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US surpasses 26,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus

More than 278,000 people worldwide — including nearly 20,000 people in the United States — have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.

Live updates for Saturday, March 21, continue below:

US surpasses 26,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus

Update 12:04 p.m. EDT March 21: There are more than 26,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

The number of cases continues to rise as more people get tested and the virus continues to spread.

There are more than 307,000 cases worldwide. China has the most with 81,345 cases, followed by Italy with 53,578.

Hawaii starts mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travelers

Update 11:10 p.m. EDT March 21: Visitors and returning residents traveling to Hawaii are required to complete a 14-day quarantine in an effort to slow the coronavirus, the Gov. David Ige said Saturday.

The order is in effect indefinitely.

“We need to come together as a community to fight this virus,” Ige told Hawaii New Now. “This mandate is the first of its kind in the nation. We want this action to send the message to visitors and residents alike that we appreciate their love for Hawaii but we are asking them to postpone their visit.”

There are 48 confirmed cases of coronavirus and no deaths in Hawaii.

VP Mike Pence, wife test negative for coronavirus

Update 9:15 p.m. EDT March 21: Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the coronavirus.

Pence said Saturday afternoon he and his wife would be tested.

US deaths surpass 300 as spread of coronavirus continues

Update 9:04 p.m. EDT March 21: More than 300 Americans have died from the coronavirus as of Saturday night.

There are more than 23,000 confirmed cases nationwide and 302 deaths, according to CNN.

Washington state leads the nation with 94 deaths. New York state is next with 53.

Washington governor diverts medical masks being sold at Target to nurses

Update 8:06 p.m. EDT March 21: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee diverted masks being sold on shelves at Target and delivered them to health care workers in need of safety equipment.

“We heard reports that a Target in Seattle was selling n95 masks,” Inslee wrote on social media. “My staff and others stepped in. Those masks are now on their way to the health care workers who desperately need them.”

There are 1,793 confirmed cases and 94 deaths in Washington state as of Saturday afternoon.

Grocery store plans to give $10 million in bonus pay to workers

Update 6:06 p.m. EDT March 21: A Pennsylvania grocery store announced Saturday it plans to award $10 million in bonus pay to its employees as the company continues hiring efforts for positions across the organization.

In a release, officials said the bonus pay will be offered to all employees at Giant Eagle, Market District, Giant Eagle Pharmacy and GetGo locations — as well as those working in warehouses and delivering products to stores.

The bonus pay will start immediately and is retroactive to March 15. Company officials said there is currently a May 2 end date, which will be reevaluated in the coming weeks. Both current and new employees will be eligible for the bonus pay as well.

FDA approves test that can detect coronavirus in less than an hour

Update 5:46 p.m. EDT March 21: The Food and Drug Administration approved a test that can detect the coronavirus in about 45 minutes.

Cepeid, a California medical supply company, said Saturday it was granted approval under an FDA emergency authorization, Bloomberg reported.

“During this time of increased demand for hospital services, Clinicians urgently need an on-demand diagnostic test for real-time management of patients being evaluated for admission to health-care facilities,” Dr. David Persing, chief medical and technology officer at Cepheid, said in a statement. “An accurate test delivered close to the patient can be transformative — and help alleviate the pressure that the emergence of the (COVID-19) outbreak has put on healthcare facilities that need to properly allocate their respiratory isolation resources.”

Trump ‘likes China,’ but critical of government’s tardiness

Update 3:48 p.m. EDT March 21: President Donald Trump said during Saturday’s news conference he wished Chinese officials had told him sooner about the outbreak. “I have great respect for China, I like China,” Trump said during Saturday’s news conference with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “I have a tremendous relationship with President XI. I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside. We didn’t know about it until it started coming out publicly.”

Trump criticized the Chinese government for being “very secretive,” noting that it was “unfortunate.”

Trump added that China “was very secretive and that’s unfortunate.”

“They knew they had a problem earlier,” Trump told reporters. “I wish they could have said that.”

