A spokesman says Vice President Mike Pence will continue with his aggressive campaign schedule after his chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday.

Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley says Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for the virus on Saturday and remain in good health.

Short is Pence’s closest aide and the vice president is considered a “close contact” under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. O’Malley says that “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

Those guidelines mandate that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

After a day of campaigning Saturday, Pence was seen wearing a mask as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two once the news of Short’s diagnosis was made public.

Nearly 20% of new infections in Texas come from El Paso

EL PASO, Texas — The surge in coronavirus in the Texas border city of El Paso continued Saturday with a record 1,216 new cases, nearly 20% of the state’s 6,125 new cases, according to city-county health officials.

There have been 3,346 cases in the city during the past three days, according to city-county health reports. El Paso has reported 38,554 total cases since the pandemic began in March.

“Today’s spike is part of an unfortunate national surge that we have been planning and preparing for,” public health director Angela Mora said in a statement. “Now, we need our community to help us by doing their part and staying home, if and when possible, for the next two weeks in order to stop the rapid the spread of the virus.”

Gov. Greg Abbott has sent medical equipment and about 500 medical personnel to the region to help fight the virus. There have been more than 858,000 reported cases in Texas and nearly 17,500 deaths, 81 reported Saturday, since the pandemic’s start.

Colombia hits 1 million confirmed virus cases

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia reached 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, its health ministry says, becoming the second country in Latin America to report that number in less than a week.

The nation of 50 million saw cases peak in August and has seen a decline since but still continues to register around 8,000 new infections a day.

Eight countries now have more than 1 million confirmed cases, and three are in Latin America. Argentina hit 1 million confirmed cases on Monday. Brazil ranks third worldwide in the number of virus cases, with more than 5 million, and passed 1 million infections back in June. Peru and Mexico are expected to reach 1 million cases each in the coming weeks.

Overall, Latin America continues to register some of the highest caseloads, diagnosing more than 100,000 confirmed infections each day, though the World Health Organization reports that Europe is now seeing even larger numbers as a second virus wave strikes.

Michigan records its highest number of daily infections 

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan has reported more than 3,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the highest daily count yet during the pandemic.

The 3,338 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services surpassed the state’s previous single-day record of 2,030 new cases set on Oct. 15. That earlier record had topped the previous record of 1,953 from early April.

The state agency also reported Saturday 35 more deaths from COVID-19, raising Michigan’s pandemic toll to 7,182 deaths.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said in a statement that it’s “now more important than ever that people take this seriously.” She urged Michigan residents to wear a face mask every time they are around someone outside of their own household, to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings.

Tennessee hospital suspends elective procedures

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — A Tennessee hospital is suspending all elective procedures requiring an overnight stay due to a surge in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, The Daily Herald of Columbia, Tennessee, reported.

As of Friday evening, Columbia’s Maury Regional Medical Center was treating 50 COVID-19 inpatients, 20 of whom were in the medical center’s 26-bed intensive care unit. In response, the hospital said Friday it is suspending elective surgical procedures that require an overnight stay for two weeks, beginning on Monday.

“The time has long passed for our community to take this virus seriously,” Alan Watson, CEO of Maury Regional Health, said in a Friday statement. “We are seeing the impact of our community letting down their guard, and we must make every effort to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

On Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that statewide hospitalizations had reached a new record of 1,300 patients with COVID-19 and had an ICU bed availability of just 11%.

Martin Chaney, Maury Regional’s chief medical officer, said small home gatherings have become the emerging threat through which the disease is being spread in the six-county region the medical center covers.

“In our homes, we all let our guard down,” Chaney said. “You think it is safe to not socially distance, and you take your masks off. That is spreading the disease very rapidly.”

He said Maury Regional has consistently seen a surge in cases about two weeks after each major holiday.

“It is so predictable now,” Chaney said. “When families travel and get together for holidays, it is a high-risk time for spreading the virus.”

Tennessee recorded 2,574 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and 24 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 3,100.

No masks: Pope, Spanish prime minister meet at Vatican

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met with the Spanish prime minister at the Vatican, but neither man wore a mask during the public part of their meeting.

That’s despite 13 Swiss Guards and someone staying at the same Vatican City guest house where Francis lives recently testing positive for the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wore a mask when he arrived in a Vatican courtyard, but everyone sat unmasked immediately before and after his closed-door talks with Francis.

