The Newest: Louisiana congressman-elect dies from COVID-19



BATON ROUGE, La. — Luke Letlow, who was to have been Louisiana’s latest Republican member of the U.S. Home, has died from issues associated to COVID-19 solely days earlier than being sworn into workplace. He was 41.

Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch confirmed the congressman-elect’s dying Tuesday at Ochsner-LSU Well being Shreveport. The spokesman says that “the household appreciates the quite a few prayers and assist over the previous days.”

Letlow had received a December runoff election and was set to take workplace in January. He was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing optimistic for the coronavirus. He was later transferred to the Shreveport medical heart and positioned in intensive care.

Letlow is survived by his spouse, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two youngsters.



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— Comply with AP’s protection at, and



SAN FRANCISCO — California’s high well being official says hospitals in hard-hit Los Angeles County are turning to “disaster care” and bracing for the coronavirus surge to worsen within the new yr.

Dr. Mark Ghaly’s remark got here Tuesday as he prolonged strict stay-home orders in areas the place intensive care models have few beds.

Ghaly says Southern California and the agricultural San Joaquin Valley have just about no ICU capability to deal with COVID-19 sufferers. He says some overwhelmed hospitals don’t have house to unload ambulances or get oxygen to sufferers who can’t breathe.

The state’s “disaster care” tips permit for rationing remedy when workers, medication and provides are briefly provide.

California reported greater than 31,000 new coronavirus infections Tuesday and 242 deaths. Almost 25,000 individuals within the state have died from COVID-19 in the course of the pandemic.


DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says the state has recorded the primary reported U.S. case of the coronavirus variant that has been seen in the UK.

State well being officers stated Tuesday that the variant was present in a person in his 20s who’s in isolation southeast of Denver and has no journey historical past.

The Colorado State Laboratory confirmed the virus variant, and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention was notified.

Scientists within the U.Okay. imagine the brand new virus variant is extra contagious than beforehand recognized strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Well being officers have stated the vaccines being given now are considered efficient towards the variant.


NEW YORK — Drugmaker Pfizer and companion BioNTech say they are going to be supplying an extra 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine to the European Union subsequent yr.

The European Fee is exercising its choice to purchase these extra doses underneath the preliminary contract it signed with the 2 drugmakers final month.

New York-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech stated Tuesday the extra provide will give the EU’s 27 member states a complete of 300 million doses, sufficient to present 150 million individuals the two-dose vaccine.

Almost all of the EU member international locations began their vaccination campaigns Sunday.

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The 2 firms have stated they may present as much as 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine worldwide by the tip of 2021, however manufacturing constraints might cut back that quantity.


PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest hospital chain says some hospitals have stopped accepting sufferers delivered to them by ambulance runs and transfers as they scramble to handle a backlog of sick individuals amid a surge of COVID-19 instances.

Banner Well being says 10 hospitals diverted ambulances and transfers to different medical services late Monday and 6 have been nonetheless doing so early Tuesday.

Arizona has the second highest coronavirus an infection fee within the nation. California has the very best.

State officers introduced Tuesday that Arizona will embody individuals aged 75 and older within the second part of vaccinations towards the coronavirus in a transfer to maintain hospitals from getting additional overwhelmed.


MOSS BLUFF, La. — A former Louisiana state lawmaker and his spouse died from COVID-19 on the identical day.

The household’s obituary says Vic and Terry Bass Stelly died inside hours of one another on Saturday from issues introduced on by the coronavirus. A memorial ceremony will likely be held Thursday on the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles.

Daughter Toni Stelly Hebert wrote on Fb that after 60 years collectively, her mother and father couldn’t be with out one another.

“You don’t see marriages like that too typically anymore,” state Sen. Ronnie Johns, a Republican from Sulphur, advised The Advocate. “At first it shocked me that they each died the identical day, however as I seemed again at how they lived their lives and the way they felt about one another, it doesn’t shock me in any respect.”

Vic Stelly served 16 years within the state Home and later was a member of Louisiana’s greater training coverage board. He was 79. Terry Bass Stelly was 80.


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Metropolis fireplace division says a firefighter, whose nephew grew to become the primary division worker to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, died of the virus after being contaminated whereas responding to a name.

Hearth Chief Richard Kelley, preventing again tears, stated Monday that Maj. Andy Davis died Christmas Eve, declining to elaborate on particulars of when or how Davis was contaminated.

Deputy Chief Mike Walker stated Davis’ nephew, firefighter A.J. Davis, was the primary fireplace division worker to obtain the vaccine on Saturday.

“We simply thought it was the becoming factor to do in mild of the passing of Andy,” Walker stated. “So, we reached out to him and he was prepared to step up and be the primary one.”

Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson stated a second division worker, 45-year-old Robert Saudia, died Monday after affected by COVID-19, however Saudia’s reason behind dying has not been decided.


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Beleaguered leaders within the area of South Carolina hardest hit by the coronavirus rebuked residents who plan to get together in giant crowds for New Yr’s Eve with hospitals already reaching the breaking level.

Within the Upstate space of the state, COVID-19 an infection charges proceed to outpace each different a part of South Carolina. However some occasion organizers are nonetheless promoting tickets to New Yr’s Eve celebrations. Greenville officers stated Tuesday they’d acquired a number of complaints from residents concerning the deliberate festivities, including that metropolis has denied a number of requests for particular permits to carry giant occasions.

