Coronavirus: Ohio’s health director halts state’s primary election

More than 164,000 people worldwide are infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the outbreak in the United States as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the United States here.

Live updates for Monday, March 16, continue below:

Ohio’s health director halts primary

Update 11 p.m. EDT March 16: Ohio’s health director was set to order polls closed just hours before they were to open, the governor said late Monday.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Health Director Amy Acton would declare a health emergency and order the polls closed for fears of exposing volunteer poll workers -- many of them elderly -- to the virus.

DeWine failed to get a judge to halt the primary Monday evening, even though the governor contended the election results wouldn’t be viewed as legitimate in light of the pandemic.

Arizona, Florida and Illinois are proceeding with their presidential primaries.

LA Fitness to close all clubs until April

Update 10:30 p.m. EDT March 16: LA Fitness emailed members Monday evening letting them know that all clubs will be closed until April 1, 2020.

The message to members said that memberships will be extended to cover the time the clubs are closed.

Kentucky Derby likely postponed until September

Update 8:50 p.m. EDT March 16: The Kentucky Derby has been rescheduled for Sept 5. The formal confirmation of the postponement is expected Tuesday morning, according to the Courier Journal.

The Derby has not been postponed in over 75 years.

NASCAR postpones all events until May

Update 6:40 p.m. EDT March 16: NASCAR issued a statement Monday saying it will be postponing all race events through May 3.

“We appreciate the patience of our fans and we look forward to returning to the racetrack,” officials said in a statement. “We intend to hold all 36 races this season with future rescheduling soon to be determined as we continue to monitor this situation closely with public health officials and medical experts. What is important now transcends the world of sports and our focus is on everyone’s safety and well-being as we navigate this challenging time together.”

CDC reports first known employee with virus

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT March 16: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus disease in a CDC employee. According to a press release issued by the CDC, the individual is in good condition and is isolated to prevent spread of infection to others.

This individual was not involved in the COVID-19 response, has not been present in the CDC workplace since March 6, and was asymptomatic at that time.

6 counties in San Francisco Bay area issue shelter-in-place mandate

Update 4:40 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials in six San Francisco Bay area counties have issued a shelter-in-place mandate affecting nearly 7 million people.

>> Coronavirus: What is self-quarantine, social distancing? Should you be doing that?

The order issued Monday says residents must stay inside and venture out only for necessities for three weeks starting Tuesday in a desperate attempt by officials to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order affects the counties of San Francisco, Marin, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa, as well as the city of Berkeley.

People should work from home unless they provide essential services such as public safety, sanitation and health care.

>> Coronavirus: How to keep your kids’ skills up when schools are closed

“The most important thing you can do is remain home as much as possible,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed posted on Twitter. “There is no need to rush out for food or supplies, as these stores will remain open.”

1st coronavirus death reported in Indiana

Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana announced the state’s first coronavirus death Monday.

In a statement, officials identified the patient as a Marion County resident over the age of 60 who also had underlying medical conditions.

“A family today is suffering the ultimate loss due to COVID-19, and this sadly underscores how severe the virus can be – especially for some high-risk Hoosiers,” Holcomb said.

Trump rates his coronavirus response 10 out of 10

Update 4:05 p.m. EDT March 16: President Donald Trump told reporters Monday that he considers his response to the global COVID-19 outbreak to be a 10 out of 10.

“I’d rate it a 10," Trump said during a news conference at the White House. “I think we’ve done a great job.”

The president said officials moved quickly "with respect to China, and we would have a whole different situation in this country if we didn’t do that”

Trump says officials not considering a nationwide shutdown

Update 3:55 p.m. EDT March 16: President Donald Trump denied that officials are considering ordering a nationwide shut down to stymie the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Reports surfaced early Monday that federal officials planned to announce a nationwide shutdown later in the day.

“At this point (we’re not considering an order) nationwide, but there are some -- you know, some places in our nation that are not very affected at all but we may -- we may look at certain areas,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House.

White House recommends avoiding groups of 10 or more people amid COVID-19 outbreak

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT March 16: Federal officials on Monday shared new guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

President Donald Trump outlined the following measures being recommended by authorities:

  • Encouraging people of all ages to work at home or to engage in at-home schooling
  • Recommending people avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more people
  • Asking Americans to avoid discretionary travel
  • Telling people to avoid eating at restaurants or public food courts

“It isn’t an overreaction," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday at a news conference at the White House. “It’s a reaction that we think is commensurate for what is actually going on in reality.”

Trump said the precautions would last for 15 days. He added that the coronavirus outbreak might continue through July or August.

Fauci urged people to heed warnings from authorities and to follow the newly released guidelines for avoiding COVID-19 spread.

“(The precautions) will fail if people don’t adhere to them,” Fauci said. “We have to, as a whole country, cooperate and collaborate to get this done.”

