BEAUMONT, Texas —
Today's top headlines:
- Orange County awaiting 11 test results after first confirmed patient; Hardin County reports second coronavirus case
- Beaumont confirms third case of coronavirus
- Jefferson County Judge begins self-quarantining after wife shows symptoms of COVID-19
- Honk for amen | Southeast Texas churches get creative by hosting in-car Sunday services
- LIST: Southeast Texas restaurants staying open via carry-out, drive-thru, delivery during coronavirus pandemic
- Southeast Texas officials stress need to call ahead before seeking a coronavirus test
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):
MORE: More Monday nation, world coronavirus updates
Key coronavirus updates for Monday, March 23:
- Member of the White House press pool suspected of having COVID-19
- Congress failed to pass the nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package, again.
- China said Monday that the U.S. has attempted to “discredit others and look for a scapegoat to shift its responsibilities.”
- Japan will begin quarantining all travelers from the U.S. for 14 days.
- Two countries have said they will not field teams for the Tokyo Olympics unless the Games are postponed.
- New Zealand begins a four-week lockdown Wednesday that bans all non-essential activities.
MARCH 23 7:45 p.m. — Galveston County has issued a stay-at-home order for all residents beginning Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. It will remain in effect until April 3. The order doesn't apply to those engaging in essential activities such as governmental functions, healthcare work or operating essential businesses. Read more here.
MARCH 23 6:51 p.m. — San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has issued what he calls a “stay home, work safe” order for residents. It begins at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and will last through at least April 9. Read more here.
MARCH 23 6:48 p.m. — There was staggering 70% increase in total COVID-19 deaths reported in Louisiana, jumping from 20 on Sunday to 34 on Monday afternoon, according to the latest data from the Louisiana Department of Health. Total cases also jumped from 837 Sunday to 1,172 in the same span, a 40% increase.
MARCH 23 5:48 p.m. — President Donald Trump says the deadline for having a "REAL ID" will be postponed amid closures across the United States in response to the coronavirus. That new deadline has yet to be released. Read more here.
MARCH 23 6:40 p.m. — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued executive orders, postponing the May 26 election runoffs until July in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The elections are now scheduled for July 14, with early voting taking place July 6-10. Read more here.
MARCH 23 6:00 p.m. — A state employee lied about testing positive for COVID-19. Last week, the employee reported to the Carrollton Driver License Office that they tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As Texas Department of Public Safety authorities attempted to notify and work with local public health authorities, they discovered that the employee lied about the positive test.
MARCH 23 4:20 p.m. — Chambers County put into effect a curfew for all people, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The 24 hour curfew for people under 18 is still in place. Price gouging is still prohibited in the county.
MARCH 23 4:00 p.m. — Officials from across Southeast Texas announced the region's first drive-thru testing center to serve Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, Newton and Orange counties.
MARCH 23 4:00 p.m. — Beaumont Public Health confirms three more positive cases of coronavirus. These individuals are currently quarantined at home and are cooperating with the direction of the health department.
MARCH 23 3 p.m. — Orange County officials released an amended executive order on Monday afternoon. The order says there should be no gatherings of more than 10 people, even on private properties.
MARCH 23 2:10 p.m. — Jasper County officials have extended a disaster declaration for the county for 60 days from today. Read the order.
MARCH 23 2 p.m. — The Port Arthur City Hall, Annex and all city facilities will restrict access to the public starting at 3 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus according to a notice from the city.
City office will remain open and residents can contact city departments for assistance via phone or online according to the notice.
For urgent matters there will be a staff member at the door of each city facility. Contact the city for assistance at 409-983-8259 or via email at PACOVID19@portarthurtx.gov
MARCH 23 1:40 p.m. — In a 49 to 46 vote, the U.S. Senate failed to advance a third phase of the coronavirus economic aid bill package for a second time. Scroll down for more.
MARCH 23 1:30 p.m. —Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said Monday he believes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed, according to USA Today.
MARCH 23 1:15 p.m. — Tyler County officials are hoping to soon join five other Southeast Texas counties in the fight against the coronavirus.