Second member of Ottawa Senators tests positive

Update 3:36 p.m. EDT March 21: A second member of the Ottawa Senators tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced. According to ESPN, the two players are the only known cases among NHL players. The Senators said the player accompanied the team during its western swing in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles from March 7 through March 11, according to ESPN. There were 52 people in the team’s traveling party, including staff, media, guests and flight crews.

Vermont Gov. Scott orders closure of close-contact businesses

Update 3:06 p.m. EDT March 21: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott ordered all close-contact businesses in the state to close, beginning Monday at 8 p.m., WCAX reported. In a news release, Scott said gymnasiums, fitness centers, nail/hair salons, tattoo shops and spas must close in-person operations.

“As I’ve said throughout this crisis, I will continue to act to slow the spread of this virus in Vermont because we must protect those at greatest risk of serious illness and ensure they can get the care they need, when they need it,” Scott said in the news release. “We will continue to make decisions based on science and guidance from our experts. I don’t make these decisions lightly and my heart goes out to these workers and small business owners who are feeling the negative effects.”

Flights from NYC-area airports temporarily suspended

Update 2:54 p.m. EDT March 21: The Federal Aviation Administration said flights scheduled to depart New York City-area airports were were temporarily suspended due to coronavirus-related staffing issues. The order stopped all departures from John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, WCBS reported. The FAA directive also affected Philadelphia International Airport, NJ.com reported.

Trump defends administration response to COVID-19

Update 2:39 p.m. EDT March 21: President Donald Trump defended the White House’s response to the coronavirus, partially blaming previous administrations for the shortage of medical supplies. “So many administrations preceded me. For the most part, they did very little, in terms of what you’re talking about. This is unprecedented,” Trump said during a question-and-answer session during Saturday’s news conference featuring the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “This is unprecedented or just about unprecedented. As time goes by we’re seeing it’s really at a level that nobody would have believed. Nobody would have thought possible. That this could happen.”

NJ Gov. Murphy orders residents to ‘stay at home’

Update 2:29 p.m. EDT March 21: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced he is locking down the state Saturday night because of the coronavirus, NJ.com reported. Murphy said the measures would go into effect at 9 p.m., adding the state now has 1,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the website reported. There have been 16 COVID-19 related deaths in New Jersey, NJ.com reported.

Pence says he and wife will be tested for COVID-19

Update 1:29 p.m. EDT March 21: Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday he and his wife will be tested for the coronavirus virus after one of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

“I am pleased to report that he (staffer) is doing well,” Pence said during the White House Coronavirus Task Force news conference. “He has not been to the White House since Monday,” and has had no contact with either the vice president or President Donald Trump.

“There is no reason to believe that I have the virus, but nevertheless I and my wife will be tested later this afternoon,” Pence said.

Earlier, Pence praised the American people for “coming together” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump: ‘We’re all one big, beautiful American family’

Update 1:12 p.m. EDT March 21: President Donald Trump said progress was being made and spoke optimistically about the Coronavirus Task Force’s efforts against COVID-19. “It’s been a week of national action, and a week of national solidarity,” Trump said during Saturday’s news conference. “We are all one big, beautiful American family.

“We’re going to be celebrating a great victory in the not-too-distant future,” Trump said.

Kroger expands sick leave for diagnosed, quarantined employees

Update 12:46 p.m. EDT March 21: Grocery giant Kroger said it is expanding its sick leave to associates diagnosed with COVID-19 or under mandatory quarantine, company spokeswoman Kristal Howard said. Kroger will also “provide a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline” employee, which works out to $300 for every full-time employee and $150 for every part-timer, the company said in a news release. Kroger said two of its employees — one in Colorado and one in Washington state — have tested positive for coronavirus, CNN reported.

