Coronavirus pandemic in the US

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5:31 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

More than 120 employees test positive for Covid-19 at Missouri pork processing plant

From CNN's Brad Parks

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said more than 120 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 at Triumph Foods pork processing plant in St. Joseph.

The announcement comes after the state health department partnered with local health officials to offer testing to more than 2,000 employees at the plant earlier this week.

“We appreciate the willingness from employees of Triumph Foods to be tested and the collaboration with local health care providers to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 in this community,” DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said in a statement. “Partnering with providers and local health departments to test people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, is part of our “box-in” strategy with this virus moving forward.”

Employees with positive results are being notified by the city's Health Department and will be told to isolate.

At the request of the city's Health Department, the state is sending support staff to assist with contact tracing efforts and more testing is to be expected as close contacts of patients are notified.

5:28 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Who do you want to say "thank you" to? CNN wants to know.

Is there someone that you’d like to thank and show your appreciation toward during the coronavirus pandemic?

Send us your story, telling us who they are and why you’re thankful.

Please include your name and phone number, and we may be in touch with you about featuring your message of thanks on CNN.

5:32 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Former CDC director says being outdoors is "a great way to reduce risk"

From CNN Health’s Shelby Lin Erdman

Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivers remarks during a press conference in Washington, DC on September 29, 2016.
Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delivers remarks during a press conference in Washington, DC on September 29, 2016. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, said Thursday that some activities can resume around the country because "we’re basically over the worst of this phase of the pandemic." 

“Things are getting better and we can gradually resume some activities,” Frieden said at a coronavirus media briefing sponsored by the Aspen Institute.  “On the other hand, we’re getting back, not to normal, we’re going to get back to a new normal. And that’s going to include physical distancing, hand sanitizer, face masks and avoidance … of large gatherings where many people come together in one place." 

When it comes to summer vacations, beach trips are still a go, Frieden said. Social distancing is still necessary, though, he said.

“Yes, in fact, outdoors places are much safer than indoor places. Beaches, parks, bicycling, hiking. These are great things to do. They’re great for the spirit, and outdoors is a great way to reduce risk," he added. “Now to have a 100,000 people on a crowded beach, that’s a little different, but with sensible precautions, the great outdoors is a great way forward.”

5:16 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Connecticut officials looking into how to safely open businesses at the end of May

From CNN's Elizabeth Hartfield

CT-N
CT-N

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont outlined the industries that could reopen on May 20.

He said at a news conference today that state officials were looking into how to safely open outdoor only restaurants, outdoor zoos and outdoor museums, university research programs, hair and nail services and the remaining retail businesses that are currently been deemed as nonessential.

Some offices would also open but individuals would be encouraged to continue to work from home when possible. Outdoor recreation such as camping and mountain biking would also reopen. 

The recommendations are being made based on industry types that can be reopened safely and where social distancing can be maintained, Lamont said.

Ultimately it will be up to each individual business to decide if it feels comfortable reopening on May 20, Lamont stressed.

Lamont said he has not made a decision yet on schools – which are currently closed through May 20. He said he will provide an update on schools “early next week.”

5:38 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Tennessee releases new guidelines for businesses reopening on May 6

From CNN's Alta D. Spells

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on April 30.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on April 30. Alex Brandon/AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has shared a series of rules businesses like barbershops and hair salons must follow before before reopening May 6.

The guidelines apply to "close contact personal services" in 89 of the state's 95 counties, according to the guidelines shared by the state online.

Some of the guidelines include:

  • Verbal and temperature screenings for all employees
  • Practicing social distancing
  • Increased hygiene practices like changing protective garments on a regular basis
  • Washing hands between each customer
  • Employees must wear a cloth face covering

Other protocols that businesses will need to observe include not offering any self-serve food or beverages and prohibiting congregation.

The new guidelines limit certain services that require the removal of face coverings. Services like beard shaving/trimming and facials will not be allowed in phase one, the guidelines state.

5:03 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Trump announces additional steps to protect seniors

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Trump outlined additional steps the administration will take to protect seniors from coronavirus, saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency will send supplemental shipments of personal protective equipment to all 15,400 Medicaid and Medicare certified nursing homes in America.

He also said that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will provide states with $81 million dollars from the CARES Act to increase inspections of nursing homes.

Trump announced that a new rule will be finalized this week requiring information about coronavirus cases in nursing homes to be reported directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and testing data be posted online. The new rule will also require nursing homes to report cases to residents and their family members. 

The President also announced the formation of the “Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes.”

Trump said the commission will be made up of leading industry experts, doctors and scientists, resident and patient advocates and others. The commission will convene in May and issue recommendations for additional steps to protect seniors, he added.

4:57 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

FEMA providing masks to energy and food essential workers in North Carolina

From CNN’s Will Brown

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is launching a campaign to distribute face masks to North Carolina’s energy and food supply workers, Michael Sprayberry, the state director of Emergency Management, announced Thursday.

Sprayberry said that FEMA will ship the masks directly to companies for workers who have jobs where social distancing is difficult.

North Carolina Emergency Management will also receive an additional 149,000 cloth masks to distribute to workers in the food supply chain.

4:59 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

JBS partially reopens Minnesota plant to help euthanize hogs

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher and Konstantin Toropin

JBS has announced that it is partially reopening its plant in Worthington, Minnesota, "to provide producers with a humane euthanasia option for market hogs," the company said in a statement today.

A small staff of "approximately 10 to 20 team members" will facilitate the process of putting down hogs that farmers are unable to keep and feed on their farms, the company statement said. JBS anticipates that approximately 13,000 hogs could be euthanized per day, the statement said. 

Hog carcasses will be rendered, sent to landfills, composted or buried, the statement added.

“None of us want to euthanize hogs, but our producers are facing a terrible, unprecedented situation,” Bob Krebs, president of JBS USA Pork, said in the statement.

Some background: JBS announced the plant's closure last Monday over Covid-19 concerns. The Worthington plant employs more than 2,000 people and processes 20,000 hogs per day, according to an earlier a company statement.

Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson said all plant employees were tested for Covid-19 over the past weekend. He said "close to 500" tested positive.

4:56 p.m. ET, April 30, 2020

Los Angeles County will not provide coronavirus testing for asymptomatic residents

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Health Services Director Christina Ghaly
Health Services Director Christina Ghaly

Los Angeles County will not provide coronavirus testing for low risk and asymptomatic residents, according to Health Services Director Christina Ghaly.

Ghaly said the focus will instead be on people living in institutional settings like nursing homes, homeless shelters and jails. That includes both people with symptoms and those without.

Ghaly acknowledged the psychological reassurance of knowing whether you are infected, but warned that a test captures only one moment in time.

“A negative test one day, doesn’t mean you won’t be infected the next day,” Ghaly said.

Those who wouldn’t necessarily qualify for testing in Los Angeles County can still go to the city to be tested. People showing symptoms will be prioritized.