FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky governor’s efforts to combat COVID-19 have suffered a landmark legal defeat.
The state’s high court on Saturday cleared the way for laws reining in his emergency powers to take effect. The state Supreme Court ordered a lower court to dissolve an injunction blocking the new Republican-backed laws limiting Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers.
The ruling revolves around a dispute between Beshear and the GOP-led legislature over the scope of the governor’s executive authority in times of emergencies. It comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in Kentucky.
The governor lifted most of his pandemic restrictions in June. But with COVID-19 cases spiking due to the delta variant, he signed a recent executive order imposing an indoor mask mandate in K-12 schools, child care and pre-kindergarten programs across Kentucky.
One of the contested laws limits the governor’s executive orders in times of emergency to 30 days unless extended by lawmakers.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— AP-NORC poll: Biden sees dip in support amid new COVID-19 cases
— French virus health pass in full use but protests keep going on Saturdays
— Though young and healthy, more unvaccinated in U.S. die of COVID-19
— Central Park concert in NYC expected to draw thousands despite virus
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
LA CROSSE, Wis. — A high-ranking Roman Catholic cardinal is off a ventilator and moving out of intensive care, according to officials at a Wisconsin shrine founded.
Cardinal Raymond Burke was to return to a regular hospital room Saturday at an undisclosed location, the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse said in a statement.
Burke, 73, one of the Catholic Church’s most outspoken conservatives and a vaccine skeptic, had been sedated and on a ventilator following his tweet Aug. 10 that he had contracted the coronavirus.
He spoke out against mandatory vaccinations in May 2020, and said some in society want to implant microchips in people.
PARIS — Thousands of protesters are marching again in cities and towns across France against a COVID-19 health pass required to enter restaurants and cafes, cultural and sports venues.
For a sixth straight Saturday, opponents denounced what they see as a restriction of their freedom. Many have criticized the measure, claiming the French government was implicitly making vaccines obligatory.
In Paris, four demonstrations were organized by different groups. Elsewhere in the country, over 200 protests were taking place.
Despite the protests, polls have shown the majority of French people support the health pass. More than 40.5 million people in France, or 60%, are fully vaccinated.
Since last month, France is registering a high number of infections — about 22,000 each day.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — U.S. Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama says he and his wife have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The congressman disclosed the diagnosis in a post on social media. He says he’ll continue to work virtually as much as he can while recovering in quarantine.
The Republican congressman encouraged people to discuss vaccines and treatments with their medical providers. Alabama is seeing a surge in virus cases and hospitalizations that medical officials say is fueled by the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates in the state.
BERLIN — Austria’s government says it may limit access to nightclubs to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 if infections rise in the fall.
Like many other European countries, Austria is seeing coronavirus infections increase as the delta variant takes hold, particularly among younger people who haven’t been fully vaccinated.
Currently, people need to have been vaccinated or have a recent negative PCR test to enter nightclubs.
A joint statement Saturday from the chancellery and the health ministry says a vaccinated-only approach may be necessary in the fall if infection rates continue to rise and the number of vaccinated young people remains relatively low. It pointed to a “particular risk of so-called superspreader events” as social life moves indoors after the summer.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has ticked down and Americans are taking a less positive view of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows Biden’s overall job approval rating dipping from 59% last month to 54%. The public’s assessment of his handling of the pandemic has fallen even further, down from 66% support in July to 54%.
That coincides with increased COVID-19 cases in the United States and stalled vaccination rates. Jeanette Ellis-Carter, 69, wants to see Biden push for more vaccine mandates across the nation. Despite being fully vaccinated, the Cincinnati resident recently contracted COVID-19 and worries that without vaccine requirements, more Americans will be at risk of getting sick.
“When I was a child in school, we were mandated to get the polio shot, measles. What’s any different about this?” she said.
Republican officials have led the opposition to the vaccine and mask measures the Biden administration has put in place this summer. Some Republican governors are opposing masks in schools.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Health officials in Alabama say they are seeing a spike in cases among young adults and children as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps through unvaccinated populations.
Christina Tidmore urged people to get vaccinated after losing her husband to COVID-19. Her 36-year-old spouse was young and healthy but succumbed to the disease within three weeks. The couple didn’t get vaccinated after hearing conflicting messages.
In the past month, people between ages 25 to 49 made up 14% of all COVID deaths in the state. Some 29% of deaths are ages 50 to 64.
“There is no question that the average age of people who are being hospitalized is going down,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said. The Alabama Hospital Association said this week 85% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon and Oregon State became the first Power Five schools to announce they will require proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test for people over age 12 to attend football games.
Oregon says the decision was made with public health authorities and “peer institutions in the state.” The mandate goes into effect Monday and comes at the end of a week when state officials warned of rapidly filling hospitals as daily reported cases reached record numbers.
