Coronavirus Upate: March 19th

WHAT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

THURSDAY, March 19

Kaiser Permanente consolidating medical offices

Kaiser Permanente will consolidate medical offices beginning Monday, March 23 for in-person care.

Ten medical offices will remain open for certain specialty care, OB-GYN, lab, medical imaging, behavioral health, and pharmacy services. The medical offices include:

  • Acero
  • Arapahoe
  • Aurora Centrepoint
  • Franklin
  • Lakewood
  • Lone Tree
  • Loveland
  • Parkside
  • Rock Creek
  • Skyline

They’re also postponing elective and non-urgent procedures when it’s safely possible to do so. That will help ensure they have the capacity and equipment to deal with a potential influx of critically ill patients.

Kaiser Permanente Urgent Care at Aurora Centrepoint, Lakewood, and Lone Tree Medical Offices will remain open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

FDA fast-tracking anti-viral treatments, Surgeon General urges the healthy to give blood

Coronavirus has infected more than 215,000 people and killed more than 8,700 worldwide.

WASHINGTON — The White House coronavirus task force is scheduled to provide an update at 11 a.m. Eastern. To view this stream with closed captioning, click here.

Key updates:

  • 10-11% of people tested for COVID-19 in the U.S report positive results, meaning 90% of illnesses tested in the U.S are not cases of the new virus. 50% of U.S. cases come from just 10 counties in three states.
  • The China epicenter of the new coronavirus reported no new cases in 24 hours since the start of the outbreak, however eight deaths were reported in the area.
  • Italy is on track to surpass China’s number of deaths due to the virus. The grim milestone could be due to the country’s high population of the elderly.
  • The Federal Reserve says it will establish an emergency lending facility to help unclog a short-term credit market that has been disrupted by the viral outbreak.
  • The Olympic flame is set to arrive in Japan from Greece today. Some have called for the games to be delayed due to the pandemic.

Surgeon General urges healthy individuals to donate blood

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says healthy individuals should consider donating blood, saying “social distancing doesn’t have to mean social disengagement.”

“Give blood today,” he said at the Thursday White House coronavirus task force press conference. “You’ll feel good about it. You’ll be helping your community during this crisis, and you might even save a life.”

Surgeon General encourages blood donations

Trump: FDA will fast track anti-viral treatments for coronavirus patients

President Trump says the FDA will be fast-tracking anti-viral treatments for coronavirus.

Trump and FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn described several approaches under testing, such as chloroquine, a drug long used to treat malaria; remdesivir, an experimental antiviral that’s being tried in at least five separate experiments, and possibly antibodies culled from the blood of COVID-19 patients after they recover. But no new and imminent treatment was announced.

Chloroquine is widely available now and could be used off-label, but Hahn said officials want a formal study to get good information on safety and effectiveness.

“We’re looking at drugs that are already approved for other indications” as a potential bridge or stopgap until studies are completed on other drugs under investigation, Hahn said.

Mnuchin: Family of 4 could get $3K under virus relief plan

The first federal checks to families could be $3,000 for a family of four under the White House proposal to unleash $1 trillion for the coronavirus outbreak. That’s according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

He said Thursday the checks would be direct deposited into people’s accounts. The payments would be $1,000 per adult and $500 per child, Mnuchin told Fox Business Network.

Congress is racing to complete the Trump administration’s $1 trillion plan to stabilize a national economy. Late Wednesday, Trump signed into law a $100 billion-plus bill to boost testing for the virus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers hit by it.

Monaco’s Prince Albert II tests positive for COVID-19

The palace of Monaco says Prince Albert II has tested positive for the coronavirus, but says there’s little concern for his health.

In a statement, the palace says the 62-year-old is being treated by doctors from the Princess Grace Hospital, named after his U.S. actress mother.

Albert plans to continue working from his home office in the palace.

8 Utah colleges postpone, cancel graduation ceremonies

All of the public colleges and universities in Utah have either canceled or postponed its graduation ceremonies as the coronavirus pandemic spreads and there are increasing restrictions on large gatherings, officials said.

Each of the eight schools have already closed their campuses across the state and moved classes online for the semester to avoid spreading the illness.

The Utah System of Higher Education made the announcement Wednesday. “It’s gut-wrenching,” department spokeswoman Melanie Heath said. “But it’s something that we feel is responsible to do.”

Old Navy closes stores

Old Navy has announced it will close all stores starting Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Returns for items bought between Jan 1 and March 31 have been extended to July 1.

