Volusia schools create dashboard for COVID-19 case information on campuses

Noble Horvath

Elizabeth Albert, the president of the union representing most Volusia County teachers, is pleased the school district will create a COVID-19 data dashboard with information on virus cases throughout the district.

Volusia County students returned Monday but there’s been no official word on any positive test results.

“There is an obligation to be honest and transparent about what is going on in the schools just so that others can take extra precautions,” Albert said.

More than 60% of students have opted for traditional, in-person learning and while district officials say they are doing their best requiring masks and social distance, a picture went viral on the internet showing a large gathering of students at Spruce Creek High School waiting to get schedules.

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“I think it’s absolutely imperative that we be as transparent as possible,” Carl Persis said.

Persis, a school board member, says information

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Portland enacts most stringent facial recognition technology ban in US, barring public, some private use

Noble Horvath

Portland City Council members voted unanimously on Wednesday to prohibit the public – and, in some cases, private – use of facial recognition technology, making it the most stringent ban of this kind nationwide, according to multiple reports.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty introduced the bans, which immediately took effect for city agencies, and will be effective on Jan. 1 for private businesses, The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.


The ordinances bar the use of facial recognition technology by city agencies and on public property within the city, but also prohibit its use “by private entities in places of public accommodation,” according to city agency Smart City PDX.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, left; City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, right (Getty Images)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, left; City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, right (Getty Images)


Facial recognition technology violates the

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Computer attack disables California school district’s system

Noble Horvath

A ransomware virus took down a California school district’s computer system, forcing a shutdown of distance learning for about 6,000 elementary school students, an official said.

The attack disabled the computer server and email service for the Newhall School District in Valencia, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The attack affected all online learning in the district’s 10 elementary schools.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education defines a ransomware attack as “malware” targeting human and technical weaknesses by denying availability to an organization’s most sensitive data and systems.

Newhall Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said he believes the attack took place between the late hours of Sunday and early Monday morning.

“This obviously came at a difficult time for us since we’re 100% digital learning,” Newhall Supt. Jeff Pelzel said Tuesday.

Pelzel noticed no emails were pushed to his smartphone Monday morning before he received error messages while attempting to

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Internet searches for gastrointestinal symptoms predicted coronavirus hot spots, researchers find

Noble Horvath

Internet searches for gastrointestinal symptoms preceded the rise in coronavirus cases weeks later, indicating where pandemic hot spots would form, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital found.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, utilized an approach used more than a decade ago to monitor pandemic influenza trends, which researchers realized could be utilized to track COVID-19.

Researchers found that patients regularly complained of similar GI symptoms, including ageusia, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, anorexia, diarrhea, and vomiting. Using Alphabet Inc.’s Google Trends tools and Harvard Dataverse COVID-19 database, researchers studied search trends during the period between Jan. 20 to April 20.


During that time, results indicated that search trends most strongly correlated with cases in New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Illinois, which all presented high case numbers three to four weeks later. The timeframe

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Sharp HealthCare first to deploy Amazon’s new health wearable

Noble Horvath

Amazon on Thursday unveiled a new health gadget, dubbed the Amazon Halo Band, with plans already underway to distribute the wearable device to some patients at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego.

Cerner Corp. customers, such as Sharp HealthCare, will be able to let patients share data from the wearable into their medical record—the latest step in a partnership with Amazon that Cerner announced last summer.

Sharp HealthCare will be the first health system to implement Amazon Halo, the tech company’s new health tracking product. Amazon Halo comprises a wearable wristband that tracks wearers’ exercise activity, heart rate, sleep and body fat percentage, as well as an app that analyzes users’ data to provide health insights as part of a monthly subscription.

Amazon officials say one of the company’s priorities for the service is giving users “actionable” information, in part through offering access to challenges and workouts developed by partners like

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