Norwalk LA Fitness ordered to close after violating reopening rules

NORWALK — Norwalk’s LA Fitness location was ordered to close on Tuesday after health officials found members weren’t wearing masks or adhering to social distancing while exercising.

The facility also failed to enforce revised capacity limits, according to Norwalk Health Director Deanna D’Amore. Gyms are currently supposed to be operating at 50 percent capacity.

D’Amore said both the city health and police departments signed a closure order due to repeated violations of reopening rules.

“Staff and patrons were cooperative and left the premises as they work to correct these issues,” D’Amore said.

The gym must submit a written COVID-19 safety plan outlining how it will adhere to the rules before it’s allowed to reopen, D’Amore said. The facility can reopen once the plan is reviewed and approved by the health department.

On Tuesday night, the club had a notice posted on its website stating it would be closed from 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 4 due to a “national emergency.”

The closure comes a day after Gov. Ned Lamont said he would not close gyms or indoor dining despite rising coronavirus case numbers.

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‘Nobody wants to see the gyms shut down’: Fitness centers cope with new COVID masking rules

RedZone Fitness in Weston has never known life without restrictions.

The gym opened in July, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the facility’s members and staff have had to grapple with sanitizing, masking and socially distancing requirements ever since. That said, given the smallness of classes, patrons were able to stay far enough apart that they didn’t have to wear masks while working out, said Elana Goldblatt, part owner, studio manager and lead coach at RedZone Fitness

“People had to wear a mask while walking to their spot (and elsewhere in the gym),” Goldblatt said — just not while working out.

That has changed.

On Nov. 20, Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order that, among things, required patrons of all gyms and fitness centers in the state to wear masks at all times, “with no exceptions.”

Previously, establishments didn’t have to require that patrons wear a mask during workouts as long as they maintained at least 12 feet of social distance while exercising. The capacity limit at gyms was also reduced, from 50 percent to 25 percent.

The new regulations are an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Connecticut, which has spiked over the past several weeks. Requiring face coverings at all times can be potentially helpful in the gym environment, said Keith Grant, senior system director of infection prevention for Hartford HealthCare.

“One of the primary (COVID-19) symptoms that we’re most concerned with is coughing,” Grant said during a Tuesday press conference. “The mechanics of coughing is moving the actual particles forward. That is also seen with an increase in the rate of breathing, such as that which happen with exercising.”

Wearing a mask can help prevent those particles from being pushed out, and can keep spread down, Grant said.

Goldblatt said the new restrictions pose some challenges for clients. The gym offers different classes every day and, on Monday, the first day of classes at the gym following the mask requirement, RedZone had a cardio workout class.

“It was hard on Monday because it was a very intense day and the very first day (people were) wearing a mask to work out,” Goldblatt said. “But I think the longer you wear mask while working out, the easier it is. It’s like working out — the first day you do it is going be harder than the fifth day.”

It is another hurdle at a time that’s been full of them, but Goldblatt said if the new guidelines allow gyms like RedZone to remain operational, she and her clients will try to take them in stride.

“We are open,” Goldblatt said. “We still have clients. I will take this as a win.”

Greta Wagner, executive director of Chelsea Piers in Stamford, had a similar attitude. Before the new regulations, she said, “We had a few mask-free zones where people could work out because we had 12-foot distancing. It was very appreciated by clients. It made it much more enjoyable, when people could work out

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Quebec dentist kicked out of Cayman Islands for breaking quarantine rules



a man standing next to a body of water: Pascal Terjanian and his partner Christina Gurunian are not allowed to return to the Cayman Islands while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.


© Provided by The Gazette
Pascal Terjanian and his partner Christina Gurunian are not allowed to return to the Cayman Islands while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

A Quebec dentist and his partner have been booted out of the Cayman Islands after breaking the territory’s quarantine rules.

Dr. Pascal Terjanian, a controversial dentist who practises in Terrebonne, and Christina Gurunian pleaded guilty to the charge and were each fined $1,000, according to local media reports.