The closures affect all Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, athleta and Hill City stores. Customers can still order items online. There will be no in-store pickup options while stores are closed.

Unemployment claims jump by 70,000

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits surged last week by 70,000, indicating that the impact of the coronavirus was starting to be felt in rising layoffs in the job market.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for benefits, a good proxy for layoffs, rose by 70,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 last week.

Greece orders hotels to shut down

The government of Greece is ordering hotels to shut as part of measures to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Tourism Ministry says hotels normally open year-round will shut down at midnight on the night of March 22 until the end of April to protect the health of staff.

One hotel per regional capital is allowed to remain open, along with three hotels in Athens and the country’s second largest city of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece.

Flame arrival faces calls for Tokyo Olympics be delayed

The Olympic flame is set to arrive in Japan from Greece even as the opening of the Tokyo Games is in doubt.

The coronavirus outbreak forced a bare-bones version of the usual elaborate ceremony in the stadium where the first modern Olympics were staged in 1896.

The 80,000-seat marble stadium was empty apart from a handful of officials and participants. The Japanese delegation was absent because of travel restrictions and Tokyo organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori delivered a speech by video from Japan. But his message was upbeat.

Mori says “I hereby pledge that on 24 July this flame will be lit at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.”

Greek Olympic committee president Spyros Kapralos handed over the flame to a Japanese Unicef official in Athens and former Olympic swimmer Naoko Imoto. It was then headed for the airport to board the flight for Japan.

ore voices are calling for the games to be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The flame will touch down Friday in northern Japan aboard a white aircraft painted with the inscription “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay” along its side.

Everything about the arrival ceremony at the Matsushima air base will be subdued. The flame will stay in northern Japan for almost a week until the torch relay begins officially on March 26 from northern Fukushima prefecture.

Wuhan reports no new cases of virus infection

China’s health ministry says the virus epicenter of Wuhan and its surrounding Hubei province have reported no new cases.

The ministry said Thursday that results over the past 24 hours showed 34 new cases, all detected in people arriving from abroad.

Eight new deaths were reported, all in Wuhan.

Wuhan at the peak reported thousands of new cases of coronavirus infection daily, overwhelming its health care system.

Of those new cases of infection, 21 were in Beijing, nine in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong, two in Shanghai and one each in coastal Zhejiang and Heilongjing in the far northeast.

China has only just begun loosening draconian travel restrictions within the country, but has stepped-up 14-day quarantine regulations on those arriving in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere from overseas, amid expectations of a new influx of students and others returning home.

China has now recorded a total of 80,928 confirmed virus cases with 3,245 deaths. Another 70,420 people have been released from hospital and 7,263 remain in treatment.

taly on track to surpass China’s virus deaths

Italy is on track to surpass China in the number of coronavirus-related deaths, a gruesome milestone that is being blamed on the country’s large elderly population, its overwhelmed health care system and the delayed imposition of complete lockdown measures across the epicenter, Lombardy.

Italy registered 2,978 deaths on Wednesday after another 475 people died. Given Italy has been averaging more than 350 deaths since March 15, it is likely to overtake China’s 3,249 dead when Thursday’s figures are released.

U.N. and Italian health authorities have cited a variety of reasons for Italy’s high toll, key among them its large elderly population, who are particularly susceptible to developing serious complications from the virus. Italy has the world’s second oldest population after Japan’s and the vast majority of Italy’s dead — 87% — were over age 70.

In addition, virtually all of Italy’s dead had one or more underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or renal insufficiency.

Russia says woman died from blood clot, not coronavirus

Russian health officials say a woman in Russia reported to have died of the coronavirus actually died from a blood clot. Officials cited the results of the autopsy.

The statement brought Russia’s official coronavirus death tally back to zero.

The 79-year-old woman was hospitalized last week and diagnosed with the virus. She was also suffering from multiple chronic conditions, including hypertension and heart disease. Pneumonia caused by the coronavirus was initially reported as the cause of death.

Russia has so far reported 199 cases of the virus and nine recoveries. Many in the country estimate the number is much higher, with infections going undetected as testing for the virus is not widespread.

New York futures flat, European shares open higher after further slide in Asia

Shares have opened higher in Europe after another day of mostly moderate losses in Asia.

Germany’s DAX rose 2.4% and shares were also higher in London and Paris early Thursday.

