Delaware recommends unvaccinated to get tested | MCUTimes

Delaware recommends unvaccinated to get tested

DOVER, Del. — As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in Delaware, state health officials recommended Tuesday that unvaccinated people get tested weekly and they announced more opportunities to access testing, including take-home kits offered at libraries.

In a statement, Gov. John Carney, the Division of Public Health, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency urged everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated and encouraged anyone who is unvaccinated to get weekly testing to prevent additional infections.

Unvaccinated people should also undergo testing five to seven days after exposure to someone confirmed to have COVID, and should isolate at home and quarantine under such circumstances, especially if they develop symptoms.

Cases climbed steadily in Delaware during the month of July and more than 100 new cases have been reported every day for the last 5 days, officials said.

A new partnership with Delaware Libraries will allow people to pick up a take-home rapid test kit from libraries in case it is needed. At-home testing is offered for free through a partnership with vault and a new partnership with LabCorp, which supports testing for symptomatic or high-risk individuals.

The health department will begin offering testing at some vaccination sites Wednesday. Also, all schools and early learning facilities in the state can now take advantage of free rapid antigen testing for staff and students. Testing is also available at many pharmacies statewide and health officials.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— New York City: Vaccination proof needed for indoor events, dining, gyms

— WH: US shipped abroad more than 110M doses of vaccines

— China orders mass coronavirus testing for Wuhan

— 1st cruise ship docks in Puerto Rico since start of pandemic

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s hospitals are feeling the strain as coronavirus cases increase, the vast majority among unvaccinated people, officials said Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox called the latest wave a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet maintained the state wouldn’t be following New York in requiring people show they got the shot. Still, if private companies require some sort of proof, state would support them, he said.

“The delta variant is highly contagious and it’s spreading rapidly. Our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain,” he said. Hospitals have a shortage of qualified healthcare workers more than a year into the punishing pandemic.

Intensive-care units around the state have exceeded 100% capacity multiple times over the last several days, according to officials with Intermountain Healthcare.

The state had more than 6,000 new cases over the past week, about 90% of those affected unvaccinated people, hospital system officials said. There’s also a national shortage of a medication shown to be effective in treating COVID called Tocilizumab, doctors said.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who said she still suffers the effects of her own battle with COVID, was blunt: “Everybody who is unvaccinated is part of the problem,” she said.

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LAYTON, Mo. — St. Louis County residents will not be required to wear masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for at least two more weeks, after a judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against a mask mandate that was issued last month.

Circuit Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo sided with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who had sued to stop a mask mandate issued by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and county health officials. She set a hearing on a preliminary injunction for Aug. 17.

The St. Louis County Council voted last week to rescind the mandate but Page insisted the mask requirement remained in effect.

Ribaduo said in her ruling the differing interpretations left St. Louis County residents on their own in deciding whether to wear masks. And she said the state was likely to prevail in its argument that current law gives the St. Louis County Council the authority to terminate the mask requirement issued by health officials.

Schmitt said in a statement that the ruling was a “huge win” for the people of St. Louis County.

Page said in a tweet that health officials are disappointed in the judge’s decision as more mask mandates are being enforced across the county in the face of increasing COVID-19 cases.

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LAS VEGAS — A surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant and Nevada’s straggling rate of vaccinations has pushed hospitalization rates in the state past levels seen in last summer’s surge, well before vaccines were available.

Nevada on Monday reported 1,130 people were hospitalized and confirmed to have COVID-19 and 94 hospitalized people who were suspected to have the illness.

Those are levels last seen in late January but below the highest peak seen since the pandemic began. That was in December when hospitals were pushed to near capacity. On Dec. 15, Nevada reported 18,57 confirmed patients.

The current surge has surpassed the highest rate last summer, when there were 972 confirmed hospitalizations and 174 suspected COVID-19 hospital patients.

Aimee Eaton, a respiratory therapist in Las Vegas, said health care workers are burnt out after more than a year of responding to the pandemic and seeing a wave of new cases, mostly among the unvaccinated.

