The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has soared to a new daily high in the United States.
Data from Johns Hopkins University indicate the number of confirmed cases reached 184,514 on Friday, as the number of people infected continues to surge.
The Johns Hopkins data shows the seven-day rolling average for virus-related deaths reported daily in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from about 828 on Oct. 30 to 1,047 on Friday, an increase of about 26%.
The seven-day rolling positivity rate also rose over the last two weeks from 6.4 to 9.6, an increase of about 50%, even as the number of tests performed has grown.
In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont is self-quarantining after his chief spokesperson tested positive for the virus.
The Democratic governor’s chief spokesperson, Max Reiss, identified himself as the senior staff member who had tested positive, in a release posted to Twitter late Friday. An initial news release from the governor’s office didn’t identify the staff member, but said that it was the first known case of the coronavirus in the governor’s office.
Reiss wrote he wasn’t sure how or where he contracted the virus, but added that his family had been self-quarantining after his children were exposed at school. He said none of his family was experiencing symptoms, but they will quarantine for the next two weeks.
Contact tracing has begun and all members of the administration who have been within six feetof Reiss for 15 minutes or more will self-quarantine for 14 days. In addition to Lamont, chief of staff Paul Mounds and Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe will self-quarantine. Reiss also encouraged journalists who had contact with him under those same parameters in the last 24 hours to “take the necessary steps.”
Three U.S. governors — Republicans Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma and Mike Parson of Missouri and Democrat Ralph Northam of Virginia — had COVID-19 earlier this year. Another governor, Democrat Steve Sisolak of Nevada, announced Friday that he had tested positive for the virus.
In Kansas, some churches have suspended indoor, in-person worship services and the capital city’s zoo even has tightened its rules as the state set another record for new coronavirus cases.
The bishops of the two Episcopal Church dioceses that cover Kansas this week directed their congregations to suspend services and meetings. The United Methodist Church bishop for Kansas and Nebraska also encouraged its churches to suspend in-person services until further notice if they are in counties “identified as being in critical or dangerous statuses.”
And the Topeka zoo said that starting Saturday, all visitors will be required to wear masks, except when eating. The zoo had allowed visitors to take off their masks if they were outdoors and socially distanced.
Kansas averaged a record 2,553 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day for the seven days ending Friday. The state health department added 6,282 coronavirus cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Wednesday, increasing it to 115,507. The department also reported 41 additional COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the pandemic total to 1,256.