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U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

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U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

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Staff shortages are increasing as frontline healthcare workers – who are at higher risk of exposure – are infected and need to be quarantined as the spread of the Omicron variant drives more people to hospitals .
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday evening that more than 200 members of the National Guard will be deployed to dozens of test sites, joining other states that have mobilized members of the National Guard for medical duties and not medical facilities to help overburdened health facilities.

“It’s really, right now, a viral blizzard because there are a lot of infections,” said Dr. Samer Antonios, clinical director of Ascension Via Christi Health in Kansas, where Gov. Laura Kelly signed the state of disaster emergency this week due to the challenges of Covid-19.

Nearly 132,000 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, according to Department of Health and Human Services data on Friday, an increase from around 45,000 in early November.
As more patients need care, many people with possible symptoms of Covid-19 have gone missing as tests remain difficult to find, and doctors have asked those who suspect they are positive. self-isolate at home with or without confirmation of infection.
Long queues are commonplace at many testing facilities since the holidays. In Utah, four state-operated test sites that experience some of the “highest demands and longest wait times” will be available by appointment only, starting Saturday, due to the increased demand, the Utah Department of Health said on Friday.
The move came as authorities took further steps to counter the spread of the virus. Utah’s most populous county, Salt Lake County, issued a 30-day mask warrant for all indoor public places on Friday.
In an attempt to increase the supply of tests, the Biden administration has pledged to distribute 500 million free rapid tests nationwide. Officials have provided few details, but they plan to launch a website this month where people can register for tests online and then receive them by mail.
The first contract to purchase the tests has been signed and more are expected in the coming weeks, officials told CNN on Friday.
U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

 |  Today Headlines

Vaccine requirements are changing

Almost two-thirds of Americans eligible to receive a vaccine – anyone aged 5 years and older – have been fully immunized, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet the number of people vaccinated and boosted is much lower, with 22% of the total population having done so.

The United States Food and Drug Administration on Friday amended the authorization for emergency use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, shortening the time between the initial vaccination and the booster from at least six months to five months for people over 18 years old.

U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

 |  Today Headlines

“Vaccination is our best defense against Covid-19, including circulating variants, and shortening the time between the end of a primary series and a booster dose may help reduce the decline in immunity,” said the Dr Peter Marks, Director of the FDA Center. for the evaluation and research of biological products.

The FDA has already shortened the time it takes to receive a Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine booster from six to five months. The Pfizer booster is approved for anyone aged 12 and over.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that she is requiring all healthcare workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 within two weeks of eligibility.

“Healthcare workers will be asked to do this with no exemptions other than a medical exemption and no testing option,” Hochul said. All healthcare workers were previously expected to be fully immunized in September.

Neighboring Connecticut issued a similar order on Thursday as long-term care staff and hospital workers are required to receive booster doses in the coming weeks.

Debate on security measures related to Covid-19 in schools

With child hospitalizations reaching new records, concerns about student safety remain very high. Still, disputes over whether in-person learning is ideal during the Omicron push are brewing in various school districts this week.
U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

 |  Today Headlines

Nearly 13% of students in New York City have tested positive for Covid-19 in a 24-hour period, according to test samples from the city’s education department on Thursday. No schools are currently closed due to cases of Covid-19, according to additional data from the DOE, but six classrooms remain closed.

The Chicago public school system has canceled classes since Wednesday amid a dispute between city officials and the teachers’ union over back to school, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she wants a agreement between the two parties be reached this weekend.
“Our children need to go back to school. Schools are safe,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

The Chicago Teachers Union had voted to teach remotely due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the school district canceled classes, saying it wanted in-person learning.

U.S. coronavirus: States scramble to cope with increase in hospitalizations and demand for testing

 |  Today Headlines
In Georgia, public school teachers who test positive for Covid-19 no longer need to self-isolate before returning to school, and school contact tracing is no longer necessary, letter to school leaders says released Thursday by Governor Brian Kemp and Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey.

Georgia’s public health ministry on Wednesday issued an updated administrative order allowing teachers and school staff – regardless of their vaccination status – to return to work after exposure to Covid-19 or a positive Covid-19 test. ‘they remain asymptomatic and wear a mask at work.

“Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in the classroom, and we are looking at many methods to continue safe in-person learning – including quarantine and quarantine protocols. updated isolation, reduced contact tracing requirements, and increased testing opportunities, ”said the letter from Kemp and Toomey.

Local school districts can still develop and follow their own quarantine and isolation requirements, according to the ordinance.

CNN’s Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Kaitlan Collins, Chris Boyette, Michelle Watson, Carma Hassan, Laura Dolan, Steve Almasy, Melissa Alonso, Raja Razek and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.

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