The Oregon football team opens its season at 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Sept. 4 against Fresno State. Oregon State begins its home schedule at Reser Stadium on Sept. 11 against Hawaii.
NEW YORK — The sounds of song will be ringing out from Central Park, with thousands expected for a superstar-laden concert meant to celebrate New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus.
Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Jennifer Hudson, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J and Andrea Bocelli are among the performers at what is being billed as the “Homecoming Concert.”
Despite the joyful intention, the concert is taking place when there are worries over the contagious delta variant of COVID-19. According to state statistics, New York City has averaged just under 2,000 new cases of coronavirus a day over the past week. Those who attend the concert must show proof of vaccination.
ORLANDO, Fla. — The mayor of Orlando is asking residents to stop watering their lawns and washing their cars for at least a week.
Mayor Buddy Dyer says water usage needed to be cut back because of the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The Orlando Utility Commission treats the city’s water with liquid oxygen and supplies that ordinarily go toward water treatment have been diverted to hospitals for patients suffering from the virus.
The city-owned utility typically goes through 10 trucks of liquid oxygen a week, but its supplier recently says that could be cut back to five to seven trucks a week to accommodate hospitals.
Officials at one of the Orlando area’s largest health care systems said this week they had 1,620 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, twice what it was during last winter’s peak high for AdventHealth.
SYDNEY — Authorities in Australia say more than 250 people have been arrested while protesting coronavirus lockdowns in the country. Many faced fines for defying health orders.
The protests took place Saturday in several cities nationwide, with the largest and most violent protest in Melbourne. At least seven police officers were treated for injuries after skirmishes broke out at some of the protests.
Sydney has been in lockdown for two months, while Melbourne and Australia’s capital, Canberra, went into lockdown earlier this month. Under the rules of the lockdown, people are mostly confined to their homes and have limits placed on their social interactions.
Protestors say the lockdowns should end, but authorities say they are necessary to suppress the spread of the virus and save lives.
Despite the restrictions, Sydney’s New South Wales state reported a record 825 new daily community infections on Saturday. Several cities are battling outbreaks of the highly contagious delta variant.
BERLIN — New coronavirus infections in Germany have reached their highest level in nearly three months amid a steady rise powered by the delta variant.
The national disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, says Saturday that 51.6 new cases per 100,000 residents were reported over the last seven days. It’s the first time since May 25 that the infection rate has been above 50, but it has been increasing since hitting a low of 4.9 in early July.
The disease control center says 8,092 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours — up from 5,644 a week earlier. More cases are getting detected as summer vacations end and children return to schools in some parts of Germany.
German authorities have been trying to reinvigorate the country’s vaccination drive, which has slowed considerably. Official figures showed that 63% of Germany’s population had received at least one vaccine dose as of Thursday and 58% was fully vaccinated.
HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam’s government says it is sending troops to Ho Chi Minh City to help deliver food and aid to households as it further tightens restrictions on people’s movements amid a worsening surge of the coronavirus.
The army personnel will be deployed to help with logistics as the city of 10 million people asks residents to “stay put” for two weeks starting from Monday, a report on the government website said Friday.
The move comes as Vietnam, which weathered much the pandemic with very few cases, recorded more than 10,000 new infections and 390 deaths on Friday. Ho Chi Minh City accounted for 3,500 of those infections.
Ho Chi Minh City has had strict coronavirus measures in place since June, including banning gatherings of more than two people in public and only allowing people to leave home for essential matters like buying food or going to work in certain permitted businesses. Under the new measures, people in high risk areas cannot leave home at all.
HONOLULU — A hospital serving a Honolulu suburb has filled up as the community faces a surge of COVID-19 cases.
All 104 beds at The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu are full, said Jason Chang, the CEO of The Queen’s Health Systems.
The Ewa Beach hospital has sent some patients to its sibling facility in downtown Honolulu. It’s also asked staff from other parts of the Queen’s system to come help.
The city has set up a triage tent outside the hospital that has 25 cots. The hospital may add beds in hallways and other makeshift areas but not all patients will get rooms.
Chang says the hospital had 63 patients in its emergency room at one time, which is a crisis given the hospital only has 24 ER beds. Twenty-six of those in the ER were there with possible COVID-19 infections.
The Associated Press
Canadian kids were at low risk of severe COVID-19 early in the pandemic, before Delta: study – Global News
Severe cases of COVID-19 were very rare among Canadian children during the first waves of the pandemic, according to a new study by researchers who warn the findings should not be taken as a reason not to vaccinate youth.
The study was published Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal and looked at 264 reported cases of children hospitalized in Canada between March 25 and Dec. 31, 2020, before the more infectious Delta variant emerged.
Of those cases, 43 per cent had been hospitalized for another reason, such as a fracture, and it was only after they were admitted that the positive test came to light.
Nearly 34,000 Canadians of all ages were hospitalized during the same time frame.
