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COVID-19 Update: Medicine Hat passes mandatory mask bylaw | 1,685 new cases, 10 deaths



a person standing in front of a sunset: Araleigh Cranch adjusts her mask watching the sunset on Crescent Hill as the province announced plans for vaccines starting in January in Calgary on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.


© Provided by Calgary Herald
Araleigh Cranch adjusts her mask watching the sunset on Crescent Hill as the province announced plans for vaccines starting in January in Calgary on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.

What’s happening now

How have you been impacted by COVID-19?

Postmedia is looking to speak with people who may have been impacted by the growing second wave of COVID-19 here in Alberta. Do you have a child or teen who caught COVID-19? Are you a front-line worker? Send us an email at [email protected] to tell us your experience, or send us a message via this form .



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WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel



a close up of a painted wall:  This file photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows the logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva.


© FABRICE COFFRINI
This file photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows the logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend countries issuing “immunity passports” for those who have recovered from COVID-19, but is looking at prospects of deploying e-vaccination certificates like those it is developing with Estonia.

Estonia and the United Nations health agency in October started a pilot project for a digital vaccine certificate – a “smart yellow card” – for eventual use in interoperable healthcare data tracking and to strengthen the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to boost vaccinations in developing countries.

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Health Canada to finish review on Pfizer vaccine candidate soon, federal govt. says



a close up of a bottle


© Provided by Calgary Herald


Canada is drawing closer to making a decision on a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday as the federal government continued to face pressure to deliver on doses amid mounting cases and deaths.

In a series of Twitter messages, Hajdu described the United Kingdom’s decision to authorize the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as “encouraging.”

“Health Canada’s review of this candidate is ongoing, and is expected to be completed soon,” she wrote.

“Making sure a COVID-19 vaccine is safe before approving it is Health Canada’s priority, and when a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”

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Hockey team that picked up COVID in Alberta wreaks havoc in B.C. community



a person wearing a suit and tie:  File photo of B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.


© DON CRAIG
File photo of B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

An old-timers hockey team travelled from the Interior Health region into Alberta and returned with sick players, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday.

Those players then spread the disease to dozens of people, including family and workmates.

“I can tell you that it was several dozen families that were infected. Several businesses affected, long-term care was affected,” said Henry.

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Medicine Hat passes mandatory mask bylaw



a sign in front of a brick building:  Medicine Hat’s welcome sign sits on the east side of the city on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.


© Postmedia Archives
Medicine Hat’s welcome sign sits on the east side of the city on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

Medicine Hat city council passed a mandatory face covering bylaw on Wednesday night.

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medicine

Michigan Medicine restricts visitors for adult patients as COVID-19 cases climb

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine has updated its visitor policy with tightened restrictions in order to keep patients and staff safe as COVID-19 cases surge around the state.

As of Wednesday, no visitors will be permitted with adult patients in the health system’s hospitals, unless medically necessary.

Exceptions to the new restrictions include end-of-life care, labor and delivery and other scenarios which are listed here.

According to Michigan Medicine, the new policy change includes restrictions already announced:

  • No visitors are allowed with adult emergency department patients, except when medically necessary.
  • At C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, two visitors are allowed for pediatric patients. But family and other visitors are required to wear a mask (covering their mouth and nose) at all Michigan Medicine properties. This includes in a patient room and throughout the facility. Patients who can tolerate a mask must wear one when a health care worker is present in their room.
  • In clinics, no visitors will be allowed for adult patients unless the patient has a cognitive or physical impairment that requires assistance. One primary caregiver is allowed to accompany each pediatric patient to an appointment, unless an additional aide or assistant is required.

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“COVID-19 transmission rates continue to climb in the community,” Laraine Washer, Michigan Medicine’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology said in a statement. “Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff, and to minimize the spread of disease, we need to take this additional step.

“We know this is difficult for our patients and their families and friends. But we need to continue to keep our Michigan Medicine facilities safe for all of our patients.”

