SEATTLE — Health officials in Washington state said the number of people who were hospitalized to receive treatment for the coronavirus has reached a record high.

KOMO-TV reports there were 762 people receiving hospital care for the virus in Washington as of Saturday.

At the Swedish First Hill campus of Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, 10 coronavirus patients were admitted within a span of five hours Wednesday.

Leaders from hospitals statewide met last week to consider strategies to ensure they have room to care for COVID-19 patients as the hospitalization rate climbs.

Washington State Hospital Association CEO Cassie Sauer says the cancellations of elective procedures under consideration to make room for coronavirus patients include joint and heart valve replacements and some cancer surgeries.

Oregon virus cases reach another record high

PORTLAND, Ore. — New confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 have reached a record high for the third straight day in Oregon.

The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,517 new infections Sunday, bringing the state total to 65,170.

The state reported one additional death from COVID-19 on Sunday, a 65-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive Nov. 15 and died the same day. That brings the state’s death toll to 820.

The director of the state health department urged residents to cancel indoor Thanksgiving plans and those that involve large groups of family and friends.

Los Angeles closes in-person dining for three weeks

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County officials have announced new coronavirus-related restrictions that will prohibit in-person dining for at least three weeks as cases rise throughout the holiday season.

The new rules will take effect Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will only be able to offer take-out, drive-through and delivery services.

Officials had warned that these restrictions could come into play if the county’s five-day average of new cases was above 4,000. Sunday’s five-day average was 4,097 cases.

Most of California, including Los Angeles County, has been under a curfew since Saturday night at 10 p.m.

Holiday air travel kicks in despite warnings

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Millions of Americans bought tickets to fly somewhere for Thanksgiving before the nation’s top public health agency pleaded with them not to travel for the holiday.

So what are they doing now? In many cases, they’re still crowding airports and boarding planes. That’s despite relatively lenient cancellation policies that major airlines have implemented since the coronavirus pandemic emerged earlier this year.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 2 million people were screened at U.S. airports on Friday and Saturday. While that’s far lower than during the same time last year, Friday was only the second time since mid-March that daily airport screenings topped 1 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said Americans should skip Thanksgiving travel and not spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

Hundreds of bodies storied in freezer trucks in NYC

NEW YORK — Hundreds of bodies are still stored in freezer trucks at a disaster morgue set up during New York City’s coronavirus surge in the spring, according to the city’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Many of the 650 bodies at the disaster morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront are of people whose families can’t be located or can’t afford a proper burial, officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Normally, the deceased would have been buried within a few weeks in a gravesite for the indigent on Hart Island in the Long Island Sound. But as COVID-19 deaths surged in New York in April, with as many as 800 deaths in one day, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that mass burials in temporary graves wouldn’t take place.

The medical examiner’s office is having trouble finding relatives of about 230 deceased people, officials said. When next of kin have been contacted, many bodies haven’t been collected because families haven’t arranged burial for financial reasons, nor have they requested free burial on Hart Island.

The city is slowly reducing the number of bodies in storage, with the number declining from 698 to 650 since mid-September, according to Dina Maniotis, the chief medical examiner’s office’s executive deputy commissioner. New York state has reported at least 34,187 deaths of people due to COVID-19, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Dr. Fauci worried airport crowds could lead to COVID surge

WASHINGTON — The United States’ top infectious diseases expert says he’s worried that crowding at U.S. airports from Thanksgiving travel could lead to a perilous situation as COVID-19 cases surge.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the “people at airports” despite federal guidance to avoid travel “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”

He noted that new COVID-19 cases from Thanksgiving won’t become evident till weeks later, making it “very difficult” as the virus spirals out of control heading into colder weather and the December holiday season.

Fauci said a substantial portion of people being hospitalized for the virus are now between the ages of 40 and 59, as well as the elderly and vulnerable.

He stressed that vaccines should become available in the coming months, but said Americans will need to “hang in there” in the meantime by taking precautions to stem the spread. That includes limiting holiday gatherings to people in the same household if possible, wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands.

Turkey sees record diagnoses for second day in row

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey saw a record number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 for the second day running on Sunday as 6,017 new symptomatic patients were documented, the health ministry said.

The number of new daily cases has surpassed the outbreak’s previous peak in April.

Evening lockdowns were introduced over the weekend for the first time since June, with businesses such as restaurants and bars ordered to close.

The ministry said 446,882 patients with symptoms have been identified since the country’s first recorded case in March. Turkey does not publicly report confirmed coronavirus cases in people without COVID-19 symptoms, a policy that has been criticised for masking the true scope of the national outbreak.

Turkey recorded 139 COVID-19 deaths over the previous 24 hours, taking the country’s total to 12,358, the health ministry reported.

Italy’s new cases drops

ROME — Italy’s daily new caseload of confirmed COVID-19 cases dropped by several thousand on Sunday, but nearly 50,000 fewer swab tests to detect the virus were conducted than on the previous day, according to the Health Ministry.

Italy added 28,337 confirmed cases, raising to 1,408,868, the country’s total in the pandemic.