“If you look at the numbers in total, that’s only 150 children hospitalized with COVID during the first two waves here in Canada,” said study co-lead author Dr. Fatima Kakkar of Montreal’s Ste-Justine Hospital.
“These are very small numbers, when you compare with what has happened in adults.”
The study was conducted before the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant, which now accounts for most COVID-19 infections in Canada.
The research also took place before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for youth aged 12 and older. Of the cases studied, 77 involved kids aged 13 to 17. Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.
Researchers originally believed that children may be at higher risk for severe disease, since this is typically seen with respiratory infection in the pediatric population.
Among the 150 children admitted directly because of the coronavirus, the most common symptoms were fever (70 per cent) and cough (34 per cent).
COVID-19: the upward trend in cases among children
Half had a severe form of the disease, with 21 per cent admitted to intensive care and 13 per cent needing respiratory or cardiac support.
Researchers add that more than three per cent of Canadian children — a high among all age groups in the country — have recently been shown to carry antibodies to COVID-19, indicating that they have been exposed to the virus.
But the relatively small number of pediatric admissions shows that children had less severe infections than adults, even though they were potentially infected more often, Kakkar said.
Overall, 39 per cent of children and youth hospitalized for COVID-19 had at least one co-morbidity and those with severe disease were more likely to have an underlying health condition including obesity, neurological or respiratory issues.
“We often talk about children who have comorbidities and who are sicker, (…) but 60 per cent had no comorbidity,” she said.
“They were healthy children who were hospitalized for the disease. On the other hand, when we look at the severity, the most severe cases were in children who had comorbidities, such as obesity, major neurodevelopmental disorders.”
Deaths of children infected with COVID-19 were also very rare, confirming the findings of other studies.
But even with the encouraging conclusions, parents should not take from it a false sense of security and not vaccinate their child, Kakkar said, given children in good health also ended up in hospital.
“We do not know, among these children who are in good health, which will be the sickest, and we know that when we have a severe disease, we have consequences,” Kakkar said.
“A child intubated in intensive care needs months of rehabilitation, and unfortunately we cannot predict which child will fall into this category.’
An unvaccinated child will also be more likely to continue the spread of the virus within their own family and friends.
She also noted the Delta variant is much more transmissible and currently wreaking havoc among unvaccinated adults.
“I do not want to discourage parents at all from having their child vaccinated,” she said.
“We really have to look at the total well-being of the child: what will allow them to have a normal life, to do activities, to play sports, to see friends? It’s vaccination.”
Still, Kakkar said the benefits of attending school and seeing friends are essential to development.
“There is a lot of anxiety among parents about the risk of COVID in children,” Kakkar said.
“It is important to reassure parents, it is not the same disease as in adults, (so) I hope that will allow the children to live a little more normal life.”
© 2021 The Canadian Press
More COVID-19 vaccination opportunities planned for Sudbury area – The Sudbury Star
Public Health Sudbury and Districts staff are determined to get more shots in arms and have planned a series of COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in the region this week.
Eligible individuals looking to get their first or second dose can book an appointment or visit a walk-in, mobile, or pop-up vaccination clinic.
Vaccination is available every Tuesday at the Carmichael Arena in Greater Sudbury, and every Wednesday at the Espanola Mall.
Vaccination is also available by appointment every Wednesday at the health unit’s Chapleau office and every Thursday by appointment at its Sudbury East office in St. Charles.
This week’s vaccination clinic schedule is:
Tuesday, Sept. 28
- Mobile clinic at TownePlace Suites located at 1710 Kingsway.
- Appointment and walk-in clinics at Carmichael Arena. and at Manitoulin Secondary School located at 107 Bay St. in M’Chigeeng.
Wednesday, Sept. 29
- Mobile clinic at Food Basics located at 1800 Lasalle Blvd.
- Pop-up clinics at the New Sudbury Centre (centre court) located at 1349 Lasalle Blvd. and at the Salvation Army (Community and Family Services) located at 634 Notre-Dame Ave.
- Appointment and walk-in clinic at the Espanola Mall (storefront inside the mall) located at 800 Centre St.
- Appointment-only clinic at Public Health’s Chapleau office.
Thursday, Sept. 30
- Appointment-only clinic at Public Health’s Sudbury East office.
Friday, Oct. 1
- Mobile clinics at the Garson Community Centre/Arena located at 100 Church St. and at the Skead Community Centre located at 3971 Skead Road in Skead from 2 to 6 p.m.
- Pop-up clinic at Valley East Public Library located at 4100 Elmview Dr. in Hanmer.
Saturday, Oct. 2
- Appointment and walk-in clinic at Carmichael Arena.
Sunday, Oct. 3
- Pop-up clinic at the New Sudbury Centre (centre court) located at 1349 Lasalle Blvd.