The county has been working to get mutual aid agreements in place with the other counties according to Ken Jobe at the Tyler County Emergency Management Center.
MARCH 23 1 p.m. — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential errands in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, mirroring similar orders in adjacent Illinois and Ohio.
MARCH 23 11 a.m. — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with an exemption for certain workers, outdoor exercise and trips to the grocery store or hospital. Scroll down for more.
MARCH 23 10:50 a.m. — Jefferson, Orange,Hardin, Jasper and Newton County officials will be holding a news conference Monday afternoon to announce the county's first drive-thru testing site according to a news release from Jefferson County. The site will be the first to serve the five-county region.
MARCH 23 10 a.m. — Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams spoke with NBC's "TODAY" show Monday morning and reiterated the need for the public to stay home and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Scroll down for more.
MARCH 23 9:50 a.m. — Minnesota governor Tim Walz said Monday morning that he will be self-quarantining after learning he had contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
MARCH 23 9:45 a.m. — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her husband recently tested positive for the new coronavirus. Scroll down for more.
MARCH 23 6:30 a.m. — Over the weekend the number of positive coronavirus cases in Southeast Texas rose to 6. A third positive case was confirmed in Beaumont, while a second was confirmed in Hardin County. Orange County saw its first positive case and is awaiting test results on 11 others.
Scroll down for more updated National & World headlines
U.S. & World Updates
As of 1:15 a.m. ET Monday, Johns Hopkins University reports 339,041 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The United States has 35,211 confirmed cases, the third-most in the world behind China and Spain.
Senate fails to advance coronavirus bill package again
In a 49 to 46 vote, the U.S. Senate failed to advance a third phase of the coronavirus economic aid bill package for a second time.
The Senate has refused to advance the coronavirus rescue package for the first time on Sunday in a procedural vote with Democrats, rejecting a draft from Republicans and pushing for more aid for workers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday urged senators to “signal to the public that we're ready to get this job done.” He wanted passage by Monday. But Democrats have resisted, arguing the nearly $1.4 trillion measure needs to bolster aid and put limits on how businesses can use the emergency dollars.
Republicans need 60 votes to move forward on the bill. More voting is possible.
Longest-serving IOC member says Tokyo Olympics will be postponed
Veteran International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said Monday he believes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are going to be postponed, according to USA Today.
The games have been threatened by the fast-spreading coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
Pound told USA Today the games will likely be played in 2021, with all the details to be worked out in the next few weeks. He said the IOC is expected to announce its next steps soon.
The Olympics are scheduled to open on July 24, but Pound told USA Today that "the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.
Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson "feel better"
Actor Tom Hanks says two weeks after their first coronavirus symptoms, he and his wife, Rita Wilson, "feel better."
Hanks and Wilson announced they tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11 while in Australia for the pre-production for a film about Elvis Presley's life for Warner Bros.
They first became concerned after feeling tired with body aches, chills and fevers. They opted to get tested and learned they were positive.
In the 63-year-old actor's recent update, he encouraged everyone to look out for each other.
Indiana governor orders residents to stay home
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential errands in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, mirroring similar orders in adjacent Illinois and Ohio.
Angela Merkel negative in 1st coronavirus test
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said Monday that the German leader has tested negative for the new coronavirus.
Spokesman Steffen Seibert told news agency dpa “the result of today's test is negative” but that “further tests will be conducted in the coming days.”
Merkel went into quarantine at home on Sunday evening after being informed that a doctor who had administered a vaccination to her had tested positive for the new coronavirus. She received the precautionary vaccination against pneumococcal infection on Friday.
Michigan issues stay-at-home order
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with an exemption for certain workers, outdoor exercise and trips to the grocery store or hospital.
The order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, will allow essential employees necessary to sustain and protect life to continue going to work.
Minnesota governor to self-quarantine
Minnesota governor Tim Walz said Monday morning that he will be self-quarantining after learning he had contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar's husband tests positive for COVID-19
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her husband recently tested positive for the new coronavirus.
"I love him and not being able to be by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease," the senator wrote in a tweet.
