The Latest: Idaho Gov. calls in help amid surge of patients

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FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2021 file photo people walk past Waikiki restaurants and shops in Honolulu. The mayor of Honolulu says starting Sept. 13 the city will require patrons of restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little is calling in 220 medical workers available through federal programs and mobilizing 150 Idaho National Guard soldiers to deal with a surge in unvaccinated COVID-19 patients overwhelming the state’s hospitals.

The Republican governor says the moves are a last-ditch effort to avoid activating for the first time statewide crisis standards of care that could force medical professionals to decide who lives and who dies.

The last week registered about 1,000 new confirmed cases per day, mostly unvaccinated. Little says only four intensive care unit beds were available in the entire state on Tuesday.

The workers include a 20-person U.S. Department of Defense medical response team deployed to northern Idaho, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the state.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Pennsylvania to require masksin all K-12 schools, childcare facilities

— Idaho governor calls in help amidsurge in COVID-19 patients

— Mormon vaccine pushratchets up, dividing faith’s members

— No stranger to plagues, Venice opens film festival with caution

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— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronvirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

JACKSON, Miss. — Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi says he has fully recovered from COVID-19.

The 70-year-old Wicker says he’s looking forward to traveling in Mississippi this week. He’s one of three senators who announced Aug. 19 that they had tested positive for the coronavirus. The others were 77-year-old independent Angus King of Maine and 69-year-old Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado. All three had been vaccinated.

Hickenlooper said Friday he had a mild case. King says Tuesday he has recovered, although he didn’t feel great during the worst of his illness.

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HONOLULU — Health care officials in Hawaii are concerned about a shortage of oxygen amid the coronavirus surge.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports hospital officials are canceling nonemergency procedures that require oxygen to conserve supplies. Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the trade group Healthcare Association of Hawaii, says there is a global shortage of oxygen containers needed for transport to the islands.

Hawaii’s two liquid oxygen plants have switched to producing medical gas only. Raethel says mainland tank orders are backlogged for months. Hawaii Pacific Health, which oversees several hospitals in the state, directed staff to cancel elective procedures that require oxygen.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf announced masks will be required in all Pennsylvania K-12 schools starting on Sept. 7.

The masking order will apply to private as well as public schools and to child care facilities.

Pennsylvania’s two statewide teachers’ unions had urged K-12 schools to require masks in school buildings, citing the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masks in schools for students, staff and teachers.

Wolf is taking action amid a statewide resurgence of coronavirus that’s filling hospital beds just as students return to class.

Pennsylvania is averaging more than 3,200 confirmed daily infections — 20 times the number in early July. More than 1,700 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, up sevenfold since last month. Deaths have doubled in two weeks to about 20 per day.

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OMAHA, Neb. — The number of coronavirus cases in Nebraska has nearly doubled over the past two weeks with the highly contagious delta variant.

Nebraska reported 5,006 new cases for the week ending Friday, according to an Omaha World-Herald analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 3,755 the previous week and nearly double the 2,668 cases recorded the week before.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen in the past two weeks from 190 new cases per day on Aug. 15 to 715 on Sunday.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s governor has extended the state’s COVID-19 public health emergency through September.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is in discussions with health care providers about a new statewide executive order amid the state’s surge in coronavirus cases.

He signed his 18th extension of the public health emergency he first issued in March 2020. Health officials say about 97% of the people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

About 52% of eligible Indiana residents are vaccinated. Indiana hospitalizations have surged in the past month and a record number of infections have been reported by Indiana schools.

The governor’s office says a new order for September would be issued Wednesday after talks with “health care stakeholders to evaluate pertinent information that supports hospitals during the current COVID surge.”

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DENVER — Colorado health care workers at facilities, including assisted living homes, nursing homes and hospitals, must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of October under a temporary emergency rule approved the state board of health.

The 6-1 vote during an emergency session came after Gov. Jared Polis requested the board consider a vaccine mandate, The Denver Post reported. It applies to staff and contract workers who work with patients or clients at about 3,800 licensed facilities regulated by the board. It doesn’t apply to doctors’ offices or urgent care centers.

Several people who spoke at the hearing suggested workers would quit rather than be vaccinated, worsening staffing shortages. Workers can seek medical or religious exemptions from their employers.

Facilities can ask for waivers from the state to allow less than 100% of their workers to be vaccinated but must propose a plan to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

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MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin lawmaker, who has been an outspoken critic of vaccine and mask mandates, remains hospitalized with COVID-19-induced pneumonia. His wife is urging people to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Republican state Sen. Andre Jacque has been hospitalized since Aug. 16. He was placed on a ventilator several days later.

