COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities in Sri Lanka have extended the school holidays for two more weeks, postponing the opening of classes amid a surge of COVID-19 patients from two clusters in Colombo and the capital’s suburbs.
Schools had been scheduled to reopen Nov. 9, but the government announced Tuesday that classes would not resume until Nov. 23.
Schools were suddenly closed last month as a precautionary measure after a new cluster of coronavirus infections centered on a garment factory erupted in the densely populated Western province, where the capital is. Another cluster centered on the country’s main fish market arose later.
The two clusters have now grown to 7,856 confirmed cases, with 275 in the previous 24 hours. The total caseload for the pandemic stands at 11,335 with 21 deaths from COVID-19.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— America stands at a crossroads the day before Election Day, facing a stark choice between candidates in the midst of historic pandemic
— U.S. hospitals are scrambling to hire more nurses as the coronavirus pandemic surges, leading to stiff competition and increased costs
— Germany kicks off a partial lockdown, as several European countries tighten restrictions this week
— The BBC says Britain’s Prince William had the virus in April, around the same time as his father Prince Charles
— Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
NEW DELHI, India — India has registered 38,310 confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, maintaining an overall downturn even as fresh infections continue to appear in its capital, New Delhi.
The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported 490 more fatalities from COVID-19, raising the overall death toll to 1,23,097.
With a total of 8.2 million coronavirus cases during the pandemic, India is the second worst-hit country behind the United States. But it has been witnessing a steady fall in daily cases.
Still, health officials say New Delhi remains in the grip of its third and worst wave of infections yet. In the past week, there were more than 5,200 cases on average every day. The Health Ministry attributes the city’s surge to the festival season, with people crowding markets for shopping.
TOPEKA, Kan. — A surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in Kansas is hitting some of the state’s most rural counties hard and has officials in even urban areas worrying that people aren’t following public health advice closely enough.
Of the 20 Kansas counties with the largest number of new cases per 1,000 residents in the past two weeks, all but two have fewer than 10,000 residents, and a dozen of them have fewer than 3,000.
But health officials elsewhere say the virus is also spreading because people are still going to family gathering such as weddings, baby showers and barbecues. The health officer in the state’s most populous county of Johnson County in the Kansas City area says 20% of its cases since Sept. 1 are people infecting others in their own households.
OMAHA, Neb. — The surge in COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has led to record-high hospitalizations that are straining the state’s health care system, officials said Monday.
The number of people hospitalized in the state with the novel coronavirus set another record on Sunday with 613, one more than the previous day. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 have surged over the last month, according to the state’s online tracking portal.
Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, said during a video call with reporters that there had been a doubling of COVID-positive patients in the last several weeks in the network. He said if the trend continues “every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time.”
Nebraska’s largest hospitals have started limiting elective surgeries as they work to cope with the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The number of confirmed cases increased by 934 on Sunday in Nebraska, which has the seventh-highest rate of new cases in the nation.
DES MOINES, Iowa — The number of people being treated for the coronavirus in Iowa hospitals continued to soar Monday, prompting doctors and hospital officials to warn their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread.
Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicated 1,469 new confirmed cases and 17 additional deaths in the past 24 hours. That follows a weekend in which more than 2,800 new cases were reported each day.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 25.5% on Oct. 18 to 36.4% on Sunday, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Iowa’s rate is now third in the nation, behind South Dakota and Wyoming.
All 99 Iowa counties have a positivity rate above 7.5% and 46 are above 15%, an indication that the virus is aggressively spreading statewide.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Rising rates of the novel coronavirus in Connecticut have postponed plans to resume jury trials in state courts, judicial officials said Monday.
Chief Justice Richard Robinson in September announced a proposal to have residents begin reporting for jury duty again on Nov. 2, about eight months after trials were put on on hold in March as the virus swept through the state.
The plan has been put on hold indefinitely and will be reassessed weekly, said Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s office has said the number of cases has been rising steadily, including a one-day positive test rate of 6.1% on Thursday. Friday’s rate was back down to 2.5%. The rate had been below 1% over the summer.
Connecticut also continues to see an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. There were 329 people in the state hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, the most since early June. The state also reported seven more virus-related deaths Friday, bringing the state’s total during the pandemic to 4,616. More than 71,000 people in the state have tested positive.
HONOLULU — U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is pleading not guilty to being in a Hawaii park that was closed amid coronavirus restrictions.
Adams’ attorney, Michael Green, entered the plea on his behalf. Adams was not in Hawaii for Monday’s hearing. His assistant, who was also cited with him last month, also pleaded not guilty.