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MINNEAPOLIS — The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul said Tuesday they’ll require city employees to wear masks in indoor public spaces as the delta variant of the coronavirus spurs concern nationwide.

Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter said they’ll also require visitors to city-owned buildings to wear masks. The moves are in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC recommends masks in areas with “substantial” spread of the virus, defined as 50 to 100 cases per 100,000 people. Minneapolis’ seven-day case rate, as of Friday, was almost 79 cases per 100,000.

The mayors also urged businesses to require masks indoors to less the chances of virus spread.

Minnesota reported 1,667 more infections on Tuesday, a positivity rate of 4%. That’s just below the state’s caution level but up significantly from 1.1% in early July.

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SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s court system is taking steps to ease financial upheaval as the state resumes foreclosures on delinquent mortgage loans and phases out a moratorium on commercial debt collection orders often tied to credit cards or health care.

The Administrative Office of the Courts on Monday announced staggered deadlines for a return to debt collection orders that can be used to garnish wages or seize property to pay off commercial debts. Common forms of overdue credit are linked to credit card spending and medical expenses.

At the same time, the state judiciary said mortgage lenders can’t foreclose on properties without first providing homeowners with information about various ways to avoid foreclosure — including forbearance agreements that reduce or suspend loan payments temporarily.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil acknowledged that an increase is expected in foreclosure and consumer debt cases as pandemic protections expire — but he added that it is unlikely to be overwhelming.

“We have reached a point in the COVID-19 pandemic where courts can normally process consumer debt cases and foreclosures in a fair and orderly manner,” Vigil said.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday postponed the final drawing in the state’s vaccination sweepstakes for several days, allowing more people to get their COVID-19 shots and enter for a chance to receive prizes.

The final drawing, originally set for Wednesday, is now scheduled for Aug. 10. The registration deadline also was extended from Monday night to next Sunday, the governor’s office said in a news release.

Due to a system glitch, registration for a college scholarship prize available to younger residents had closed early. The problem was fixed, but rather than simply reopening registration for one prize, the registration was pushed back for all prizes, the statement said.

Six other weekly drawings have been held. Among the prizes being offered in the finale are a grand prize of $1.588 million, a second-place prize of $588,000, two custom pickup trucks, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, hunting rifles and shotguns, and state park weekend lodging trips. In addition, two people ages 12 to 25 will receive a full, four-year college scholarship.

Demand for coronavirus vaccines have been increasing lately. About 1,900 shots were administered statewide on Monday alone. The statement said an additional 7,500 shots were administered over the weekend, up 84% from the previous weekend total of 4,070.

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WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized policies in states such as Texas and Florida that have moved to block employers and proprietors from implementing mask or vaccine requirements to curb the coronavirus.

Those two states are among several facing surging cases from the delta variant. “I think the fundamental question we have is, ‘what are we doing here?’” Psaki asked.

Biden planned to speak Tuesday about U.S. strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus at home and abroad, noting that “we’re all in this together.”

Earlier, the White House announced the U.S. had shipped more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries.

Biden has promised the U.S. will be the “arsenal of vaccines” for the world, and it has shipped the most vaccines abroad of any donor nation. While notable, the 110 million doses donated largely through a vaccine program known as COVAX represent a fraction of what is needed globally.

The White House says the U.S. will begin shipping half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine it has pledged to about 100 low-income countries at the end of August.

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BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged to record levels.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported Tuesday that 2,112 mostly unvaccinated people are in hospital beds struggling with the coronavirus illness.

The state’s previous peak of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 2,069 patients in early January, after holiday gatherings spurred a spike in cases. But the highly contagious delta variant of the virus is propelling record-breaking numbers of hospitalizations at a faster pace.

Health officials say the influx of COVID-19 patients is damaging the ability of hospitals to care for people with heart attacks, injuries from car accidents and other health conditions.

The Louisiana Department of Health says 89% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 aren’t vaccinated.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina can’t lawfully require students and staff to wear masks on campus this fall despite increasing cases of coronavirus, according to the state’s top prosecutor.

