BEAUMONT, Texas — Look back at the Tuesday, April 7 blog at this link
Key updates for Wednesday, April 8, 2020
- The U.S. reached 400,000 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and passed 14,000 deaths.
- Tesla will cut pay for some employees, and furlough others.
- Track world championships rescheduled for July 2022.
- TSA screenings hit record low.
- The CDC is considering changing its guidance to make it easier for people who are exposed to coronavirus patients to return to work if they are asymptomatic.
Latest local & Texas updates:
Here are the latest updates from around Southeast Texas, Texas, Louisiana and some from the world (all times are local Central Daylight Time):
April 8 5:20 p.m. -- Officials have confirmed one additional death in Hardin County. Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel confirmed the patient was a man who lived in Silsbee. The Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center reported a total of eight coronavirus-related deaths in the southeast Texas Wednesday.
April 8 4:30 p.m. -- The Beaumont Public Health Department reports seven additional cases of COVID-19. This brings the total of people in Beaumont with the virus to 61, according to health professionals.
April 8 4:10 p.m -- The U.S. reached 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The total number of confirmed cases shortly before 4:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday was more than 419,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 14,200 deaths, and there have been 22,900 recoveries. Scroll down for more.
April 8 2:50 p.m -- TAN Healthcare, formerly Triangle Area Network, has received $583,055 in a second round of federal grants aimed at helping local health centers fight the spread of COVID-19 according to a news release from U.S. Senator John Cornyn's office on Wednesday. The funding was appropriated by Congress in March according to the release.
April 8 2:50 p.m -- Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie released several new orders and notices Wednesday afternoon in a news release.
Here's the main orders...
- All golf courses, driving ranges and golf training centers in Port Arthur must close.
- The use of and access to playground equipment, basketball and tennis courts at all City of Port Arthur parks is now prohibited.
- Worship services that are not virtual worship experiences are “vehemently discouraged” in Port Arthur.
April 8 1:40 p.m. -- All beaches have ordered closed in unincorporated areas of Galveston County including the Bolivar Peninsula according to a Facebook post by the county. The order is in effect from 12:01 a.m., April 10 through April 17, 2020.
April 8 12 p.m. -- Updates from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott:
- Walgreens will provide drive-thru testing for COVID-19 across Texas. Pharmacy will use Abbott labs rapid tests that give results in 15 minutes. Each site will be built up to administer 3,000 tests per day. No word on locations
- State will cross 100K testing threshold today or tomorrow; currently 96,258 tests administered for COVID-19
- 9,107 have tested postivie for COVID-19 in Texas
- 1,491 have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Texas
- 175 COVD-19-related deaths in Texas
- Harris County has been hit the hardest in Texas. Gov. Abbott says he discussed this with VP Pence on Tuesday. Harris Co. says more testing and masks are their two biggest requests.
- Texas Workforce Commission is seeing "incredible volume" in unemployment being filed. Largest spike in calls happened on March 26. TWC received 1.7M calls on that one day. TWC averages 120K calls a day.
- TWC has processed 600K claims per day in a two week period; likely more claims will be processed due to coronavirus than for all of 2019
- TWC has hired additional staff; house and senate staffers are pitching in to help process claims
April 8 12 p.m. -- Jefferson County Precinct Three Michael “Shane” Sinegal and his wife have chosen to self-quarantine after a worker at the sub-court house in Port Arthur tested positive for COVID-19 last week according to Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.
April 8 11:45 a.m. -- The Chambers County Youth Livestock Show and Ranch Rodeo has been canceled according to a news release from the county.
The livestock show and rodeo had previously been postponed.
The livestock show and rode is now planning on holding an online auction to support students. A date for the auction has not yet been set.
April 8 10 a.m. -- Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday asked federal officials to ban all flights from U.S. cities with a high number of coronavirus cases to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. territory. Scroll down for more.
April 8 9:30 a.m. --Tesla is furloughing most of its factory workers and temporarily implementing pay cuts to help manage costs after COVID-19 suspended new vehicle production. Scroll down for more.
April 8 8:40 a.m. -- Nationwide, 97,130 individuals were screened at TSA checkpoints on Tuesday, according to TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. Scroll down for more.
April 8 6:15 a.m. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic. Scroll down for more.
April 8 12:05 a.m. -- The U.S. will likely reach 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The total confirmed cases as of midnight ET Wednesday morning was 399,081, according to Johns Hopkins University. Scroll down for more.
April 8 12 a.m. -- Small business owners hoping for quick help from the government’s emergency $349 billion lending program were still waiting amid reports of computer problems at the Small Business Administration. Scroll down for more.
April 8 12 a.m. -- The last restrictions on movement have been lifted in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began. People are going outdoors and by the thousands boarded the first trains and planes leaving Wuhan. Scroll down for more.
The latest COVID-19 numbers
The U.S. reached 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The total number of confirmed cases shortly before 4:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday was more than 419,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 14,200 deaths, and there have been 22,900 recoveries.
For perspective, the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 20, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. It took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases on March 27. Five days later, the U.S. had 200,000 cases on April 1. It took three more days to reach 300,000 on April 4. Four days later, it reached 400,000.
Worldwide, JHU reports 1.49 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 87,000 deaths and 317,000 recoveries.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including death.
First lady spreads Easter cheer to workers during pandemic
Melania Trump is spreading some colorful Easter cheer to workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
That's the day after Easter. But the event was canceled due to concern about large gatherings during the coronavirus. outbreak.