Coronavirus Task Force holding news conference

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the federal Coronavirus Task Force will hold a news briefing Monday afternoon on ongoing efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19.

San Francisco to require people to stay at home

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT March 16: Mayor London Breed of San Francisco announced Monday that city officials will require people to stay at home except for “essential needs” beginning at midnight.

“These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of (COVID-19),” Breed said Monday in a statement posted on social media. “The most important thing you can do is remain home as much as possible. There is no need to rush out for food or supplies, as these stores will remain open.”

Ohio governor recommends postponing primary election due to COVID-19

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio suggested that in-person voting for the planned primary election should be postponed until June 2 due to concerns over the growing coronavirus outbreak, WHIO-TV reported.

The governor announced fitness centers, gyms, public recreation centers, movie theaters, indoor water parks and indoor trampoline parks would be closed beginning Monday. He also barred mass gatherings of more than 50 people, WHIO-TV reported.

Coronavirus Task Force to hold news conference Monday

Update 3:05 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the Coronavirus Task Force will hold a news briefing at 3:15 p.m. to update the public on ongoing efforts to stymie the spread of COVID-19, according to White House pool reports.

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island closed due to coronavirus

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration said Monday that both attractions will be closed indefinitely amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Actor Idris Elba tests positive for COVID-19

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT March 16: Actor Idris Elba announced Monday on social media that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

“This morning I got some test results back for corona and it came back positive,” Elba said Monday in a video posted on social media. “Yeah, and it sucks. Listen, I’m doing OK."

Elba said he had no symptoms but he chose to get tested after learning he was in contact with someone who had the virus.

“Look, this is serious, you know? Now’s the time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands," he said. "Beyond that, there are people out there who aren’t showing symptoms and that can easily spread it, OK? So now’s a real time to be really vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance.”

‘Non-essential’ businesses to be shut across Pennsylvania

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced statewide shutdown of “non-essential stores, bars and restaurants” beginning at midnight, according to WPXI.

The shutdown will last two weeks, Wolf said. The governor added that no pharmacies or grocery stores would be affected by the shutdown.

Opening of MLB season delayed due to coronavirus concerns

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT March 16: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. announced the postponement Monday of the league’s 2020 regular season to match recommendations meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Sunday, officials with the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people refrain from gathering in groups of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the U.S.

“The clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” MLB officials said Monday in a statement. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge all baseball fans to follow suit.”

1st dose of experimental coronavirus vaccine administered

Update 2 p.m. EDT March 16: U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday -- leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

>>

155 coronavirus cases confirmed in Florida

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials in Florida confirmed six new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 155 cases, WFTV reported.

Four deaths have been reported so far in the state.

Canada closes borders to stymie COVID-19 spread

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT March 16: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced the closure of the county’s borders to people who are not Canadian, Canadian permanent residents or American citizens.

Trudeau emphasized that people should not travel for non-essential purposes due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“Canadian travelers should return to Canada via commercial means while it is still possible to do so,” Trudeau said. “Let me be clear, if you’re abroad, it’s time to come home.”

Trump tells state governors to get their own medical equipment amid COVID-19 outbreak

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT March 16: President Donald Trump told a group of governors Monday that they should try to get medical equipment themselves instead of waiting for the federal government to fill the growing demand, The New York Times reported.

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment -- try getting it yourselves,” Trump said, according to the Times.

“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales (are) much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”

National Hot Rod Association suspends planned drag races

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the National Hot Rod Association announced the suspension Monday of all drag races for 30 days amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“This suspension includes events at all NHRA-owned tracks and any NHRA-sanctioned events such as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series,” officials with the group said Monday in a statement. “We intend at this time to resume the original schedule on April 17-19 in Houston, and to continue thereafter, subject to developments in the interim. The spring Las Vegas event is postponed with new dates (to be decided)."

Kroger donates $3 million to support food banks, children dealing with school closures

Update 1:10 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the Kroger grocery chain announced a $3 million commitment to support food banks and help children who rely on school meals.

Keith Dailey, group vice president for corporate affairs, said Monday in a statement that Kroger is donating $3 million “to rapidly deploy hunger relief resources to food insecure communities all across the country.”

“Our most urgent mission is to be here for our customers when they need us most. We’re also mindful that the coronavirus pandemic may result in more of our neighbors struggling with food insecurity at this time,” he said.

The $3 million donation “will not only support local food banks, but it will also help fund initiatives to ensure that children whose schools may be closed will still have access to the nutritious meals they depend on.”

San Antonio Spurs create fund to support part-time employees

Update 12:40 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with Spurs Sports & Entertainment announced the creation Monday of a fund to support part-time employees affected by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement shared Monday by the San Antonio Spurs, officials said the $500,000 fund “will ensure that the organization’s part-time employees will be paid through the end of the San Antonio Spurs and San Antonio Rampage Seasons.”