NYC, LA doctors told to prioritize COVID-19 testing

Update 11:22 a.m. EDT March 21: In news releases, health officials in New York City and Los Angeles County are shifting their priorities in testing people with coronavirus testing, recommending doctors avoid testing patients except in cases where a test result would significantly change the course of treatment. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, doctors were advised not to test people experiencing only mild respiratory symptoms unless “a diagnostic result will change clinical management or inform public health response.” The New York Department of Health ordered all healthcare facilities to immediately stop testing non-hospitalized patients for COVID-19.

In a news conference Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said health officials “are literally scouring the globe for medical supplies.”

“We’re working on all levels, every piston is being fired,” said Cuomo, who added that 1 million masks have been delivered to New York City.

“Everything that can be done is being done. New Yorkers are lucky we have a very experienced team that’s doing this,” Cuomo said about New York City’s residents. This is not their first rodeo, they’ve been through a number of emergencies on a number of levels.”

USA Track & Field calls for postponement of Toyko Olympics

Update 10:37 a.m. EDT March 21: USA Track & Field has joined other sports bodies asking for the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. In a letter tweeted by the USATF on Saturday, CEO Max Siegel wrote that it would be a challenge for athletes to “properly train in a safe and adequate environment” amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. We acknowledge that there are no perfect answers, and that this is a very complex and difficult decision, but this position at least provides our athletes with the comfort of knowing that they will have adequate time to properly prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to participate in a safe and successful Olympic Games,” Siegel wrote.

Egypt closing mosques for next 2 weeks

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT March 21: Egypt’s Ministry of Endowment announced it is closing all mosques for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Endowment on Saturday. According to CNN, the Ministry also decided to stop group prayers “based on the scientific opinion of the Egyptian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and other health organizations in various countries of the world that confirm the severe danger of gatherings in the transmission of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and the threat this poses to the life of human beings.”

Mayor of Miami-Dade County orders all hotels closed

Update 9:03 a.m. EDT March 21: The mayor of Miami-Dade County in Florida ordered a countywide decree to close hotels after the weekend and impose a midnight curfew Monday, the Miami Herald reported. Mayor Carlos Gimenez confirmed those plans Saturday morning during an interview with CNN, saying all hotels and motels, hostels and short-term rental offerings, including Airbnb, would be closed down. Earlier in the week, Gimenez ordered shops, restaurants, clubs, beaches and parks already closed, the Herald reported.

Spain’s death toll tops 1,300

Update 8:24 a.m. EDT March 21: According to Spain’s health ministry, the country’s death latest death toll jumped to 1,326, CNN and The Guardian reported. The total was an increase from 1,093 deaths, and there are now 24,926 registered cases.

Global coronavirus death toll tops 11,500, worldwide cases surpass 277,000

Update 7:34 a.m. EDT March 21: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 11,561 early Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the three months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 277,449 worldwide.

On Friday, Italy’s death toll reached 4,032 – including 627 deaths recorded in the prior 24 hours alone – or roughly 800 more than the 3,255 virus-related fatalities reported in China to date. Elsewhere:

• The United States neared 20,000 confirmed cases, resulting in 258 deaths.

• Authorities in China recorded a third consecutive day with zero local infections.

Spain has confirmed 21,571 infections, resulting in 1,093 deaths.

Germany has reported 19,848 cases, resulting in 68 deaths.

Iran has recorded 19,644 cases, resulting in 1,433 deaths.

France has confirmed 12,632 infections, resulting in 450 deaths.

South Korea has recorded 8,652 cases, resulting in 100 deaths.

Switzerland has confirmed 5,544 cases, resulting in 56 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 4,014 cases, resulting in 177 deaths.

Air Force evacuates 89 US citizens from Honduras amid coronavirus restrictions

Update 6:49 a.m. EDT March 21: The U.S. Air Force evacuated 89 Americans – including the entire U.S. women’s football team – who had been unable to make their way home from Honduras.

According to the U.S. Southern Command, the Air Force conducted two flights Friday that helped bring the Americans to Charleston’s Joint Base Charleston. The U.S. women’s football team, which accounted for 57 of the 89 evacuees, had traveled to the Central American country on March 11 to play in a tournament and work on a service project, The Washington Post reported.