Puerto Rico seeks ban on flights from US COVID-19 hot spots
Puerto Rico’s governor on Wednesday asked federal officials to ban all flights from U.S. cities with a high number of coronavirus cases to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. territory.
The petition by Gov. Wanda Vázquez to the Federal Aviation Administration came after officials accused some visitors of taking medicine to lower their fevers to avoid being placed in quarantine by National Guard troops screening people at the island’s main international airport.
At least two passengers from New York who lowered their fever with medication are now hospitalized in the island with COVID-19, according to the National Guard.
Vázquez asked to ban flights from New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Illinois.
Tesla will cut pay for some employees, and furlough others
Tesla is furloughing most of its factory workers and temporarily implementing pay cuts to help manage costs after COVID-19 suspended new vehicle production. Salaried employees will see pay cuts while hourly workers will be furloughed.
Furloughed employees won't be paid, but health benefits will continue. The company anticipates production at its Fremont, California car plant to resume on May 4, according to an email from Valerie Workman, head of HR for North America. Pay cuts are expected to be in place until the end of the second quarter.
Track world championships rescheduled for July 2022
The track world championships have been rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022. It's the first major sports event to be repositioned in the wake of the 12-month postponement of the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event draws around 1,800 athletes from more than 200 countries. It will still be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The event at the expanded and remodeled venue was originally supposed to take place in August 2021.
The rescheduling will also make for a jam-packed track schedule in 2022. The Commonwealth Games are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7 and the European track championships are set for Aug. 11-21.
TSA screenings hit record low
Nationwide, 97,130 individuals were screened at TSA checkpoints on Tuesday, according to TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.
Farbenstein said this is the first time screenings dipped below 100,000 during the pandemic, a record low. For comparison, 2,091,056 people passed through TSA security checkpoints one year ago.
CDC may change guidelines for some exposed to virus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.
The public health agency, in conjunction with the White House coronavirus task force, is considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday.
Under the proposed guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected would be allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said a person familiar with the proposal under consideration. The person described the proposal on the condition of anonymity because the draft had not been finalized.
Head of EU's top science panel quits over response
The head of the European Union’s top science organization has resigned in frustration at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
The sudden resignation of Mauro Ferrari and his stinging criticism was bound to add pressure on EU institutions, which have been accused of not working together to battle the global pandemic.
The news was first announced by the Financial Times, based on a statement released to the paper by Ferrari, who said he had “been extremely disappointed by the European response” to the pandemic. He complained about running into institutional and political obstacles as he sought to swiftly set up a scientific program to combat the virus.
The European Commission on Wednesday defended its record in combating the crisis and said 18 research and development projects had already been picked at short notice to fight the coronavirus crisis. It said another 50 European Research Council projects were contributing in the EU-wide effort.
French aircraft carrier may have outbreak
France’s defense ministry announced that French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is heading back to port amid a possible virus outbreak onboard.
The ministry said in a statement Wednesday that around 40 troops are presenting symptoms compatible with the COVID-19 disease. They have been placed under strict medical observation.
A medical team equipped with tests will get onboard Wednesday in order to confirm the potential cases and prevent the virus from further spreading, the ministry said.
The announcement comes after a coronavirus outbreak hit U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, now at port in Guam. As of Tuesday, the U.S. Navy said at least 230 crew had been tested positive. The captain was fired last week by the Navy Secretary, who himself resigned Tuesday following criticism over his handling of the situation.
British prime minister spends second night in ICU
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care unit as his condition remained stable while he fought the new coronavirus.
Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC on Wednesday that Johnson is receiving oxygen but is still not on a ventilator — a suggestion that at least his condition is not getting worse.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has temporarily taken over many of the prime minister’s duties to lead the country’s response to the pandemic as Johnson receives care. Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister.
Japan's economy headed to record 25% contraction
Japan’s economy is headed to a record 25% contraction in the current quarter, even with the just announced government fiscal aid package, as the new coronavirus slams consumer spending and business growth, Goldman Sachs said Wednesday.
The dismal report by economists Naohiko Baba and Yuriko Tanaka said exports are expected to dive by 60% in the April-June period.
The contraction for the world’s third largest economy would be a record, since GDP, or gross domestic product, began to be tracked in 1955, according to the report.
Computer issues hold up small business loans
Small business owners hoping for quick help from the government’s emergency $349 billion lending program were still waiting amid reports of computer problems at the Small Business Administration.
A trade group for community bankers and the CEO of an online lending marketplace said the SBA’s loan processing system stopped working Monday, making it impossible for loans to be processed.
The SBA did not answer a questions about the system Tuesday Thousands of small businesses are at risk of failure without a cash infusion. The loans offer forgiveness if the proceeds are used for workers’ pay, and payments can be deferred for six months.
Wuhan ends 76-day lockdown
The last restrictions on movement have been lifted in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began. People are going outdoors and by the thousands boarded the first trains and planes leaving Wuhan.
Its unprecedented, 11-week lockdown has been a model for countries trying to stop the coronavirus.
Wuhan now begins another experiment: resuming business and ordinary life while preventing more illnesses. The city that had most of China's 82,000 cases still has measures in place like social distancing and temperature checks. And people leaving the city will face hurdles elsewhere, like 14-day quarantines at their destinations.