In a statement on Medium, Klobuchar said her husband started feeling sick while she was in Minnesota and he was in D.C. Her husband quarantined himself, and when his symptoms got worse he was tested and checked into a hospital in Virginia. Klobuchar said her husband now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator.
Because Klobuchar and her husband were in different states when he became ill and she is outside the 14-day period for getting sick, the senator said she would not be tested for the disease. "As everyone is aware, there are test shortages for people who need them everywhere and I don’t qualify to get one under any standard," she said in a statement.
Surgeon General urges people to stay home, says "it's going to get bad" this week
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams spoke with NBC's "TODAY" show Monday morning and reiterated the need for the public to stay home and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“I want America to understand this week, it's going to get bad,” he said.
"Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. So, test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else. Or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home,” he said.
Dollar General to hire up to 50,000 new employees
Dollar General has announced it will double its hiring rate and hire up to 50,000 new employees to keep up with the demand for household essentials during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are proud to serve as one of America’s essential retailers, and we believe our customers are relying on us now more than ever to provide an affordable, convenient retail option,” said Kathy Reardon, Dollar General’s senior vice president and chief people officer in a statement. “The Dollar General family continues to do its part in helping our customers and neighbors during these unprecedented times.
Michigan governor to issue stay-at-home order
As of 1:15 a.m. ET Monday, Johns Hopkins University reports 339,041 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. The United States has 35,211 confirmed cases, the third-most in the world behind China and Spain.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will announce a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with an exemption for certain workers, a government official told The Associated Press on Monday.
The order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, will allow “essential" employees necessary to sustain and protect life to continue going to work, said a high-ranking administration official who had direct knowledge of the measure. The person was not authorized to speak publicly before the Democratic governor's scheduled 11 a.m. Monday news conference.
Lansing-based political publication MIRS first reported on the planned order Monday.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
CVS to hire 50,000, give bonuses in response to virus
CVS has announced it will be awarding bonuses to employees, launching new benefits and hiring 50,000 new employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bonuses will range from $150 to $500. The positions open will be full-time, part-time and temporary. The roles include stores associates, prescription delivery drivers, ,distribution center employees and member/customer service professionals.
“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health in an emailed statement.“As they continue to be there for the individuals and families we serve, we’re taking extra steps to provide some peace of mind and help them navigate these uncertain times.”
Global COVID-19 cases top 350,000 and death toll passes 15,000
COVID-19 has infected more than 350,000 people worldwide and killed more than 15,000, according to a John Hopkins University tracker. More than 100,000 people have recovered from the disease.
The majority of people who have the new coronavirus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, will get better without any long-term effects, according to an Oregon doctor.
A majority of cases tend to be mild. In these cases, symptoms diminish over five to seven days, although people are still capable of transmitting the disease. But there are many people with a higher risk of having a more severe disease if they are diagnosed with coronavirus, including those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other vascular disease problems. Also, most children who get it have mild symptoms.
Federal Reserve to lend up to $300B to businesses, cities
In a series of sweeping steps, the Fed will lend to small and large businesses and local governments as well as extend its bond buying programs.
It's all part of the Fed's ongoing efforts to support the flow of credit through an economy ravaged by the viral outbreak. The Fed said Monday that it will set up three new lending facilities that will provide up to $300 billion by purchasing corporate bonds, buying a wider range of municipal bonds, and purchasing asset-backed securities.
It also says it will buy an unlimited amount of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities in an effort hold down interest rates and ensure those markets function smoothly.
U.S tourist is second virus fatality in Puerto Rico
The second death from COVID-19 in Puerto Rico is a tourist from the United States.
The Health Department says the victim is a 73-year-old man who was vacationing in the U.S. territory with his wife and had other health problems.
The island has 31 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 69 pending test results. Police have detained and cited more than 200 people for violating a two-week curfew imposed last week.
