The Latest: Denver mayor mandates workers to be vaccinated


DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says the city will mandate all city employees and private sector workers in high-risk settings to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30.

Denver’s public health measure announced Monday applies to more than 10,000 municipal employees like police officers, firefighters, and sheriff’s deputies.

Hancock says the order includes congregate care settings including nursing homes, homeless shelters, hospitals, correctional facilities.

It also applies to employees of public and private schools and higher education institutions in the county. Officials say after Sept. 30, workers who do not get vaccinated but are required to do so under the mandate will not be allowed to work onsite.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

Fauci says more suffering lies ahead as coronavirus cases surge again

UK eases travel restrictions as industry lobbies for more

— Iran records highest number of daily COVID cases in pandemic

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland has been seeing rising cases of COVID-19, but no deaths were reported on Monday morning for the latest 24-hour period.

The state reported 447 new confirmed cases on Monday, and hospitalizations increased by 25 to 281 in the state.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, the chief executive of the state’s fifth most populous jurisdiction that includes the state capital of Annapolis, announced Monday that masks will be required in all county buildings by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, starting on Thursday.

Pittman, a Democrat, also said that starting Sept. 13, the county will begin requiring county employees to show proof of vaccination or weekly evidence of a negative test for COVID-19, with suspension without pay possible for employees who do not comply.

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JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi’s department of health reported Monday that the state saw almost 5,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the weekend as the virus surges statewide.

That’s an increase of more than five times the number of new cases — 796 — reported three weeks ago on July 12.

“Delta surge accelerating quickly — please be safe and protect your family,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted.

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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s largest physicians organization is urging all health care organizations to require that their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Despite the pleas for voluntary vaccinations, Wisconsin and the nation continue to see dramatic increases in coronavirus infections, primary due to the spread of the delta variant among those who are unvaccinated.

The plea Monday from the Wisconsin Medical Society follows last week’s call from dozens of national health care organizations, including the American Medical Association, for employer-mandated vaccinations.

“Health care needs to continue to lead the fight against COVID-19,” said Wisconsin Medical Society COVID-19 Task Force Chairman David Letzer. “The only hope to beat this virus is through a significant increase in vaccinations. Mandates similar to what we already have in place for measles or influenza are needed. It’s time for all health care employers to lead by example, do the right thing and take this necessary next step.”

Health care systems in Wisconsin requiring employer-mandated vaccinations include the Medical College of Wisconsin, Children’s Wisconsin, the Mayo Clinic Health System and Ascension Wisconsin.

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Public colleges and universities in Minnesota will be requiring masks be worn on campuses to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as the delta variant of the virus is surging.

The University of Minnesota said Monday that it will require all students, employees and visitors at its five campuses to wear masks indoors starting Tuesday, regardless of their vaccination status.

The Minnesota State public college system said mask mandates should be implemented at any of its 37 campuses that are located in counties with high transmission rates. As of Thursday, that included eight community colleges and two universities, but the Star Tribune reports that number is increasing.

Target also updated its masking policy, saying that starting Tuesday, masks will be required for employees and strongly recommended for customers in areas where viral transmission is high.

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JACKSON, Miss. — The mayor of Vicksburg has tested positive for COVID-19 as cases climb statewide in Mississippi.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. released a statement Monday that he would be quarantining for the next five days while sick with the virus.

“After being administered two COVID-19 tests, the first of which was negative, my physician has confirmed that the second test was positive,” he said.

Flaggs said he is “looking forward to a quick recovery” and that he plans to return to work in a week. Vicksburg is a city of around 22,000.

Mississippi’s department of health reported almost 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days. The state of around 3 million people has seen almost 350,000 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says workers in New York City’s airports and public transit system will have to get vaccinations or face weekly testing for the coronavirus, but he stopped short of mandating either masks or inoculations for the general public.

Speaking to reporters Monday, the Democrat says he no longer has the legal authority to make masking mandatory.

The Democrat urged bars and restaurants to adopt a policy of only serving vaccinated people and said that more hospitals should require workers to get vaccines.

An average of nearly 2,300 people have been testing positive for COVID-19 daily across New York state over the past week, up from around 300 new cases per day in late June.

Shortly after Cuomo spoke to reporters, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “strongly recommending” that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors when not at home, but also declined to make masking mandatory.

The governor and mayor have resisted re-imposing mask mandates, instead stressing vaccination as the key to fighting the pandemic. De Blasio announced last week that city employees would have to get coronavirus vaccines by mid-September or face weekly COVID-19 testing. Cuomo later announced a similar rule for state employees.

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CHICAGO — An annual festival in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood has been canceled for a second straight year, largely to avoid further stressing vendors already struggling to find workers, organizers said.

The Taylor Street Little Italy Festa, which typically draws tens of thousands of people to the neighborhood in mid to late August, was canceled last year because of COVID-19.

