The Latest: Seoul region remains virus hot spot for S Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has 69 new confirmed coronavirus cases, most of them in the Seoul region area where health workers are struggling to track transmissions tied to hospitals, churches, schools and an army unit.

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The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Thursday brought the national total to 24,422 cases, including 427 deaths.

Forty-nine of the new cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people. The region has been at the center of a coronavirus resurgence since mid-August.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— President Trump's doctor says he's been symptom-free for 24 hours

— What do we know about superspreader events in the pandemic?

— Gov. Cuomo issues restrictions in parts of New York

— Eli Lilly and Company has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy.

— Ethics experts say the special treatment Trump received to access an experimental COVID-19 drug raises fairness issues and public’s right to know about his condition.

— Tennessee will not be returning to the team’s facility after two more players tested positive and New England Patriots have canceled practice through Thursday amid reports that a third player has tested positive for the coronavirus.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Wyoming has reported a new high for the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 amid a fall surge in coronavirus infections.

Forty-seven people were hospitalized Wednesday. That is up from 24 a week ago, which at the time was the most since daily hospitalizations peaked at 23 in April.

The 47 patients are at 14 hospitals around the state. Wyoming health officials say they are not worried about COVID-19 patients overwhelming any specific hospital. But they do worry about the small intensive-care capacity of most Wyoming hospitals.

Wyoming Medical Center in Casper has the most COVID-19 patients at 12, followed by Sheridan Memorial Hospital with five.

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he wants everyday Americans to have access to the same experimental treatment he received for the coronavirus.

Trump has played down the threat of the virus since receiving VIP care, but he says in a new video taped in the White House Rose Garden that he wants “to get for you what I got” and will make the drug free.

Trump says he’s feeling “great” and “like perfect” and calls his diagnosis “a blessing in disguise.”

Trump received an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron through a “compassionate use” exemption. The safety and effectiveness of the drug have not yet been proven. And there is no way for the president or his doctors to know that the drug had any effect. Most people recover from COVID-19.

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NEW YORK — Anger and resentment are flaring in New York City neighborhoods that are facing new coronavirus shutdowns. Some residents say the state is unfairly targeting Orthodox Jewish communities as it tries to stamp out hot spots before they spread.

Protests erupted in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new restrictions on schools, businesses and houses of worship in some parts of the city and state. Frustration and grievances kept simmering Wednesday.

Cuomo says the state does must contain the clusters.

After becoming the nation’s deadliest coronavirus hot spot this spring, New York wrestled its outbreak down to a steady and relatively low level over the summer. But infections have been rising in recent weeks, and hospitalizations are starting to follow.

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UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations chief says one lesson from the pandemic is that “utterly inadequate health systems” in many countries have been unable to respond to the coronavirus. He says universal health coverage is essential for dealing with future crises.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says in a video released Wednesday that because of the pandemic indicators of human advancement and well-being are going in reverse for the first time since the U.N. started measuring human development in 1990.

Guterres says all countries agreed in 2015 on U.N. goals for 2030 that include working toward universal health coverage. But he says that “we cannot wait 10 years.” In his words, “We need universal health coverage, including mental health coverage, now.”

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican leaders in the Kansas legislature have signed off on the Democratic governor’s request to extend a state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic.

Their action Wednesday came as Kansas set another record for COVID-19-related hospitalizations. The state health department said there were 85 new hospitalizations in the previous 24 hours, raising the state's seven-day daily average to a new high of 29.14 hospitalizations.

Leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature unanimously approved Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to extend the state of emergency until Nov. 15. Under a law enacted in June, top lawmakers must consider an extension once a month, and without their approval, the state of emergency would have expired Oct. 15.

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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut’s third reopening phase is set to begin Thursday, a milestone during the coronavirus pandemic that is getting a lukewarm reception from some business owners and arts aficionados.

A number of restaurant owners say they won’t be able to reach the new 75% capacity limit for indoor dining because they don’t have the space, primarily due to the requirement that tables be at least 6 feet apart. The indoor capacity maximum is being increased from 50%.

Indoor performing arts venues will be allowed to open beginning Thursday at 50% capacity, while outdoor event venues will be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%, with required masks and social distancing at all locations. But many theaters and concert venues have decided not to open this week, as shows already have been canceled and many say they can’t make money with half-full facilities.