Coronavirus concerns prompt Volkswagen to idle Mexican factories

Update 6:21 a.m. EDT March 21: In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, German automaker Volkswagen has closed two of its plants temporarily in the Mexican cities of Guanajuato and Puebla.

According to CNN, production at both plants will be suspended from March 30 through April 12, the company said in a statement Friday.

1 in 5 Americans now subject to stay-at-home orders amid coronavirus outbreak

California, New York and Illinois led the way in requesting their residents socially distance themselves from the highly contagious virus – which has infected more than 275,000 worldwide and caused more than 11,400 deaths – by remaining in their homes, The Washington Post reported.

Within hours of these high-profile requests, other states and cities began following suit.

1st coronavirus deaths reported in Singapore, United Arab Emirates

Update 2:27 a.m. EDT March 21: The Singapore Ministry of Health confirmed early Saturday that two people have died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

The victims were a 75-year-old woman and a 64-year-old man, who both died in local hospitals, the ministry confirmed.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates confirmed its first two virus-related deaths as well on Saturday.

According to the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, one was a 78-year-old Saudi national, and the second was a 58-year-old UAE resident.

Singapore has reported 385 total cases to date, while the UAE has confirmed 140.

Google launches educational coronavirus website

Update 2:08 a.m. EDT March 21: Google launched a coronavirus education website early Saturday, providing safety tips and “authoritative information” about the pandemic, CNN reported.

According to the company, the site, google.com/covid19, focuses on education, prevention and local resources.

People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses,” Google stated in a blog post.

According to CNN, the website launched Saturday does not include a testing screener, which U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced earlier this week the company was building but Google never confirmed.

WHO documents startling global spread of novel coronavirus

According to the WHO, it took more than three months for health officials to confirm the first 100,000 cases worldwide. It took only 12 days, however, to log the next 100,000, and the third 100,000 could be reached within a matter of days.

State-by-state breakdown of the 19,624 US coronavirus cases, 250 deaths

Update 12:47 a.m. EDT March 21: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States neared 20,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands late Thursday night.

According to researchers at Johns Hokpins University, there are at least 19,624 confirmed cases of the virus, which have resulted in a total of at least 258 deaths to date.

Of the confirmed deaths, 82 have occurred in Washington state, 53 in New York and 24 in California.

In terms of diagnosed cases, New York is now the hardest hit with more than 8,300 confirmed cases – more than five times any other state – followed by Washington with 1,513 and California with 1,077.

The figures include 21 people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and 49 repatriated citizens. The repatriations include 46 sickened aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and three others retrieved from the outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, China.

The complete state-by-state breakdown – including presumptive cases – of the 19,554 cases detected on U.S. soil is as follows:

Arizona: 63, including 1 death

California: 1,077, including 24 deaths

Colorado: 363, including 4 deaths

Connecticut: 194, including 4 deaths

District of Columbia: 71, including 1 death

Florida: 514, including 9 deaths

Georgia: 420, including 13 deaths

Illinois: 585, including 5 deaths

Indiana: 79, including 3 deaths

Kansas: 44, including 1 death

Kentucky: 63, including 2 deaths

Louisiana: 537, including 14 deaths

Maryland: 149, including 1 death

Massachusetts: 413, including 1 death

Michigan: 549, including 3 deaths

Mississippi: 80, including 1 death

Missouri: 47, including 2 deaths

Nevada: 109, including 2 deaths

New Jersey: 890, including 11 deaths

New York: 8,377, including 53 deaths

Ohio: 169, including 1 death

Oklahoma: 49, including 1 death

Oregon: 88, including 3 deaths

Pennsylvania: 268, including 1 death

South Carolina: 125, including 1 death

South Dakota: 14, including 1 death

Texas: 202, including 5 deaths

U.S. Virgin Islands: 3

Vermont: 29, including 2 deaths

Virginia: 114, including 2 deaths

Washington: 1,513, including 82 deaths

Wisconsin: 206, including 3 deaths

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