The Latest: High demand for virus tests in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. — In South Carolina, hospitals and the state health department say demand for coronavirus testing remains high even as testing numbers have dipped in the last two weeks.
In some cases, people may be deterred by the long wait times at certain testing sites. Others forego the tests when their health insurance won’t cover them, says Dr. Patrick Cawley, CEO of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Cawley told a state legislative committee Tuesday insurance companies typically don’t pay for tests for asymptomatic patients. It’s one of the biggest barriers to people getting tested in the state, Cawley says.
Health officials announced 1,168 new confirmed cases and 52 confirmed deaths Tuesday. The state has reported 93,604 confirmed cases and 1,774 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— 44 test positive on Norwegian cruise ship
— Chasm grows between Trump and government coronavirus experts
— Progress slow as urgency grows on virus relief legislation
— A cruise ship carrying more than 200 people docked in a Norwegian harbor and were ordered to stay on board after a passenger from a previous trip tested positive for the coronavirus
— South Africa’s health minister is reporting decreasing rates of new confirmed cases of coronavirus. South Africa has 521,318 confirmed cases, the fifth highest in the world.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PHOENIX – Arizona officials say 517 inmates at the state prison in Tucson tested positive Tuesday for the coronavirus.
The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry says nearly half of the prisoners housed at the Whetstone unit have tested positive for the virus. The cases among inmates in the prison’s Whetstone unit were discovered in a push to test all 39,000 state prisoners.
Officials say 564 corrections employees have tested positive for the virus
Before corrections officials discovered the cases at the Whetstone unit, the agency reported 890 other inmates had tested positive and 21 inmates had died statewide.
Arizona has 180,500 confirmed cases and more than 3,800 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s interior ministry announced new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus after daily confirmed cases peaked back above 1,000.
The interior ministry says its units will conduct “one-on-one monitoring” for people who have been required to self-quarantine, especially in the first seven days of isolation.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted a widespread inspection will take place across Turkey Thursday. The ministry also says contact tracers will be assisted by law enforcement or teachers and imams in smaller settlements.
It says it won’t accept any violations of mask wearing and social distancing at events such as weddings or circumcision ceremonies. Gatherings after funerals will be restricted.
Businesses and transportation meeting safety requirements will be awarded a “safe space” logo after three inspections.
Latest statistics show nearly 235,000 confirmed infections and 5,765 deaths in Turkey.
LONDON — Lockdown restrictions have been reimposed in the Scottish city of Aberdeen after a coronavirus “cluster” was reported.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says all hospitality venues in the city need to be closed by end of business Wednesday. Those living in the area should not travel more than five miles unless for work or essential trips. People are asked not to go into other houses.
Sturgeon says the cluster of 54 cases have been traced to a bar but more than 20 other pubs and restaurants are involved. The rise in cases has contributed to a greater concern there was a significant outbreak in the city.
The restrictions will be reviewed next Wednesday and may be extended, if necessary.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The number of people on a Norwegian cruise ship who have tested positive for the coronavirus has reached 44, authorities said.
Following the outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, the ship’s owner halted all cruises on Monday and Norway closed its ports to cruise ships for two weeks.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health says late Tuesday that 35 crew members and nine passengers had tested positive. All passengers were registered as living in Norway.
The cruise line often acts like a local ferry, traveling from port to port along Norway’s west coast. Some passengers disembarked along the route and authorities fear they may have spread the virus to local communities.
In the Arctic harbor of Bodoe, neither crew nor passengers were allowed to get off the cruise ship Seadream 1 after a person from Denmark tested positive on Tuesday upon returning home. The vessel arrived early Wednesday, and tests will be carried out on the pier, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s unemployment rate showed a surprising improvement to 4% during the midst of the nation’s virus lockdown, although the headline number doesn’t tell the full story and joblessness is likely to increase in the months ahead.
Still, the figure was far better than most people expected and came as welcome news to the government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of a general election next month.
The figures from Statistics New Zealand showed the unemployment rate in the quarter ending June fell from 4.2% in the previous quarter. But the number of hours worked also fell a record 10% and the number of people not in the labor force rose.
