States looking for ways to slow COVID-19 over July 4th weekend

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Residents in California, Florida, New York and Oregon face new restrictions Wednesday designed to tamp down on rises in COVID-19 cases ahead of the holiday weekend.

Almost 45,000 new U.S. cases were reported Tuesday, the second-highest daily total to date, which pushed the overall national total to 2.66 million cases. Since the pandemic began, 127,600 people have died in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled new restrictions Wednesday to handle a growing number of cases there.

He ordered all restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment venues, zoos, museums, card rooms and bars be closed in 19 counties. The order applies to Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Newsom likened the measures to a “dimmer switch” to mitigate the virus’ spread ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

“The framework for us is this: If you’re not going to stay home and you’re not going to wear masks in public, we have to enforce and we will.”

Newsom said the surge in cases will delay planned reopenings statewide and refine orders for indoor public activities.

Los Angeles and Ventura counties announced earlier that beaches will close for the holiday weekend.

Los Angeles County reported 2,800 new cases Tuesday, its highest single-day tally, which pushed its total beyond 100,000. Neighboring Orange County also reported a single-day record of new cases.

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“We need to act with haste and urgency,” said County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “The increases in cases and hospitalizations we are seeing will result in more deaths.”

The City of Miami Beach, Fla., ordered a curfew from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. each day, closed all restaurants for dine-in and takeout between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m., and halted the sale of all alcohol after 8 p.m. All new rules go into effect Thursday.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County ordered all hotels to close their pools between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Friday through Monday.

In Miami. Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered that most restaurants must close in the popular South Florida city between midnight and 6 a.m. each day until further notice.

A major tourism destination year-round, Florida cases have spiked over the past two weeks.

“We must take this action,” he said. “Too many people were crowding into restaurants late at night, turning these establishments into breeding grounds for this deadly virus.”

More than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Florida on Tuesday, where about 3,500 patients have died of the coronavirus so far.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he’s postponing indoor dining indefinitely. The state is scheduled to reopen indoor dining Monday as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s Phase 3 reopening plan.

“We’re working with the State to postpone indoor dining as we move towards Phase 3. We’ve made too much progress fighting COVID-19 to risk going backwards,” de Blasio tweeted.

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New York state reported 458 new cases Tuesday, and has had 31,790 deaths so far.

The state of Oregon made wearing a face covering mandatory in all indoor public places on Wednesday, with Gov. Kate Brown citing COVID-19 cases spreading at “an alarming rate” in both rural and urban counties.

“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public,” said Brown.

Oregon has reported 8,525 coronavirus cases and 208 deaths.

Texas on Wednesday reported 8,076 new coronavirus cases, its largest single-day increase since the onset of the pandemic, as the state has reported a total of 169,062 positive cases and 2,481 deaths.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Wednesday said he is considering a new stay-at-home order as Travis County is expected to surpass 10,000 cases and added wearing masks should be mandatory for the next year.

California life in the COVID-19 pandemic

Residents inch their way onto the Dodger Stadium parking lot where a new COVID-19 testing site was opened in Los Angeles on May 26. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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