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“It’s horribly unfair and irresponsible to the women and men within the well being care group, the nurses and docs who’re preventing this on the entrance strains,” Greenville Mayor Knox White advised reporters.

Greenville regulation enforcement officers say they are going to be patrolling downtown on New Yr’s Eve to make sure individuals and companies are complying with state laws.


WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden is criticizing the Trump administration for the tempo of distributing COVID-19 vaccines, saying it’s “falling far behind.”

Biden says “it’s gonna take years, not months, to vaccinate the American individuals” on the present tempo.

He’s vowing to ramp up the present velocity of vaccinations 5 to 6 occasions to 1 million pictures a day, however acknowledges it “will nonetheless take months to have nearly all of Individuals vaccinated.”

The president-elect, who takes workplace Jan. 20, says he has directed his staff to organize a “way more aggressive effort to get issues again on monitor.”


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico officers have fined two Albuquerque church buildings for violating the state’s public well being orders aimed toward stopping the unfold of COVID-19 after each venues held giant gatherings for Christmas.

The New Mexico Division of Well being fined Legacy Church and Calvary Church $5,000 every on Monday after pictures and video confirmed each church buildings violated orders limiting occupancy, mandating masks and practising social distancing.

Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, stated the leaders and congregation on the two church buildings violated state laws.

Legacy Church officers accused the state of trampling on their constitutional rights. Calvary Church’s pastor stated they urged individuals to observe tips, blocked each different row to follow social distancing, offered out of doors seating and gave masks to visitors who weren’t sporting one.


PARIS — The French Well being Minister says authorities are planning to increase the nation’s evening curfew in areas the place the coronavirus is circulating extra, in jap France close to the border with Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Well being Minister Olivier Veran says the prolonged curfew from 6 p.m. to six a.m. will begin on Jan. 2 “the place it’s wanted,” he says. Veran dominated out any nationwide or native lockdown within the coming days.

In different areas, the curfew in place since mid-December will likely be maintained from 8 p.m. to six a.m. Eating places and bars will stay closed no less than till Jan. 20.

To date, France’s vaccination marketing campaign has been restricted to some dozen individuals since Sunday, in contrast with no less than 18,000 individuals in neighboring Germany.

Veran says France has the identical variety of vaccine doses as Germany in proportion to its inhabitants and can get the “identical outcomes.” However he acknowledged the strategy to vaccine first individuals in nursing properties and get written consent from them or their household slowed down the method.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota lawmaker says she’s going to take part within the upcoming legislative session remotely till she receives a coronavirus vaccine.

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Rep. Linda Duba, a Sioux Falls Democrat, knowledgeable legislative management she’ll avoid the Capitol constructing out of concern for her well being, the Argus Chief reported. The 64-year-old lawmaker says she wouldn’t attend conferences in-person till she receives two doses of a vaccine.

South Dakota’s Legislature is about to convene in Pierre on Jan. 12 for a two-month session. Guidelines and protocols for the session haven’t been set however could permit lawmakers to take part remotely because of the pandemic.

Duba advised legislative leaders in an e-mail she believes proposed guidelines within the Capitol aren’t in step with CDC tips on indoor gatherings.


CONCORD, N.H. — As much as 400 New Hampshire lawmakers are anticipated to attend an upcoming legislative session modeled on a drive-in movie show.

The Home launched plans Tuesday for what performing Speaker Sherm Packard calls “essentially the most risk-mitigated session of the Home but throughout this pandemic.”

Lawmakers will park in entrance of a big display on the College of New Hampshire in Durham and can stay of their automobiles at some point of the session on Jan. 6.

For the reason that pandemic started, the Home has met indoors at college area and outdoors on an athletic discipline. Home Speaker Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 9, every week after being sworn in in the course of the out of doors gathering.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Coronavirus vaccinations started this week in Iowa’s nursing properties.

Officers say though it should take weeks to finish, the vaccination drive provides hope to the remoted residents that they will resume contact with their households.

Three pharmacy firms signed contracts with the federal government to enter nursing properties and provides the vaccines to residents and workers. They started Monday. In Iowa, there are about 31,000 residents and 37,000 workers members in 445 nursing properties and 258 assisted dwelling services, stated Brent Willett, CEO of the Iowa Well being Care Affiliation, a commerce group these communities.

It’ll take a number of weeks to manage the primary dose and it have to be adopted with a second booster, so the properties received’t be reopened to guests instantly.

Iowa nursing dwelling residents make up about 1.5% of the state’s inhabitants however about 2.5% of all coronavirus instances and 30% of deaths. Present public well being knowledge exhibits 1,138 deaths in nursing properties out of the state’s whole 3,812 confirmed deaths.


LONDON — Some individuals in Britain have acquired their second and ultimate dose of coronavirus vaccine because the nation’s immunization program rolls on.

Margaret Keenan, 91, who grew to become the primary individual within the U.Okay. to get a vaccine on Dec. 8, had the follow-up injection Tuesday at a hospital within the central England metropolis of Coventry.

Hospital chief government Andy Hardy says: “We have been delighted to welcome Margaret Keenan again to Coventry’s College Hospital at present to securely obtain the second dose of the vaccination after she grew to become the primary individual on the earth to obtain the Pfizer COVID-19 (vaccine) following its scientific approval.”

The vaccine developed by Pfizer and German agency BioNTech is given in two doses three weeks aside. Its builders say it conferred 95% immunity in scientific trials.



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