Outbreak Fueled By Small Get-Togethers, Puts LA In Tough Spot

LOS ANGELES, CA — At least a third of the people recently infected with the coronavirus in Los Angeles admitted to attending small get togethers while about 10 percent admitted to attending larger gatherings, according to ongoing USC study. More than half of those recently infected reported being close contact with people outside their household.

The study also found that roughly one-third of recently infected respondents reported visiting another person’s home in the previous seven days, while one- third said they had visitors at their own home. About 10% said they had attended a gathering of 10 or more people in the past week.

The study is among the mounting evidence that the outbreak is on the rise again in large part because of small gatherings and parties in defiance of health orders. The damage such gatherings can do during the pandemic is staggering.

“I know this sounds like a small number, but if 10% of L.A. residents attend gatherings, this translates to 1 million people gathering with others not in their household,”Los Angeles County’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “And if we assume that 2% of people can be infected, we could possibly have 20,000 people capable of infecting others who are milling about at these gatherings each week.”

The findings should serve as a warning that the virus can as easily spread among friends and family as it can among strangers in public places. Los Angeles County’s public health director warned Monday of an already worsening COVID-19 situation becoming even more dire during the upcoming holiday season without rapid behavioral changes.

Patients who have become infected with the coronavirus show steady increases in interactions with people outside their own households,Barbara Ferrer said . The ongoing USC study found that for the week ending Oct. 20, 57% of survey respondents reported being in close contact with someone they don’t live with in the previous seven days.

Ferrer said the USC data, combined with information collected during contact-tracing interviews with virus patients, shows “there’s ample evidence that gatherings are increasing and are one of the drivers of the increases in cases in L.A. County.”

And with Thanksgiving just weeks away, Ferrer said concern is mounting that the holidays could make things worse.

“With our case numbers already on the rise, we are concerned about the upcoming months,” Ferrer said. “Holiday gatherings and cooler weather, when people are more likely to gather indoors, are perfect conditions for spreading COVID-19.”

Ferrer announced another 1,406 coronavirus cases on Monday — a day that is typically marked by relatively low daily case numbers due to reporting lags from the weekend. She noted that the county has reported almost 3,000 new cases over the last two days, a time of week when numbers are always lower than the rest of the week.

“So if that trend holds true, then we’re going to see higher numbers for the rest of this week,” she said. “And that would in fact not only create a

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Silver Cross Puts New Visitor Restrictions In Place

NEW LENOX, IL — As coronavirus cases increase across the state, Silver Cross Hospital has updated its visitor policy. The hospital has seen increased COVID-related hospitalizations over the last few weeks, Director of Marketing and Community Relations Debra Robbins told Patch.

As of Monday morning, there are 75 total isolated patients at the hospital. 71 patients are positive for the coronavirus, while four are patients under investigation.

Robbins said one patient is on a ventilator.

“With the growing number of COVID cases in the region, to keep our patients and staff safe, we’ve also implemented visitor restrictions effective today, Nov. 2,” Robbins said.

The new changes are:

  • For emergency department, procedural care unit and obstetrics: 1 visitor is allowed, but it must be the same visitor throughout

  • Inpatients: No visitors allowed unless approved for special circumstances such as a pediatric patient, end-of-life situations, or patients with special needs.

  • Outpatients: No visitors allowed unless the patient needs additional support, such as a pediatric patient, or patients with special needs.

“Please remember to mask, wash your hands often, and practice social distancing,” Robbins said.

This article originally appeared on the New Lenox Patch

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Blocked by lobbyists for years, law puts more aides in N.J. nursing homes after 7,400 deaths

They feed, bathe and comfort residents of long-term care facilities, but the thousands of certified nursing aides who work in New Jersey’s nursing homes for little pay have said for years that their workload is often too much to handle.

On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that will require operators beginning in early 2021 to increase the number of aides in each facility and for the first time set a ratio for the number of residents an aide is asked to handle.

The legislation had been vigorously blocked by industry lobbyists and some lawmakers for five years, but there was a renewed urgency to get the bill passed after the coronavirus pandemic claimed the lives of an estimated 7,400 long-term care residents in New Jersey — more than any other state based on population size.

Compliance will cost the industry $30 million or $5 a day per resident, according to the Health Care Association of New Jersey, a lobbying group for long-term care facilities.

CNA’s, who get paid an average of about $36,000 a year, have long complained they have more responsibilities than they can handle, especially on nights and weekends. The coronavirus outbreak sickened thousands of these workers and killed 121, according to state data, making the CNA shortage worse.

