaged 503 confirmed cases per day over the last week, more than double the 200-per-day rate the stateâ€™s epidemiologist recommended the state should be at by July 1 to avoid having to consider a total shutdown of the economy.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has said he will not shut down the economy but has agreed to wait at least two weeks before loosening any more restrictions.
HEREâ€™S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– Idaho to remain in final stage of its reopening plan for at least two more weeks.
– Florida exceeds 5,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19,
– U.N.’s World Food Program needs cash for the rest of the year to deliver medical supplies and aid.
Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HEREâ€™S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday allowed for the return of pro sports in Michigan as long as fans arenâ€™t in attendance.
The move followed Major League Baseballâ€™s decision this week to set a 60-game schedule to start July 23 or July 24 in empty ballparks. The governor said pro teams can resume operations notwithstanding capacity limits and restrictions on gatherings and events to curb the coronavirus.
Games must be played without a live audience for the â€œtime being.â€ Only staff of the facility and media can attend.
Whitmerâ€™s order does not address college sports.
There were 33.7 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus per 100,000 people in Michigan over the past two weeks. That’s the eight-lowest rate in the U.S. More than 6,100 deaths have been recorded and nearly 69,000 people have been infected.
NEW ORLEANS – Students will be wearing face masks and washing their hands several times a day when Louisiana schools reopen for the upcoming school year in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Those are among requirements that were set and will be enforced by the Louisiana Department of Health. State Education Superintendent Cade Brumley said another 14 suggestions also are on the list of precautions.
State officials say school systems need to have plans for all-classroom, all-distance and hybrid teaching. If possible, they should have a laptop or tablet for every student and ensure that all students can connect to the internet.
BOISE, Idaho – Gov. Brad Little says there are too many coronavirus infections to lift additional restrictions.
That means the state will remain in the fourth and final stage of his plan to reopen during the pandemic.
The final stage was originally scheduled to expire Saturday. It allows gatherings of more than 50 people as long as precautions are taken. It will now remain in effect for at least another two weeks.
The Republican governor also announced Thursday that heâ€™s moving the state to a regional response system for reopening. Little said that will allow the stateâ€™s seven local health districts to evaluate conditions in their areas and decide on restrictions.
Officials said during the last two weeks the number of reported cases of the disease and positive tests trended upward, and the illness among health care workers exceeded allowable limits.
BATON ROUGE, La. – A group of conservative Republican state lawmakers is restarting a stalled effort to override Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwardsâ€™ disaster orders enacted because of COVID-19.
The bid to remove Louisianaâ€™s state of emergency and reopen everything without restrictions comes amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The Republicans say the Democratic governorâ€™s decision to continue restrictions on businesses and churches for another 28 days spurred renewed interest in a petition that would revoke the state of emergency.
Critics have raised concerns it could jeopardize hundreds of millions in federal virus-related aid for Louisiana.
More than 53,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Louisiana since mid-March, and 3,051 people have died from the disease. In recent days, hundreds of new cases have been reported daily, and hospitalizations have continued to grow.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Mayor Jim Strickland signed an ordinance Thursday requiring people to wear face coverings while inside businesses, government buildings, health care facilities and using public transportation.
Employees of essential and nonessential businesses also must wear masks if they work near other people.
Exemptions listed in the ordinance include children 12 and under and workers who perform their duties away from other people. Wearing a face covering is recommended but not required for people engaging in outdoor recreation, such as jogging or bicycling.
The ordinance was passed by the Memphis City Council on June 16 and violations are a misdemeanor. It does not spell out a specific punishment, other than a warning and court fees of no more than $20 per violation.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohioans are being cautioned to return to being vigilant about social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing after new confirmed cases of COVID-19 hit their highest mark since mid-April.
The latest tally of 892 cases disproportionately struck younger Ohioans, with 60% being reported among people 20 to 49, according to figures from the Ohio Department of Health. The average age of Ohioans getting the disease once thought to be a particular threat to the elderly has now dropped to 42.
There also were 55 hospitalizations and 17 deaths overnight in the state.
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa has reported a record 6,579 new cases of the novel coronavirus.
The country now has half of the confirmed infections on the African continent with 118,375.
South Africa has posted a number of record-high daily case numbers since further loosening its lockdown, once one of the worldâ€™s strictest, on June 1.
The province that contains Johannesburg now makes up nearly a quarter of South Africaâ€™s cases and is becoming a second hot spot after Western Cape province, which contains the city of Cape Town.
The death toll in South Africa from COVID-19 is now 2,292, according to the health ministry.
ORLANDO, Fla. – For the second consecutive day, Florida has reported more than 5,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Thursdayâ€™s rise in reported cases was lower than Wednesdayâ€™s record-setting mark, but itâ€™s only the second time the state has crossed the 5,000-case mark in a day. In total, the state has reported more than 114,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 3,327 coronavirus-related deaths.
â€œWe are where we are,â€ Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference at a Tampa high school. He added that many of the new cases are in younger, healthier people. People can avoid spreading the virus by wearing masks, he said, along with avoiding big crowds and not being within close quarters with lots of other people indoors.
Floridaâ€™s seven-day average positivity rate for coronavirus tests reached 14.4% this week. By comparison, it was 3.8% on June 1 and 2.3% on May 25.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A 43-year-old Minnesota prison inmate has died after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, state corrections officials said Thursday.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections said Adrian Raymaar Keys died Tuesday night at a hospital. Officials said Keys tested positive for COVID-19 along with a number of other men incarcerated at the correctional facility in Faribault on June 4.