Since the pandemic began in March, Michigan Medicine has been taking steps to keep staff and patients safe, including screening patients for symptoms, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, moving furniture to observe social distancing and following the latest guidelines to minimize infections.

“Limiting the risk of transmission of infection has always been a critical priority at Michigan Medicine,” Washer said in a statement. “And I want to reassure the public that if you need health care for a new problem or for continuing care of a chronic problem, you should not put it off.

“We have teams dedicated to keeping our patients and staff safe in our buildings. It is important to not delay emergency or chronic care.”

Washer urged people to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings this year with those outside your household.

“The best advice to limit risk is to continue to avoid gathering with people outside your household even if it is Thanksgiving,” she said in a statement. “If you are reporting to work, don’t have potlucks or share meals in close proximity with your co-workers: you can’t eat without taking off your mask, and that brief period of not wearing a mask could be enough to open the door to disease spread.

“We need everyone’s help with this. A large surge of

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medicine

UW Medicine postponing some non-urgent procedures amid rising COVID cases

UW Medicine and other hospitals are starting to postpone non-urgent procedures to free up more space as coronavirus cases surge in Washington state.

SEATTLE — UW Medicine in Seattle is delaying some non-urgent procedures to free up more space in its hospitals for coronavirus patients. 

Hospital staff are identifying non-urgent surgeries that would require hospitalization and postponing them “unless it would cause medical harm to the patient,” said Susan Gregg, spokesperson for UW Medicine on Saturday. 

“We are implementing this process to increase our bed capacity and available personnel based on the current increase of COVID-19 cases in our region and increased hospitalizations,” Gregg said via email. 

UW Medicine isn’t the only hospital choosing to postpone certain procedures. 

During a briefing with state and local health officials earlier this week, Chief Operating Officer at Swedish First Hill, Dr. Elizabeth Wako, said her hospital is reducing elective surgeries to make room for more COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals in western Washington are preparing for what could be a surge in COVID-19 cases following the Thanksgiving holiday if people choose to ignore state and local warnings to not gather with people outside their household. 

A new national survey by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found nearly two in five people report they will likely attend a gathering with more than 10 people for Thanksgiving.

“If you gather with 15 people for Thanksgiving dinner, there will be an 18% chance that one of the individuals will be infected with COVID,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy during a briefing this week.

Deputy Secretary of Health Lacy Fehrenbach added, “There’s risk for further transmission. Those guests who become infected may go on to do other things the following week. They may go to a religious service. Another might work in a nursing home. A child who attended could go to school leading to outbreaks in these locations.”

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fitness

Walz to temporarily close bars, restaurants and fitness centers as COVID-19 cases surge

Gov. Tim Walz will impose new restrictions on bars, restaurants and fitness centers starting Friday, closing them down to the public four weeks as COVID-19 cases surge across the state.

Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to offer takeout services during that time, according to a source with knowledge of the restrictions. The new restrictions will also include a temporary pause on youth sports activities.

Walz will deliver an address to Minnesotans at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the latest steps in his response to COVID-19.

The restrictions come days after the governor implemented a 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants and put restrictions on bar seating and games.

But Minnesota health officials have warned the state is heading to a dangerous phase of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported 26 new COVID-19 deaths and 5,945 new coronavirus infections, with 1,669 people with COVID-19 occupying inpatients beds in Minnesota and 346 needing intensive care — a record number of hospitalizations.

Republicans in the Legislature are asking Walz to announce the new restrictions immediately to help restaurants and bars plan for the changes.

“Minnesotans recognize how grave the situation is with COVID-19 spreading uncontrolled throughout the state,” said Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar. “We’re ready to do our part for our health care workers, no matter how difficult the coming weeks will be, and prevent a capacity crisis for our hospitals and health care facilities. But we need to do this together with transparency.”

Briana Bierschbach • 612-673-4689

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©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com

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fitness

Wearable Fitness Trackers Could Help Detect Covid-19 Cases

Results from a large U.S. study suggest that information collected from fitness trackers could help identify who has Covid-19 more accurately than tracking symptoms alone, something the researchers hope will help control the spread of the virus.