The couple arrived in the Cayman Islands on Nov. 13 and breached quarantine rules several times.

Terjanian, 52, and Gurunian, 34, both pleaded guilty during a court appearance via a video link on Monday.

Upon arrival at the airport, they were fitted with electronic tracker wristbands and escorted to an apartment complex where they were supposed to isolate for 14 days because of the pandemic.

Police were called to the complex after staff notified them that the couple had left the apartment.

Gurunian failed to wear her mask upon arrival at the complex and on several other occasions when she walked from her apartment to put garbage in the dumpster, a Cayman news outlet reported.

The couple were also observed outside their apartment without their wristbands and were filmed swimming in the ocean. On another occasion, Gurunian jumped the complex’s wall to go grocery shopping.

The couple are not allowed to return to the islands while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

Following the incident, the government will now require travellers to pass through an additional checkpoint at the airport to ensure the tracking bracelet has been fitted correctly, Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, the director of Travel Cayman, said in a news release.

Terjanian, who was once called a public menace by the Quebec Order of Dentists , has been the subject of many complaints about pricey, shoddy and painful dental work dating back to 1997.

In 2014, he was suspended from practising dentistry for 30 months after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of 38 infractions.

The board said the suspension was warranted “considering the gravity of the infractions and the apparent absence of remorse … and the possibility of recidivism,” the Montreal Gazette reported at the time.

During the investigation, Terjanian blocked attempts to investigate him by refusing to answer questions or hand over proper documentation.

In July 2010, he was suspended for sexual relations with a patient. The suspension was lifted the following month.

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette in 2015, Terjanian conceded overcharging and possibly doing an unnecessary root canal. He also admitted to having sex with the mother of a patient.

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Louisiana superintendents ask for looser quarantine rules

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Leaders of several Louisiana public school systems called on state officials Monday to relax coronavirus quarantine rules that have sent thousands of students home from school because they have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

School superintendents from Ascension, West Baton Rouge, Rapides and Livingston parishes said too many students are missing in-person classroom instruction because they have been sent home for 14 days to quarantine.

“We have a lot of healthy kids who are home when they don’t need to be,” West Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Wesley Watts told lawmakers on the House health care committee. “We’re not asking to do away with quarantine. We’re just asking for some modifications.”

The request comes as Louisiana is seeing its third spike in coronavirus cases, with hospitals cautioning they are concerned the latest surge will overwhelm their facilities and threaten their ability to provide care.


“While we can create additional beds and repurpose hospital floors, it becomes extremely difficult to find and train the caregivers needed to properly treat patients when there is an unmitigated spread of the virus in our communities,” Paul Salles, president of the Louisiana Hospital Association, wrote in a letter circulated Monday by Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office.

More than 11,000 new infections of the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus have been confirmed in the state over the last week, and 6,039 people in Louisiana are confirmed to have died from the disease since March, according to the state health department.

Louisiana’s schools are required to follow virus safety guidelines adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, based on recommendations from the health department. It wasn’t immediately clear Monday if the state education superintendent or state health officials will ask the board to make changes.

Those guidelines require anyone considered to be in “close contact” to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of the disease to stay home for 14 days. Close contact is defined as anyone who has been within six feet (2 meters) of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.

Superintendents said those rules are too strict, sending entire classrooms of children home where online accessibility to virtual learning can be spotty.

Rapides Parish Superintendent Jeff Powell said his schools have quarantined nearly 4,100 students this school year, with 18 students on average sent home for each positive coronavirus test. Livingston Parish Superintendent Joe Murphy said of the 2,600 students in his system sent home to quarantine because of exposure risk, 162 have had to isolate more than once.

“We do believe the best place for them to be is in our school buildings,” said Ascension Parish Superintendent David Alexander.

The school leaders stopped short of offering a specific set of changes they wanted to see enacted, though there was talk of possibly shrinking the required quarantine days.

