“It’s really a viral blizzard right now because there are a lot of infections,” said Dr. Samer Antonios, chief clinical officer at Ascension Via Christi Health in Kansas, where Governor Laura Kelly signed a state of emergency this week. to Covid-19 challenges.
Due to staff shortages in some health care systems across the country, illnesses or people quitting due to exhaustion, the country “is now unable to provide the same quality of care to 130,000 patients as it did last year,” Dr. Taison Bell, director of the University of Virginia Health’s medical intensive care unit told DailyExpertNews on Saturday.
In New York, 40 hospitals — mostly in the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and central regions — have been told to suspend non-essential elective surgeries for at least two weeks due to low patient bed capacity, the state health department said Saturday.
Vaccine Requirements Changing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday changed the emergency use authorization for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, shortening the period between the first vaccination and the booster shot for those over the age of 18 from at least six months to five months. .
“Vaccination is our best defense against Covid-19, including the circulating variants, and shortening the time between completion of a primary series and a booster dose can help reduce waning immunity,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biological Evaluation and Research.
The FDA has already reduced the time it takes to get a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from six to five months. The Pfizer booster is authorized for anyone 12 years and older.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that she will require all health professionals to receive a Covid-19 booster shot within two weeks of being eligible.
“Health professionals will be asked to do this with no exceptions except a medical waiver and without testing options,” Hochul said. Previously, all health workers had to be fully vaccinated in September.
Neighboring Connecticut issued a similar order Thursday as long-term care and hospital workers are ordered to receive booster doses in the coming weeks.
Debate on Covid-19 safety measures in schools
Nearly 13% of students in New York City tested positive for Covid-19 over a 24-hour period, according to sample tests from the city’s Department of Education on Thursday. According to additional DOE data, no schools are currently closed due to Covid-19 cases, but six classrooms remain closed.
The Chicago Teachers Union had voted to teach remotely because of the Covid-19 wave, but the school district canceled classes, saying it wanted in-person learning.
The Georgia Department of Public Health posted an updated administrative order on Wednesday allowing teachers and school staff — regardless of vaccination status — to return to work after exposure to Covid-19 or a positive Covid-19 test if they remain asymptomatic and wear masks. while at work.
“Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in the classroom, and we are exploring many methods to continue safe, personalized learning — including updated quarantine and isolation protocols, reduced contact tracing requirements, and improved testing capabilities,” the statement said. letter from Kemp and Toomey.
Local school districts can still develop and monitor their own quarantine and isolation requirements, according to the order.
Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Kaitlan Collins, Chris Boyette, Michelle Watson, Carma Hassan, Laura Dolan, Steve Almasy, Melissa Alonso, Raja Razek and Rob Frehse of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.