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City Suspends Indoor Recreation Due To Rise In Covid-19 Cases

Oakland’s Town Camp Enrichment Program is being suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials announced Thursday.

The program provides indoor recreation to school-age youth from kindergarten through fifth grade. Outdoor youth programs, senior programs, library services and homeless services will still be provided, according to city officials.

According to Alameda County, 10,884 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Oakland as of Thursday. City officials said the recent spike in virus cases and possibly a further increase because of family holiday gatherings were behind the decision to suspend the enrichment program.

“We realize that this will be a burden on some families,” city officials said. “However, we feel it is gravely necessary for us to play our part to control the spread of COVID-19, for both the customers we serve AND our own staff and their families.”

In-person enrichment programs were provided during the summer and at recreation centers since the beginning of the school year.


“We will continue following Alameda County Public Health guidelines and protocols over the next few weeks and will communicate when we feel we can safely resume indoor programming,” city officials said.

Head Start in Oakland remains open for in-person as well as virtual services but will have an extended winter break in anticipation of the increase in coronavirus cases.

Head Start locations will be closed from Dec. 21 through Jan. 8 and open again on Jan. 11. Families will be served virtually during the winter break.

Senior centers are not open for in-person services but are delivering food and making it available for pickup as well as providing virtual classes and information and referral services. More information can be found at https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/senior-services.

Housing services for homeless residents remain in operation. Anyone interested in providing food or supplies to help homeless residents is encouraged to work with a provider of those services to reduce the risk of exposing homeless residents to the coronavirus.

Sidewalk library services continue to be provided at 16 locations during limited hours while indoor areas will stay closed to the public.

Library materials can be returned at outdoor bookdrops. The materials are quarantined for 96 hours before they are checked in.

Oakland Public Library reference librarians can be reached by calling (510) 238-3134 or by email at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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Mental health hospital suspends staff vacation due to COVID cases

A state-run psychiatric hospital in Rhode Island has suspended all medical staff vacation in response to a rising number of coronavirus cases among patients and workers.

“We regretfully are canceling all direct care patient support vacations” effective midnight Nov. 25, according to a letter to Eleanor Slater Hospital staff, The Providence Journal reported.

The letter also said, “We hope this vacation hold is temporary as we recognize the hard work and dedication of our staff and the need for time off.”

The letter was signed by Kathryn Power, director of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, which oversees the Cranston facility.

A Slater spokesperson earlier this week confirmed that 14 patients and 35 staffers had tested positive for the virus.

Another hospital group, Lifespan, previously issued an appeal for retired doctors and nurses to return to work, and even sought medical students and interns, to help relieve the medical staff shortage. Lifespan operates Rhode Island, Miriam, Hasbro Children’s and Newport hospitals.

There were 1,525 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 11 more virus-related fatalities in Rhode Island in the past two days, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

The department did not provide updated statistics on Thanksgiving Day, when most testing sites were closed because of the holiday.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has now risen over the past two weeks from more than 716 on Nov. 12 to almost 767 on Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island was 5.89% on Thursday, down from over 6% two days prior, but still higher than it was two weeks ago.

State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island, the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The state’s death toll from the disease is now 1,346 patients.

The number of people in the state’s hospitals with the disease was down to 319 as of Wednesday, the latest day for which the data were available, the second consecutive day it has dropped. Of those, 37 are in intensive care.

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Public hospital suspends staff vacation due to virus cases

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A state-run psychiatric hospital in Rhode Island has suspended all medical staff vacation in response to a rising number of coronavirus cases among patients and workers.

“We regretfully are canceling all direct care patient support vacations” effective midnight Nov. 25, according to a letter to Eleanor Slater Hospital staff, The Providence Journal reported.

The letter also said, “We hope this vacation hold is temporary as we recognize the hard work and dedication of our staff and the need for time off.”

The letter was signed by Kathryn Power, director of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, which oversees the Cranston facility.

A Slater spokesperson earlier this week confirmed that 14 patients and 35 staffers had tested positive for the virus.

Another hospital group, Lifespan, previously issued an appeal for retired doctors and nurses to return to work, and even sought medical students and interns, to help relieve the medical staff shortage. Lifespan operates Rhode Island, Miriam, Hasbro Children’s and Newport hospitals.

