Significant number of Navy midshipmen test positive on return to school

At least 169,423 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S.

August 15, 2020, 8:02 PM

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 768,000 people worldwide.

More than 21.3 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

The United States is the worst-affected country in the world, with more than 5.3 million diagnosed cases and at least 169,423 deaths.

Latest headlines:

  • Florida approves return of high school sports
  • NY announces lowest COVID hospitalizations, record testing
  • University of Notre Dame reports 29 cases of COVID-19
  • Here's how the news developed on Saturday. All times Eastern.

    7:50 p.m.: Navy midshipmen test positive returning to school

    A significant number of returning midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis have tested positive for COVID-19, a Navy source told ABC News.

    A USNA spokesperson confirmed that "less than two percent of the current population of midshipmen who are in Bancroft Hall are currently COVID-19 positive." Bancroft Hall is the main dormitory for midshipmen at the Academy and currently houses less than 4,000 midshipmen as the school readies for the opening of the fall semester on Aug. 19.

    For operational security reasons the Defense Department does not provide actual numbers of infected individuals in military units or facilities.

    The Naval Academy's COVID-19 positivity rate is similar to the 1.5% rate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in early July when its 4,400 cadets returned for summer training. Since then there have been no additional positive COVID cases at West Point.

    PHOTO: In this Dec. 14, 2019 file photo, Navy midshipmen march onto field ahead of an NCAA college football game between the Army and the Navy in Philadelphia.
    In this Dec. 14, 2019 file photo, Navy midshipmen march onto field ahead of an NCAA college football game between the Army and the Navy in Philadelphia.
    Matt Rourke/AP, File

    The Naval Academy's fall semester will be a combination of in-person and online classes. Classes will be at half capacity with no more than 10 midshipmen in a class that normally holds 20.

    The school has decided to limit occupancy at Bancroft Hall to 90% to reduce population density in the building and provide adequate isolation and quarantine quarters. That means the building will only house 4,100 of the 4,600 who normally live there, the goal is to find alternative housing in the Annapolis, Maryland, area for those who will not be residing in the dormitory hall.

    The Naval Academy has one of the most stringent protections, testing and tracing protocols of any U.S. educational institution. Contact tracing will notify and test anyone who has come into contact with those who test positive and midshipmen in quarantine will be monitoring twice daily by medical personnel.

    5:30 p.m.: Kentucky highlights increasing cases in children

    Gov. Andy Beshear said on Saturday there were at least 38,930 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 638 of which were newly reported. Seventeen of the newly reported cases were in children age 5 and younger.

    The governor highlighted how more young Kentuckians are testing positive, especially in the hot spots, as the new school year approaches.

    "When you look at how hard children are being hit now, 322 people under the age of 18 have tested positive since the beginning of this in Warren County alone," he said.

    Six more people died in the state on Saturday, Beshear said.

    "Folks, this thing is real," Beshear said. "We are at war with it and we are going to have to be the strong, resilient and also patient Kentuckians that we are to make sure that we prevent loss of life, that we promote health and that we protect our children, that we should never, ever experiment with."

    2:47 p.m.: California reports over 12,000 newly confirmed cases as of Friday

    California has 613,689 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date. Numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed, according to the California Department of Public Health.

    There were 12,614 newly recorded confirmed cases Friday. Numbers do not represent true day-over-day change as these results include cases from prior than yesterday.

    The 7-day positivity rate is 7% and the 14-day positivity rate is 6.3%.

    There have been 9,681,111 tests conducted in California. This represents an increase of 124,513 over the prior 24-hour reporting period.

    1:52 p.m.: MLB postpones 2 games following a Cincinnati Reds player testing positive for COVID-19

    Following a positive test for COVID-19 by a Cincinnati Reds player, Saturday night's scheduled game, as well as Sunday afternoon's contest between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at the Great American Ball Park have been postponed to allow for additional testing and to complete the contact tracing process.