“Sadly, too many nursing homes are run by companies more interested in making money than protecting patients,” Murphy said in a statement after signing the bill Friday morning. “These long-sought reforms will help bring accountability to the industry and protect residents, staff, and family members with a loved one living in a long-term care facility. I am proud to have worked with our partners in organized labor, health care advocates, and legislative sponsors to finally implement safe staffing ratios in our nursing homes, as well as other long overdue reforms.”

The legislation, (S2712) will take effect in Feb. 1, and require long-term care facilities to abide by these staffing ratios:

* One CNA per 8 patients during the day shift;

* One direct care staff member — defined as a certified nurse assistant, a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse — for every 10 residents during the evening shift, “provided that no fewer than half of all staff members are to be certified nurse aides, and each staff member will sign in to work as a certified nurse aide and will perform certified nurse aide duties,” according to bill;

* One direct care staffer for every 14 residents during the overnight shift, with the same rules that applied during the evening shift.

The law also creates a “Department of Labor and Workforce Development the Special Task Force on Direct Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment.” Long-term care facility operators have said they could not meet any worker-resident ratios without help retaining staff.

The law has been hailed as a victory for nursing home employees led, by 1199SEIU United Healthcare East, but it is a compromise since the union was seeking an even lower ratio of aides to

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Surge in coronavirus cases puts strain on Wisconsin hospitals

Health experts are warning the months ahead will be some of the hardest of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as the U.S. climbs towards a third peak, and nowhere is it more true than in Wisconsin, which has emerged as the country’s hot spot. The state is setting records for new cases, hospital admissions and deaths.

At UW Hospital in Madison, COVID-19 hospitalizations have almost doubled since the start of October. Nurse Katie Lanoway said it happened almost overnight.

“I’m really frustrated. It is scary because you don’t want to take that home to people you care about,” Lanoway told CBS News. “We really need help here in the hospital from people outside, to start wearing the mask and staying away from people.”

One COVID-19 unit used to be limited to one hallway, which has about 10 patient rooms, and now they’ve had to expand to three hallways because of the surge.

Dr. Jeff Pothoff, UW Health’s chief quality officer, works on a medivac team that has airlifted several coronavirus patients. “They thought they were going to be OK, and then all of a sudden, they end up here. There’s some regret,” Pothoff said. “At that point, it’s too late. There isn’t a do-over.”

With COVID-19 cases now surging across the nation, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Americans to brace themselves. “We have two or three very hard months ahead of us,” said Gottlieb. “I think this is probably going to be the hardest phase of this pandemic.”

A new peak is hitting one Utah health system especially hard. Over the weekend, ICU beds reached over 100% capacity.

“This is as serious as it gets. We have had to turn away transfers, people in other states,” said Dr. Russell Vinik, chief of medical operations at the University of Utah Health.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city is facing a second wave, with more than 500 new cases a day. “We are increasingly seeing large gatherings of unmasked young people,” said Lightfoot. “Folks, that has to stop.”

But there is some encouraging news at New York City schools. Of the more than 16,000 tests for the coronavirus, just 28 came back positive: 20 staff members and eight students.

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Playbook, a fitness platform that puts creators first, raises $9.3 million

Playbook, aiming to be the Patreon of fitness content, has raised an additional $9.3 million in Series A funding from E.ventures, Michael Ovitz, Abstract, Algae Ventures, Porsche Ventures and FJ Labs.

The pandemic has hit the personal trainer and fitness industry incredibly hard. With gyms closed, trainers’ primary funnel for new customers has been shut down or slowed. Playbook looks to give them a revenue stream through their content.

Playbook creators are given tools to create videos and grow their audience. Unlike many fitness startups, Playbook really focuses on the creator side of the business rather than the final end user, believing that trainers can attract their own audience if they have the right tools and a platform to monetize them.

The company pays creators who bring their own audience to the platform (via their own unique link) an 80% cut of all revenue from those users. If users come to the platform agnostic of a certain creator, the trainer gets paid out based on seconds watched.

For the end user, the pricing is simple — it’s an all-you-can-eat model with a monthly subscription priced at $15/month or $99/year.

Playbook raised $3 million in seed back in June. The company has also attracted an impressive roster of trainers to the platform, including Boss Everline, trainer to Kevin Hart; Magnus Lygdback, trainer to Gal Gadot and Alicia Vikander; and Don Saladino, trainer to Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

Playbook co-founder and CEO Jeff Krahel said the main focus for the company is to double down on the technology services offered to creators, and the rest will follow.

“That’s part of the reason we brought on Michael Ovitz as a strategic investor,” said Krahel. “We are a tech-driven talent agency, a great tech platform with tools for creators. The future of the company is around supporting creators, almost like an accelerator, to maximize impact.”

Krahel is joined by two co-founders: Michael Wojcieszek and Kasper Ødegaard.

This latest round brings Playbook’s total funding to $12.3 million.

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