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Denver Mayor Flies to Texas for Thanksgiving After Urging City Residents to Avoid Travel Due to COVID



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock participates in a panel discussion during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 'Infrastructure Week' program May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Hancock boarded a fight on Wednesday despite warning Denver residents to avoid traveling over Thanksgiving.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock participates in a panel discussion during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Infrastructure Week’ program May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. Hancock boarded a fight on Wednesday despite warning Denver residents to avoid traveling over Thanksgiving.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock boarded a flight to Houston on Wednesday after urging city residents to avoid travel due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Colorado.

Moments before boarding the plane to Texas, Hancock tweeted “avoid travel, if you can,” “stay home as much as you can,” and “host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners” in a Thanksgiving post about slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

His spokeswoman confirmed to NBC affiliate KUSA on Wednesday that the mayor was traveling to visit his daughter in Mississippi, and that his wife was already there.

Hancock has said his family will be foregoing a large gathering this Thanksgiving, writing in an email to city staff that for his family, coronavirus precautions “means cancelling our traditional gathering of our extended family.”

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“As he has shared, the Mayor is not hosting his traditional large family dinner this year, but instead traveling alone to join his wife and daughter where the three of them will celebrate Thanksgiving at her residence instead of having them travel back to Denver,” the mayor’s spokesperson told KUSA.

Hancock’s assistant advised that he would be out of office from Wednesday to Friday, according to an email obtained by the network.

In an email to city staff, Hancock wrote: “As the holidays approach, we all long to be with our families with person, but with the continued rise in cases, I’m urging you to refrain from travel this Thanksgiving holiday.”

He also said anyone who travels out of state for the weekend should self-isolate for 14 days, including himself.

“Upon return, he will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine,” the mayor’s spokesperson said.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Denver. Last week, the city entered Colorado’s Level Red severe risk category. According to Denver Public Health, the city has reported 33,971 confirmed cases and 494 deaths as of Wednesday.

At a news conference with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Hancock said: “We need everyone to stay home.”

During a Tuesday briefing, Polis said that one in 41 Coloradans is currently infected with COVID-19, the highest figure the state has seen since the pandemic began in March.

Hancock is the latest public official to face backlash for traveling ahead of Thanksgiving despite encouraging constituents to do the opposite.

Earlier this week, New York

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Nearly one in five respondents cancelled their Thanksgiving travel plans due to COVID-19



a group of people standing around a bag of luggage: Travellers check in at Washington's Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on November 24, 2020. Experts are worried that traveling for the holiday season will result in a new COVID-19 spike. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)


© NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Travellers check in at Washington’s Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, on November 24, 2020. Experts are worried that traveling for the holiday season will result in a new COVID-19 spike. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

  • According to Insider polling from November 20 to 21, nearly one in five respondents canceled their pre-made Thanksgiving travels plans as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additionally, nearly 19% of respondents reported Thanksgiving travel plans which include either driving or flying.
  • Around the country, ICU beds in hospitals are increasingly reaching capacity and experts are concerned that the odds of a post-Thanksgiving coronavirus spike are “extremely high.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar across the US, many Americans have chosen to stay home for Thanksgiving to help prevent spreading the virus any further. 

According to recent polling from Insider and SurveyMonkey, 19% of survey respondents previously had plans to travel for Thanksgiving which have since been canceled. Another nearly 19% of respondents noted that they currently have plans to drive or fly to reach their final holiday destination. 

On November 19, the Center for Disease Control recommended Americans stay home for the holiday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

But while close to one in five people are estimated to have canceled their preexisting travel plans as a precautionary measure, polling shows that 57% of respondents will be celebrating Thanksgiving with at least one additional household.

This breakdown comes from a SurveyMonkey Audience poll taken between November 20 and November 21. The poll collected 1,110 respondents who were asked about their plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, COVID-19, as well as a number of other questions.

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With just one day remaining until Thanksgiving, many ICU beds in hospitals have reached capacity, especially in rural areas where some hospitals have sent their sickest patients to cities where there is more bed space.

