Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania all affirm circumstances because it spreads to eight states

A medical worker gives a nasal swab-Covid-19- to a traveler at the Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care test site in the international terminal of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in San Francisco, California, USA, Thursday, December 2nd Test, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

At least eight US states now have at least 20 cases of the highly mutated Omicron-Covid-19 variant after Nebraska, Maryland and Pennsylvania confirmed all infections on Friday.

The news comes a day after 10 cases were cconfirmed in Minnesota, Colorado, New York, Hawaii and California, which reported the nation’s first case of the variant in a patient in San Francisco on Wednesday and the tenth case in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Maryland health officials have confirmed cases in three residents of the metropolitan area of ​​Baltimore. One patient was vaccinated and recently traveled to South Africa, and another was unvaccinated and in close contact with that patient, according to a press release from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

The third case in Maryland is unrelated to the others and involves a vaccinated person with no recent travel history, the press release said. None of the three people are hospitalized.

The patient in Pennsylvania is a man in his thirties from northwest Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The department is still working to get more information on the case, it said in a press release.

Hours earlier, Nebraska officials confirmed six infections after a traveler returned from Nigeria and apparently infected five members of her household.

The first patient returned from Nigeria on November 23 and became symptomatic on November 24, according to a press release from the Public Health Solutions District Department of Health.

Only one of the six people was vaccinated and none had to be hospitalized, the department said.

New York officials confirmed five cases late Thursday: one in Suffolk County on Long Island, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and another in New York City. Minnesota public health officials confirmed the second case of variant in the United States earlier that day in a resident who had recently returned from a New York City convention.

The US is among the list of 38 countries with confirmed cases the World Health Organization announced the Omicron variant on Friday.

President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened pre-departure test rules for international flights and expanded mask requirements on public transport as part of a broader strategy to curb the spread of the new variant.

However, officials in New York and Hawaii who reported cases of the variant Thursday said they believe Omicron is already spreading in their communities.

“This is not just because of people traveling to southern Africa or other parts of the world where Omicron has already been identified,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, at a press conference on Thursday.

Omicron has more than 30 mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells. According to the WHO, some of the mutations are associated with higher transmission and reduced antibody protection.

Health officials in the US and around the world have feared that the variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines to some extent.

“The molecular profile of the types of mutations you see [in omicron] would suggest that it may be more transmissible and could elude some of the protection afforded by vaccines, “White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci told reporters on Wednesday.” But we don’t know now.

Maryland Designer Creates Princess-Type Attire Targeted on Sustainability – NBC4 Washington

From her home in Maryland, Nadia founded Tandra Lunellery in 2020 with the help of family and friends in Indonesia she trusts in the fashion industry. Her clothing brand focuses on the small-scale production of clothes from selective, dead materials.

Nadia Tandra had a vision of working in the fashion industry.

Growing up in Indonesia, with her mother who designed clothes and her grandmother who ran a clothing factory, Nadia couldn’t wait to become a designer.

“I imagined this fashion world to be a magical place,” said Nadia. “But when I was growing up I realized that it wasn’t true.”

She was disappointed with fast fashion, a term used to refer to companies that overproduce clothing to suit fast-moving trends.

The number of items of clothing produced annually exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2014. according to a study by McKinsey.

And the clothes consumers buy don’t stay in their closets. The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that landfills 11.3 million tons of textiles received in 2018.

“I was hoping to change that, give people a better option to shop online, do my best to be sustainable and ethical across my company and brand,” said Nadia.

The young designer said she was disaffected by the headlines of textile workers who work long hours and are underpaid. With the work of her grandmother, who set a good example, Nadia has created a brand with a small production team “that’s incredibly passionate about her work.”

From her home in Maryland, Nadia founded Lunellery in 2020 with the help of family and friends in Indonesia she trusts in the fashion industry. Her clothing brand focuses on the small-scale production of clothes from selective, dead materials.

Introduction of a brand

Lunellery dresses are not what consumers usually think of when it comes to sustainable fashion.

With fairy tales in mind, Nadia created the brand in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to “escape into a magical world,” she said.

“I’ve always loved pinks and pastels, and I think there is a need in the market for affordable, sustainable princess dresses,” said Nadia.