Last week, university officials announced they’d require face coverings at all times inside all campus buildings, unless in one’s own residence hall room, private office or eating inside campus dining facilities.

That decision, interim President Harris Pastides wrote, was in accordance with current recommendations from public health officials.

But in a letter sent Monday to Pastides and obtained by The Associated Press, state Attorney General Alan Wilson wrote the university’s mask mandate “is likely not consistent with the intent of the Legislature.”

A budget proviso that went into effect July 1 prohibits the state’s public colleges, universities and school districts from using any appropriated funds to institute mask requirements.

The proviso, wrote Wilson, was “intended to prohibit the mandatory wearing of masks.”

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RALEIGH, N.C. — More North Carolinians came in for a COVID-19 vaccine last week than on any given week in the past two months, according to state health officials.

The more than 74,000 newly vaccinated individuals are offering an encouraging sign that residents are increasingly taking seriously threats posed by the more contagious delta variant and understanding the benefits of the free and effective vaccines.

A push to get young adults vaccinated before the upcoming school year and a growing number of employers requiring their workers to get the shot is likely fueling the improvement.

Vaccine providers at dozens of sites across North Carolina are currently providing $25 to residents who come in for a shot and drivers who bring people in for their initial dose. At a Tuesday news conference, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says his administration will raise that amount to $100 for people who get the shot starting Wednesday, as President Joe Biden had recommended. Drivers will still qualify for the $25.

The CDC shows major transmission of the virus throughout North Carolina. In all but seven of the state’s 100 counties, the CDC is recommending people wear masks in indoor public settings, even if they’re already vaccinated.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cattle owners in Tennessee have incentives to inoculate their herd.

But Tennessee officials aren’t planning to offer any incentives for people to get their coronavirus shot, despite having some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country.

The state has reimbursed farmers nearly half a million dollars over the past two years to vaccinate their herds against respiratory and other diseases. Gov. Bill Lee says he doesn’t think the state should offer people incentives for COVID-19 inoculations.

Vaccination rates for COVID-19 hover at 39% in Tennessee vs. 49% nationally for the fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s COVID hospitalizations have more than tripled over the past three weeks.

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JERUSALEM — Israel will require all people arriving from the United States and 17 other countries to quarantine starting next week as the country grapples with a coronavirus surge.

The Health Ministry issued a travel warning on Tuesday, saying all individuals — vaccinated and unvaccinated — arriving from 18 countries must fully quarantine for 14 days effective Aug. 11. If a person tests negative for coronavirus after seven days, they can be released from quarantine.

The countries are the United States, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Iceland, Greece, Ukraine, Eswatini, Botswana, Bulgaria, Tanzania, Malawi, Egypt, Czech Republic, Cuba, Rwanda and Tunisia.

They join a list of 24 other countries with various existing travel restrictions due to the pandemic, including the U.K., Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey.

The Israeli Health Ministry recorded 3,834 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest daily count topping a monthlong acceleration in new infections. Serious cases of COVID-19 have grown from 19 in mid-June to at least 221 despite the country’s rapid vaccination campaign.

More than 57% of the country’s 9.3 million citizens have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Israel had secured a large supply of the Pfizer vaccines in exchange for trading medical data.

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NEW YORK — Meat processer Tyson Foods will require all of its U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employer of frontline workers to do so amid a resurgence of the virus.

Tyson, one of the world’s largest food companies, announced Tuesday that members of leadership team must be vaccinated by Sept. 24 and the rest of its office workers by Oct. 1. Its frontline workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 1, although the company said the specifics were being negotiated with unions.

Just under half of its U.S. workforce — about 56,000 employees — have been vaccinated after the company staged more than 100 vaccination events since February, the Springfield, Arkansas, company says. It plans to continue with those events and offer a $200 bonus for all frontline workers who receive a vaccine.

In a memo to employees, CEO Donnie King expressed alarm about the rise of the delta variant and made clear the vaccine requirement was needed to overcome persistent hesitancy to get the shots.

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