US coronavirus: Health officials double down on dangers of mass gatherings

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Texas had its highest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases Saturday, according to numbers from the Department of State Health Services.

The state, one of the first to start reopening, reported an increase of 1,801 positive coronavirus cases on Saturday.

But it’s not clear whether the surge is simply due to more testing, or if the virus is spreading more rampantly.

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In California, more than 180 people may have been exposed by a person who had coronavirus during an in-person religious service last week, the Butte County Public Health Department said.

“We all need to do our part to follow the orders and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward,” Butte County Public Health Director Danette York said.

“Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures.”

Across the US, more than 1,468,500 people have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 88,700 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

North Carolina churches can resume indoor services

In North Carolina, a federal judge granted churches the right to hold indoor services despite an order from the governor prohibiting services with more than 10 people, CNN affiliate WXII reported.
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The governor’s office had ordered earlier this month larger worship services were allowed as long as they were outdoors.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs wrote the governor’s order “violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” according to the affiliate.
In a statement, the governor’s office said that while they did not agree with the decision, they would not appeal and instead urged “houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe.”

“We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of Covid-19,” the statement read.

Beaches set to reopen

With Memorial Day approaching, beaches on the East and West coasts are starting to welcome visitors again.

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In Ocean City, New Jersey, a loudspeaker reminded sun lovers every 15 minutes this weekend to “practice social distancing while walking the boardwalk and beach.”

All New Jersey beaches will open next weekend for the Memorial Day holiday and Ocean City took a “dry run” to see how well people respect the social distancing rules.

In California, Los Angeles County was the latest to re-open its shores — with new rules.

The county requires visitors maintain at least 6 feet from each other and wear face coverings when they’re out of the water. Activities such as sunbathing, picnicking, biking and organized sports are still not allowed.

FDA authorized ‘at-home sample collection kit’

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized an “at-home sample collection kit that can then be sent to specific laboratories for Covid-19 diagnostic testing.”

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The kit received an emergency use authorization Saturday. It can be used by people who have already been screened using an online questionnaire that’s reviewed by a healthcare provider.

It will allow people to “self-collect a nasal sample at home” using the kit that has been authorized, the FDA said.

“The authorization of a Covid-19 at-home collection kit that can be used with multiple tests at multiple labs not only provides increased patient access to tests, but also protects others from potential exposure,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

CNN’s Ben Tinker, Artemis Moshtaghian, Madeline Holcombe and Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.





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