Nadia designed the dresses with the idea that consumers would dress up for multiple occasions, including picnics – which have become popular during the pandemic.

“We focus on low waste, produce small quantities and test the success of each style and see what goes down with the customers,” said Nadia.

Photos: Maryland designer creates princess-style dresses with a focus on sustainability

She makes about ten to 15 pieces per style.

“I think we just want to make sure we don’t have excess waste because we just don’t want to pay tribute to pollution and landfill clogging,” said Nadia.

Janice Wallace is a DC sustainability expert that helps consumers build a more sustainable wardrobe. She said mass production and overproduction of clothing were two of the biggest factors behind the lack of sustainability in the fashion industry.

She cited companies like H&M as an example.

“What do you do with that excess? Often things get burned,” said Wallace.

The EPA reported that 3.2 million tons of textiles were burned in 2018.

Nadia hopes her brand can inspire consumers to think more about how their clothes are made.

Choosing the right fabric

The same fabric is used for different clothing designs at Lunellery. Nadia buys dead stock fabrics – textiles that a store has left over or is already available.

“I focus on fabrics that can be recycled,” said Nadia.

When Lunellery was first introduced, all dresses were made from 100% cotton and 100% polyester. Designers say that pure fabrics are easier to recycle and make into new garments than fabrics with mixed components – for example 60% cotton and 40% polyester.

“They’ll just go straight to the landfill,” said Nadia. “They don’t know what to do with these mixed components”,

Wallace says it is sometimes difficult for smaller brands to jump on board with sustainable fabrics. She said the problem is prices.

“When the bigger brands start using organic cotton and replace regular cotton, the price of organic cotton will eventually go down, making it easier for smaller brands to use organic cotton,” said Wallace.

As a small business owner on a budget, Nadia said it helped keep her inventory small to focus on quality and create timeless pieces that can be worn for a long time.

“We don’t want to be stuck with trends,” she said.

Maryland arts, leisure venues obtain $10 million in grants

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland is giving away $ 10 million to entertainment venues across the state struggling during the pandemic, including the Delmarva Shorebirds, the Maryland Theater, and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, among others.

The money will help stabilize companies that had to shut down or drastically reduce capacity as COVID-19 rose through Maryland last year.

As the state begins to arise from the pandemic, that money will also help the venues prepare for the busier fall season, said Nicholas Cohen, executive director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts.

“The art season is a little quiet in the summer. It’s coming back in the fall,” Cohen said. “What this does is it makes these venues float until then to really say, ‘Here we are, we’re back, we may be almost at full capacity.'”

The additional $ 10 million in government grants will go to more than 60 venues and organizations in Maryland. Delmarva Shorebirds, the Low-A subsidiary of Baltimore Orioles based in Salisbury, will receive $ 244,716 through the grant program.

The coastal birds took the field in May for the first time since 2019.

Several Washington County organizations will also benefit:

  • Suite 710, a Hagerstown venue: $ 28,162
  • Washington County Playhouse: $ 247,039
  • Potomac Playmaker: $ 9,852
  • The Maryland Theater: $ 238,985
  • Maryland Symphony Orchestra: $ 113,638

For the Potomac playmaker, The money will help maintain the group’s new home, which volunteer scholarship writer Greg Berezuk moved into just before the pandemic brought everything to a standstill.

The building at 17303 W. Washington St. west of Hagerstown can accommodate around 130 people.

“We got in there just before COVID. It’s a wonderful way for an audience to enjoy a live performance and we couldn’t use it, ”said Berezuk.

Fixed costs like mortgage and utilities would have to be paid even if the group couldn’t put on shows, he said.

According to Berezuk, the purely voluntary playmakers have been around for almost 100 years.

He said the organization was able to “hobble along” through 2020 and early 2021, with a very restricted audience admitted in the fall and generous donations from sponsors filling in the gaps.

Berezuk said the playmakers Show opening on July 9th “Farce of Habit”, the group’s new home will be at full capacity for the first time.

Shawn Martin, co-owner and co-producer of the Playhouse in Washington County with Ms. Laura Martin, said in an email on Thursday that the Dinner Theater at 44 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown was closed for about eight months in 2020.

Even when the store reopened in November, Martin said it was limited to 50% capacity, including staff and dedicated actors.