“As San Antonio feels the ripple effects of the difficult decisions we have all had to make because of this global pandemic, we know that few will feel this more than the members of our community who rely on hourly and part-time employment to take care of their families,” Petre Holt, chairman of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, said Monday in a statement.

“Spurs Sports & Entertainment is a values-based organization, and taking care of our entire staff -- both full time and part time -- was never a question of ‘if,' but of ‘how.’"

New Jersey to close all schools, non-essential retail

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced the mandatory closure of all non-essential retail, recreational and entertainment businesses statewide beginning after 8 p.m. Monday.

“Effective tonight, all other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must close after 8:00 p.m.," Murphy said Monday in a statement posted on social media. “During daytime hours, these businesses may remain open if they limit their occupancy to no more than 50 persons and adhere to social distancing guidelines.”

The governor also announced the closure of all schools, including pre-Kindergarten programs and institutions of higher education, beginning Wednesday.

“We do not take any of the steps we’ve announced today lightly,” Murphy said. “We know that these will impact residents and families, communities and businesses. But our paramount concern is to (flatten the curve) -- these steps will ensure we do not overload our health care system.”

1st coronavirus death reported in South Carolina

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT March 16: Health officials in South Carolina announced the state’s first death attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to WSOC-TV.

Citing the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, WSOC-TV reported an elderly patient in Lexington County had died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases top 120 in Georgia

Update 12:20 p.m. EDT March 16: Health officials in Georgia announced Monday that the state’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 121, according to WSB-TV.

One person has died of coronavirus in the state, the news station reported.

Indiana closes state museums, bans in-person service at bars, restaurants

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana announced new measures Monday aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Holcomb said the state will adhere to recommendations from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which call for barring people from gathering in events including more than 50 people. Bars, nightclubs and restaurants will also be required to close to in-person orders and shift to take-out and delivery services until at least the end of March.

The Indiana State Museum and historic sites will also close to the public beginning Monday, though Holcomb said state parks and recreation centers would remain open.

WHO urges countries to test all suspected COVID-19 cases

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the World Health Organization urged health officials to test every suspected case of the 2019 novel coronavirus as the outbreak continues worldwide.

“We have one simple message for all countries: test, test test,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday. “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected.”

Tennessee governor urges official to close schools ‘as soon as practically possible’

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee urged school districts in his state to close “as soon as practically possible” and remain closed through March 31 due to the threat of COVID-19.

Lee said Monday in a statement that all schools were expected to be closed by Friday.

“Superintendents and local leadership have the full support of my administration to determine effective dates for closure this week as they evaluate what is best for families within their respective districts," Lee said, according to WHBQ-TV.

"Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”

New Jersey governor recommends statewide curfew

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey on Monday suggested implementing a statewide curfew that would require people to stay in their homes between 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. due to the coronavirus outbreak, and News 12 New Jersey reported.

The suggestion came during a joint conference call Monday morning between Murphy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, reported.

Earlier Monday, Murphy, Cuomo and Lamont said that beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, gyms, movie theaters and casinos would be closed across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Crowds will be limited to a maximum of 50 people and restaurants and bars will close to in-person orders.

European Union suspending non-essential travel for 30 days

Update 11:25 a.m. EDT March 16: The president of the European Union Commission announced Monday the suspension of all non-essential travel in the union for 30 days as the world grapples with the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

Arkansas schools to close Tuesday

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas announced Sunday at a news conference that schools across the state would be required to close beginning Tuesday, WHBQ-TV reported.

Supreme Court delays arguments

Update 10:55 a.m. EDT March 16: The U.S. Supreme Court is postponing oral arguments scheduled for its March session due to the continuing coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement released Monday, officials said the Court plans to continue forward with its scheduled conference Friday, with some Justices possibly attending by telephone.

New York, Connecticut and New Jersey closing gyms, movie theaters and casinos

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT March 16: Officials in three states joined together to announce several measures aimed at reducing the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Officials in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey said that beginning at 8 p.m. Monday, gyms, movie theaters and casinos would be closed in all three states. Crowds will be limited to a maximum of 50 people and restaurants and bars will close to in-person orders.

“Our primary goal is to slow the spread of coronavirus so that the wave doesn’t crash our healthcare system,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday in a statement. “Social distancing is the best way to do that."

Kentucky to close restaurants, bars

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT March 16: Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky announced Monday that he plans to order the closure of in-person service at restaurants and bars statewide to stymie the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

“It is our civic duty to do everything that we can to make sure that we are living up to our patriotic duty and that we are following all the instructions that we get,” Beshear said Monday at a news conference. “What we are doing is making sure that we take aggressive action."

As of Monday, Beshear said 21 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state with patients ranging in age from 27 to 80. One person, a 66-year-old Bourbon County man, has died of coronavirus in the state, according to the governor.

