PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The governors of Oregon and New Mexico have ordered near-lockdowns in the most sweeping reaction yet to the latest wave of coronavirus infections shattering records across the U.S.
But many of their colleagues in other states show little appetite for reimposing the hard-line restrictions of last spring.
Governors in many states, such as New York, Maryland, Virginia and Minnesota, have instead taken largely incremental measures over the past few days, such as limiting the size of gatherings, making businesses close early, restricting capacity or cutting off alcohol sales earlier in the evening.
Oregon governor announes 2-week 'freeze
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a statewide two-week “freeze” in the state Friday, which will limit restaurants and bars to take-out only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.
The freeze will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 and aims to limit group activities and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The state has experienced a spike in daily case counts and reached record high daily case counts and positivity rates during the month of November.
As part of the freeze grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores are limited to a maximum capacity of 75%.
Faith-based organizations will also have their capacity reduced to 25 people inside and 50 people outside. However, other facilities — gyms and fitness centers, museums, pools, sports courts, movie theaters, zoos, gardens, aquariums and venues — will have to close their doors completely.
All businesses will be required to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home “to the greatest extent possible.”
Coronavirus cases in Oregon have been increasing since mid-September and began to surge at an “alarming rate” in November.
On Thursday, Oregon recorded 1,122 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19, the first time it had surpassed 1,000 cases. The total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is nearly 54,000. The death toll is 746.
Nevada governor has COVID-19
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 as the virus surges to record levels in the state and across the U.S.
The 66-year-old Democrat is the fifth governor to report testing positive for the coronavirus this year. Three governors, two Republicans in Missouri and Oklahoma, and one Democrat in Virginia contracted COVID-19 this year.
Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive in August but received a negative test a few hours later. DeWine tested positive using a rapid test before testing negative later that day after using a more sensitive laboratory-developed test.
Sisolak said he was not experiencing any symptoms on a call with reporters and was swabbed for a rapid test on Friday morning as a matter of routine. After it yielded a positive result, he also underwent molecular testing and his sample is still being processed.
North Dakota governor issues statewide mask mandate
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has ordered a statewide mask mandate and imposed several business restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has stressed the state’s hospital capacity.
The Republican governor’s executive order late Friday comes after months of pressure from health care professionals to require face coverings. The directive requires residents to wear face coverings in indoor businesses and indoor public settings, as well as outdoor public settings where physical distancing isn’t possible.
The order goes into effect Saturday. Failure to comply with the mandate is an infraction, with a penalty of up to $1,000, though it’s not clear how it will be enforced.
State health data show North Dakota reached a grim new milestone on Friday, as its COVID-19 death toll eclipsed the 700 mark. The state has reported more than 60,000 coronavirus infections.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.