The latest: New Orleans seeks equipment donations
The Associated Press
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
—Spain’s deadliest day has over 800 deaths, over 8,000 news cases.
—Trump OKs major disaster declaration to Michigan.
—Italy’s COVID-19 deaths down slightly from previous day.
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration is asking for donations of protective equipment.
The donations can be dropped off at Salvation Army drop boxes next to New Orleans Fire Department stations. Items being accepted include masks, gloves, disposable medical gowns, goggles and face shields.
“Like many places around the world, orders of PPE equipment made back in November 2019 have yet to be filled and our supply is running low. Any additional equipment the public can donate at this time will help keep our first responders safe and out on the streets,” New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Collin Arnold said.
New Orleans is one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus.
ROME — Italy’s COVID-19 deaths are down slightly from the previous day.
Civil Protection officials said there were 889 deaths in a 24-hour period ending Saturday evening in the country, where intensive care units have been overwhelmed at the heart of the outbreak in the north. That compares to 969 a day earlier, which was a one-day high in the country which has the world’s highest number of deaths of persons with confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
The day-to-day rise in new cases was just under 6,000, about the same as the previous day’s figure. Overall, Italy has at least 92,472 cases of COVID-19 and days ago surpassed the total of China, where the outbreak began in early 2020.
The current national lock-down decree expires on April 3, but health experts have said the need to try to contain contagion in the outbreak will likely last weeks beyond that.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is raising the idea of what he’s calling a quarantine involving New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, states hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
But Democratic Gov. Andrews Cuomo of New York says he “doesn’t even know what that means,” and says the subject never came up in a conversation he had with Trump earlier Saturday.
Trump tells reporters at the White House that he had just spoken with some governors and the idea of a quarantine was discussed.
Trump says it would be for a “short period of time if we do it at all.”
The federal government generally doesn’t not have the power to impose such restrictions on states. They have the power and responsibIlity for maintaining public order and safety.
Trump made the comments on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship en route to New York City to help with pandemic response there.
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the donation of 250,000 protective face masks, which had just been located in United Nations storage facilities, to the United States for use in hard-hit New York City.
The U.N. chief says: “These masks, in surplus to United Nations requirements, will be given to the medical professionals in New York City who have been working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives.”
Guterres says the United Nations and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. are working with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office to ensure swift delivery of the masks to medical facilities around the city.
“On behalf of the U.N. community and the diplomatic corps, we sincerely hope this modest donation makes a difference,” Guterres said.
STOCKHOLM — Swedish health officials say the number of COVID-19 deaths stands at 102, with an additional 239 patients at intensive care units in the Scandinavian country.
Over half of the deaths have been recorded in the Stockholm region.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish broadcaster TV4 that his government wasn’t considering blockading the capital from the rest of the nation for now because it would be “extremely difficult” to monitor citizens’ movement restrictions in practice.
But he acknowledged Sweden “may end up in a situation” where isolation of the Stockholm area is a necessity, following a pattern in Nordic neighbor Finland where a blockade of a key southern region including capital Helsinki took effect on Saturday under a government order.
Sweden has put in place remarkably less restrictions for citizens and establishments such as restaurants during the coronavirus crisis than its Nordic and European neighbors.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a statewide order for people to stay at home as part the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Kelly issued the stay-at-home order for the state’s roughly 2.9 million residents after local officials in Kansas’ most populous counties issued their own versions within the past week. More than 2.1 million residents were already under or facing stay-at-home orders.
Kansas has had more than 200 cases of the virus, including four people who died. Kansas is now one of nearly two dozen states to issue stay-at-home orders. The Kansas order starts Monday. It lasts through April 19.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says neither Pope Francis nor any of his closest aides are involved with six cases among Vatican residents or employees who tested positive for COVID-19.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni has confirmed news reports earlier in the week that an official of the Holy See’s secretariat of state office tested positive for the coronavirus. Bruni also has confirmed that the official lives at the Santa Marta hotel where Pope Francis lodges, too.
The health condition of the official “doesn’t at the moment present any particular critical” aspects, according to Bruni. But as a precaution, the official has been admitted to a Rome hospital for observation.
Bruni says more than 170 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on Vatican employees and residents of the hotel. The Vatican hasn’t specified if Francis was testified. But Bruni added: “I can confirm that neither the Holy Father nor his closest collaborators are involved” with infected cases.
ATHENS, Greece — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greece has exceeded 1,000, according to authorities.
The number of confirmed cases is now 1,061, up 95 from 24 hours ago. There were also four fatalities, bringing the total to 32.
Holland was added to the already long catalog of countries flights have been banned to and from. Earlier Saturday, a government minister said on TV the lockdown will last “way beyond” April 6, the original end-date envisaged when the lockdown was applied.
DETROIT — Dr. Teena Chopra, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center, is deeply concerned that Detroit has already become a hot spot for the coronavirus.
“At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” Chopra said. “This is off the charts.”
Like many health systems across Detroit, the DMC says it has been “seriously impacted” by resource and capacity issues related to COVID-19 patients. It is working to mitigate capacity issues by shuffling patients from hospital to hospital within its system.
“It seems like a tsunami,” Chopra said. “That’s how it feels on the front lines.”