    1:48 p.m.: Miami-Dade passes 2,000 COVID-19 deaths as Florida adds 6,352 new cases

    Florida reported 6,352 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday with 204 more residents' deaths, according to ABC News' Miami affiliate, WPLG.

    Confirmed cases in the state are now up to 569,637 and there have been 9,345 deaths attributed to the coronavirus since the outbreak began, as per the Florida Department of Health.

    However, Florida has seen a gradual lowering of its positivity rate, now under the 10% the state wanted to be at.

    10:22 a.m.: NY announces lowest COVID hospitalizations, record testing

    On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York had its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since March 17. The governor also announced a record-high in the number of tests.

    Since March 17, hospitalizations have dropped to 523; the number of COVID-19 tests reported to New York State is at 88,668.

    "In New York, we knew from the beginning that testing would be a key factor in controlling this new virus. We ramped up testing immediately and took a nation-leading role in developing capacity to test as many New Yorkers as possible, and I'm proud that we continue to raise the bar and we've broken our record high once again," Cuomo said. "Yesterday's numbers -- especially the new low in hospitalizations -- continue to reflect the progress we've made during this pandemic, but we will keep monitoring the data and the alarming increases in cases around the country. My message is the same: stay New York Smart, wash your hands, socially distance, and wear masks!"

    Gov. Cuomo also confirmed 734 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 424,901 confirmed cases in New York State, with the highest concentration in New York City.

    As of Friday, there were five deaths due to COVID-19 in New York state, bringing the total to 25,244.

    6:43 a.m.: University of Notre Dame reports 29 cases of COVID-19

    The University of Notre Dame reported 29 cases of COVID-19 in a one-week period, reports the South Bend Tribune.

    The cases were from Aug. 6 to Aug. 14. On Friday, Aug. 14, the university reported 10 new cases.

    Notre Dame's spokesperson, Paul Browne, told the South Bend Tribune that many of the COVID-19 cases were traced to an off-campus party where students didn't wear masks and didn't practice social distancing.

    "What is reinforces is our concern that it only takes a weak link. You can have a strong chain, but if you have only one weak link, it can cause numbers to spike," Brown said. "Notre Dame officials believe they can still get the virus under control without canceling in-person classes and sending students home."

    The virus not only struck students who attended the party, but some who came in contact with those who attended," Browne said.

    6:22 a.m.: Florida high school sports start date approved

    Fall high school sports in Florida are a go after the Florida High School Athletics Association voted Friday to begin sports throughout in the Sunshine State on Aug. 24.

    Practices can begin this month with games set to resume in September. Teams, according to FHSAA, can start later and not opt-in to state-wide play due to coronavirus hot spots.

    The organization also said that "schools may opt out of the State Series by September 18th with the ability to form their own regional schedule upon approval from the FHSAA."

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been a strong advocate for reopening schools and sports in the state, despite the summer surge in cases and deaths.

    "To our parents – you deserve the choice of in-person instruction or distance learning and I'm glad that so many school districts are making this vision a reality," DeSantis said a press conference this week. "To our teachers and school administrators – thank you for refusing to let obstacles stand in the way of providing opportunities for our kids. This has been a difficult time, but I believe your hard work will do more than you know to get our society back on its feet."

    In Florida, more than 563,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 9,141 people have died of the virus.

    The state reported more than 6,200 new COVID-19 cases and 200 deaths on Friday.

    PHOTO: HERRIMAN, UT - AUGUST 13: Members of the Herriman Mustangs take the field before their game against the Davis Darts at Mustang Stadium on August 13, 2020 in Herriman, Utah.
    HERRIMAN, UT - AUGUST 13: Members of the Herriman Mustangs take the field before their game against the Davis Darts at Mustang Stadium on August 13, 2020 in Herriman, Utah. This is the first high school football game in the country this season since the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
    Chris Gardner/Getty Images

    What to know about coronavirus:

    ABC News' Tom Shine, Joshua Hoyas, Matthew G. Fuhrman and J. Gabriel Ware contributed to this report.

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