The closure, capacity constraints and lack of demand due to COVID restrictions made it impossible to cover business costs, he said.

“The grant money will not cure us, but it will replace some of The Playhouse’s lost revenue,” said Martin.

The past 15 months have been “devastating” for The Playhouse, other entertainment venues, and for Martin and his wife, who also suffered personal losses.

Martin said they were supported by “a very large and loyal customer base and loyal and trustworthy staff”.

The Playhouse, which opened in 1985, currently organizes dinner shows mainly on Friday and Saturday evenings with selected Sunday matinees.

According to Martin, the 2022 season with musicals and summer camps will be announced shortly.

Suite 710 General Manager Robbie Soto said the deal took “some decent hits” as the nightclub and attached bowling alley closed completely from March to late June 2020

Soto said all of the staff should be fired.

When the restrictions were lifted, new staff were hired and the events slowly returned to the nightclub on Leitersburg Pike near Longmeadow Shopping Center.

Soto said the locally owned company totaled an estimated $ 300,000, so it was very welcome to get about 10% from the state.

“Anything is better than nothing,” he said. “That will really help us to be overtaken again.”

Soto said Suite 710 was “one of the lucky ones” to survive the shutdown and is working on booking events and bands to rebuild the decades-old entertainment business.

Photo by One Room Media Music Director Elizabeth Schulze directs the Maryland Symphony Orchestra during its September 17 concert at the Maryland Theater in downtown Hagerstown.

“A lot of support”

The new $ 10 million in grants is in addition to the $ 30 million the state granted earlier this year.

The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Maryland Theater, and the Washington County Playhouse also received substantial scholarships during this award round.

Maryland theater Executive Director Jessica Green said the new funding was higher than expected and “greatly appreciated”.

“Reg. Hogan and his leadership group have shown a lot of support for our industry, ”she said.

The theater at 21 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown is 100% busy and is hosting 35 events in May and 12 last week, according to Green.

She said it was exciting to have people in the theater again, and that shows were sold out “incredibly quickly”.

While fall bookings are already picking up, summer is a notoriously slow season for live venues like the Maryland Theater.

“People want to be out,” she said, adding that the new funding is “being used well”.

Green said the theater was also waiting to hear about his application to the federal government Grant for operators of shuttered venues Program that includes more than $ 16 billion in grants for facilities shut down during the pandemic.

“Devastating Losses”

On the Lower Shore, several venues and organizers benefited in the first round:

  • National Fair: $ 72,707
  • Flagship Premium Cinemas Ocean City: $ 484,256
  • Fox Gold Coast Theater: $ 213,073
  • Special Event Productions: $ 72,638
  • Sun and Surf Cinema: $ 484,256

Grants have helped the entertainment and arts industries “overcome devastating losses in programming and revenue,” said Steven Skerritt-Davis, associate director of the Maryland State Arts Council.

“The sector responded with distinctive creativity and innovation and quickly turned to offer online content, virtual arts events, and secure in-person events and projects whenever possible,” said Skerritt-Davis.

More:Unemployed Marylanders prepare for the end of federal unemployment benefits

More:Marylanders will not receive $ 300 unemployment benefits in July

The State Arts Council provided more than $ 12 million in grants from state funds and the National Endowment for the Arts during the pandemic.

There were some challenges with the emergency funding procedures. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Wrote a letter to the Small Business Association this week with dozens of Senate colleagues urging them to distribute federal grants to live venues faster.

“It has been nearly six months since Congress passed the Save our Stages Act, nearly two months since the program started twice, and 51 days since the Small Business Administration began receiving applications,” the letter said . “We urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that the funds are distributed to qualified applicants.”

The letter blamed bureaucratic delays for the slowdown in the distribution of grant funds, even though businesses continued to struggle.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen announced the World War I Valor Medals Review Act, a new bipartisan law that will ensure that minority veterans who served during World War I, on Thursday, April 18, 2019, can pass the Get the recognition they deserve.

However, Cohen, the executive director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts, worries more than about venues about artists and performers, many of whom lost their jobs when the pandemic resulted in major plant closures.

“I think the response has been really appropriate for venues,” he said. “I think they’re on a lot more solid ground than we thought they would enter the post-pandemic, but I think the key to that is how will venues survive when artists have to leave the field? “

He points to the impending loss of the federal pandemic unemployment benefit, which has been a major boost to the self-employed and gig workers.

