May 26, 2020

The Latest: Minnesota to let churches open at 25% capacity


By 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:

— Voting rights activists suing North Carolina over absentee ballot requirements.

— Trump visits his private golf club in Virginia on Memorial Day weekend.

— Iraq sees spike in coronavirus cases as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end.

— New York state records 24-hour death total under 100.

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is scrapping his 10-person limit on group gatherings and allowing churches to open at 25% occupancy if certain safety guidelines are met.

Walz’s decision comes after the state reported a record number of COVID-19 cases. He says the issue has been “a challenging one” because large gatherings raise the risk of spreading the virus.

Walz says he understands the toll the pandemic has taken on the spiritual health of residents. His new executive order applies only to religious gatherings and not receptions.

While the leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis welcomed the change, the governor said parishes should not open if they don’t feel they can meet safety measures.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda said in a letter to parishioners that limiting gatherings to 10 people had “burdened the Church’s ability to fully meet the sacramental needs of our faithful.”

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A woman who raised questions about Florida’s COVID-19 data after being ousted as the data’s curator had been reprimanded several times for violating Health Department policy, including for posting political commentary about the information, state records show.

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Rebekah Jones’ comments over the past week and a half in emails to researchers, interviews with a handful of media outlets, and blog posts have sought to sow doubt about the credibility of the data now that she is no longer in that role.

State health officials strenuously deny any issue with the information’s accuracy as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis seeks to make a data-driven case for a step-by-step reopening of the state’s battered economy following safer-at-home orders.

Jones has not alleged any tampering with data on deaths, hospital symptom surveillance, hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers of new confirmed cases, or overall testing rates. She has, however, suggested Health Department managers wanted her to manipulate information to paint a rosier picture and that she pushed back.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A hairstylist served 84 clients over eight days while experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, Missouri health officials say.

Clay Goddard, director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, said in a news briefing that the stylist worked between May 12-20. All clients wore masks and will be tested, as will the stylist’s coworkers, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

The announcement Friday came just days after city officials announced plans to relax even more distancing requirements, and about a week after the health department started seeing an influx of new travel-related infections.

Goddard said health officials still had enough capacity to pinpoint the origin of infections and potential spread, although that could …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Health

      

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