Former Olympic swimming champion has the virus
Former Olympic swimming champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa says he has contracted the coronavirus
Van der Burgh retired from competitive swimming but says he has been struggling for two weeks with the illness. He is also adding his voice to concerns for the well-being of current athletes if the Tokyo Olympics are held as scheduled
in July and August. Van der Burgh says athletes are “exposing themselves to unnecessary risk” by continuing to train because they are unsure if the games will go ahead. The IOC has announced it is considering postponing the Olympics.
Two who tested positive on Diamond Princess cruise ship die
Japan's health ministry said Monday that two former passengers of a cruise ship died, becoming the ninth and 10th fatalities from the Diamond Princess.
The two men had tested positive for the virus while on board and were treated at hospitals. The ministry didn't disclose the direct cause of their deaths.
Japan now has 1,801 confirmed cases, including 712 from the ship. The death toll now totals 51, including 10 from the ship.
China slams US for 'scapegoating' over virus
China's foreign ministry says the U.S. is "completely wasting the precious time" Beijing had won in attacking the global coronavirus outbreak that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing Monday that the U.S. has attempted to “discredit others and look for a scapegoat to shift its responsibilities.”
He added that the U.S. should “stop politicizing the epidemic, stop stigmatizing and defaming China and other countries.”
China's health ministry says Wuhan has now gone five consecutive days without a new infection, showing the effectiveness of draconian travel restrictions that are slowly being relaxed around the country.
At the same time, China is stepping up measures to prevent the virus from being brought back from overseas, requiring international flights into Beijing to first stop at airports outside the capital for inspection.
New Zealand prepares four-week lockdown
Office workers are hauling computers and plants to their cars and shoppers are stripping shelves bare of coffee, flour and toilet paper before New Zealand starts a four-week lockdown.
"I know it will feel daunting," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, but she said the move was meant to save lives.
People must stay home and all non-essential businesses and activities cease when the lockdown begins late Wednesday night.
Japan to begin quarantining all visiting from US
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that Japan will require a 14-day quarantine to all visitors from the United States, including the Japanese and Americans, effective Thursday and until the end of April.
Japan on Sunday raised a travel advisory for the U.S., urging the Japanese citizens not to make nonessential trips to the U.S.
Abe said the U.S. recently took similar measures and urged Americans not to make nonessential trips to Japan, requiring a 14-day quarantine for entrants.
Congress hopes to vote Monday on rescue package
The latest economic rescue package being negotiated in Washington is now nearly $2 trillion. But the Senate has yet to agree on the parameters of the package, voting against advancing the measure to a full vote. Talks were continuing Sunday night on Capitol Hill with the goal a new vote on Monday.
Democrats say the draft package is insufficient, arguing it was tilted toward corporations and did too little to help workers and health care providers. Republicans returned to the negotiating table.
President Donald Trump weighed in earlier in the day, saying “it's not very complicated” and that workers must be helped and companies saved.
Canada, Australia announcements push likelihood for Olympics postponement to 2021
The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen — but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned. This seems clear after the International Olympic Committee said it was considering a postponement.
Major Olympic nations like Canada and Australia are adding pressure by making it clear they will not go if the games are staged this year.
IOC President Thomas Bach sent a letter to athletes explaining the decision and why it might take so long, while also acknowledging the extended timeline might not be popular. He said a final decision was likely to come in four week.
US futures point to another bad day on Wall Street
U.S. futures have declined and Australia's share benchmark plunged 8.5% as work on more stimulus for the U.S. economy hit snags in the U.S. Senate. Shares also dropped in Hong Kong and South Korea early Monday.
However, Japan's Nikkei 225 index held steady, gaining 0.5% after the International Olympic Committee said it plans to discuss potentially changing the timing of the Tokyo Games, due to begin in July.
Troubled cruise ship arrives in Honolulu
A cruise ship that had to cut short its trip because of the coronavirus and mechanical problems docked Sunday in Honolulu's harbor.
The Norwegian Jewel, which carried about 2,000 passengers, docked in the evening, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. The Hawaii Department of Transportation says the ship has problems with its propulsion, which will be repaired at Honolulu's harbor.
The ship had to scuttle its 23-day cruise of Australia and French Polynesia because many ports were closed due to the coronavirus.