Governor Larry Hogan announced in early June that Maryland would get out of federal unemployment programs on July 3 and cut the extra money two months earlier than expected.

That means no additional $ 300 per week for people with traditional unemployment and no help at all for non-traditional workers who became unemployed as an emergency measure during the pandemic.

If artists leave the industry because they cannot afford to survive, the venues that benefited from emergency grants could face new challenges in finding talent after a busy year.

“We always think of these huge venues and events,” Cohen said. “Why are you coming? You are coming because of the entertainers, the artists.”

Cohen hopes the state will find new ways to support artists.

The State Arts Council has also worked to help artists support themselves. The organization has organized more than 260 training events with nearly 10,000 attendees, Skerritt-Davis said.

More:The Maryland COVID-19 state of emergency ends July 1st

More:Maryland Black leaders call for change after violent arrests in Ocean City

MSAC is also developing an Independent Artist Network employment initiative aimed at connecting artists with employers, he said.

Cohen also hopes that some of the venues used during the pandemic remain relevant and could help artists reach more people as the state reopens.

“The upside of this is that the venues have learned that they can improve access by thinking about things that are personal but also virtual,” Cohen said. “There’s a duality here to give people both that personal experience and a really robust virtual experience.”

Madeleine O’Neill covers the Maryland State House and state issues for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maddioneill.

Herald Mail employee Alexis Fitzpatrick contributed to this story.

Maryland leisure venues get COVID reduction

A total of 65 event locations and organizers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic were funded.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A total of 65 live music venues, event spaces, and promoters across Maryland received a total of $ 10 million in aid as part of the state’s economic recovery plan. These new funds are on top of the $ 30 million allocated earlier this year.

“As we move forward with our recovery, I am proud to be able to offer more support to these entertainment companies and venues through our Maryland Strong Economic Recovery Initiative,” said Governor Larry Hogan in a press release. “These awards protect jobs and preserve important cultural institutions in Maryland communities ready to return to normal.”

The money was given to venues that have closed or canceled events and performances due to capacity restrictions in response to the pandemic and for which the previous state or federal funding was insufficient to cover the expenses of the venue due to the size or location of the event .

“This is an important recovery resource to help these businesses get back up and running,” said Kenneth C. Holt, Maryland secretary for housing and community development. “If we can provide quick and direct help, we not only help these companies, but also strengthen the entire community.”

A total of 49 live entertainment venues and 14 event organizers from 12 counties and Baltimore City will receive funding. Venues that will receive funding include The Fillmore Silver Spring, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and the Round House Theater.

Funding will also go to minor league sports stadiums for the Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox Baseball Club and the Delmarva Shorebirds.

A full list of the awardees can be found at Click here.

CONNECTED: Governor Hogan lifted all COVID restrictions in July, but some companies are reopening more slowly

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Maryland confirms case of South African Covid variant that is extra infectious

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will hold a press conference on November 17th in Annapolis, MD to discuss COVID-19 concerns.

Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Maryland has reported a case of the new, highly communicable Covid-19 The first variant found in South Africa marks the third case discovered in the United States, Governor Larry Hogan announced on Saturday.

The case involves an adult resident who lives in the Baltimore area and has not taken any international travel in the past. Maryland health officials and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed this.

“We strongly encourage Marylanders to exercise particular caution to limit the additional risk of transmission associated with this variant,” said Hogan. “Please continue to practice normal health and safety precautions, including wearing masks, regular hand washing, and physical distancing.”

The first two U.S. cases of the South African variant, known as B.1.351, were identified in South Carolina on January 28. Other variants found in the US come from the UK and Brazil.

The variants do not appear to cause more serious illness or an increased risk of death, but are considered highly contagious. Health officials are particularly concerned about variant B.1.351 as preliminary research suggests that vaccines may be less effective at controlling it.

president Joe Biden signed a travel ban last week on most non-U.S. citizens who entered the country and were recently in South Africa Reintroduction of travel restrictions on the entry of non-US citizens from the UK and Brazil.

The virus has infected more than 25.9 million people and killed at least 436,000 people since the pandemic began in the United States. according to dates compiled by Johns Hopkins University.