The superintendents said they’re seeing only small percentages of students forced to quarantine actually getting sick or testing positive

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Why Trump’s health care price transparency rules will reignite America’s economy: Art Laffer

In a historic win for all Americans on Thursday, President Trump issued a final rule requiring health insurers to post the prices they have negotiated with hospitals, medical facilities, and doctors. Under this rule, health care consumers, including employers sponsoring workplace coverage, can finally know prices before they receive care. This action will increase competition, lower prices, and save American families money.

Combined with the Trump administration’s already finalized hospital price transparency rule, which requires hospitals to publish the secret rates they negotiate with insurance companies as well as the cash payments they will accept, Thursday’s announcement will usher in a transparent health care sector with less need for the middlemen that have capitalized on patients’ misfortune.

Once these rules delivering complete health care price transparency take effect (January 1, 2021 for the hospital rule and one year later for the insurance rule), we can expect our economy to come roaring back, and our beleaguered health care system to rebound as well.

Knowing the real prices of health care and coverage beforehand will be a huge boon for all Americans–patients, workers, employers and taxpayers.

HEALTH INSURANCE FOR MILLENNIALS, GEN Z, MOST LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED BY PANDEMIC

Together the rules will unleash a real market in health care, usher in competition and choice, dramatically lowering the costs of care and coverage. Fewer dollars going to health care and more going to wages, jobs and small businesses in our local communities will help boost our nation’s economic recovery.

When complete health care price transparency is in place, patients, consumers, and employers will be able to better shop for health care, and high-tech innovators will eagerly develop tools to help consumers access and compare prices. Better informed buyers of health care will take advantage of the huge price variation that exists in the current, opaque market.

For instance, a recent study from the respected RAND Corporation found employer-sponsored plans are paying hospitals two-and-a-half times more than Medicare pays for the same procedure. Since almost all hospitals accept Medicare, those government rates are by definition “acceptable,” which means hospitals are price-gouging workers and employers, and growing rich at the expense of the middle-class.

US MILITARY WON’T ADMINISTER CORONAVIRUS VACCINES, HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY

Insurance companies are no better, reaping huge profits as health care costs have soared. The average premium for an employer-provided family health insurance plan in 2020 jumped to $21,300–a 55 percent increase over a decade earlier. During that same time, deductibles more than tripled.

Last year I co-authored a study with health economist Larry Van Horn, it found that cash prices are, on average, 39 percent lower than the insurers’ negotiated rates for the same care. Throughout the country, businesses have saved 30 to 50 percent on health care costs by directly contracting with price transparent doctors and medical facilities, leaving insurers out of the equation.

It’s time to disrupt

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When are Medicare secondary payers? Insurers, claims, rules, and more

Medicare beneficiaries do not have to rely exclusively on Medicare for their healthcare coverage. People can use other insurance plans to allow them access to more services and lower their healthcare spending.

If someone has two different forms of coverage, the primary payer covers most costs, and the secondary payer then steps in to cover some or all remaining expenses.

With Medicare, secondary payers contribute to copayments and coinsurance. Usually, Medicare is the primary payer, although sometimes it can act as the secondary payer.

This article looks at Medicare as a secondary payer and how it works with other insurers. It also discusses the benefits of having two insurers and who pays first. It then looks at how the claims process works with both primary and secondary payers.

We may use a few terms in this piece that can be helpful to understand when selecting the best insurance plan:

  • Deductible: This is an annual amount that a person must spend out of pocket within a certain time period before an insurer starts to fund their treatments.
  • Coinsurance: This is a percentage of a treatment cost that a person will need to self-fund. For Medicare Part B, this comes to 20%.
  • Copayment: This is a fixed dollar amount that an insured person pays when receiving certain treatments. For Medicare, this usually applies to prescription drugs.

A person can choose to have more than one insurance plan to cover their healthcare costs and Medicare works with other insurance providers to give people comprehensive coverage.

Each insurance pays their share of the healthcare service or products that someone receives.

