FITNESS CENTERS OPEN IN DEFIANCE OF PHASE 2 RESTRICTIONS: Planet Fitness is reopening some gyms in North Carolina this week, despite a coronavirus executive order that keeps gyms closed. Crunch Fitness is also reopening gyms, ABC11, The News & Observer’s news partner, reported. And O2 Fitness says on its website that several locations in North Carolina are open as of Aug. 28. A spokesperson for Gov. Roy Cooper, Dory MacMillan, said in an email that Cooper would talk Tuesday about the next phase of easing restrictions on businesses, which would take effect later this week. The changes would come a week earlier than previously announced. A state Justice Department letter in June said indoor gyms should be open to people who use them as part of a medical treatment plan. Planet Fitness told members it will not require members to show documentation of medical need.
DUE TO PANDEMIC, PARENTS ARE SKIPPING VACCINATIONS CHILDREN NEED: Health experts expect less children will get vaccinated during the pandemic and are concerned about a possible measles or influenza outbreak this year. The last thing health experts say that we need is two outbreaks at the same time. A national survey by Orlando Health found that 84 % of parents believe vaccines are important for their children, but 2 out of 3 parents are reluctant to get them vaccinated. Parents are worried about going to a clinic and possibly exposing their children to COVID-19. "Preventative healthcare is extremely important and should not be sidetracked or derailed by COVID-19," said UNC Health family physician Alexa Mieses-Malchuck. Vaccinations are just as important for students who are participating in school online and students who are going to school in-person, she said. "Vaccination is crucial to preventative care and it really is a selfless act," Mieses-Malchuck said. "And it doesn't just protect your children, but protects those around you."
COVID OUTBREAK AT ALAMANCE COUNTY JAIL REACHES 99 INFECTED: The first cases were found Aug. 24. Two inmates tested positive when transferred to Piedmont Correctional Institution, and three staff members also tested positive. The Health Department tested all inmates and staff – more than 400 people – over 48 hours last week. There have been 46 outbreaks in correctional facilities across North Carolina, 25 of which are active, according to data the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services released Friday. Alamance County’s is by far larger than any of those reported Friday. It is the largest outbreak reported in Alamance County, according to Health Department spokesperson Arlinda Ellison. The jail has taken precautions, according to Sheriff Terry Johnson, including screening new prisoners, limiting visits and increased sanitation. Alamance County had its first confirmed COVID-19 case March 20, and 3,244 cases have been found in all since then. There are 340 active cases. Fifteen of those people are in hospital care. There have been 46 deaths related to COVID-19, most of which were the result of one of the county’s first outbreaks in a nursing home.
LOCAL OFFICIALS IN KENOSHA DON'T WANT TRUMP TO VISIT. HE'S GOING ANYWAY: Trump will bring his campaign message of law and order to Kenosha on Tuesday, meeting with members of law enforcement and touring businesses damaged during riots. But when Trump arrives in this pivotal battleground state, he will probably find a chilly reception from state and local leaders, who reiterated on Monday that they wish he would have just stayed away. "You have a community that's in the process of trying to heal," Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian said at a news briefing Monday. "There's so many things that have gone on in this community. It just seemed to me, and I think others, that it would be better for us to be able to pull together, let the community get together, and actually heal." At a news conference Monday, Trump said he did not consider the requests not to come here. When asked if his visit could exacerbate tensions, Trump said, "Well, it could also increase enthusiasm and it could increase love and respect for our country. And that's why I'm going." Trump's visit comes as Kenosha is still grappling with the aftermath of the damaging unrest that erupted after Rusten Sheskey, a city police officer, shot Blake, a Black man, in the back on Aug. 23. Officials have charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with six counts — including two homicide charges. Rittenhouse's attorneys have argued he acted in self-defense. Trump declined to condemn Rittenhouse's actions Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Trump's visits will spark fresh protests here. Several local activists said no large protests were planned because they did not want to draw more attention to Trump's visit.
BIDEN BLASTS TRUMP FOR ADDING TO THE NATION'S TURMOIL: Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday issued a forceful rebuttal to President Trump’s claim that the former vice president would preside over a nation overwhelmed by disorder and lawlessness, asserting that it was Mr. Trump who had made the country unsafe through his erratic and incendiary governing style. “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?” he said. “We need justice in America. We need safety in America. We’re facing multiple crises — crises that, under Donald Trump, have kept multiplying.” Speaking at the site of a converted steel mill in Pittsburgh with no audience, in a rare campaign appearance outside eastern Pennsylvania or his home state of Delaware, Mr. Biden rejected the suggestion that lawlessness would go unchecked under his leadership. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” Mr. Biden, 77, said. “Really? I want a safe America. Safe from Covid, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops. Let me be crystal clear: safe from four more years of Donald Trump.” The former vice president sought to refocus the spotlight on Mr. Trump and make the election a referendum on the president’s character and his stewardship of the pandemic. He cast Mr. Trump as a destabilizing force who had exacerbated the most urgent problems facing the nation, from the public health crisis, international affairs and unemployment to issues around police brutality, white supremacy and racism.