West Virginia plan to test all nursing home residents, staff, begins

West Virginia's effort to test all residents and staff of the state's nursing homes for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 began Monday, the governor said.

The effort has been called the first of its kind in the nation. Gov. Jim Justice issued an executive order mandating the testing Friday.  Nursing home residents can be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Justice said he believes that testing could be completed within a week.

"We’re going to have real, live data that we hope will help us to isolate and treat people, even those who may not have symptoms yet," he said in a statement.

NBC News reported last week that coronavirus deaths in long-term care facilities across the country had risen to 5,670, according to state health data. The rise was reported to have been driven by huge increases in hard-hit states like New York, where more than 2 percent of nursing home residents have died of the virus.

Photo: Medical worker administers a swab test

Lindsey Leinbach takes a swab to test for the coronavirus at a One Medical testing facility built to help with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Bronx, New York on April 21, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

What it's like to be stuck on a college campus

Virus caused U.S. fatalities earlier than previously thought

Officials in Silicon Valley late Tuesday reported two virus-related deaths that predate a Washington state fatality previously believed to be the first victim of COVID-19 in the United States.

The California deaths on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 were not initially believed to have been related to the coronavirus. 

The first U.S. COVID-19 death was reported Feb. 29 in Wsahington state.

"Today, the Medical Examiner-Coroner received confirmation from the CDC that tissue samples from both cases are positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)," the County of Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner said in a statement.

The examiner-coroner's office said limited testing criteria set by the federal government meant that the deaths were initially overlooked as possible coronavirus cases. Each victim died at home, it said.

Read the full story here.

Harlem church has lost 11 members to COVID-19

The senior pastor of Harlem's Mount Neboh Baptist Church says that 11 of its members have died from the coronavirus illness COVID-19.

"When my phone rings, I'm always worried: Is it going to be another call with bad news?" Dr. Johnnie Green said Tuesday.

Green said that his congregation believes that faith in God is most authentic when it is tested, and he sees the trials of recent weeks as a test of faith.

"I believe that we're going to come out stronger," Green said. 

New York City and state have been called the current epidemic of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States. There have been more than 19,000 deaths statewide, according to an NBC News count of reports that includes more than 4,000 deaths in New York City which are being called probable COVID-19 cases.

Read the full story here.

China calls for end of blaming and 'finger-pointing'

UNITED NATIONS — China said this is a time for solidarity and cooperation, not “finger-pointing” and “politicization” as its top diplomats in New York officially handed over a donation of medical supplies to hard-hit New York City to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Consul-General Huang Ping recalled at Tuesday’s online ceremony that China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump “called for anti-epidemic cooperation between our two nations and the world” in their last phone call on March 17.

After weeks of elaborate praise of president Xi’s performance in the pandemic, Trump has turned to blaming China and halting U.S. contributions to the World Health Organization, accusing it of parroting misinformation from Beijing.

Huang said the American people helped China “without hesitation” when it was in great difficulty, and its consulate and U.N. mission have donated 25,000 N95 masks, 2,000 protective suits, and 75,000 pairs of medical gloves, which reached New York last weekend.

According to incomplete estimates, Huang said, China has also donated 1,000 ventilators, 6,550,000 masks, 310,000 pairs of surgical gloves, 150,000 goggles and 32,000 protective suits to the United States, much of it to New York.

Inslee doesn't expect restrictions to end soon

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state won’t be able to lift many of the stay-at-home restrictions implemented to fight the coronavirus by May 4, when the current directive is set to expire.

But he hopes health modeling in the coming days will allow the resumption of some activities such as elective surgeries and outdoor recreation.

In a televised address Tuesday evening, Inslee also announced a plan to have about 1,500 workers focused solely on contact tracing in place by the second week of May. The effort would involve state employees from the Department of Health, local health jurisdictions, members of the Washington National Guard and volunteer health care providers.

The Seattle area saw the nation’s first large COVID-19 outbreak, and so far Washington state has more than 12,280 confirmed cases and at least 682 deaths.

Call to prayer to be broadcast in Minneapolis neighborhood during Ramadan

MINNEAPOLIS — Muslims in south Minneapolis will be able to maintain safe physical distance during the call to prayer throughout the holy month of Ramadan.

The call to prayer will be broadcast by speaker five times each day to allow neighborhood residents to pray together.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey facilitated the noise permit after the community requested the service. The Council on American-Islamic Relations paid for the audio equipment for the broadcasts from a mosque.

The broadcasts are expected to reach thousands of residents while allowing them to maintain safe physical distance for prayer during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramadan starts Thursday and ends May 23.

Czech National Ballet dancers return to work in face masks

Rehearsals resumed in Prague after a month of coronavirus isolation. "It's much harder with the mask, because you can't really breathe in as you need," said one of the dancers.

Trump's immigration ban raises plenty of questions. Here's what we know.

WASHINGTON — In a late-night tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump declared he would “be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.”

Trump said his order would "pause" issuing green cards — a mandatory stepping-stone to citizenship — for 60 days, and then revisit the policy depending on economic conditions. He told reporters Tuesday it "will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis" and insisted his goal was to protect Americans from international competition for jobs.

The announcement came as a surprise, even to many Trump allies, and the sweeping language in his tweet raised questions about who it would affect. But without the order or any formal guidance from the administration, it's not clear whether the order will ultimately be a far-reaching policy change or simply formalize what is already a de facto pause on immigration during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here. 

Coronavirus survivor meets plasma donor who may have saved his life

Doctors at Orlando health aimed to save 52-year-old Kevin Rathel by trying an emergency treatment known as convalescent plasma — injecting a survivor’s antibodies to fight off the virus. Rathel recovered and later met the man who he believes saved his life.