This year’s cancellation was partially driven by rising COVID-19 cases and the delta variant’s emergence, said Ron Onesti, president of Onesti Entertainment, the group that puts on the event. But he said the primary factor was that going ahead with the festival would put an additional strain on businesses, particularly Taylor Street restaurants, struggling in a tight labor market to find workers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“It is no secret that labor is a problem for everyone, and on Taylor Street it is really prominent. Some businesses already have to close on Sundays or reduce their hours to get by,” Onesti said.

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MIAMI — Miami’s public hospital Jackson Memorial has just expanded its intensive care unit by 58 beds as a result of a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

A spokeswoman for Jackson Health System said the network continues to care for other patients, and elective surgeries and transplants are still taking place.

On Monday, 33 hospitals were reporting a critical staffing shortage in the state. The figure is twice what it was during previous virus surges since the pandemic began.

“We do have additional ICU beds, which could be converted to COVID units if it gets to that point,” said Tania Leets-Santana, the spokeswoman..

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 10,389 patients currently hospitalized who have COVID-19 as of Monday. The Florida Hospital Association said the state reached its peak last year on July 23, with 10,170 hospitalizations.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — One of Florida’s largest health care systems says many hospitalized COVID-19 patients will only be able to receive guests virtually, not in person, in order to free up space at its hospitals.

Exceptions will be made for children under the age of 18, obstetrics, pediatrics and end of life situations, Advent Health’s Central Florida division said Monday in a statement.

“The reason we are adjusting our status is to ensure we have capacity in the future,” the statement said. ”Our hospitals are designed in such a way that spaces are flexible and expandable.”

The health care system last week stopped performing non-emergency surgeries in order to free up resources for COVID-19 patients, of which 94% were unvaccinated.

Over the weekend, federal health data showed that Florida on Friday reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Advent said Monday that it had sufficient supplies of ventilators, monitors and other specialized equipment to be able to quickly convert spaces in the hospital to both standard and ICU level rooms should they be needed.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield hospital reached a “sad new record” on Sunday when the number of coronavirus patients in its care rose to 187, an administrator said.

CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards urged residents via Twitter to get vaccinated “to protect others, to protect children, to protect our community.”

On Saturday, Edwards wrote on social media that the hospital had 180 infected inpatients, which at the time was a new record, according to the Kansas City Star. The number was as low as 28 patients about eight weeks ago, he said.

“I can’t understand the motivations of people disparaging healthcare providers and diminishing the reality of this pandemic,” Edwards said on Twitter, as health officials continue to urge Missourians to get vaccinated as the more aggressive delta variant added to recent spikes in infections and deaths.

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HONG KONG — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says authorities would reclassify countries into high, medium and low-risk, and update quarantine requirements to favor vaccinated travelers as it seeks to prevent imported coronavirus infections from leaking into the community.

Under the new measures announced Monday, only vaccinated Hong Kong residents will be able to return to Hong Kong from countries deemed high-risk. For medium-risk countries, only Hong Kong residents and vaccinated non-residents can return to the city.

All arrivals must present a negative coronavirus test result taken within the 72 hours before they board their flight to Hong Kong.

Authorities also said civil servants must get vaccinated or get regular coronavirus tests at their own expense.

Staff in quarantine hotels and at the airports, as well as employees at schools and homes for the elderly and the disabled were also ordered to get vaccinated or pay for regular testing in the future.

Certain restaurant workers who are unvaccinated will also need to be tested every seven days instead of every 14 days.

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KARACHI, Pakistan — Hundreds of Pakistani businessmen, mostly shop owners, have rallied in the southern port city of Karachi against the recent imposition of a lockdown there amid an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

The demonstrators on Monday demanded the lifting of the lockdown, saying their businesses are being hurt.

The lockdown, which began over the weekend, will remain in place until August 8.

The demonstrators promised to adhere to social distancing rules. It was not clear whether the government will accept their demand.

But before announcing the lockdown, authorities had repeatedly asked people to stop violating social distancing rules in order to avoid strict measures.

Pakistani authorities say they imposed the lockdown amid a surge in new infections and fatalities.

The South Asian country of over 216 million people has reported 103,9695 confirmed cases and 23,462 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

On Monday it reported 40 new deaths in the past day and 4,858 deaths.

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BUCHAREST, Romania — The second 150,000 doses of a planned 500,000-dose supply of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines have arrived in Moldova — a donation from the United States to help the former Soviet republic inoculate its small nation.

The vaccine donation is part of the U.N.-backed COVAX program that is shipping coronavirus vaccines to poor countries to help combat the global pandemic.

Moldova, a nation of around 3.5 million sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, has so far administered more than a million vaccine doses, but only 495,000 have been fully inoculated against COVID-19.

The U.S. Embassy in Moldova wrote Monday that the American people “are honored” to send the vaccines, adding: “These are single shot vaccines, which can inoculate half a million Moldovans against the Coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, the Moldovan government urged people to be vaccinated.

Since the pandemic began, Moldova has recorded more than 259,000 infections and 6,255 people have died.



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