Medicare secondary payer (MSP) means that another insurer pays for healthcare services first, making them the primary payer.

The secondary payer covers some or all of the remaining costs that the primary payer leaves unpaid.

When someone has two insurers, they benefit from broader healthcare coverage. Each insurer could cover services that the other does not, such as dental care, eye examinations, or alternative health therapies.

As an example, a primary insurer may offer prescription drug coverage, meaning that a person with original Medicare would not need a separate Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage. This could lower a person’s overall healthcare costs.

If someone needs to stay in a hospital or a nursing facility for a long time, they may find it beneficial to have two insurers. For example, an individual’s primary insurer would pay up to their limits, and Medicare Part A benefits would kick in much later, extending the coverage period.

Having two insurance plans could mean a person has two monthly premiums. For most Medicare beneficiaries, this means they have the standard Part B premium, plus the premium for the primary insurer.

Careful consideration of the overall costs could mean a person’s expenses increase or decrease with a secondary insurance plan, but since a secondary payer could cover most out-of-pocket expenses, a person may find they save money despite paying two premiums.

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PM under pressure to toughen rules after highest death toll since May



Shoppers in Nottingham ahead of the region being moved into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on Thursday. The very high level of restrictions includes a ban on social mixing both indoors and in private gardens, pubs and bars closing unless they can operate as a restaurant, and residents are advised against overnight stays in other parts of the UK and they should avoid travel where possible in and out of the area, unless it is for work, education or caring responsibilities. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)


© PA Wire/PA Images
Shoppers in Nottingham ahead of the region being moved into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions on Thursday. The very high level of restrictions includes a ban on social mixing both indoors and in private gardens, pubs and bars closing unless they can operate as a restaurant, and residents are advised against overnight stays in other parts of the UK and they should avoid travel where possible in and out of the area, unless it is for work, education or caring responsibilities. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

The prime minister is under mounting pressure to bring in tougher coronavirus rules after UK deaths hit their highest level for five months.

There were 367 deaths linked to the virus recorded on Tuesday, and nearly 23,000 more cases.

Downing Street has not rebuffed an internal projection from its SAGE experts that this winter could see more fatalities than the spring, with a spokesman calling latest figures “concerning”.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Boris Johnson is said to be under 'intense lobbying' to take action


© Getty
Boris Johnson is said to be under ‘intense lobbying’ to take action

The prime minister is coming under “intense” lobbying from experts such as chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance to ramp up restrictions, according to The Daily Telegraph.

It says government advisers fear that daily deaths could remain in the hundreds for at least three months.

____________________________________________________

More on coronavirus:

Download the Microsoft News app for full coverage of the crisis

Latest social rules for all three tiers explained (Mirror)

‘PM isn’t taking Covid seriously anymore’ (The Independent)

____________________________________________________

They have also warned that the whole of England will need to be under the toughest Tier 3 restrictions by mid-December, The Sun reports.

The current official count of COVID-related deaths in the UK is nearly 59,000.

Gallery: Second wave of COVID-19 hits Europe (Photo Services) 

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Federal judge rules against gym owner who sued CA governor

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

The front entrance at Fitness System’s health club in Sacramento, with a copy of the Bill of Rights taped to the door. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, that the owner had filed against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

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A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Joaquin County and Lodi officials that had been filed by the owner of three Sacramento-area gyms after officials ordered the shutdown of fitness centers last spring because of COVID-19.

After a Zoom hearing in Sacramento federal court, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez agreed to requests by the defendants that the lawsuit be dismissed and found that the coronavirus pandemic was so dangerous that officials were within their authority when they first ordered the closures.

The orders were “a constitutional response to an unprecedented pandemic,” Mendez said.

Attorney John Killeen argued for the state that since Newsom’s original stay-at-home orders the state has loosened restrictions on fitness centers, including allowing some outdoor exercising and indoor workouts in San Joaquin County at 10% of capacity.

“A number of restrictions have been lifted,” Mendez said.