Keysâ€™ condition deteriorated over the weekend and he was hospitalized Monday, officials said.
The medical examiner will determine cause of death. The Corrections Department said if Keysâ€™ death is determined to be related to COVID-19 complications, it would be the first such death of a person incarcerated in the state.
ROME – The southern region of Campania has asked for police reinforcements to impose a quarantine on a big apartment complex where nearly 50 COVID-19 cases have been registered and residents have balked at staying indoors.
Tensions flared Thursday in Mondragone, with Italians in the streets jeering at the Bulgarian residents of the apartment complex where the cluster originated. The Campania governor said he asked the Interior Ministry for an urgent deployment of 100 law enforcement officers to maintain a quarantine after some residents fled.
The regional government locked down the estimated 700 residents of the complex on Monday and ordered them all tested after a handful of positive cases were recorded.
Campania largely escaped the coronavirus outbreak that devastated northern Italy, registering some 4,660 confirmed cases and 431 deaths out of Italyâ€™s official count of 239,706 cases and 34,678 deaths.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Turkish Cypriot authorities in the breakaway northern part of ethnically divided Cyprus say that all travelers arriving from Turkey as of July 1st must have a health certificate declaring them coronavirus-free.
The certificate must be obtained no earlier than three days prior to boarding a Cyprus-bound flight or ship. Additionally, passengers will undergo another virus test the moment they arrive at a port or airport.
Turkish Cypriot authorities may also limit the number of travelers arriving from Turkey if itâ€™s deemed necessary. They had previously expressed concern about the course of the pandemic in Turkey.
Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north. Itâ€™s unclear if the new virus testing regulations will apply to soldiers rotating into the north.
MADRID – The official in charge of Spainâ€™s response to COVID-19 says imported infections are a growing source of concern as Europe readies to welcome more visitors.
Epidemiologist Fernando SimÃ³n said Thursday that 54 people who had contracted the disease in the past week have been linked to recently arrived visitors in Spain. He suggested that controls should be strict and that regional and local governments should be ready to apply localized isolation to avoid spreading the disease.
Central authorities are drafting guidelines to do so as European countries are expected to receive visitors from outside of the bloc starting on July 1.
Spain has so far recorded 247,486 coronavirus cases, 157 in the past 24 hours, and three new fatalities that brought the total death toll to 28,330.
Most of the new infections are the result of aggressive testing, SimÃ³n said, and the majority of them show no symptoms.
UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations secretary-general says the world organization has mobilized to save lives and control transmission of COVID-19 despite the lack of international coordination, including by shipping over 250 million items of personal protective equipment to more than 130 countries.
AntÃ³nio Guterres told a news conference Thursday that the U.N. has also placed its global supply chain network at the service of its 193 member nations during the pandemic and established eight air hubs that have reached more than 110 countries.
Guterres said the U.N. has also ensured education for 155 million children, provided mental health support for 45 million children, parents and caregivers, trained nearly 2 million health and community workers, and reached more than 2 billion people with information on staying safe and accessing health services.
TRENTON, N.J. – Nearly 1,900 people likely died of COVID-19 in New Jersey but were not initially counted in the stateâ€™s death toll, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.
Murphy said state health officials recently completed a review of thousands of death certificates of people who died with coronavirus symptoms despite not having been tested. Those people likely died from COVID-19 and will be added to the death toll, Murphy said.
The total amounted to 1,854 people, or about 14% of the overall death toll. That means the combined death toll of those confirmed with the virus and suspected cases stands at 14,872, the Democratic governor said.
Murphy said the overnight increase in positive cases grew by 406 to about 170,000 overall, and there were 26 new deaths.
JACKSON, MISS. – The Mississippi Department of Health reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest numbers in the state since the pandemic began.
The previous high single-day increase was 611 reported Tuesday. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs told The Associated Press then he feared the state was experiencing a surge.
Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, had reported at least 24,516 cases and 1,016 deaths from the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday evening, according to the state Department of Health. It said at least 2,487 cases had been confirmed in long-term care facilities with at least 503 virus-related deaths in those facilities.
The increase comes weeks after Mississippi began taking measures to reopen the state. Restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and movie theaters are among the businesses currently open with limited seating.
Dobbs said he doesnâ€™t think the new cases were caused by the state reopening too quickly. He said the real problem is a lack of concern for safety guidelines around the use of masks and the practice of social distancing.
ROME – Italy added nearly 300 new coronavirus infections to its official toll, with more than half in hard-hit Lombardy and new clusters reported in other regions.
The Health Ministry said another 34 people died, bringing the COVID-19 death toll in the onetime European epicenter of the outbreak to 34,678.
After two days of double-digit new infections, Lombardy reported 170 new cases Thursday, though some were in people who only got tested after blood tests showed they had virus antibodies. The Italian government is now classifying these cases differently, since they are considered â€œweak positivesâ€ and often are the result of people who caught the virus weeks or months ago, feel fine now, and havenâ€™t shed all the virus from their systems.
The southern region of Campania, meanwhile, is trying to contain a new cluster that has produced more than three-dozen cases among mostly Bulgarian residents who work as farm hands around Naples.