Dec 11, 2020 - Health

Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia announce new COVID-19 restrictions

Health care workers from Virginia Hospital Center put on their personal protective equipment before people arrive at a drive through testing site for coronavirus in Arlington, Virginia.
Health care workers put on personal protective equipment before people arrive at a drive through testing site for coronavirus in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Andrew Caballero/AFP via Getty Images

Governors in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia announced fresh coronavirus restrictions for their states on Thursday as the number of cases across the U.S. climbs.

Driving the news: The U.S. recorded 221,267 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and a record 3,124 deaths, per Johns Hopkins University data.

  • A record 107,248 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon, per the COVID Tracking Project.
  • "Even though the national 7-day average for deaths is the highest it’s ever been, only two states reported single-day record deaths today. This may be an indicator that we will see this number rise in the coming weeks," the COVID Tracking Project tweeted Thursday.

Details:

  • Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) updated an executive order that limits public gatherings to 50% capacity. Churches are exempt.
    • The order limits indoor sporting events and requires bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. CST, except for drive-thru and take out.
    • It also continues to require state employees and visitors to wear masks in state buildings.
“Our healthcare workers, hospitals, students and teachers and small business owners need our help."
— Gov. Kevin Stitt
  • Pennsylvania: Starting Saturday, restaurants in the state will not be allowed to offer indoor dining, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine announced. Outdoor seating and takeout will be permitted.
    • All extracurricular school activities and sports practices will be suspended.
    • Indoor gatherings will also be limited to a maximum of 10 people and outdoor gatherings can have no more than 50 people.
    • The "limited-mitigation orders" will stay in effect through at least Jan. 4.
“The work we do now to slow the spread of COVID-19 is not only crucial to keeping our fellow Pennsylvanians safe and healthy."
— Gov. Tom Wolf
  • Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed an executive order that included what he described as a "modified stay at home order."
    • The order, which goes into effect Monday, imposes a 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. ET curfew for all state residents, except in a number of instances, including getting food or goods, seeking medical attention or going to or coming home from work, school or religious services.
    • The order does not include an enforcement mechanism and Northam acknowledged the curfew is basically "messaging ... but it’s also about saving lives,” the Washington Post noted.
    • Northam also announced an expanded mask mandate and said the limit on indoor social gatherings will be reduced from 25 to 10.
    • The order will be in effect through at least Jan. 31.
"New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed. ... if you don’t have to be out, stay at home.”
— Gov. Ralph Northam

The big picture: More than 69 million COVID-19 cases and 1.5 million deaths have been recorded worldwide since the pandemic began, per Johns Hopkins University.

  • Of note: Japan set a record on Thursday, recording 2,973 new cases, the Kyodo news agency reported. This included 602 new cases in Tokyo, the first time the capital city hit more than 600 new infections.

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