“I just don’t see any basis for allowing this lawsuit to go forward in the district court,” he added.

The suit was brought by Sean Covell, owner of Fitness System gyms in Land Park, West Sacramento and Lodi, and argued that the shutdown orders violated the Constitution and were costing his operations huge amounts of revenues and lost memberships.

The lawsuit was one of numerous complaints filed by fitness centers, churches and businesses against orders Newsom and health officials issued to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The lawsuits have largely been unsuccessful, although some are pending and yet another involving gyms in Dixon and Sacramento was filed in federal court in Sacramento on Monday.

Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.

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H.K. Eases Some Rules; India Case Growth Slows: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong will ease some social distancing rules and announced plans for mandatory testing of people with symptoms and specific groups as India’s daily infections fell below 40,000 for the first time in more than three months.

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Eli Lilly & Co. said a U.S.-run clinical trial of its experimental antibody therapy will end while AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response in elderly people. New research from the U.K. suggests antibody responses may diminish over time.

The latest surge in U.S. coronavirus cases sent the S&P 500 Index to its biggest drop in a month. An infection spike that started with younger Americans is now moving to older communities.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 43.4 million; deaths exceed 1.15 millionU.S. ‘surge’ virus testing targets asymptomatic peopleCovid Fear Is Back and Driving Markets Again: John AuthersP&G’s new Lysol competitor wins EPA approval to fight virusAmericans see record flu shot demand in first season with CovidU.S. recovery’s surprise strength linked to aid, quick reopeningVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



chart, histogram: Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again


© Bloomberg
Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again

Hong Kong to Relax Some Social Distancing, Bars to Stay Open Later (2:52 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will allow more people to sit at the same table in bars and restaurants as well as letting them stay open later.

From Friday, restaurants will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. with six people permitted at a table, up from four, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan told a briefing on Tuesday. Bars also will be open later with the limit on patrons doubling to four per table.

Hong Kong also eased its rule mandating face masks for people exercising at indoor venues but a four-person limit on public gatherings will stay for another week.

Earlier, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city would re-open public beaches as the Asian financial starts legislative work on mandatory Covid-19 testing for specific groups including people with symptoms.

Bulgaria Posts Record High New Cases, Deaths (2:08 p.m. HK)

Bulgaria reported record numbers of new cases, deaths and patients in intensive care, putting fresh pressure on the country’s health-care system.

The Balkan country reported 2,243 daily coronavirus cases, the first time new infections topped 2,000, as well as 42 deaths. The numbers come as Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is recovering at home after testing positive for Covid-19.

Dubai in Talks on London Air-Travel Agreement to Boost Demand (12:15 p.m. HK)

A plan to open up air travel between Dubai and London is ready and could be implemented once approved by the respective governments, according to the head of the emirate’s airport operator.

Testing and quarantine requirements have been agreed by hubs and airlines, Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, said in an interview. Whether they move forward lies

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Government Payment Rules Are the Culprit on Infusion

Scientists work with a bioreactor at a Regeneron Pharmaceuticals facility in New York, Oct. 2.



Photo:

/Associated Press

Regarding Drs. Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan’s “Where Do I Go to Get My Covid Antibody Cocktail?”(op-ed, Oct. 19): They are right regarding the need for the government to prime the pump to stimulate the development of private infusion clinics for Covid patients. However, they overstate the associated problems.

Infusion clinics are quite simple, requiring only a room, one registered nurse, four patients and IV poles. Infusion pumps are generally not necessary. The big issue is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ payment scheme for professional services, which is in the range of $60-$70 per infusion, regardless of how long it takes (many exceed four hours for allergy and neurology services). Hence, the profit in such centers hinges on the split between the cost of the drug and the amount a payor gets reimbursed for it. In such circumstances, volume is the key to financial stability.

If CMS will change its reimbursement methodology to reimburse professional services by the hour infused, and reimburse for drugs with modest profit for the provider, there will be no shortage of clinics.

Robert Chiffelle

Phoenix

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