Coronavirus Updates: Some states put in tough restrictions as hospitals near capacity

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Confirmed COVID-19 deaths now top 225,000 in the United States, and across the country, states and cities are having to rethink their reopening strategies as cases grow and hospitals become overwhelmed.

Idaho's governor said that state's health care system is "in a crisis" as the state reinstitutes some of its pandemic restrictions.

Utah hit a record for more people there being hospitalized over the last two weeks than at any time since the pandemic began, while El Paso, Texas, announced records for new cases and hospitalizations while instituting a daily curfew.

There are currently more than 42,000 patients hospitalized in the U.S. as rural states feel the strain.

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Here are more of today's headlines:



Zone changes in Orange County
Orange County's red zone moves to orange zone as positivity rate lowers dramatically. The positivity rate in the red zone was at 12% three weeks ago and is now 2%. Meanwhile, the yellow zone will stay yellow.

Port Authority masks
The Port Authority will start issuing fines to anyone not wearing a mask at its facilities. Face coverings are required at airports, on PATH trains and in stations, on Air trains and at bus terminals.

Enforcement begins Monday and the fines will be $50.

MTA to launch voluntary COVID testing
The MTA is launching a voluntary COVID screening program at bus depots and subway yards this week. The transit authority expects to test two thousand front line workers weekly across all agencies. They will then increase the number of testing in the coming weeks.

The MTA says they will give priority to locations in hotspot and cluster zones identified by the state.

Vaccines to be distributed 'simultaneously'
Army Gen. Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed, said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed "to all of America simultaneously" -- that is after the FDA determines at least one of the candidates is safe and effective, and the CDC helps provide recommendations on how distribution will be prioritized.

"At that time, we'll distribute vaccines accordingly to all of America simultaneously, we will make sure that there is equitable distribution in accordance with that priority, and then the states will, you know, they own that actual final distribution and administration down to individual arms," Perna said at a Heritage Foundation event. "And so really a collective team approach to that effort."

Perna said part of his team's focus is ensuring they can get vaccines to Americans who live on islands and in rural areas, as well as to those serving overseas in the State and Defense departments.

Broadway Stages on Staten Island helps bring back TV, film production
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, production of movies and TV shows hit an all time high in New York City. But like so many other industries, show business had to shut down.

Filming gradually resumed on a limited basis in August, with strict protocols in place. Reporters are not allowed on sets right now, simply not deemed essential to production, and therefore, I can't watch movies and TV shows get made as I have since I was a teenager. However, thanks to Broadway Stages, Eyewitness News was able to observe from a distance at their facility on Staten Island.

California added to Tri-State Travel Advisory requiring travelers to quarantine
California has been added to the Tri-State Travel Advisory requiring travelers to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-quarantine for two weeks.

No states or territories have been removed. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

Touching tribute
One artist wanted to help commemorate those American lives who have lost their battle with COVID-19 by creating a space for national mourning.

CT positivity rate rises
Gov. Ned Lamont announced Connecticut's positivity rate is 4.1% -- the highest since June 6. He added there are another 22 hospitalizations. "It's not unexpected, but it still wakes you up like a cold shower," Lamont said.

NYC mayor warns residents against holiday travel
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New York City residents to avoid traveling for the holidays. "Doing that (traveling), you could be putting your family and yourself in danger and bringing the disease back here," he said. Mayor de Blasio added that residents who do travel should get tested and reminds them that there is a 14-day quarantine for people coming back from most parts of the country and abroad.
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Mayor Bill de Blasio said that most residents traveling will need to quarantine upon return.



Montclair restaurant closed for allegedly violating order
A New Jersey restaurant accused of violating indoor dining rules at least 10 times has been shut down. New video shows a padlock around the door at Cuban Pete's in Montclair.

All SUNY students must get COVID tests before Thanksgiving break
New York's public university system is requiring students to test negative for the coronavirus before they can leave for Thanksgiving break in hopes of preventing community spread as students fan across the country. The system's 64 colleges and universities must come up with plans by Nov. 5 to test about 140,000 students within 10 days before Thanksgiving break, State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras told The Associated Press on Monday. SUNY officials have planned to transition most colleges and universities to remote learning after Thanksgiving.

COVID spike brings back lockdown-style rules in Newark
The tightest restrictions we've seen in months in the New York metropolitan area are now in effect in Newark, New Jersey. That's because COVID-19 cases are spiking as they haven't since last spring, with more people hospitalized. Mayor Ras Baraka reports the number of positive coronavirus tests has shot up above 25% in the city's East Ward. Citywide, the total is over 11% in Newark, compared to a statewide rate of about 4.5%.

Maine has country's lowest COVID-19 infection rate: How state officials say they did it
Harboring the country's oldest population, Maine would seem like a state at high risk for a spike in COVID-19 cases. Instead, Maine has the nation's lowest COVID-19 infection rate. The state's positive test rate is averaging roughly 1.21%. For comparison, North Dakota, which has 60% of Maine's total population and with a younger average age of 35, has a rate that's more than 10 times higher. Maine's average age is 45. State officials are saying the key to a great response has been preparation and a populace willing to comply with state mandates for the good of others.

Know your NYC COVID Zone
You can find your COVID zone at NYC.gov/covidzone.



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