Adams and his aide were in Hawaii helping with a spike in coronavirus cases. When a police officer found them at Kualoa Regional Park, which was closed to prevent gatherings of people, Adams was taking in the view and snapping photos at the park on Oahu’s northeastern coast, according to the citation.
Adams told the officer he was visiting Hawaii to work with the governor for COVID-19 and didn’t know parks were closed.
The offense is punishable as a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of a fine of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker announced a series of new measures Monday meant to curb rising COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, including a revised stay-at-home advisory, earlier closing times for many businesses, and a tougher face-covering mandate.
The new measures come as the cases of the virus are up by 278% since Labor Day and hospitalizations are up by 145% during the same time period.
The revised stay-at-home advisory instructs residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The advisory allows certain activities like going to work, taking a walk and running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs.
Baker issued a new executive order requiring the early closure of many businesses and activities each night at 9:30 p.m., including requiring restaurants to stop table service and requiring liquor stores to stop selling alcohol. Movie theaters must also close at 9:30 p.m.
The Republican also revised the state’s mask mandate to require anyone above the age of five to wear a mask in public.
An earlier mandate said people should wear a mask in public if they couldn’t socially distance. Baker said the new mandate removes the social distancing language.
PHILADELPHIA — A colonial-themed restaurant on the site of a 1773 tavern in Philadelphia’s Old City has closed due to decreased business stemming from the cnavirus pandemic.
The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that City Tavern’s last day of operations was Saturday.
Longtime chef-proprietor Walter Staib tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that the closure was “bittersweet” and followed months of slow business four nights a week. He said the restaurant had lost its core clientele of international travelers from China, Italy and Japan.
According to the restaurant’s website, the tavern in 1774 was “the unofficial meeting place” of delegates to the first Continental Congress at nearby Carpenters’ Hall, with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams among the participants. It was also the site of a farewell dinner in 1787 after the signing of the Constitution and a 1789 banquet for Washington as he was heading to New York for his inauguration.
The restaurant’s site said the National Park Service owns the property and opened City Tavern in 1976 to coincide with the bicentennial after a restoration based on period images, written accounts and insurance surveys. The original structure had been razed in 1854 following heavy damage from a fire two decades earlier.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas has set another record for its largest number of reported coronavirus cases over seven days.
Based on the health department’s data, the state had a rolling average of 1,507 new confirmed and probable cases a day for the seven days ending Monday. That was nearly 18% higher than the previous high of 1,279 cases a day for the seven days ending Friday.
The health department said the state has had 89,227 coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached the state in early March, an increase of 4,046 or 4.7% over three days.
The state reported an additional 17 COVID-19-related deaths since Friday, bringing the pandemic total to 1,046. The rolling average was 10 additional deaths a day for the seven days ending Monday. The state has reported more than 500 deaths since mid-September.
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has surpassed California in recording the highest number of positive coronavirus tests in the U.S. so far.
The most recently available data from Johns Hopkins University says that as of Sunday there had been 937,317 COVID-19 cases reported in Texas. California has had 936,198 cases, followed by Florida with 807,412.
The Johns Hopkins data shows that Texas’ seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate has risen over the last two weeks from 7.12% to 10.72% In cases per 100,000 population, Texas ranks 19th.
The true number of cases is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
SALT LAKE CITY — A county clerk’s office in Utah is under quarantine Monday after the staff was exposed to COVID-19, but officials say it likely won’t delay when election results are announced.
The Summit County clerk’s office staff was exposed to the coronavirus over the weekend and will quarantine until the end of the week, said clerk Kent Jones. The office says it received approximately 18,000 ballots through Friday. Those results will be posted on Election Day.
The clerk’s office will process all additional ballots returned through the mail or a drop box when staff members are cleared to end their quarantine, said Jones. The official ballot count will still be available on Nov. 17 as planned.
If any election workers do become sick, other counties would be available to help finish processing ballots, Jones said.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan authorities say they’re resuming international flights to four friendly nations seven months after the novel coronavirus quarantine halted commercial airline travel.
The National Institute of Civil Aviation said Monday that flights are resuming to Turkey, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Iran. President Nicolás Maduro in March ordered dramatic quarantine measures, attempting to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Authorities say domestic flights throughout Venezuela will remain restricted, except for short flights to Los Roques, an archipelago of Caribbean islands prized by Venezuela’s elite.
Venezuela officials report a steady decline in new cases, with just a few hundred daily. They say in total 800 people have died out of roughly 92,000 total infections. Government critics say that’s a vast undercount.