Spain this week became the first country in Western Europe with more than 1 million confirmed virus cases.

The Vatican says Sanchez also spoke with the Holy See’s foreign minister, discussing matters including “the current health emergency, the process of European integration and migration.”

In his speech, Francis called politics “an act of charity, nobility” and the mission of a politician is to help a nation to progress. The pontiff also says its “very sad” when ideologies drive the destiny of a nation.

U.S. sets coronavirus infection record; deaths near 224,000

BALTIMORE, Maryland — The United States has hit a daily record of coronavirus cases with more than 83,000 reported infections, thousands more than the previous U.S. peak in July.

The U.S. death toll has grown to nearly 224,00, according to the tally published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

The numbers are an ominous sign the disease still has a firm grip on the nation that has more confirmed virus-related deaths and infections than any other in the world. Many states are reporting a surge of cases and say hospitals are running out of space in areas where the pandemic seemed remote only months ago.

Read the full story here.

Cases on the rise in Arizona

PHOENIX — Arizona is experiencing increases in coronavirus cases and the rate of positive test results.

The 14-day rolling average of daily confirmed infections rose from 617 on Oct. 9 to 914 on Friday. Meanwhile, the average daily deaths increased from 7.6 to 8.4 and the positive test average went from 6.5% to 8.9%.

Rolling averages even out daily spikes and drops.

The state Department of Health Services on Saturday reported 890 cases and four additional deaths, increasing the Arizona totals to 236,772 confirmed infections and 5,869 deaths.

Oklahoma reports more than 1,800 new cases

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma has registered more than 1,800 newly confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health report on Saturday comes one day after Gov. Kevin Stitt extended a state of emergency another 30 days. The health department reported 1,829 new cases for a total of 115,685.

There have been 11 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,245.

Italy nears 20,000 new daily cases

ROME – Italy’s one-day coronavirus cases crept closer to 20,000 on Saturday.

That’s despite a few thousand fewer swab tests performed, according to the Health Ministry.

Lombardy, where the outbreak has been most devastating, registered more than double the number of daily cases than any other region.

The nation’s confirmed death toll, second highest in Europe after Britain’s, rose to 37,210, after 151 more deaths.

Illinois reports one-day record for new cases

CHICAGO — Illinois health officials reported a one-day record of 6,161 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Saturday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also reported 63 more people died of the virus, bringing the statewide total to 9,481 since the start of the pandemic.

Illinois officials have warned in recent days the state is experiencing a second surge and pleaded with people to wear face coverings and take other precautions.

Greece institutes mandatory mask-wearing

ATHENS, Greece — Greece officials introduced mandatory wearing of masks everywhere Saturday, with the country reaching records for new daily coronavirus cases.

Health authorities announced a record 935 new cases Saturday, along with five deaths.

The total confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,992 and 564 deaths.

Poland’s president tests positive for coronavirus

WARSAW — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for coronavirus, his spokesman says

Blazej Spychalski says Saturday on Twitter the 48-year-old conservative leader was tested the day before and his result was positive. He says the president feels well and is in isolation.

Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths in Poland, a nation that had low numbers in the spring.

The spiking infection rates are pushing the country’s strained health system to the breaking point. The government is preparing to open field hospitals but it is not sure where it will find the doctors and nurses to staff them.

Duda on Friday visited the National Stadium in Warsaw, which is being transformed into one of the field hospitals. He also met Friday with Iga Swiatek, the 19-year-old Polish tennis player who won the French Open this month.

Algeria’s president in self-isolation after experiencing symptoms

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is in self-isolation for five days as a precautionary measure.

The Algeria presidency says coronavirus symptoms appeared amid several high-level officials at the presidency of the Republic and the prime minister’s office.

Tebboune’s self-isolation comes one day after Algerian health minister warned against a potential virus upsurge “because of the carelessness” of those not respecting social distancing measures.

Algerian has reported a total of 55,630 cases and 187 deaths.

National Guard helps North Dakota catch up on backlog of cases

BISMARCK, N.D. — National Guard soldiers have helped notify 800 people who tested positive for the coronavirus but initially weren’t told because of a backlog of cases.

The backlog was due to a recent sharp increase in coronavirus cases. North Dakota leads the nation with more than 1,272 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

This week, North Dakota National Guard soldiers began telling people they tested positive for the virus. They previously were informing people who had contact with someone positive and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of the virus.

