The Latest: Oregon doc’s anti-mask comment draws suspension

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SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Medical Board has suspended the medical license of a doctor who said at a pro-Trump rally that he doesn’t wear a mask at his Dallas, Oregon, clinic.

KGW-TV reported Friday that Dr. Steven LaTulippe also said at the November rally that he also encourages others not to wear masks.

A state order requires health care workers to wear a mask in health care settings.

The medical board voted this week to suspend LaTulippe’s license immediately due to concerns about patient safety.

LaTulippe did not respond to a request for comment from KGW-TV and has previously declined to comment.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

– Most of California to enter sweeping new virus lockdown

– China prepares large-scale rollout of coronavirus vaccines

– Europe battles surge in coronavirus deaths in nursing homes

– Ethiopia’s conflict stokes humanitarian and virus crisis

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis children’s hospitals have started treating adult patients as area hospitals struggle to keep up with rising coronavirus cases.

Dr. Marya Strand, chief medical officer for SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that is treating adults who don’t have COVID-19 to take some of the pressure off other hospitals. St. Louis Children’s Hospital also has opened its doors to adults.

About 1,054 people were hospitalized in the St. Louis area Wednesday for COVID-19, including 221 patients in intensive care units. St. Louis-area hospitals are at about 82% capacity for in-patient beds and 81% capacity for ICU beds.

Staff at SSM Health and BJC Healthcare children’s hospitals have also started volunteering to work at other overwhelmed hospitals.

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PHOENIX – Arizona health officials used a blunt tone Saturday as the state reported 6,799 coronavirus cases, the second-highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic.

The Department of Health Services says on Twitter that people should wear masks “around anyone who isn’t a member of your household, even those you know and trust.”

Similarly, the department’s director, Dr. Cara Christ, says individuals “must take precautions as if we may be infected. And we must act as though anyone we are around may be infected.”

The cases reported Saturday trailed only the record 10,322 cases reported Tuesday. Officials have said record high included data delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. There were four daily reports of more than 5,000 cases this week.

The hospitalizations for coronavirus rose to 2,931 on Friday, five times as many since early October. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has not ordered a statewide mask mandate or curfews.

The state reported 40 deaths on Saturday. Arizona has 358,900 total cases and 6,935 confirmed deaths.

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ROME – Italy had more than 21,000 daily coronavirus cases and added 662 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The 21,052 new cases raised Italy’s total to nearly 1.6 million. There’s been 59,514 confirmed deaths, the second-highest toll in Europe behind Britain’s toll.

This week, Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte signed a decree limiting travel between regions Dec. 21 to Jan. 6, national Epiphany Day holiday. Conte hopes that will prevent holiday vacations that could fuel contagion.

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RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina reported a record increase in cases of the coronavirus and hospitalizations on Saturday.

The state reported 6,018 cases since Friday and 2,171 people with coronavirus in the hospitals. That’s up 14 from a day earlier.

“In less than a week, we went from exceeding 5,000 new cases reported in one day to exceeding 6,000,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s health secretary. “This is very worrisome. This indicates we have even more viral spread across our state right now.”

North Carolina has a record number of people in intensive care, Cohen says. Another 49 people have died, bringing the confirmed total to 5,516, the health department says.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – There were 4,370 newly reported coronavirus cases Saturday in Oklahoma.

The rolling averages of cases rose from 2,843 per day on Nov. 20 to 3,044 on Friday. The daily average of deaths increased from 15 daily to 22 during the same period, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.

The increase is due largely to community spread, according Dr. Dale Bratzler of the University Oklahoma medical center. He says, “it’s typically places like restaurants, bars, gyms, places of worship.”

Oklahoma has 213,245 total confirmed cases. There were 14 more deaths reported Saturday, bringing the total to 1,874 confirmed deaths.

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BOISE, Idaho – National Guard troops are directing people outside a Boise urgent-care clinic revamped into a facility for coronavirus patients.

Health officials say Idaho’s attempt to hold the coronavirus in check is failing as infections and deaths surge. They’ve halted elective surgeries to save bed space.

Inside Primary Health Medical Group’s clinic, physician assistant Nicole Thomas works extra 12-hour shifts. She dons protective gear to examine 36 patients a day with symptoms. Some days, she says, half test positive for coronavirus.

In a state where many citizens are resisting pandemic restrictions, overworked staff are getting sick or quitting to avoid the stress. It takes at least two days to get an appointment for a test. Primary Health officials say they’ll turn three more facilities into COVID-19 clinics by Dec. 30.

More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Idaho. Confirmed infections have surpassed 100,000.

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DETROIT – Michigan state health officials reported more than 8,600 daily confirmed cases on Friday and 81 deaths.

“When we look at the number of daily deaths, we have doubled in numbers of daily deaths, again nationally and regionally in the past couple of weeks,” Dr. Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

He’s concerned about the possibility of travel and family gatherings at the holidays.

Munkarah says the health system currently has 576 employees out because they have tested positive, have pending tests or are quarantined because of close contact.

That number is up nearly 200 workers from a week ago, he says.

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