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More Coloradans now hospitalized with COVID than at any point in 2021

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More Coloradans now hospitalized with COVID than at any point in 2021

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are higher than they’ve been at any time since we bid 2020 a less-than-fond farewell, and about 90% of intensive-care beds in the state are full.

As of Thursday, 982 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, which was the highest number since Dec. 31. At the peak on Dec. 2, there were 1,841 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

Scott Bookman, the state’s COVID-19 incident commander, asked anyone who is eligible and hasn’t gotten vaccinated to get the COVID-19 and seasonal flu shots, to reduce strain on hospitals.

About 78% of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado are unvaccinated.

Two weeks ago, Colorado had about 166 new cases for every 100,000 people, and was doing better than the majority of states, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. As of Thursday, the rate had increased to 268 cases per 100,000 people, which was the 14th-highest rate in the country, she said.

That reflects both increasing cases in Colorado and an improving situation in the South.

“That’s a really significant change for us,” she said during a news briefing Friday.

New cases rose 16% last week, after climbing 5% the week before, Herlihy said. There’s some indication this week might be a bit better, but it’s going to take several weeks of steady improvements before Colorado can say the worst is over, she said.

While Herlihy still referred to the situation as a high plateau, she acknowledged recent increases could be the start of another spike. Generally, respiratory viruses spread more efficiently in the winter, though SARS-CoV-2 hasn’t always played by those rules, she said.

“This is one of those cases where my epi(demiology) crystal ball isn’t very clear,” she said.

Cases are highest in children between 6 and 11, who aren’t eligible for vaccination, and those between 12 and 17, who are, Herlihy said. They’re also particularly increasing on the Eastern Plains, in the southwest counties and in the San Luis Valley, she said.

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3 students shot dead at Mich. high school; 8 injured

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3 students shot dead at Mich. high school; 8 injured

Three students were killed and eight other people wounded when a 15-year-old boy allegedly opened fire Tuesday at Oxford High School.

Killed were Tate Myre, age 16; Hanna St. Julian, 14; and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.

Myre’s gunshot wound was so severe that a deputy put him in a patrol car to transport him to hospital because the deputy didn’t think the teenager could wait for an ambulance.. Myre died in the car.

Those injured include:

14-year-old female in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the chest and neck; transferred to Hurley Medical Center in Flint and is on ventilator after surgery.15-year-old male in critical condition at McLaren Hospital in Pontiac with a gunshot wound to the head17-year-old female in critical condition at St. Joseph Mercy in Pontiac with a gunshot wound to chest.14-year-old male in serious condition at McLaren Pontiac with jaw and hand gunshot wounds.17-year-old female in stable condition at McLaren Pontiac with a gunshot wound to the neck.15-year-old male in stable condition at McLaren Pontiac with a gunshot wound to the left leg.17-year-old male in stable condition at Ascension Hospital in Rochester Hills with a gunshot wound to the hip.47-year-old teacher discharged from McLaren Hospital in Lapeer with a left shoulder gunshot wound.The alleged shooter, an Oxford High School sophomore and resident of Oxford, is under suicide watch at Oakland County Children’s Village. The county prosecutor will determine if he’s charged as an adult or a minor.

A 9mm Sig Sauer handgun and two ammunition clips were recovered at the scene, the sheriff’s office said. The firearm and three 15-shot ammunition clips were purchased on Friday, Nov. 26, by his father, according to the sheriff’s office.

Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the shooting lasted five minutes and happened in the south end of the school. It wasn’t clear if it occurred in a classroom or classrooms, or a hallway, he said.

Police and fire personnel from several agencies, EMS units, SWAT and the sheriff’s aviation unit responded to the scene, which unfolded at around 12:50 p.m. More than 100 people called 9-1-1 to report the shooting.

Isabel Flores told WJBK-TV that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face.

 

They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, said Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader.

The teen suspect surrendered to sheriff’s deputies after firing 15 to 20 rounds. Authorities don’t suspect any other shooters were involved.

“Deputies confronted him, he had the weapon on him, they took him into custody,” McCabe said, adding that the suspect wasn’t hurt when he was taken into custody and that he refused to say how he got the gun into the school.

The school does not have metal detectors at its entrances.

The school was placed on lockdown after the attack, with children sheltering in locked classrooms while officers searched the premises.

 

Students were evacuated to the Meijer store in Oxford, just north of the downtown, which was closed to shoppers so the students could be picked up by parents or other relatives. Parents were advised to not go to the school.

After he was taken into custody, the suspect met with his parents at the sheriff’s substation but they wouldn’t let him speak with authorities, McCabe said.

“They didn’t want their son to talk to us and they’ve hired an attorney,” he said.

McCabe said he wasn’t aware of any prior run-ins the suspect had with law enforcement or if he had any disciplinary history at school.

He also said he was aware of information circulating on social media that there had been threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school prior to Tuesday’s attack, but he cautioned against believing that narrative until investigators can look into it.

Investigators have not yet established a motive, McCabe said.

“Ultimately, we will get to the bottom of this,” McCabe said, adding that a search warrant is being executed at the boy’s house.

Detectives will be interviewing students, reviewing the video from security cameras around the school and combing through social media as they investigate what led up to the incident, he said.

“Anyone with information about the incident, if they know anything at all about this young man or what was going to happen or what happened today, they can call us at 248-858-4911,” McCabe said.