“Folks we are going to have more cases, and we’ve got to expect more cases,” Beshear said.

White House Easter Egg Roll cancelled

Update 10:20 a.m. EDT March 16: Officials announced the cancellation Monday of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” first lady Melania Trump said Monday in a statement. “I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for long-term.

“During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”

Women’s tennis tour suspended until May

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the Women’s Tennis Association announced the organization was suspending planned tournaments due to the threat posed by the 2019 novel coronavirus.

“Due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, the WTA tournaments in Stuttgart (Germany), Istanbul and Prague will not be held as scheduled,” officials with the organization said Monday in a statement. “We will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the remaining WTA European clay court events and will continue to monitor this situation closely and its impact on the 2020 WTA Tour season.”

The WTA Tour was scheduled to resume May 2.

US stock trading resumes

Update 9:45 a.m. EDT March 16: Trading has resumed on the New York Stock Exchange after flailing numbers triggered a temporary trading halt known as a circuit breaker Monday morning.

US stocks plunge at open, triggering another trading halt

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT March 16: U.S. stocks plunged 8.1% at open, triggering a pause of trading Monday morning as investors worried over the economic impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The pause, known as a circuit breaker, began at 9:30 a.m. and was expected to last until 9:45 a.m.

Michigan to close bars, restaurants statewide Monday

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 16: Bars and restaurants across Michigan will be ordered to close beginning Monday at 3 p.m., the Detroit Free Press reported, citing the governor’s office.

Several other states have taken similar measures to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus, including Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois and California. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that he plans to sign a similar order closing bars and limiting restaurants to take-out only.

US immigration hearings delayed

Update 9:15 a.m. EDT March 16: Officials with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review announced the postponement Sunday of immigration hearings amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities said Sunday in a tweet that “master calendar” dates for people who are not currently detained have been delayed. The hearings can include dozens of people in a single courtroom.

There are 68 immigration courts nationwide.

James Bond actress Olga Kurylenko says she has coronavirus

Update 8:50 a.m. EDT March 16: The actress who starred opposite Daniel Craig in “Quantum of Solace," a 2008 addition to the James Bond film franchise, said on social media Sunday that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I’ve actually been ill for almost a week now. Fever and fatigue are my main symptoms,” Kurylenko wrote in an Instagram post. “Take care of yourself and do take this seriously!"

Kennedy Space Center temporarily closes amid outbreak

Update 7:50 a.m. EDT March 16: The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is closing temporarily starting today, CNN is reporting. It will remain closed “until further notice,” according to the complex’s website

The move comes “in response to the prevention and control of COVID-19," said the center, which is located in Merritt Island, Florida.

“When it is deemed safe for guests to return, the entire facility will be cleaned and sanitized prior to re-opening,” Chief Operating Officer Therrin Protze said in a statement. “This will include Kennedy Space Center tour buses, all attractions, eateries and theaters at the main campus and at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.”

Chick-fil-A closes dining room seating at restaurants

Update 6:09 a.m. EDT March 16: Chick-fil-A announced Sunday night that its is closing dining room seating in its restaurants.

“As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact,” the company, which is based in Atlanta, said in a statement.

Officials said some locations may only offer service through the drive-thru windows while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options. It’s unclear which stores will allow which options.

“We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you,” the company said.

More than 164,000 cases, 6,400 deaths reported worldwide

Update 5:34 a.m. EDT March 16: More than 164,000 coronavirus cases and 6,400 deaths have been reported worldwide, the World Health Organization reported Monday. Among individual countries, China topped the list with more than 81,000 cases, followed by Italy with over 24,700 cases.

Disney temporarily closing North American stores, hotels

Update 4:14 a.m. EDT March 16: Disney announced early Monday that it is temporarily closing all North American Disney stores starting Tuesday.

In an overnight tweet, the company added that it is “closing all of its owned and operated locations” at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California, and Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida, beginning Tuesday.

“Individual tenants will make decisions on whether to continue or adjust operations,” the tweet read.

Disney also will close its owned and operated hotels at its Walt Disney World Resort and Vero Beach Resort in Florida starting at 5 p.m. Friday.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and maintain regular contact with the appropriate officials and health experts,” the company said.

Peace Corps suspends volunteer activities, announces evacuations

Update 12:36 a.m. EDT March 16: The Peace Corps announced late Sunday that it has decided “to temporarily suspend all ... operations globally and evacuate all of our volunteers,” according to a statement.

“As you know, we recently evacuated volunteers from China and Mongolia due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related travel constraints and school closings,” Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen said in a letter posted on the organization’s website. “Further evacuations are now under way at several posts. Unfortunately, it has become clear in the last 48 hours that numerous posts must follow suit.”

The Peace Corps’ headquarters will remain open, the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.