Weekends usually see a drop in number of tests performed. In the last 24 hours, 562 deaths of persons with COVID-19 were registered, increasing to 49,823 Italy’s known death toll.

Meanwhile, the autonomous Alpine province of Bolzano said that more than 320,000 residents had turned out for voluntary mass COVID-19 screening in a three-day-long campaign, with some 3,000 of them testing positive. Local officials hpe the high turnout for screening among its 520,000 residents and the low percentage of positives will better position the province to be ready again for tourism, a mainstay of the local economy.

First U.S. vaccination could happen Dec. 12

WASHINGTON — The head of the U.S. effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine says the first immunizations could happen on Dec. 12.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer Inc.’s request for an emergency use authorization for its developing COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech recently announced that the vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease in a large, ongoing study.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of the Operation Warp Speed, the coronavirus vaccine program, says plans are to ship vaccines to states within 24 hours of expected FDA approval.

Slaoui told CNN he expects vaccinations would begin on the second day after approval, Dec. 12.

Another Sudan official has virus as cases rise

CAIRO — A Sudanese minister on Sunday tested positive for the coronavirus, the prime minister’s office said, the latest in a string of senior officials to be infected as the country shows an increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Omar Bashir Manis, minister of cabinet affairs, was in good health after testing positive for the virus, the prime minister office said in a statement.

Over the past month, acting ministers of finance and health, the central bank governor and two associates to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok have tested positive.

Sadiq al-Mahdi, head of the National Umma party, Sudan’s largest, tested positive for the virus last month and was taken to the United Arab Emirates where he was still being treated.

Sudan has reported more than 15,830 confirmed cases, including 1,193 deaths. The actual COVID-19 tally is believed to be higher given the country’s limited testing.

France to cull minks after mutated version of virus circulates among them

PARIS — French authorities ordered the culling of all minks in a farm after analysis showed a mutated version of the coronavirus was circulating among the animals.

The French government said in a statement Sunday that about 1,000 minks have been culled and all animal products have been eliminated in the farm located west of Paris.

France counts four mink farms on its territory. Authorities are still awaiting results for two of them. No virus has been found in the last one, the government said.

The move follows virus developments in mink farms in Denmark and other countries including the Netherlands, Sweden and Greece.

In Denmark, a mutation of the virus had been found in several people infected by minks, according to the government which ordered the cull of all 15 million minks.

So far French farmers in contact with minks have been tested negative to the virus, the French government said.

South Korea to impose stricter social distancing rules

SEOUL, South Korea __ South Korea says it’ll impose stricter social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area to fight a coronavirus resurgence, as the country registered more than 300 new virus patients for a fifth consecutive day.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Sunday the ongoing outbreak is “extremely grave and serious” as infection routes have been too diverse. He says authorities have found 62 clusters of infections over the past two weeks.

He says the toughened guidelines will begin Tuesday and go for two weeks. Under it, nightclubs and other high-risk entertainment facilities must shut down and a late-night dining at restaurants will be banned. Customers aren’t allowed to drink or eat inside coffee shops, internet cafes or fitness centers, while sports attendance will be limited to 10% of the stadium’s capacity.

South Korea has been experiencing a spike in fresh infection since it relaxed coronavirus restrictions last month. Earlier Sunday, South Korea added 330 new coronavirus cases, bringing the national tally to 30,733 with 505 deaths.

More than 600 cases detected in Sri Lankan prisons

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Authorities said Sunday that more than 600 COVID-19 cases have been detected in Sri Lanka’s highly congested prisons.

A total of 652 cases have been found in five prisons in different parts of the Indian Ocean island nation. Of them, 609 are inmates and 43 are prison officers.

Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded in facilities designed for 10,000.

Sri Lanka has seen a fresh outbreak of the disease since last month when two clusters — one at a garment factory and other at a fish market — emerged in the capital Colombo and it’s suburbs. Confirmed cases from the two clusters have grown to 16,251.

Pakistan’s numbers soar amid public defiance of restrictions

ISLAMABAD — Amid defiance of the directive to wear masks and avoid large public gatherings, Pakistan reported 59 more deaths and 2,665 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

The country’s tally reached 374,173 confirmed cases. Among those being treated for the virus, 1,653 are critical.

On Saturday, tens of thousands attended the funeral of a radical cleric in the eastern city of Lahore, and on Sunday, an alliance of opposition parties holds a rally in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Both events ignore directives of the military-backed National Command and Operation Center, a body assigned the task of controlling the spread of the virus, for people to wear masks, maintain physical distance and avoid large gatherings.

Schools shut down amid mass testing in China

BEIJING — Authorities are conducting mass testing and shutting down schools after China reported three new domestically transmitted cases in the past 24 hours — two in northern Inner Mongolia province and one in Shanghai.

The city of Manzhouli, in Inner Mongolia, will start testing all its residents for COVID-19 on Sunday, a day after the two cases were discovered. The city has suspended classes and shut public venues, telling residents to not gather for dinner banquets.