Because people who aren’t actively seeking work are not counted as unemployed, the figures didn’t reflect many job losses because most people couldn’t search for jobs during the lockdown. And many workers have been protected by a government-funded wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic which is due to expire next month.
TOKYO — A governor in Japan is drawing skeptical criticism after he touted a gargling product as effective against the coronavirus, an assertion that, despite its dubiousness, emptied some store shelves of the medicine.
Shares of Shionogi & Co. and Meiji Holdings Co., which make Isojin, soared in Tokyo Tuesday trading after Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura made the comments.
Yoshimura referred to a study carried out by the Osaka regional government on a sample of just 41 people. Experts said such a study is inconclusive.
Shionogi and Meiji shares were already coming down Wednesday, as subsequent Japanese media reports debunked Yoshimura’s claim.
Daily confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been shooting up in Japan, to more than 1,000 people.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s hot spot Victoria state announced a new record 725 COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths on Wednesday, while businesses in Melbourne city prepared to draw down their shutters as new pandemic restrictions were enforced.
The new 24-hour record was marginally higher than 723 cases and 13 deaths reported on Thursday last week.
From late Wednesday, many non-essential businesses including most detail retailers, hair-dressers and gyms in Australia’s second-largest city will be closed for six weeks. People employed in essential jobs will have to carry passes under Australia’s toughest-ever lockdown restrictions.
Like Melbourne hospitals, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced that non-emergency surgeries will be restricted in hospitals in regional Victoria, where infections rates are lower.
“It will be very challenging, but it is necessary to drive these numbers down,” Andrews said of the new restrictions.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico posted a near-record one-day total of 857 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, bringing the country’s confirmed death toll to 48,869, the third-highest number in the world.
The Health Department reported that just over 1 million coronavirus tests have been performed, with almost 450,000 people testing positive to date.
Mexico’s has had a positive rate of about 45% to 50% since the early weeks of the pandemic, largely because most people were tested only after exhibiting considerable symptoms.
HONG KONG — Hong Hong has reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths, while new cases in mainland China fell to just 27.
Hong Kong saw cases spike in a new wave of infections, but new daily cases have now fallen back into the double digits.
Authorities in the semi-autonomous Chinese city have ordered masks be worn in all public places, slapped restrictions on indoor dining, banned many activities and increased testing for coronavirus. Hong Kong has recorded a total of 3,669 cases and 42 deaths from COVID-19.
Of mainland China’s cases, 22 were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose capital and largest city Urumqi has been the center of China’s latest outbreak. China has reported 4,634 deaths among 84,491 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
China said Tuesday it was working with the World Health Organization on an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus, but gave no word on when that would get underway.
LAS VEGAS — Nevada health officials say 95% of the 980 new coronavirus cases reported statewide during the last day were in the Las Vegas area.
State coronavirus response officials said Tuesday that Clark County residents accounted for 931 of the positive COVID-19 tests reported. Confirmed cases statewide topped 52,000, and 15 more deaths brought Nevada’s total to at least 862.
Separately, the governor’s office issued a report tallying $16.7 billion in federal coronavirus funding to Nevada since Congress approved a $2.2 trillion emergency aid bill in March.
The report says nearly $2.2 billion went toward $600-per-week payments to idled workers statewide.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says more Americans will be lost to COVID-19.
Trump was interviewed on a Fox Business Network on Tuesday. Trump said the relationship has been “very badly hurt” by the spread of the coronavirus and he repeated his belief China should have contained it.
The president noted the American death toll, saying somewhat prematurely that 160,000 had died from the disease caused by the virus. He told host Lou Dobbs: “We’re going to lose more.”
Trump added that millions would have been lost had he not intervened and “just let it ride.’
The U.S. death told from COVID-19 stood at more than 156,000 on Tuesday evening.
LOS ANGELES — A technical problem has caused a lag in California’s tally of coronavirus test results, casting doubt on the accuracy of recent data showing improvements in the infection rate and hindering efforts to track the spread.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday that in recent days California has not been receiving a full count through electronic lab reports because of the unresolved issue.
The state’s data page now carries a disclaimer saying the numbers represent an underreporting of actual positive cases per day.
The latest daily tally posted Tuesday showed 4,526 new confirmed positives, the lowest in more than six weeks.