“We found that if you identify each individual’s normal values when they’re not sick, then you can identify these subtle changes that indicates something is happening to their health,” explained study investigator and senior researcher Jennifer Radin, an epidemiologist based at Scripps Research Translational Institute in California.

In an ideal world, anyone who suspects they may have contracted an infectious virus such as SARS-CoV-2 should be able to get a test to let them know whether they need to isolate themselves from other people or not.

However, unfortunately life is not that simple. Tests for Covid-19 are expensive, in great demand and even in wealthy Western countries they can be hard to access. Finding a way to more accurately predict who has been infected without relying on lab tests is therefore of high importance.

The problem is that using symptoms alone it can be hard to differentiate Covid-19 from other respiratory infections like colds and flu, particularly in individuals who have mild-to-moderate symptoms.

One in 5 Americans now wears some sort of smartwatch or fitness tracker on a regular basis, measuring a range of factors such as heart rate, sleep, and daily activity levels. Radin and colleagues at the Scripps Institute decided to test whether this data could help predict cases of Covid-19.

In March this year they launched a study called ‘Detect’. The team used an app called MyDataHelps to allow people to opt in to securely share their device data.

Between the end of March and the beginning of June this year the team recruited 30,529 participants into the study. Of these, 3811 said they had possible Covid-19 symptoms during this time. Only 333 of these individuals were tested and 54 had a confirmed infection.

When the researchers compared the accuracy of predicting infection based on symptoms alone versus symptoms plus fitness tracker data, the latter combination was more accurate.

“We found that when you add wearable data to the self-reported symptom data that significantly improved our ability to differentiate who in this study had Covid-19 versus who was Covid-19 negative,” said Radin.

Using a statistical test, where a value of 1 = 100% correct, the researchers found that predicting infection using symptoms and fitness tracker data scored 0.80, whereas symptoms alone only scored 0.71.

“We found that individuals who had Covid-19 typically slept a lot more than those who had symptoms, but were Covid-19 negative. Also, these individuals were a lot less active,” noted Radin.

“Resting heart rate was less of a differentiator in this study, but we did find that 30% of the individuals who had Covid-19 had a resting heart rate that went up to two standard deviations above their normal rate. So, it may be something that changes for some individuals, but not everybody.”

The Detect

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medicine

Michigan Medicine announces restrictions to visitors as statewide COVID-19 cases surge

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine announced Monday it has added visitor restrictions at its hospitals and clinics to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to protect patients and staff.

Visitors are no longer allowed in the adult emergency department, except when medically necessary.

Its visitor policy at its adult hospitals and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital remains unchanged: one visitor per day per adult and two for pediatric patients. Visitors, including family, are required to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth at all Michigan Medicine properties, including inside a patient’s room. Patients who are able to tolerate a mask must wear one in the presence of a health care worker.

No visitors will be allowed in clinics for adult patients unless the patient has a physical or cognitive impairment that requires assistance. For pediatric patients, one primary caregiver is allowed at an appointment, unless an additional assistant or aide is required.

Exceptions to the new restrictions include end-of-life care, labor and delivery and other scenarios which are listed here.

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“We recognize the critical role that visitors – families and friends – play in the well-being of our patients. However, as the spread of COVID-19 hits record-setting levels across the state, we need to minimize the risk of transmission,” Laraine Washer, Michigan Medicine’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology, said in a statement.

“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and our staff. We hope that by adding these restrictions, we will better protect everyone from COVID-19,” Washer continued. “We need to continue to keep our Michigan Medicine facilities safe for all of our patients.”

Since the pandemic began in March, Michigan Medicine has been taking steps to keep staff and patients safe, including screening patients for symptoms, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, moving furniture to observe social distancing and following the latest guidelines to minimize infections.

“Many people in our facilities are very sick or have weakened immune systems, which places them at higher risk,” Washer said in a statement. “Limiting visitors and requiring a mask at all times will help reduce the spread of infection.”