Local authorities in Shanghai found one more case Saturday after testing 15,416 people following recent locally transmitted cases. The city is not shutting down its schools, but has locked down specific facilities such as a hospital. It is also testing all residents in the Pudong New Area district.

China is already conducting mass testing for up to 3 million residents in the northern city of Tianjin after five cases were found there earlier in the week. The total number of confirmed cases in China is 86,431.

Japan records record lows for fourth consecutive day

TOKYO — The daily tally of reported COVID-19 cases in Japan hit a record for the fourth day in a row, with 2,508 people confirmed infected, the health ministry said Sunday.

Japan has had fewer than 2,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far, avoiding the toll of harder hit nations. But fears are growing about another surge. A flurry of criticism has erupted, from opposition legislators and the public, slamming the government as having acted too slowly in halting its “GoTo” campaign, which encouraged travel and dining out with discounts.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the decision Saturday. But many people had already made travel reservations for this three-day Thanksgiving weekend in Japan.

Airports and restaurants have been packed. Some said the government should have offered to pay for cancellations, or stepped up more on PCR testing instead, if the goal is to keep the economy going amid a pandemic. Tutorials are circulating online on the proper way to eat and drink at restaurants, while wearing masks.

National Guard now moving bodies in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas — The Texas National Guard has sent a 36-member team to El Paso to assist morgues in the border region with the number of dead as a result of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Statewide, the Texas health department on Saturday reported a one-day high of 12,597 new virus cases, nearly 20,500 dead since the pandemic began and more than 8,200 virus hospitalizations.

“The Texas Military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said late Friday when the deployment was announced.

The pandemic is blamed for 853 deaths in El Paso County, including more than 300 since October. Jail inmates are being paid to move bodies and county leaders are offering $27 an hour for morgue workers.

County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, in a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for support for a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew in the county, said mortuaries are being overwhelmed. He wrote that the local medical examiner’s office reported that 234 bodies were being held at the main morgue and nine mobile morgues.

Biden says Americans must be able to worship — safely

WILMINGTON, Delaware — President-elect Joe Biden says all Americans should be able to attend religious services during the pandemic — as long as they do so safely.

Biden made the statement in response to a reporter’s shouted question as he was walking out of church Saturday evening in Delaware.

Specifically, Biden was asked whether all Americans should be able to attend religious services during the pandemic. He responded, “Yes, safely.” He did not answer a follow up question about whether indoor services should be allowed.

Some in-person church services across America have been closed as state leaders grapple with social distancing safeguards as the pandemic surges.

Oregon reports record new cases for second day in a row

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon has reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the second day in a row.

On Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority said there were 1,509 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections, spread across all but four of the state’s 36 counties, with the majority in the Portland metro area.

Among the seven new deaths being reported Saturday, all were in their 70s or 80s, and either had or were suspected of having underlying health conditions.

The state’s total is now 63,668 confirmed coronavirus infections and 819 deaths.

More than 12 million Americans have been infected

BALTIMORE — More than 12 million people in the U.S have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The nation’s total number of confirmed cases reached 12.01 million on Saturday, six days after the number had reached 11 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Daily numbers of new U.S. cases are approaching 200,000, less than three weeks after hitting 100,000 for the first time. The record of 195,542 new cases on Friday was the latest of several recent daily highs.

Deaths rates are getting closer to the dire numbers seen in the spring. The U.S. daily death toll exceeded 2,000 on Thursday, the first time since early May. On Friday, 1,878 deaths were reported.

The U.S. leads the world with more than 255,000 dead.

Pennsylvania has more than 3,000 hospitalized

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Saturday there were 3,162 people hospitalized with coronavirus, the most since May.

A total of 661 coronavirus patients were in intensive care units. The trend in the 14-day rolling average of hospitalized patients per day had increased by nearly 1,900 since the end of September, the department says.

Officials noted again that most of the hospitalized patients and deaths occurred among those 65 or older.

Trump says he son is doing very well

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is doing “very well” in quarantine after becoming infected with the coronavirus.

A spokesman for the younger Trump says he received the positive test result earlier this week, has no symptoms and has been quarantining and following the recommended medical guidelines.

President Trump tweeted Saturday that his son “is doing very well.” Trump Jr. is the latest member of the president’s family to become infected, after the president, first lady and their son Barron.

Virus continues wild rampage across South Dakota prairie

PIERRE, South Dakota — Coronavirus infections are ravaging South Dakota, where more than half of tests have come back positive for weeks.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem won’t issue a mask mandate but suggests smaller gatherings “may be smarter this year.”

Some governors who for months echoed President Donald Trump’s criticism of measures to control the coronavirus are now relenting, including North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who recently ordered the use of masks statewide.

Republican and Democratic governors from several Midwestern states issued a joint video urging people to say home for Thanksgiving and wear masks to slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine is widely available.

Hospitals in many states are running out of beds and are short on nurses, including in the states where governors are reluctant to act.

“We know what will happen. We know that three to four weeks from Thanksgiving, we will see an exacerbation of the outbreaks,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

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