The US has a greater number of cases and deaths than any other in the world, and as of November 25, 2020, there have been 259,979 deaths in the United States attributed to the virus, according to the Coronavirus Research Center at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Many experts are concerned that if enough Americans ignore the CDC recommendations and travel, the country may see a large increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Associated Press that the risks of a post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 spike are “extremely high.”

“I can’t speculate on what people are going to do,” he said to the Associated Press. “But I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”

According to previous Insider reporting and data from the Transportation Security Administration, more than three million people traveled through US airports between November

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Your employer can make you use your vacation/sick time due to COVID

You go to work. You wear your mask. You wait away from others and you wash your hands. You still get COVID or a coworker does and you’re at risk. Can your employer require you to use your sick leave or vacation time? Yes and no.



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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA requires only certain employers are required to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded medical leave due to COVID-19.

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Covered employers are public or private employers with fewer than 500 employees and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt. This means employers with 51 to 499 employees are covered under this special sick leave, but the rest are not.

“The government thought employers who had more than 500 employees would provide sick leave to their employees without facing hardship.  The government wanted those large employers to do the right thing, whether they do, that’s up to them,” said Nicole Patino, an attorney at The Law Office of Fred T. Hamlet.

A viewer asked 2WTK this week:

Please look into employees being sent home for COVID issues and not being paid!!!!!! Or being made to use vacation time.

Patino says if the business is closed for cleaning due to COVID the employer may be able to require the employee to use their vacation time or unpaid time.   

In North Carolina, if a facility is closed, let’s say due to bad weather, employees who are not salary would not be entitled to pay under the law.

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Don’t Travel For Thanksgiving Due To Pandemic

As the US grapples with the third surge in the pandemic that has now killed a quarter of a million Americans, officials with the CDC are strongly recommending against travel for Thanksgiving, citing explosive growth in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

“[The] CDC is recommending against travel in the Thanksgiving period,” said Henry Walke, the CDC’s director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, on a preholiday briefing call with reporters Thursday. “This is a strong recommendation.”

“It’s a difficult conversation and sometimes a sad one,” to tell people you are staying home, added Walke, noting people would put their families at risk by traveling to meet them.

The embattled federal public health agency also released updated guidelines for lowering the risks of transmitting the coronavirus at gatherings and safe travel for people who head for holiday gatherings despite the recommendation.

“Most important, wear a mask,” said Walke, emphasizing the need to keep 6 feet away from other travelers and wash hands frequently. College students should consider returning home 14 days ahead of any gathering that will host elderly or ill guests at high risk of disease, and isolating themselves to limit the risks of transmitting the coronavirus.

The CDC guidelines also recommend limiting exposure, increasing ventilation with outdoor activities, and wearing masks among households that do travel to spend the holiday together. The recommendations include bringing your own food, staying masked indoors, and avoiding the kitchen for people who go to gatherings with people outside their own household.

“I haven’t seen my parents since January. That’s been difficult,” said Walke. “I’m staying home.”

COVID-19 is now killing more than 1,100 people every day nationwide. Case numbers are growing exponentially amid a nationwide surge in disease in most states.

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CDC says people should not travel for Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 surges

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people should not travel for Thanksgiving, citing the rapid increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the country. “It’s a strong recommendation,” said Henry Walke, COVID-19 Incident Manager at the CDC, during a press briefing.



a close up of a purple flower


© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge


The United States is averaging over 160,000 COVID-19 cases per day, and the coronavirus is spreading out of control in most states. “We all need to consider the safest way to celebrate this holiday amidst this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Walke said.

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The US saw spikes in cases after the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, and Thanksgiving poses an even larger concern: celebration usually happen indoors (where the virus spreads more easily), with multiple generations (including older adults at high risk of severe COVID-19). There’s also more virus spreading in most places in the US now than there was during those summer holidays.

The agency released updated guidelines for the holiday on Thursday, which say that staying home is the best way to stay safe. People thinking about traveling should consider if anyone in their household is at risk for a severe case of COVID-19 due to an underlying condition, if hospitals in their area are overwhelmed, and if they’re able to stay away from others in the two weeks before they might travel, among other questions. “If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel,” the guidelines read.