New York futures were flat. But Japan’s benchmark failed to hold onto early gains and South Korea’s Kospi sank 7%

Fears of a prolonged recession due to the coronavirus crisis are prompting investors to shift to cash, pushing prices of most assets lower. The Dow lost more than 1,300 points, or 6.3%, on Wednesday. Oil prices rebounded after a 24% loss a day earlier, with U.S. crude gaining nearly 14%.

Southeastern Grocers modifies hours, donates meals

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of BI-LO, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, has announced it will designate special hours for senior citizens to shop. It joins a growing list of grocery store companies to do so.

The company also announced it would donate $250,000 to Feeding America and begin hiring people who have been affected by the virus.

Federal Reserve launches 3rd emergency lending program

The Federal Reserve says it will establish an emergency lending facility to help unclog a short-term credit market that has been disrupted by the viral outbreak.

The Fed said late Wednesday that it will lend money to banks that purchase financial assets from money market funds, including short-term IOUs known as commercial paper.

By facilitating the purchase of commercial paper, which is issued by large businesses and banks, the Fed hopes to spur more lending to firms that are seeking to raise cash as their revenues plummet amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Africa sees ‘extremely rapid evolution’ of pandemic, UN says

More African countries have closed their borders as the coronavirus’ local spread threatens to turn the continent of 1.3 billion people into an alarming new front for the pandemic. The World Health Organization’s regional chief is noting an “extremely rapid evolution” in Africa. More than 34 countries have confirmed cases, a leap from just a week ago. Some people in other countries are clamoring for their governments to block flights, too. One Kenyan taxi driver says he now refuses to take passengers to the international airport in the capital.

Saudi Arabia to slash spending by 5% as oil prices fall

Saudi Arabia says the government will cut spending by 5%, or about $13.3 billion, to offset the impact of plunging oil prices and the effects of the coronavirus on its economic outlook.

The kingdom relies heavily on government spending to fuel its economy and pay the salaries of most Saudi citizens who work in the public sector. Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its economy away from reliance on oil for revenue, but it continues to rely on higher oil prices to balance its budget. Oil has plummeted to lows of around $26 a barrel.

Mexico, Jamaica report first virus deaths

Mexico’s health department confirmed the country’s first death from the new coronavirus.

The department wrote on Twitter late Wednesday that the person began showing symptoms on March 9 and had diabetes. It provided no more details about how, where or from whom the person became infected.

Mexico has 118 confirmed cases of infection and officials expect the numbers to rapidly increase in the coming weeks.

In Jamaica, authorities the country recorded its first death.

The island’s health ministry says a 79-year-old man who suffered from diabetes and hypertension died Wednesday in a hospital in the capital of Kingston while being transferred from a hospital in western Jamaica. The man, who had recently returned to Jamaica from New York, visited the hospital on March 16, and was immediately isolated.

Jamaica had 15 confirmed cases of the virus and was awaiting results for six more people. There were 105 people in quarantine.

Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand limit travel to country due to coronavirus

The Dutch government is limiting entry to the country for 30 days from Thursday evening in its latest effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The entry ban covers all non-essential travel into the country for visitors from outside the European Union, the United Kingdom and countries that are part of Europe’s passport-free travel zone known as Schengen.

Exceptions also will be made for travelers with residence permits for the Netherlands and people in “vital” occupations such as health workers.

As of Wednesday, the Netherlands had recorded 58 coronavirus deaths in the outbreak and 2,051 positive tests.

Australia is also banning incoming passengers who are not citizens, permanent residents or direct family members of residents.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday the change will take effect at 9 p.m. AEDT (10:00 GMT).

Morrison says 80% or cases of the new coronavirus detected in Australia have been infected overseas or by direct contact with someone who had been infected overseas. Overseas arrivals are currently expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

New Zealand also is closing its border to people who aren’t citizens or residents from Friday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had become increasingly concerned that visitors to New Zealand have not been properly isolating themselves for 14 days as required. There are a few exceptions, including children and partners of residents.

2 cruise ships not allowed to disembark in Honolulu

Two cruise ships that were turned away by other ports are headed to Honolulu, but passengers won’t be allowed to disembark.

Officials say there are no cases of coronavirus on either vessel. It was previously planned that passengers would disembark in Honolulu. Officials now say the ships will only refuel and resupply and then continue on to another destination.

Holland America Line’s Maasdam is scheduled to arrive Friday. The Norwegian Jewel is scheduled to arrive Sunday. New measures to seal borders to reduce the spread of coronavirus have left some cruise ships stranded.

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