His wife, Renee Jacque, said in an email to WBAY-TV on Monday that five of their eight family members have tested positive for COVID-19. They have six children, including an infant.

She said of three fully vaccinated family members, one person contracted the virus with mild symptoms.

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VENICE — Venice’s central place in the history of pandemics provides the backdrop to this year’s Venice Film Festival.

In an early screening Tuesday, Italian director Andre Segre presents a documentary shot last year showing how Venice organizers managed to stage the first and only in-person international film festival during the first year of the pandemic. For Venice, it was nothing new, since for centuries the city has helped provide the baseline of what the world knows today about containing pandemics.

It was in Venice that the term “quarantine” was coined, after merchant ships arriving in the 15th century were moored for 40 days (“quaranta giorni” in Italian) to see if their crews were infected.

In Venice, the first isolated pestilence hospital was built on a solitary island in the lagoon, a precursor to today’s COVID-19 isolation wards. The 16th-century doctors donned beak-nosed masks filled with aromatic herbs to cleanse the air they breathed when treating the sick — an attempt at self-protection that today is the favored choice for Venetian Carnival costumes.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the faith widely known as the Mormon church remain divided on vaccines and mask-wearing despite consistent guidance from church leaders.

Members who support the stance say they fear that some Latter-day Saints who refuse to get vaccinated are allowing their political views to supersede their loyalty to a faith that prioritizes unity and obedience.

About 65% of Latter-day Saints who responded to a recent survey say they’ve gotten at least one dose or plan to soon. Another 15% identified as hesitant, and 19% say they would not get the vaccine, according to the survey this summer from the Public Religion Research Institute, a polling organization based in Washington, and Interfaith Youth Core.

The Utah-based religion of 16 million members worldwide is one of many faiths grappling with how best to navigate the lingering impacts of the pandemic.

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BERLIN — Germany is organizing a special week-long vaccination drive to increase uptake amid concerns about declining demand for COVID-19 shots.

The government said Tuesday that vaccinations will be offered without appointments at easily accessible sites such as sports clubs, fire stations and pharmacies during the week of Sept. 13-19.

The locations will be listed on a national website and promoted on social media with the hashtag “Hier wird geimpft,” meaning “Vaccinations offered here.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany wants 75% of the population to be immunized against the coronavirus, but so far only 60% of the population has received all the necessary shots.

“The issue in Germany isn’t that we’ve got too little vaccine but that we have to convince as many people as possible to get vaccinated,” Merkel said. “Sadly, we’re not in the top ranks in Europe with our vaccination rate.”

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BRUSSELS — The president of the European Union’s executive arm said the 27-nation bloc has reached its goal of getting 70% of the adults in the EU fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by the end of the summer.

In a message posted Tuesday on Twitter, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen thanked “the many people making this great achievement possible.”

The EU’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign got off to a slow start due to supply shortages and delays but now is among the most successful worldwide.

“But we must go further! We need more Europeans to vaccinate,” von der Leyen said. “And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. We’ll continue supporting our partners.”

She said the EU is the biggest contributor to the COVAX initiative, which aims to deliver vaccines to low-income nations.

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JERUSALEM — Israel’s Health Ministry reports that the country has set a new daily record for diagnosed coronavirus cases as the delta variant surges.

The Israeli government registered 10,947 new cases on Monday, two days before 2.4 million students are scheduled to return to school this week. The country’s previous pandemic record of 10, 118 new cases was set on Jan. 18.

Israel is home to one of the world’s fastest vaccination programs. The country is offering third booster shots to it’s entire eligible population, requiring masks indoors and promising better enforcement of safety measures.

Nearly 6 million of Israel’s 9.3 million people have received at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly 2.2 million have received a third shot.

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HONOLULU — The mayor of Honolulu says the city will soon require patrons of restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19.

The rules take effect on Sept. 13 and are aimed at helping the city beat back a surge in cases from the highly contagious delta variant.

Honolulu joins other cities such as New Orleans and New York that have implemented similar requirements. Children under the age of 12 will be exempt. Employees of the establishments will have to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing. Businesses that don’t comply could be fined or shut down.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Australia says it has reached a deal with Singapore to acquire 500,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine next week in return for delivering the same number of shots to Singapore in December.

Australia bought 1 million Pfizer doses from Poland for an undisclosed price earlier this month.

Half of Australia’s population is locked down due to an outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus that began in Sydney in June.

Australian government leaders plan to end lockdowns once 80% of an area’s residents aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated. Only 34% of that target population was fully vaccinated by this week.

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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