North Dakota reported 886 new infections on Friday, down from a record 1,038 cases on Thursday. Health officials reported nine deaths Friday, increasing the statewide death toll to 440.

Utah reports highest daily total of new infections

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah hit the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 1,960 in a single day.

Gov. Gary Herbert warned in a statement that the state is “on the brink,” and again pleaded with people to adhere to mask mandates in place in 21 of the state’s 29 counties.

The Republican governor says people should wear masks anytime they are with people outside their immediate family, even if its extended family or friends.

Capacity at the state’s intensive care units reached 76%, with more people hospitalized for coronavirus this week than at any other time during the pandemic.

Four more deaths were recorded Friday, bringing the total to 567. Utah has the seventh-highest rate of confirmed infections per capita, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Infections hit record high in Czech Republic

PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit a record high, soaring to over 15,000 in one day for the first time.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase of confirmed cases in the hard-hit country reached 15,252 on Friday. The previous record of 14,968 was set on Wednesday.

The record surge has continued for last two months despite tight restrictions, including limits on movement, closing stores, schools and restaurants and banning sports competitions and gatherings of more than two people. Face masks are obligatory outdoors and in cars.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has surpassed 5,000 for the first time, putting the health system under pressure.

The Czech Republic has had over 238, 300 confirmed coronavirus cases, including over 78,000 in the last seven days, and reported 1,971 virus-related deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 41.78 new cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 9 to 104.33 new cases per 100,000 people on Friday.

Germany surpasses 10,000 deaths

BERLIN — Germany on Saturday surpassed 10,000 total coronavirus deaths.

Germany recorded 49 new deaths and a daily high of coronavirus infections with 14,714. However, the new figures on Saturday includes cases from both Thursday and Friday since there was a three-hour data outage at the country’s disease control agency Thursday.

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel again urged citizens to reduce their social contacts. The chancellor says in her weekly podcast that she is convinced, “if we all obey (social distancing) we will all together survive this enormous challenge posed by the virus.”

In the meantime, the number of intensive care patients almost doubled within a week. On Friday, 1,121 COVID patients were in intensive care in Germany, compared to 690 a week earlier.

In Berlin, some 1,000 police officers were making sure people obey tighter rules on keeping their distance, not gathering in big groups and wearing masks where mandatory.

Istanbul’s mayor tests positive for coronavirus

ANKARA, Turkey — The mayor of Istanbul has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for the city municipality said Saturday.

Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has undergone treatment in hospital and his condition is good, spokesman Murat Ongun says in a tweet.

Istanbul, a city of 16 million people, has recorded 40% of Turkey’s total number of COVID-19 patients, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. The country recorded over 357,690 people with COVID-19 symptoms as of Friday evening, including 9,658 deaths. Turkey reported 2,165 new patients on Friday, the highest daily figure since May.

Imamoglu, who represents the opposition Republican People’s Party, became one of Turkey’s most recognizable politicians after winning office in June last year. His success was part of a series of opposition victories in major cities such as Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

He has been among those criticizing the government’s approach to tackling the pandemic, including the decision to only publish data on patients displaying symptoms rather than including asymptomatic cases.

Slovakia adopts restrictions on movements

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia is adopting new strict limits on movement amid a record surge in coronavirus infections.

The number of new confirmed cases in one day reached 2,890 on Friday in the country of 5.4 million, the Health Ministry says, a record high. The EU nation has had over 40,800 confirmed cases and 159 virus-related deaths.

Starting on Saturday, people are allowed to travel only to work, buy food and medicine in the nearest stores, see a doctor, get tested for coronavirus or attend a funeral. They can walk a dog within 100 meters (yards) of their home and if they go to a park, it must be in their county.

On Friday, Slovak authorities started a plan to test almost the entire population for coronavirus. The trials will be carried out until Sunday in the four hardest-hit counties. The antigen tests will then continue in the rest of the country.

Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic joined the medical staff and military personnel at one of the testing stations in the town of Tvrdosin.

Hospitalizations in New York climbs over 1,000

NEW YORK — The number of people hospitalized in New York because of the coronavirus has climbed back over 1,000.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were 1,023 hospitalizations around the state as of Thursday. That’s more than double the number that were hospitalized month ago, and the first time since late June that the state has seen that many in hospitals with the virus.

At the pandemic’s peak in April, nearly 19,000 people were hospitalized. Statewide, 1,637 people tested positive for the virus on Thursday, on par with levels for the month.

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