The Phase 3 reopening comes as Connecticut has seen a slight uptick in coronavirus cases. Nearly 140 people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, up from 50 from a month ago and the highest number since late June.

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Union officials say about 8,800 part-time union workers at Walt Disney World in Florida will be part of the 28,000 layoffs in Disney’s parks division in California and Florida because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The addition of the union workers to the almost 6,500 nonunion layoff already announced brings the Disney-related job losses in Florida to more than 15,000 workers.

Disney announced last week that it was laying off 28,000 workers because of the pandemic. Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers and they range from salaried employees to hourly workers.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic began spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

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LAS VEGAS — Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has tested negative for coronavirus in Las Vegas a day after a positive test came back for one of his staff members working at his office in the Capitol in Carson City.

Sisolak spokeswoman Meghin Delaney says the governor has not had in-person contact with the staffer since mid-September.

She says the negative result came back Wednesday after he was tested Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution.”

Sisolak departed northern Nevada on Sept. 17 and has been working from Las Vegas since then. He intended to return to Carson City next week but those plans are on hold.

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JACKSON, MISS. — Preparations for the Mississippi State Fair’s grand opening moved forward Wednesday amid criticism that masks will not be required at the event after the governor repealed the statewide mask mandate.

The event usually draws thousands to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in the state capital every year for food, carnival rides, music and agricultural expositions. This year, the fair is scheduled to run from Oct. 7 to Oct. 18. Doors open Wednesday night.

While many residents were happy with the opportunity to be able to attend the fair, others said they were choosing to skip the event because of safety concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Tate Reeves previously said during the planning process for the fair that it was likely masks would be required. Then, a week before the fair was scheduled to begin, he repealed the state’s mask mandate.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of hospitalizations in Oklahoma due to the illness caused by the coronavirus has surged above 700 to a new record one-day high.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 738 people hospitalized either confirmed with COVID-19 or under investigation for infection.

Oklahoma National Guard Lt. Col. Matt Stacy, who has coordinated the state’s surge plan, said state officials are working with hospitals to move patients to facilities with more bed capacity.

The health department reported 94,352 coronavirus cases on Wednesday and 1,075 deaths due to COVID-19, up from 93,346 cases and 1,066 deaths reported Tuesday.

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PARIS — France set a grim new record Wednesday, with more than 18,700 new coronavirus infections detected in the past 24 hours.

Health officials said more than 80 people died of the virus in 24 hours, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 32,445, among the highest counts in Europe.

Authorities have been trying to beat back the worrying increase in infections that began after the summer holidays when people let down their guard, but do not want to return the nation to the strict two-month lockdown that ended in mid-May.

A day ago, bars were closed down in the Paris area and restaurants are being forced to comply with strict conditions if they want to remain open, like taking names and phone numbers of each client. Festive activities were banned.

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MIAMI — Florida’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed more than 15,000 as the state detected more than 2,500 new coronavirus cases and local governments and school districts carried on with reopening plans.

Health officials tallied 139 new deaths, while 2,128 patients are being treated in Florida hospitals for COVID-19, a slight decrease from Tuesday’s figures. The health department figures do not represent casualties in a 24-hour period, and include deaths from several previous days.

Miami public schools continued to welcome children for physical instruction Wednesday after more than a month of virtual learning.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said shipments with hundreds of thousands of rapid test kits will help better detect the virus and protect those with underlying conditions.

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HELENA, Mont. — Montana health officials reported 733 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, again shattering the record for daily cases.

The previous record, set Tuesday, stood at 504. Missoula County health officials said the 211 new cases reported in the county represent a reporting lag.

However, an official said Tuesday the Missoula health department would increase enforcement of statewide regulations with unannounced inspections of businesses.

Gov. Steve Bullock has previously said it is up to to local counties and health departments to issue stricter regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

Bullock was expected to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the outbreak.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A member of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office staff has tested positive for the coronavirus and contact tracing has begun.

The governor’s office says in a statement Wednesday that the staff member had not interacted with Newsom or with staff that routinely interacts with the governor.

Separately, a state employee who works in a space shared with some staff from the governor’s office also tested positive but the person also had not interacted with the governor or his close staff.

The governor’s office says it received word of both positive tests earlier this week and COVID-19 protocols for California state agencies were implemented.