Florida reports 2nd day of record-setting deaths

Christel Deskins

The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 662,000 people worldwide. Over 16.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual […]

The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 662,000 people worldwide.

Over 16.8 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 149,961 deaths.

Latest headlines:

NJ counties reemerging as ‘hot spots’ Rep. Louis Gohmert diagnosed with COVID-19

Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.

2:20 p.m.: NJ counties reemerging as ‘hot spots’

A “daily hot spot triage” report distributed by the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by ABC News identifies 98 emerging hot spots in 30 states.

Twenty-one of these are “new emerging hot spots.”

MORE: Fauci’s concerned about Midwest reopening: ‘Can’t afford … another surge’

Among the new emerging hot spots are New Jersey’s Camden County, located near Philadelphia, and Mercer County, which includes Princeton and Trenton. These counties had not been on the hot spot list since April 13.

Atlantic County, New Jersey, which includes Atlantic City, has also returned to the list, last appearing on May 3.

PHOTO: People gather on the beach in Atlantic City, N.J., for Independence Day holiday weekend, July 4, 2020. (SMXRF/starmaxinc.com via Newscom)

Other current hot spots include: Miami County, Ohio; Waupaca County, Wisconsin; Okmulgee County, Oklahoma; Madison County, Texas; Clay County, Missouri; and Gila County, Arizona.

1:54 p.m.: Georgetown moving classes all online

Georgetown University is moving classes fully online this fall for undergraduate and graduate students “due to the acceleration of the spread,” the administration said Wednesday.

MORE: Timeline: How coronavirus got started

Earlier this month Georgetown said it planned to bring some undergraduates, including freshmen, to campus.

“We are revising this approach based on current pandemic conditions,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said. “We plan to introduce in-person course elements as soon as health conditions permit.”

PHOTO: A sign reminding people to wear face masks sits in front of a library on Georgetown University’s main campus in Washington, D.C., July 7, 2020. (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

Neighboring George Washington University announced Monday that all undergraduate courses would be online this fall.

12:45 p.m.: Alabama gov. extends statewide mask mandate, encourages in-classroom learning

Alabama’s “safer at home” order, which was set to expire this Friday, has now been extended until the end of August, Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday.

This includes extending the statewide mask ordinance through Aug. 31, Ivey said at a news conference.

MORE: Should schools reopen for students’ mental health? Experts weigh in

At school, second-graders through college students are required to wear masks, she said.

Ivey said she encourages schools to phase-in classroom learning when and where possible.

PHOTO: Alabama Teachers Against Covid-19 protest the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic on Dexter Ave. in Montgomery, Ala., on July 23, 2020. (Jake Crandall/Advertiser via USA Today Network)

“I respect those districts that have elected to go to virtual classrooms,” Ivey said, adding that she believes “a slide will come by keeping our kids at home.”

“And that slide is likely to have a dramatic, negative impact on Alabama’s future — our young people,” the governor said.

PHOTO: A closed sign is displayed at J.H. Philips Academy school in Birmingham, Ala., April 28, 2020. (Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

Alabama has over 81,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 confirmed fatalities, according to state data.

In the last few days, some hospitals have set all-time high patient numbers, state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said Wednesday.

11:10 a.m.: Florida reports 2nd day of record-setting deaths

In hard-hit Florida, 217 new fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours — a second day in a row of record-setting deaths, the state’s health department said Wednesday.

PHOTO: Emergency Medical Technicians arrive with a patient while a funeral car begins to depart at North Shore Medical Center where coronavirus disease patients are treated, in Miami, July 14, 2020. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters, FILE)

PHOTO: People are seen outside the entrance to the emergency room at Oak Hill Hospital in Hernando County, Fla., July 26, 2020. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images via Shutterstock)

On Tuesday, the department said a record 191 new fatalities had been reported in the previous 24 hours.

MORE: Inside the grueling front lines of COVID first responders

Throughout Florida, 15.69% of the state’s adult ICU beds were available as of Wednesday morning, according to the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration.

Three counties — Monroe, Okeechobee and Putnam — had no ICU beds, the agency said.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.

10:25 a.m.: Rep. Louis Gohmert diagnosed with COVID-19

Congressman Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has refused to wear a mask, has tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ABC News.

PHOTO: Rep. Louie Gohmert questions Attorney General William Barr before the House Judiciary Committee hearing in the Congressional Auditorium at the US Capitol Visitors Center, July 28, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Matt Mcclain/AFP via Getty Images)

People familiar with the matter said Gohmert was tested because he was slated to travel with President Donald Trump to Texas. Gohmert was pre-screened at the White House, and following his positive diagnosis, he returned to his Capitol Hill office to inform his staff, people familiar with the matter said.

His staff has not responded to requests for comment.

MORE: Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who refused to wear a mask, tests positive for COVID-19

Gohmert was in the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday for Attorney General William Barr’s hearing.

Barr will be tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec said. Video from Tuesday showed Gohmert walking into the hearing room in close proximity to Barr; neither wore a mask.

