Coronavirus updates: Maryland State Police to enforce COVID restrictions; Los Angeles County stay-at-home order coming?; 257K US deaths

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restrictions; Los Angeles County stay-at-home order coming?; 257K
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Coronavirus cases are surging across the country ahead of the holiday season. Here are some unsettling statistics from the month of November. USA TODAY

Public health officials in the nation’s largest county are expected to discuss a stay-at-home order Tuesday, just days after announcing a temporary ban on outdoor dining in Los Angeles restaurants and bars.

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Los Angeles County public health officials reported the highest number of daily cases Monday, surpassing a threshold that would trigger a new safer-at-home order. The new restriction on outdoor dining begins Wednesday.

Also Monday, the NFL expanded its mask mandate for players who are on the sidelines. Starting this week, players must wear a mask or double-layered gaiter if they are not wearing a helmet and are not preparing to substitute or enter the field. The league said players may be disciplined if they don’t follow the rule.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 12.4 million cases and over 257,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: 59.1 million cases and 1.3 million deaths. 

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.

This file will be updated throughout the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to The Daily Briefing newsletter.

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Maryland State Police will ramp up COVID-19 enforcement

State police will launch a COVID-19 enforcement initiative with an added presence in several Maryland cities, including Salisbury, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday. The increased enforcement will aim to halt large gatherings that violate the state’s health restrictions as Maryland faces its worst COVID-19 surge of the pandemic.

“In addition to our traditional statewide efforts ramping up drunk driving patrols and enforcement ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, we are also launching a wide-scale, all-hands-on-deck compliance, education and enforcement operation,” Hogan said at a news conference in Annapolis.

Starting Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, compliance units will be detailed to popular locations across the state, including in Baltimore, Towson, Silver Spring, Bel Air and Salisbury, Hogan said.

Last week, Hogan set new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, including ordering restaurants and bars to close by 10 p.m. and limiting capacity at retail businesses, religious institutions and other venues to 50%.

– Madeleine O’Neill, Delmarva Now

Tennessee mayor is waiting for guidance from the ‘Holy Spirit’ 

As COVID-19 cases surge, a Tennessee mayor said he won’t require people to wear face masks until the “Holy Spirit” provides him with guidance to do so. 

Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman told last week that he believes masks can prevent the spread of the virus, but he doesn’t think it’s necessary to mandate them. Instead, he said he’s waiting to receive guidance from “the Holy Spirit.”

“The Holy Spirit dwells within us,” Newman said. “It’s a heart thing. It’s not a mind thing. But you’re using all your God-given (talents), your physical or mental or spiritual, all those things. When I pray for guidance, I may not know the answer immediately.”

Lincoln County is about 35 miles south of Nashville, on Alabama’s northern border, with approximately 34,000 residents. The county has reported 1,463 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to the state’s coronavirus tracking data.

Los Angeles County on brink of another stay-at-home order

The largest county in the United States is on the brink of a stay-home order after a coronavirus surge surpassed a level set by Los Angeles County public health officials to trigger such an action. A swell of new cases Monday put the county over an average of 4,500 cases per day.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said no action would be taken until county supervisors meet Tuesday.

A stay-home order would be the first such action since mid-March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom followed several counties and issued a statewide order that closed schools and most shops.

Cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results Saturday with more than 15,000. It had more than 14,000 cases Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks.

In Los Angeles, the county of 10 million residents has had a disproportionately large share of the state’s cases and deaths. Although it accounts for a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents, it has about a third of the cases and more than a third of the deaths.

COVID-19 panic buying is on a roll again

Paper products and other household staples are in high demand in stores and online again as the virus surges and lockdowns loom but none more so than those essential rolls of soft cotton squares. 

“The toilet paper aisle is CLEARED!” one person wrote on Twitter. “March 2.0 is here folkssss.”

In another unpleasant flashback to the pandemic’s early days of panic buying and hoarding, some stores have reinstated purchase limits on hard-to-get items. Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner says toilet paper and cleaning supplies are seeing “the most strain.” 

Target told USA TODAY that it is coordinating with stores, distribution centers and suppliers to make sure that essential items such as baby products, food and over-the-counter medicine are “fast-tracked through the supply chain and prioritized for re-stocking.” 

– Jessica Guynn

COVID-19 resources from USA TODAY 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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