The Latest: Florida surpasses 500,000 coronavirus cases

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — State officials say Florida has surpassed 500,000 coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, testing is ramping up following a temporary shutdown of some sites because of Tropical Storm Isaias.

A long line of cars waited outside Hark Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens for a coronavirus testing site to reopen after the storm.

Florida reported 225 new virus deaths Wednesday, bringing its seven-day average in daily reported deaths to a high of 185, behind Texas with 197.

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,409 new cases Wednesday. The state has 7,627 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— High demand for virus tests in South Carolina, but long waits

— Spain’s virus cases keep rising since easing lockdown

— Members, economy hurt as virus hits Choctaw Tribe in Mississippi

— Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus. It’s the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.

— After more than a week of meetings, some clarity is coming to bipartisan Washington talks on a huge COVID-19 response bill.

— Chicago’s mayor says the nation’s third-largest school district will offer only remote instruction to start the school year.

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced additional steps to combat racism, declaring it a public health crisis.

Whitmer has ordered state employees to complete implicit bias training as the state confronts what she called systemic inequities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. The governor also created an advisory council of Black leaders on Wednesday.

“We have a lot of work to do to eradicate the systemic racism that Black Americans have faced for generations. That’s going to take time,” she said at a news conference.

Black people account for 39% of Michigan’s nearly 6,500 confirmed and probable deaths related to COVID despite making up 14% of the population. In cases where race and ethnicity are known, the infection rate among Black residents is 14,703 per 1 million compared to 4,160 for white residents.

___

CHICAGO — Chicago’s mayor says the nation’s third-largest school district will rely only on remote instruction to start the school year.

The city’s decision to abandon its plan to have students attend in-person classes for two days a week on Sept. 8 came amid strong pushback from the powerful teachers union and as school districts around the country struggle with how to teach their children during the coronavirus pandemic.

When Chicago officials announced their hybrid-learning plan last month, they said it was subject to change depending on families’ feedback and the coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot attributed the change in plans to a recent uptick in confirmed cases in the city.

A survey also showed that 41% of the parents of elementary school students and 38% of the parents of high school students didn’t plan to send their children back to the classroom this fall, the district said in a news release. Under the original plan, parents could opt out of in-school instruction.

___

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Nearly a quarter of the 29,000 coronavirus cases in Kansas have been linked to cluster sites, according to state health officials.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment identified 360 outbreaks that infected 7,710 people and led to 243 of the state’s 365 COVID-19 deaths, the Kansas City Star reported Wednesday.

Dr. Lee Norman, the state health department’s top administrator, says he expects to see a rise in cases linked to gatherings following the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The state’s clusters include 132 at private businesses, 95 at long-term care facilities and 54 from gatherings. Nursing facilities account for most of the deaths related to clusters at 193. Meat packing facilities and state prisons also accounted for some clusters.

The state health department reported Kansas 841 more cases since Monday for 29,717 confirmed cases. The state reported 368 total deaths, up three from Monday.

___

MADRID — The number of new daily coronavirus infections in Spain continues increased to 1,772 cases on Wednesday.

That was up from 1,178 the previous day. More than 60% of the new cases were detected in the regions of Madrid and Aragon, in the northeast. Two of the country’s 19 autonomous regions didn’t report their numbers.

New cases have risen steadily in Spain since a three-month lockdown ended on June 21. By the end of July, the daily increase surpassed 1,000. That’s prompted some other European countries to demand travelers from Spain go into quarantine upon arrival.

Several regions of the country have imposed new restrictions on movement and mandates the wearing of masks.

Meanwhile, the government of the Canary Islands will become the first region of Spain to cover the expenses of tourists, both local and foreign, who test positive for the coronavirus while on vacation in the archipelago.

Local authorities say an agreement was reached with an insurance company to cover medical expenses, repatriation or extended stays if tourists have to self-quarantine.

Spain has confirmed more than 305,000 cases and nearly 28,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

___

PARIS – The French government is raising another glass to the wine industry.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced an additional 80-million-euro ($95 million) in financial help during a visit to the winemaking town of Sancerre in central France on Wednesday. He’s adding to the aid already given to the industry in May.

He says the aid will improve storage of surplus product and help unsold grapes be distilled into other materials. Winegrowers estimate that the coronavirus crisis has generated a shortfall of at least 1.5 billion euros due to the shutdown of bars, restaurants, festive gatherings and tourism.

___

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.

___

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.

___

Categories: National News

AlertMe