Coronavirus daily news updates, November 3: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

Health officials gave the final approval for Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot on Tuesday. The children’s vaccine dosage is a third of what adults receive and is available to millions of children as young as 5 and up to 11 years old.

While many states have gone back and forth with lifting and implementing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 when case rates fluctuate, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said restrictions and safety precautions would be lifted only when 70% of the population is fully vaccinated, even as case rates plummet.

Meanwhile, in Greece, officials announced they would place tougher restrictions on most activities for unvaccinated people amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Beginning on Saturday, unvaccinated people will need to show a negative COVID-19 test before entering outdoor restaurant areas, indoor public areas, such as banks, government buildings, and some shops, excluding supermarkets, pharmacies and places of worship.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.


Colorado hospitals can turn away patients as state grapples with COVID-19 surge

Colorado’s governor said hospitals can turn away new admissions as they deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases that has strained the state’s hospitals.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order authorizing the state’s public health department to determine whether hospitals or emergency departments are at or will soon hit capacity. The department can order such facilities to halt admissions and redirect or transfer patients, according to the order, which will be in effect for 30 days starting Sunday.

The move highlights the continued trouble parts of the country face, even as numbers at the national level suggest that the delta-variant-driven surge that swamped emergency rooms this summer and fall has started to ebb. Officials say the state’s staffing shortages are also contributing to the burden from rising cases, and one bioethicist said the upward trend is particularly troubling without actions that can help bring numbers back down.

In a separate Sunday order, the governor said that “despite significant progress, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant and the 20% of Coloradans who have yet to get the highly effective, safe vaccine.”

Read the story here.

—Paulina Firozi, The Washington Post

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NYC unions warned vaccine mandates would pull 10,000 police off streets; so far it’s 34

The heads of the five major unions representing members of the New York City Police Department warned that 10,000 unvaccinated police officers were “set to be pulled from [the] streets” as a Nov. 1 vaccine mandate deadline for New York City employees passed.

So far, the number is 34.

Fewer than three dozen uniformed officers out of about 35,000 were placed on unpaid leave on Monday when the deadline expired, in addition to 40 civilian NYPD staff out of roughly 17,000, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a news conference.

Many more await a decision from the city on their requests for religious or medical exemptions, Shea said. In total, 85% of NYPD staff are vaccinated, he added.

There were no major disruptions to city services as a result of the vaccine mandate coming into force, New York Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the same news conference.

About 9,000 city employees overall were placed on leave-without-pay status on Nov. 1, out of a workforce of more than 300,000, while roughly 12,000 had applied for a religious or medical exemption to vaccination and were waiting for a response from the city, de Blasio added.

“Now, remember at any hour, any of those 9,000 can say, wait a minute, I’m willing to get vaccinated and come back, and we saw over the weekend, a lot of that happening, thousands of people changing their mind coming back,” he said.

Read the story here.

—Annabelle Timsit, The Washington Post

Los Angeles County sheriff won’t enforce vaccine mandate

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he won’t force his 18,000 employees to be vaccinated despite a county mandate. “I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight,” he said last week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday he won’t comply with a mandate requiring deputies be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face termination, claiming thousands could leave the department and that will lead to more crime.

His defiance to the order that was approved last summer by the LA County Board of Supervisors brought a rebuke from Janice Hahn, one of the panel’s five members who unanimously backed the policy.

“He is putting both his deputies and the public they come face-to-face with every day at unnecessary risk,” she said in a statement. “What we need from the sheriff right now is leadership, for once.”

Villanueva, who faces a reelection challenge next year, has defied other health orders during the pandemic. Last month, he said he wouldn’t have his deputies enforce a mandate requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks at indoor public settings.

Read the full story here.

—Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press

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—Kris Higginson

Article Source: The Seattle Times