Today’s coronavirus news: Results of Public Health survey show overall satisfaction with response to the virus; President Donald Trump takes break from coronavirus task force

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:24 a.m.: Rural Jerauld County in South Dakota didn’t see a single case of the coronavirus for more than two months stretching from June to August. But over the last two weeks, its rate of new cases per person soared to one of the highest in the nation.

“All of a sudden it hit, and as it does, it just exploded,” said Dr. Tom Dean, one of just three doctors who work in the county.

As the brunt of the virus has blown into the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, the severity of outbreaks in rural communities has come into focus. Doctors and health officials in small towns worry that infections may overwhelm communities with limited medical resources.

And many say they are still running up against attitudes on wearing masks that have hardened along political lines and a false notion that rural areas are immune to widespread infections.

8:28 a.m.: The Vatican says someone who lives in the same Vatican hotel as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus, adding to the 11 cases of COVID-19 among the Swiss Guards who protect him.

The Vatican said Saturday that the resident of the Domus Sanctae Marthae has moved out temporarily and is in isolation, as are all the people who came into direct contact with him.

8:23 a.m.: Public Health Sudbury & Districts released the results of a community survey on the health unit’s response to the first wave of COVID-19 in October.

The results of the evaluation were included in the agenda of the board of health’s monthly meeting held on Oct. 15 via Skype.

In total, 788 surveys were completed by community members in PHSD’s service area – about 92 per cent of respondents resided in Greater Sudbury, while 7.7 per cent of respondents lived in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.

In terms of overall satisfaction, almost three-quarters of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with Public Health’s response to the first wave, with 41.6 per cent indicating that they were very satisfied, and 31.2 per cent indicating that they were somewhat satisfied.

“The results indicate that the agency’s response and supporting processes and structures during the first wave of the pandemic were adequate, appropriate, and effective,” said the report published by Public Health.

8:21 a.m.: There are 194,109 confirmed cases in Canada.

Quebec: 91,018 confirmed (including 6,018 deaths, 76,512 resolved)

Ontario: 62,908 confirmed (including 3,031 deaths, 54,004 resolved)

Alberta: 21,775 confirmed (including 288 deaths, 18,651 resolved)

British Columbia: 11,189 confirmed (including 251 deaths, 9,387 resolved)

Manitoba: 3,173 confirmed (including 38 deaths, 1,533 resolved)

Saskatchewan: 2,270 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 1,946 resolved)

Nova Scotia: 1,093 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,024 resolved)

New Brunswick: 297 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 203 resolved)

Newfoundland and Labrador: 287 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 271 resolved)

Prince Edward Island: 63 confirmed (including 60 resolved)

Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 194,109 (3 presumptive, 194,106 confirmed including 9,722 deaths, 163,624 resolved)

8:20 a.m.: Iran has announced that its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000 killed.

The announcement Saturday by Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari saw Iran put its total death toll from the outbreak at 30,123 killed, with a total of 526,490 confirmed cases.

Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus since announcing its first cases in February.

8:19 a.m.: Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases Saturday.

“Difficult months are ahead of us,” she said in her weekly video podcast. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour.”

Meanwhile, new restrictions went into effect in several other European nations in an effort to staunch the resurgence of the pandemic.

In Paris and eight other French cities, restaurants, bars, movie theatres and other establishments were being forced to close no later than 9 p.m. to try to reduce contact among people. The country was deploying 12,000 extra police officers to enforce the new rules.

In Britain, a three-tier regional approach to battle the pandemic introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week went into effect, with each level bringing in progressively tighter restrictions.

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On Saturday, tier-2 cities like London and York were subject to a ban on socializing with people from other households indoors, while the county of Lancashire joined Liverpool in tier 3 with the tightest restrictions.

Among other things, that means pubs have been forced to close and socialization with others is banned even in many outdoor settings.

In Northern Ireland a “circuit breaker” lockdown lasting four weeks came into force Friday in an attempt to quickly tamp down the spread of the virus. All pubs and restaurants must close except for takeaway services, and schools will close for two weeks for an extended half-term holiday.

Data from Friday showed that a further 136 people died in the U.K. within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total official toll to 43,429.

On Friday, the World Health Organization warned that intensive care units in a number of European cities could reach maximum capacity in the coming weeks if the number of infections is not slowed.

In Germany, which was widely lauded for being able to rapidly slow the spread of the pandemic when it first broke out, the numbers have been climbing rapidly recently.

8:18 a.m.: Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from what had been the sharpest recession in modern history. A resurgence in coronavirus cases this month is a bitter blow that will likely turn what was meant to be a period of healing for the economy into a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.

Bars, restaurants, airlines and myriad other businesses are getting hit with new restrictions as politicians desperately try to contain an increase in infection cases that is rapidly filling up hospitals.

The height of the pandemic last spring had caused the economy of the 19 countries that use the euro to plunge by a massive 11.8 per cent in the April-June quarter from the previous three-month period. About 1.5 million more people registered as unemployed during the pandemic.

8:17 a.m.: Qingdao, a coastal city in eastern China, has completed coronavirus testing for its 11 million residents following an outbreak and found no new infections so far.

As of Friday, the 10.9 million samples came back negative.

Xue Qingguo, Qingdao’s deputy mayor, told state broadcaster CCTV that the risk of community transmission “is basically eliminated.”

The citywide testing was ordered after 13 people were infected in China’s first locally transmitted cases in over two months.

The source of the outbreak was traced to two dock workers who had tested positive for the virus in September but did not exhibit any symptoms at first.

8:16 a.m.: Gone are the days when President Donald Trump held forth daily at the White House podium flanked by members of his coronavirus task force. And the days when Vice-President Mike Pence and other task force officials would head to Trump’s office to brief him immediately after their meetings.

The White House won’t say when Trump last met with the task force.

In the week since he emerged from coronavirus isolation, Trump has demonstrated new determination to minimize the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and complicated his chances of winning another four years in the White House.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn,” Trump told supporters Friday at an event in Fort Myers, Florida, one of many moments during a week of campaigning in which the president tried to play down the virus threat. “Don’t listen to the cynics and angry partisans and pessimists.”

8:15 a.m.: Australia’s Victoria state has reported just one new case of COVID-19 and no deaths as the city of Melbourne moves closer towards the easing of some lifestyle restrictions.

The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 816 and the Australian total is 904.

Melbourne residents are expecting COVID-19 restrictions to be eased on Sunday but it is unclear how much freedom will be regained.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated the changes would be more “in the social space,” prompting pleas from business operators for relief from restrictions that once included an overnight curfew.

Saturday 8:13 a.m.: The Oregon Health Authority reported 418 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths.

At the current rate of transmission, Oregon Health Authority officials project that new infections will increase “substantially” to 570 new reported cases a day and 40 hospitalizations.

Read Friday’s coronavirus news here.