Gohmert is the 10th member of Congress to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

9:40 a.m.: Teens, pre-teens make up highest positivity rate in Austin

Those ages 10 to 19 have had the highest positivity rate average in Austin in the last two weeks, Austin Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said, ABC Austin affiliate KVUE reported.

PHOTO: A social distancing sign stands on display at a temporary hospital in the Austin Convention Center in Austin, July 27, 2020. (Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

According to Escott, school district officials say 20% to 25% of students are expected to learn from home when the school year begins, KVUE reported.

Travis County, which includes Austin, has over 19,900 coronavirus cases, according to county data.

8:54 a.m.: Deaths on the rise in western Washington for 1st time since March

Coronavirus deaths are on the rise in western Washington for the first time since March, the state’s department of health said Tuesday, according to ABC Seattle affiliate KOMO.

PHOTO:People work at an orchard pull on equipment as they prepare to thin apple trees in Yakima, Wash., June 16, 2020. (Elaine Thompson/AP,FILE)

Deaths are continuing to rise in eastern Washington, KOMO said.

There’s a new concentration of cases among young adults, the report said, according to KOMO.

MORE: ‘They didn’t run the plays’: Ex-officials say Trump administration didn’t use pandemic ‘playbooks’

Hospitalizations are on the rise with most age groups, the report said.

“We are still at great risk for significant growth as the virus continues to spread in Washington state,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said, according to KOMO. “And, as it moves into more vulnerable age groups, I am very concerned that hospitalizations and deaths will continue to increase.”

What to know about coronavirus:

4:25 a.m.: McAllen, Texas Convention Center will be used to treat coronavirus patients

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that the McAllen Convention Center would be transformed into a temporary medical facility to treat coronavirus patients.

Abbott visited the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday to survey damage caused by Hurricane Hanna and meet with local leaders — who are contending with both hurricane damage and the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: Coronavirus testing: What top officials say went wrong

“And if there’s one thing that I want to emphasize to everyone in the Rio Grande Valley it is this: This hurricane has not eliminated COVID-19,” Abbott said.

Abbott announced several major steps designed to assist the Valley, including:

-The McAllen Convention Center will be transformed into a temporary medical facility to treat coronavirus patients. The convention center’s maximum capacity will be 250 patients, Abbott said.

-The U.S. Department of Defense will deploy additional medical teams to the Valley. A U.S. Army Reserve unit arrived in Cameron County on Tuesday to assist local hospitals.

Another U.S. Army Reserve unit will arrive in Hidalgo County on Wednesday to assist DHR Health.

“This is on top of the more than 2,000 medical personnel that we have already allocated to this region,” Abbott said.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said hospital capacity remains a major problem.

Adding capacity in Hidalgo County and Cameron County will help Starr County, Vera said.

3:07 a.m.: 73 COVID cases in Illinois traced to July 4 parties

Seventy-three people are now part of a COVID-19 outbreak in Lake Zurich which has been traced back to several Fourth of July gatherings, health officials said.

The outbreak was first detected in a group of Lake Zurich High School students earlier in July. Lake County, Illinois, health officials said contact tracing has now led them to believe the infections stem from multiple July 4 parties, and was not the result of a super spreader event.

“We have identified multiple smaller gatherings where COVID-19 infections occurred,” said Hannah Goering, Lake County Health Department.

The outbreak was detected on the first day of an athletic camp scheduled to take place to Lake Zurich High School, when several students tested positive during an initial health screening. The camp was cancelled, and a mobile testing unit was sent to the high school for several days. Free testing was offered to those in the area.

“At least half of the cases are Lake Zurich High School students, but there are also parents and family members and people from other community members tied to this outbreak,” Goering said.

County officials said during this process they’ve had some trouble with contact tracing, as many people have either ignored messages, delayed responding, or simply didn’t pick up the phone. They said they really need anyone who is contacted by a tracer because of possible exposure to COVID-19 to take the call seriously and get themselves tested as soon as possible.

2:06 a.m.: FEMA says the the COVID-19 death toll is surging

An internal FEMA memo obtained by ABC News reports that new cases are going down but deaths are surging.

PHOTO: A person undergoes a finger prick blood sample as part of a coronavirus antibody rapid serological test on July 26, 2020 in San Dimas, California, 30 miles east of Los Angeles. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

In the seven days ending Monday, new cases nationwide have decreased 0.6% from the previous week but that time period also saw a 30.1% increase in deaths from the disease and deaths have been increasing steadily in recent days.

1:59 a.m.: Alaska requiring all visitors to have negative COVID-19 result within 72 hours prior to arrival

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced Tuesday evening that all visitors to the state will have to present a negative result on a COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to arrival. The policy goes into effect on August 11.

Testing will no longer be available for non-residents when they arrive and residents can still be tested when arriving at the airport

“If you are going to other countries you require shots so we are not trying to make this difficult when you come here. We just want to make sure we are taking care of Alaskans first,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy during a press briefing.

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, Marilyn Heck, Ahmad Hemingway, Alex Mallin, Josh Margolin, John Parkinson, Jordyn Phelps, Ben Siegel and Scott Withers contributed to this report.

Coronavirus updates: Florida reports 2nd day of record-setting deaths originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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