Chopra says Detroit is in a unique situation because it has a high-risk population, battling numerous underlying health issues already. Chopra, who has worked in Detroit for more than 15 years, says many patients have ailments like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension which could be causing a higher chance of COVID-19 transmissions and infections.
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or intercity trains.
Trudeau says the new requirement will begin Monday at noon. Canadians returning to the country already can’t board planes if they are showing symptoms.
Trudeau says it will up to the train and plane operators to ensure people with symptoms don’t board. He says all those showing symptoms should be in self-isolation.
Trudeau made the announcement outside this residence where he is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for the virus.
Canada has more than 4,700 cases and more than 50 deaths.
MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the country’s borders be fully closed as of Monday.
The order issued Saturday follows increasingly stringent restrictions imposed over the past several weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus.
International passenger flights were halted on Friday. The order exempts diplomats as well as residents of the Kaliningrad exclave, who must cross through another country to enter the rest of Russia.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan, providing additional money to help the state address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The declaration announced by the White House on Saturday follows a back-and-forth between Trump and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has criticized the Trump administration for its slow response to the pandemic, saying “we cannot weather this alone.”
The U.S. surgeon general said Friday that Detroit, a national “hot spot” for cases of the new coronavirus, will worsen next week. More than 3,600 people in Michigan were confirmed to have COVID-19 Friday. At least 92 have died, most from the three counties in the Detroit area, according to state officials.
Detroit has recorded 28 deaths and 1,166 cases, according to the city’s health department.
MOSCOW — Passenger traffic on Moscow’s subway system, the second-busiest in the world, was down by about half on the first day of a widespread closure of business aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
According to the Interfax news agency, the city’s transportation department says the number of people using the subway was 2.2 times lower than the same day in 2019. Bus use was similarly down. Moscow’s subway system records an average 6.6 million rides a day.
Moscow has ordered non-essential businesses closed through April 5.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Authorities in Indonesia’s capital have extended a state of emergency for the next two weeks.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan says the decision was made because the COVID-19 death toll increased to 62 in the last week, along with 603 positive tests in Jakarta.
Baswedan says the current two-week long state of emergency in the capital will be extended to April 19. It would also lengthen the closure of tourism spots, entertainment venues, schools and offices.
He urged all corporations to remain closed and for their employees to work from home, and social organizations and religious groups to help prevent the spread of the disease.
He said at least 61 health workers exposed to coronavirus while helping patients in 26 hospitals in Jakarta.
Indonesia has reported 102 deaths and 1,155 infections.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan health authorities announced the country’s first death due to the Coronavirus.
A 60-year old male died at the Infectious Disease Hospital neat the capital Colombo Saturday, the health ministry announced. The deceased was suffering from diabetic, hypertension and had previously undergone a kidney transplant.
The number of confirmed cases in Sri Lanka has increased to 110.
This item corrects age of victim to 60, not 65.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says it’s made no decisions yet about calling up reservists following President Donald Trump’s order authorizing the call-up of an unspecified number to help with the coronavirus response.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman says the Defense Department anticipates tapping people mainly for administrative duties and “high-demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities.”
Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman says before calling up any members of the National Guard, the department would consult with state officials. Hoffman says its “a dynamic situation” and the Pentagon currently doesn’t have “a projected number of expected activations.”
Trump said in a letter to Congress on Friday that he had authorized Defense Secretary Mark Esper to order units and individual members of the Selected Reserve, as well as certain Individual Ready Reserve members, to active duty.
The reserve call-up likely will assist the military as it deploys field hospitals to cities hard hit by COVID-19 and provide medical support to state and local authorities.
LONDON— The editor of the respected British medical journal, The Lancet, has accused the government of doing too little, too late, to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Richard Horton wrote that despite numerous warnings, national programs failed. He added basic principles, such as following World Health Organization testing advice, weren’t followed.
Keith Willett, the National Health Service Strategic Incident Director for Covid-19, disputed the editorial’s conclusions.
He says the NHS has freed up 33,000 beds for virus patients — a third of all hospital capacity — and enabled 18,000 nurses and doctors to return to practice. Three new makeshift hospitals are being built.
WASHINGTON — The civil rights office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a reminder that discrimination during COVID-19 care is prohibited.
Civil Rights office director Roger Severino says Health Human Services is committed to leaving no one behind during the crisis. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex and religion is prohibited.
Officials say they’re particularly focused on making sure medical professionals don’t discriminate against people with disabilities.
MADRID — Spain had its deadliest day yet during the coronavirus crisis with 832 deaths reported on Saturday for a total of 5,690 fatalities. Infections have increased by over 8,000 in 24 hours to reach a national total of 72,248.
Spain is approaching two weeks of its stay-at-home restrictions and store closings, but its infections and deaths keep rising. On Friday, Spain reported a total of 64,059 cases and 4,858 deaths.
The medical system is pushed to the limits in the hot spots in Madrid and northeast Catalonia. Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers are falling ill at an alarming rate and working non-stop.
Pablo Rojo, an ambulance medic at Barcelona’s Dos de Maig hospital, says: “They’re not 80 years old anymore, they are now 30 and 40 years old.”