Everyone born in 2009 or earlier is eligible to receive their first dose of an mRNA vaccine.
Those aged 18 and older can get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (these two mRNA vaccine can be safely interchanged).
Those aged 12 to 17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Canada.
Anyone who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine more than 21 days ago or the Moderna vaccine more than 28 days ago is eligible to receive their second dose.
Those looking to receive their second dose can attend a walk-in, pop-up or mobile vaccination clinic or book their second dose online at www.covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or call 705-674-2299 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Public Health reminds people it is possible there won’t be enough doses to offer vaccine to everyone who attends a walk-in, pop-up, or mobile clinic.
More vaccination opportunities may be added throughout the week.
For regular updates, follow Public Health on social media @PublicHealthSD or visit their website at www.phsd.ca/COVID-19/vaccine-clinics.
Visit www.covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for a list of pharmacies in Ontario offering COVID-19 vaccination and for booking information or contact your primary care provider.
Visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Sudbury’s health unit at 705-522-9200 for more information.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Ontario health units preparing for COVID vaccinations of kids aged five to 11 – The Globe and Mail
Ontario health units are developing plans for the vaccination of children aged five to 11 once COVID-19 shots are approved for them.
Toronto Public Health said Monday that it had formed a planning group that includes health partners, school boards, community representatives and the province, while top doctors for Peel Region, Middlesex-London, Hamilton and Ottawa also said they were making arrangements.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said plans are being made now so that young children can be vaccinated as soon as possible after Health Canada authorizes a COVID-19 shot for them.
“This will help keep our kids safe and provide greater protection in our schools and communities across the city,” he said in a statement, noting Toronto was home to approximately 200,000 children in the five-to-11 group.
Peel Region’s top doctor said his public health unit is “ready to deploy a vaccine strategy” for that cohort, pending approval from Health Canada and guidance from the province, and would keep residents informed on a timeline.
The top doctor for the Middlesex-London said his health unit was working with pediatric care providers to ensure clinics were “appropriately designed to support young children and young families.”
“We are working with families and children to make sure that we’ve thought of all of the potential aspects of this,” Dr. Chris Mackie said in a statement. “We very much hope and expect to hit the ground running as soon as that announcement is made.”
Ottawa Public Health said it is working with stakeholders on different scenarios for vaccinating the city’s 77,000 kids in that age group.
Those scenarios, which will depend on timing of vaccine approval, include looking at increasing staffing and clinic locations as well as outreach to children and their families.
Hamilton’s medical officer of health said her health unit was hoping to announce a plan for vaccinating young children as soon as possible.
“We recognize the anticipation and interest community members are feeling as they wait for a potential announcement regarding COVID-19 vaccine approval for this age group, and the peace of mind and strong protection being fully vaccinated would mean to these young people and their loved ones,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said in a statement.
Children born after 2009 are currently not eligible to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada. Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.
In Toronto, the city’s top doctor said Monday that public health is aiming to be ready for a November start to their immunizations.
Dr. Eileen de Villa noted that COVID-19 infection rates have been increasing among children aged four to 11 in the last three weeks. Last week, that cohort had the highest rate of infection in the city for the first time since the start of the pandemic, she said, at 64 cases per 100,000 population.
That trend isn’t surprising given that children born after 2009 can’t be vaccinated against COVID-19, de Villa said. But she urged families to get vaccinated to protect those who can’t get the shots.
“It is absolutely key for parents to get vaccinated to help ensure the safer reopening of school and the ability to provide ongoing in-person learning,” she said.
She also flagged that “work that has yet to be done” in vaccinating people between the ages of 30 to 49, many of whom may be parents. She said 25 per cent of that age group in the city is not fully vaccinated.
Ontario health units are responsible for administering COVID-19 shots with guidance from the provincial government.
Provincial data as of Monday showed 80 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 70 per cent were fully vaccinated.
Vaccination clinics have been run at or near Ontario schools in the weeks since students have returned to classes in an effort to boost vaccination for eligible students, staff and families.
School staff in Ontario must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested for the virus.
No such rule is in place for students, but de Villa wrote to the city’s board of health this month, asking that it request the province to require COVID-19 vaccination for eligible students. The board voted in favour of her recommendation Monday.
In her Sept. 13 letter to the board of health, de Villa referenced the nine other diseases covered under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, which students enrolled in school must be vaccinated against.
COVID-19 is currently not one of those designated diseases, and de Villa wrote that the safety and effectiveness of approved vaccines has been proven in children 12 and older.
“Given the current epidemiology of COVID-19 and the need to support the safe reopening of schools, it recommended that the province require COVID-19 vaccination for students who are eligible based on their age/year of birth,” she wrote.
The province’s top public health doctor has said the province is looking into adding COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of those required for students by law, which allows for some exemptions.
– With files from Noushin Ziafati.
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