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medicine

Michigan Medicine implements visitor restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases

(WXYZ) — Michigan Medicine announced Tuesday it has implemented visitor restrictions at its hospitals and clinics as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Related: Michigan health leaders: ‘Not only are the numbers alarming, people are dying’

The hospital group is the latest in southeast Michigan to implement restrictions, following Beaumont, Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System.

It’s the second time this year that visitor restrictions have been implemented. Those restrictions started being eased about 3 months after the pandemic began.

No visitors are allowed at Michigan Medicine with emergency department patients, except when medically necessary.

The number of visitors at adult hospitals and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has not changed. One visitor per day is allowed for every adult and two for pediatric patients.

Family and other visitors have to wear a mask at all properties.

No visitors are allowed with adult emergency department patients, except when medically necessary.

In clinics, no visitors will be allowed for adult patients unless the patient has a cognitive or physical impairment that requires assistance.

There are some exceptions for end-of-life care, labor and delivery and other situations. You can view those here.

“We recognize the critical role that visitors – families and friends – play in the well-being of our patients. However, as the spread of COVID-19 hits record-setting levels across the state, we need to minimize the risk of transmission,” said Laraine Washer, M.D., Michigan Medicine’s medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology.

“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and our staff. We hope that by adding these restrictions, we will better protect everyone from COVID-19,” Washer said. “We need to continue to keep our Michigan Medicine facilities safe for all of our patients.”

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s orders since the outbreak, coronavirus’ impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.

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health

US Coronavirus: Second highest number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Election Day, with more than 91,000 infections

The country’s five highest days of coronavirus cases have all been recorded since October 29, affirming experts’ warnings another surge is well on its way and will only get worse. The nationwide 7-day average of new cases now stands at about 86,363 — more than double what it was on September 4. And while doctors have stressed basic public health measures like masks and social distancing can turn things around, such measures remain a point of contention in some parts of the US.

Now only five states are trending in the right direction — Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Vermont — while at least 36 are reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

And states including Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases Tuesday.

In Kentucky, where the governor has long cautioned that infections were climbing quickly, he said Tuesday that “every day, things appear to be getting worse.”

“We are seeing not only a surge in the virus, but more and more of our kids by percentage who are getting it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.

Dr. Deborah Birx's stern warning is a wakeup call
His words follow an alarming new report saying that Covid-19 case counts were impacting children around the country at “unprecedented levels,” with the last week of October seeing the highest one-week spike in new infections.
Hospitalizations among Americans are also up, and hundreds of people continue to lose their lives from the virus every day. More than 232,000 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. And about another 100,000 Americans will die in just the next two months, projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show.

Hospitalizations ‘sharply increasing’ in Midwest

Across the country, more than 50,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project — an increase of more than 67% in a month.

Hospitalizations are “sharply increasing” in the Midwest, according to the project.

El Paso is facing its worst Covid-19 outbreak while trying to vote on Election Day
“In the region there are 238 people currently hospitalized per million people,” it said on Twitter.

In Nebraska, health officials say a surge of infections have put a strain on hospitals statewide. Chief medical officers of three major hospital systems said Monday Covid-19 hospitalizations had increased 91% in the Omaha metro area between October 17 and October 31. Now, hospital capacity and staff are approaching their limits, the hospital officials said.

“We have seen a doubling of Covid positive patients in the last several weeks,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer of CHI Health, said. “No doubt if this trend continues, not just our hospitals, but every hospital in the state could be at capacity.”

In Indiana, hospitalizations reached a record high Monday, with more than 1,800 patients being treated for Covid-19. The state’s previous record was on April 13, when about 1,799 people were hospitalized.

Covid-19 third leading cause of death in Arkansas

And in Arkansas, the governor announced

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health

Second highest number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Election Day, with more than 91,000 infections

The US recorded 91,530 new Covid-19 infections on the day many Americans cast their ballots, adding to a series of staggering case numbers reported within just the past week.



MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 29: Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin recently reported a seven-day average positivity rate of 27.2%, the highest infection rate to date for the state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


© Scott Olson/Getty Images
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 29: Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin recently reported a seven-day average positivity rate of 27.2%, the highest infection rate to date for the state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The country’s five highest days of coronavirus cases have all been recorded since October 29, affirming experts’ warnings another surge is well on its way and will only get worse. The nationwide 7-day average of new cases now stands at about 86,363 — more than double what it was on September 4. And while doctors have stressed basic public health measures like masks and social distancing can turn things around, such measures remain a point of contention in some parts of the US.

Now only five states are trending in the right direction — Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Vermont — while at least 36 are reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

And states including Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases Tuesday.

In Kentucky, where the governor has long cautioned that infections were climbing quickly, he said Tuesday that “every day, things appear to be getting worse.”

“We are seeing not only a surge in the virus, but more and more of our kids by percentage who are getting it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.

His words follow an alarming new report saying that Covid-19 case counts were impacting children around the country at “unprecedented levels,” with the last week of October seeing the highest one-week spike in new infections.

Hospitalizations among Americans are also up, and hundreds of people continue to lose their lives from the virus every day. More than 232,000 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. And about another 100,000 Americans will die in just the next two months, projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show.

Hospitalizations ‘sharply increasing’ in Midwest

Across the country, more than 50,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project — an increase of more than 67% in a month.

Hospitalizations are “sharply increasing” in the Midwest, according to the project.

“In the region there are 238 people currently hospitalized per million people,” it said on Twitter.

In Nebraska, health officials say a surge of infections have put a strain on hospitals statewide. Chief medical officers of three major hospital systems said Monday Covid-19 hospitalizations had increased 91% in the Omaha metro area between October 17 and October 31. Now, hospital capacity and staff are approaching their limits, the hospital officials said.

“We

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health

COVID-19 worsens in Florida, with 4,637 new cases, 56 deaths and more people hospitalized

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s key coronavirus indicators worsened Tuesday with signs the virus is spreading more out of control across the state.

As another 4,637 people tested positive for COVID-19, the seven-day average for new cases (4,341) rose to its highest level since Aug. 20, according to state health department data.

Hospitalizations for a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 have increased 6.1% in the past week statewide. It’s a nearly 20% increase just in Broward County, which had 251 patients midday Tuesday, up from 210 the previous week.

And Florida had its worst day for COVID-19 testing positivity since Aug. 17. The rate for new infections only went up to 7.58%, based on the state’s reporting. Public health experts say anything over 5% shows the virus is more prevalent in the community.

For now, COVID-19 deaths are continuing to trend downward. The seven-day average for fatalities linked to the virus was down to 47 on Tuesday, the lowest it’s been since it was at the same level on July 6.

But epidemiologists say pandemic deaths are certain to increase, because fatalities follow periods of higher cases like the state has been experiencing. After the July surge of cases in Florida, the state had a peak seven-day average of 184 deaths on Aug. 5.

To date, at least 17,099 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida, including 209 nonresidents who died in the state. Most of the 56 deaths reported Tuesday happened in recent weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

Without explanation, the state posted its daily coronavirus numbers more than four hours late on Tuesday.

When the report was finally posted, it showed Florida still trending higher with virus infections. There have now been at least 4,000 new cases on six of the past eight days.

The total is 816,700 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March.

The number of people hospitalized in Florida for COVID-19 remained mostly unchanged in the past day, updated state records show.

As of noon Tuesday, 2,488 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That’s an increase of 16 patients from the same time the day before.

The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates frequently throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of about 9,500 patients. Four weeks ago, the number was about 2,100.

Since the pandemic began, 49,715 residents have been hospitalized for the disease, state health officials say.

Tuesday’s report shows a total of 16,890 Floridians have died, including the 209 nonresidents.

Florida has the fourth-highest total of COVID-19 deaths among the states, behind California, Texas and New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

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