The process of getting from one place to another also concerns the CDC. “What we’re concerned about is not only the actual code of travel — whether it’s an airplane, or a bus, or a car, or an RV, for example — but also the transportation hubs,” Walke says. “When people are in lines and waiting to get on the bus or get on a plane, people tend to crowd together.”

Gathering with people who don’t live in your household for Thanksgiving is also risky, the CDC says. You can make it safer by eating outdoors and sticking to a small number of guests. People celebrating indoors can keep windows open and wear masks.

Anyone who isn’t living with you in the 14 days before Thanksgiving is considered outside of your household, Erin Sauber-Schatz, lead for the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, stressed on the press call. That includes college students, who may call your household home but don’t live there during the school year. “You definitely need to take extra precautions within your house,” she says. That might include wearing a mask inside the house or keeping windows open.

The health and safety of your family members and of other people they may interact with is at stake, Walke says. “The tragedy that could happen is that one of one of your family members, from coming together at this family gathering,

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Scugog makes recreation program rule changes due to COVID-19

SCUGOG: With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to play a factor on day to day life in Ontario, the Township of Scugog has decided to make some sports and recreation related changes.

A township press release, posted on Thursday November 12th, stated “following the Province of Ontario’s order to move Durham Region to the Yellow– Protect level on November 7, 2020, the Township of Scugog will be supporting the government’s efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19” by taking several actions.

One of these is to not allow anyone into the Scugog Community Recreation Centre without a reservation.

“All individual program participants will need to register online including skate programs, walking program and The Lookout youth centre,” the press release explained.

The township is also limiting the number of people in fitness classes to 10 people per room and increasing spacing to three metres for patrons in “areas of sport or recreation where there are exercise/fitness classes.”

Pickleball use will allow 12 participants using 3 courts, and play will be limited only to residents of Durham Region.

Earlier this month, the township also announced they will be keeping the Blackstock Arena on Church Street closed for the 2020/2021 ice season.

A township statement explains this decision was made “due to lack of ice demands and physical distancing challenges in the facility.”

“The main hall at the Blackstock Recreation Complex still remains available for facility bookings at this time,” the statement adds.

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Experts predict significant decrease in Thanksgiving travel due to COVID-19 pandemic

Travel industry experts are predicting a sharp decrease in Thanksgiving travel this year.

Both AAA Michigan and GasBuddy expect fewer motorists to be on the road this holiday season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

GasBuddy’s annual survey found that 35% of Americans will be taking to the roads this year, a decrease from 65% from last year, amidst some of the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices the country has seen in years.

Furthermore. AAA expects up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving – a drop from 55 million in 2019. In Michigan, the expectation is 1.6 million travelers, down 8.1% from 2019.

However, as the holiday approaches and Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel health notices, AAA expects the actual number of holiday travelers will be even lower.

“AAA acknowledges that the decision to travel is a personal one,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “The CDC says staying home is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. For those who still decide to travel, we urge you to take every precaution possible to protect yourself and others.”

RELATED: Do we have to cancel Thanksgiving? CDC updates holiday guidelines

The national average gas price is projected to be $2.17 per gallon, lower this year as oil prices plunged from year ago levels amidst depressed demand for gasoline due to the coronavirus keeping Americans closer to home and away from their normal driving routines.

“Gasoline demand has continued to struggle as the coronavirus has kept Americans in their homes and keys out of their cars, working and e-learning from home. But with positive outcomes from two vaccine trials, we’re beginning to see optimism return, leading prices to rise slightly just in time for Thanksgiving,” says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“However, survey results show continued anxiety from motorists even with the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in years, highlighting the challenges we’re facing in this pandemic.”

Seventy-nine percent of people said that gas prices are not impacting their travel plans, according to GasBuddy.

Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents in GasBuddy’s annual survey said that their travel plans are impacted by the coronavirus. When asked in what ways they were impacted, 71% said they are staying home instead of traveling this year. Five percent said they are not celebrating Thanksgiving this year due to the coronavirus.

The remainder are either celebrating Thanksgiving at a different location this year (20%), or driving instead of taking other forms of transportation to their Thanksgiving destination (11%).

Those who are traveling are taking shorter trips than in years past, with survey results seeing a 75% increase in those who are traveling less than one hour to their Thanksgiving destination compared to 2019.

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