JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Military leaders on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson have declared a public health emergency in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in Alaska.
They also encouraged all personnel to avoid places that do not require masks or social distancing, officials said.
U.S. Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar said Friday that the declaration will remain in effect for 30 days, but could be shortened or extended based on cases and community transmission of COVID-19.
Hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases across the state have increased as a result of the highly contagious delta variant. Alaska on Friday reported more than 1,200 newly confirmed cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— US panel backs COVID-19 boosters only for seniors, high-risk
— Crisis standards of care guide medical decisions as COVID-19 overwhelms hospitals
— UN using honor system to check vaccinations for big meeting
— Many faith leaders won’t endorse vaccine exemptions
— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
MELBOURNE, Australia — Police used pepper spray to subdue protesters Saturday at an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.
About 1,000 demonstrators gathered in the suburb of Richmond after the location of the protest was changed at the last minute to evade authorities.
There were minor scuffles as well as a violent confrontation involving a handful of protesters. Several protesters were arrested.
Most of the demonstrators defied regulations by failing to wear masks.
Some 2,000 police officers were deployed at road checkpoints and barricades, and on roving patrols, to try to stop the rally going ahead in breach of public health orders.
Melbourne’s 6th lockdown began on Aug. 5. Melbourne is the capital of Victoria state, which on Saturday reported 535 new infections and one COVID-19 death in the latest 24-hour period.
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — American Samoa reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday.
The U.S. territory’s acting governor and health officials said the islands’ first case of COVID-19 was of a resident who returned to American Samoa from Hawaii this week.
The infected traveler flew in on Monday, the first day of newly resumed commercial flights from Honolulu to Pago Pago. The route had been suspended since March 2020.
Officials say the resident was fully vaccinated and had traveled to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. They say the traveler tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding the flight back to American Samoa.
American Samoa requires all travelers to be vaccinated and to quarantine.
BATON ROUGE, La. — A child is among the latest to die from COVID-19 in Louisiana, state health officials said Friday.
Heath department figures showed the state death toll from the illness grew by 52. One of the victims was a child between the ages of 5 and 11. Fifteen people younger than 18 have died in Louisiana since the pandemic began. And it’s the sixth pediatric death since a fourth surge began this summer.
Coronavirus hospitalizations continued to drop. They fell to 1,367 in Friday’s figures, 64 fewer than the previous day. Hospitalizations are down from a peak of more than 3,000 in August but still well above the pre-surge levels of mid-summer.
WASHINGTON — The White House says President Joe Biden will host a virtual summit next week aimed at “calling the world to account” on defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting, to take place on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, is meant to encourage more countries to do more to vaccinate the world against COVID-19 and improve coronavirus treatments.
Press secretary Jen Psaki says Biden “will be asking participants to commit to of a higher level of ambition” on global vaccinations and therapeutics, along with preparing for the next pandemic.
The U.S. has committed to donating the more COVID-19 vaccine doses than any other nation to the rest of the world, and Biden is expected to ask other well-off nations to make bolder vaccine sharing commitments.
The White House says world leaders, philanthropists, industry representatives and non-governmental organizations will participate.
BEND, Oregon — Dozens of people in Oregon have contacted the state’s poison center after self-medicating against COVID-19 with a drug used to treat parasites, with five becoming hospitalized and two of them winding up in intensive care units, authorities said Friday.
The drug they used was ivermectin, which has no proven use against the coronavirus and is instead approved to treat some parasites in people and some animals.
“COVID-19 is a devastating disease and can be very frightening, but the public does not need to use — nor should it use — unproven and potentially dangerous drugs to fight it,” said Robert Hendrickson, medical director of the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University.
Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 14, the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU managed a total of 25 cases. Five of those cases involved hospitalization, and two people were so severely ill that they had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
Across the country, calls to poison control centers regarding ivermectin overdoses or exposures has increased five-fold from the pre-pandemic level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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