Tim Throne, the superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he was shocked by the incident. “It’s devastating,” he said.

‘Terrifying display of violence’Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Tuesday afternoon ordered U.S. and Michigan flags upon all public buildings and grounds across Michigan to be lowered to half-staff immediately until further notice to honor and remember the victims of the shooting. She also released a statement in response to the shooting.

“My heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff, and families of Oxford High School. The death of multiple students and the shooting of many others, including a teacher, is horrific. I want to thank the first responders on the ground working hard to keep people safe as law enforcement officials investigate this shooting and get the community the help it needs right now.

“As Michiganders, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect each other from gun violence. No one should be afraid to go to school, work, a house of worship, or even their own home. Gun violence is a public health crisis that claims lives every day. We have the tools to reduce gun violence in Michigan. This is a time for us to come together and help our children feel safe at school.

“My heart is with the parents who had their children taken from them today and with the entire community in Oxford.”

Whitmer attended the 5 p.m. press conference in Oxford. Clearly choked up, she called the situation every parent’s worst nightmare.

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion was scheduled to hold a Mass early Tuesday evening in response to the shooting earlier in the day

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter also released a statement:

“I’m horrified by this tragic shooting at Oxford High School today. The entire Oakland County community is in shock by this terrifying display of violence and our thoughts are with Oxford families tonight. I’m grateful for the quick response from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and all the first responders. The county’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated to offer any support and assistance needed by first responders and the families in Oxford today and in the days ahead.”

Oxford High School, which has an enrollment of 1,800, is located at 745 N. Oxford Road, in the northern portion of Oakland County.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Free access to monoclonal antibodies for high-risk Massachusetts coronavirus patients

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EU regulator authorizes Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for kids 5-11

People at high risk for serious coronavirus infections who have been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can now find free access to monoclonal antibody treatment at three state-run mobile sites, Gov. Charlie Baker announced.

“These mobile sites enable individuals with early COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19 to be treated quickly and safely with monoclonal antibody infusion,” said Acting Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “While the best protection against COVID-19 is vaccination, these therapies can help prevent hospitalization and severe illness for infected or exposed high-risk individuals.”

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created antibodies that mimic those naturally generated by the body to fight viruses and can help boost the immune response. The therapies have been shown to be effective in reducing the severity of disease and keeping COVID-19-positive individuals from being hospitalized, officials said.

The new state-run mobile clinics have the capacity to treat a combined 500 patients per week. Two of the clinics are already running in Fall River and Holyoke, where medics began administering monoclonal antibody treatment to patients on Nov. 22. A third clinic will open in Everett on Dec. 3.

The mobile clinic sites can be relocated easily based on demand and officials pointed out they are ready to be deployed to provide monoclonal antibodies in nursing homes, assisted living residences, and congregate care settings that have been hard-hit by coronavirus. Massachusetts residents can now receive monoclonal antibody treatment at 32 publicly available locations. A map of sites can be found using the state’s Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Locator.

Texas-based emergency management company Gothams is operating the mobile clinics in partnership with the Department of Public Health.

The cost of operating the mobile clinics was not immediately known. But officials said treatment is provided at no cost to the patient and offered regardless of immigration status or health insurance.

A similar program in Florida for 25 state-run monoclonal antibody sites has cost $244.8 million since August, according to a Miami Herald report. State lawmakers there have earmarked another $634.3 million in case the state ends up needing more medications for a future coronavirus surge.

The money is reimbursable by federal authorities.

Monoclonal antibodies are administered through a single intravenous infusion into a patient’s arm during a process that takes 20 to 30 minutes, followed by an hour of patient monitoring. Officials say “the one-time therapy is highly effective in neutralizing the virus and preventing symptoms from worsening,” if administered within 10 days of onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-positive or exposed patients age 12 and older at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness are eligible to receive monoclonal antibody treatment, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization. A referral from a health care provider is required.

Cooke encouraged people with questions about whether this treatment is right for them to discuss it with their health care providers.

For more information about accessing this treatment, visit Mass.gov.

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Consumer confidence takes a hit in November

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Consumer confidence takes a hit in November

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence fell to a nine-month low in November, clipped by rising prices and concern about the coronavirus.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 109.5, down from 111.6 in October. It was the lowest reading since the index stood at 95.2 in February.

The survey was completed on Nov. 19 and does not include omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that has begun to spread with few answers about the damage it might do to the U.S. and global economies.

Even before the omicron variant appeared, consumer optimism was being tested by price spikes across the board, particularly for gasoline and food.

The Conference Board’s present situation index, which measures consumers’ assessment of current business and labor conditions, fell to 142.5, down from 145.5 in October. The expectations index, based the outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, fell to 87.6 in November from 89.0 in October.

The board said concerns about rising prices and to a lesser degree, lingering worries about the delta variant, were the primary drivers of the November decline.

But economists believe rising prices and any jolt from the omicron variant will not have a major impact on holiday spending this year, something that can have a sizable impact on the U.S. economy.

Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said she expected the omicron variant would have only a “moderate negative impact on growth.” She is looking for the overall economy to expand at an annual rate of 7.9% in the current quarter ending in December, a big improvement from the lackluster 2.1% GDP gain in the July-September quarter.

The decline in the Conference Board confidence index followed an even bigger drop reported last week in the University of Michigan’s gauge of consumer sentiment, which fell in November to a decade-low of 7.4, compared to a final October reading of 71.7.

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