ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Ferry season opens in St. Petersburg on Sunday as Cross Bay Ferry returns to its fourth season with coronavirus safety precautions aboard the boat.
The ferry, Provincetown III, will operate at full capacity with everyone being required to wear masks while indoors, according to a news release.
A crew will sanitize door handles, rails and other areas of the ferry before every group of passengers gets on and during the 50-minute trip across the bay.
Courted off sections are indoors to maintain social distancing and plastic dividers have been placed in areas to keep sections separated.
“We are confident that we can provide reliable and safe service even at full capacity and still maintain social distancing guidelines, but we are monitoring it and will adjust as needed,” Kevin Fisher, general manager of the Cross Bay Ferry said.
Food and beverage services are offered on the ferry, and bikes are allowed. Wi-Fi is also provided.
The ferry can hold a maximum of 149 passengers.
Ferry trips run from The St. Petersburg Ferry Terminal, 375 Bayshore Drive NE to the Tampa Convention Center.
Services are offered Wednesday through Sunday and can be booked online at Cross Bay Ferry or dockside ticket booths.
Ferry season is from Nov. 1 through Apr. 30.
Provincetown III departs St. Pete on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m, and makes its round trip back from Tampa at 6:15 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. For the full schedule, click here.
A one way ticket for adults is $10 and $20 for a round trip. For the full list of prices and discounts, visit its website.
The Cross Bay Ferry is a collaboration between St. Petersburg, Tampa, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.
This article originally appeared on the St. Pete Patch
A Hartford judge heard hours of testimony on the safety and efficacy of masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus Friday as he decides whether to grant an emergency injunction blocking a state requirement that students wear face coverings in schools.
In a daylong hearing on the injunction, Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher heard from both those downplaying the effectiveness of masks as well as those who said face coverings do not negatively impact children and slow the spread of the virus.
The hearing came several weeks after a group of parents and the CT Freedom Alliance sued the state’s education department and top officials to lift the requirement that children wear masks in schools out of fear of the harms they pose to children both mentally and physically.
The assertions in the lawsuit are in direct conflict with scientific evidence that shows that mask-wearing slows the spread of COVID-19. Lawyers for the state have argued there is no evidence to support the claim that masks are dangerous and that in fact masks are protecting students as they attend in-person classes.
Quick to send students home for virtual learning in the spring, Connecticut education officials outlined extensive measures to safely return students to school this fall. Key among those measures was a requirement that students and staff wear masks in school.
Moukawsher set Friday’s hearing to get testimony from two expert witnesses called by the plaintiffs, as well as the state’s witnesses, before ruling on the request for an injunction. The state has filed a motion to dismiss the case, which Moukawsher will address after the injunction.
Lawyers for the parents and CT Freedom Alliance first called on a Los Angeles-based psychiatrist, who said that masks can inhibit development, cause stress and led to other complications for children.
“I am greatly concerned by what I am seeing … children who are forced to wear masks in a school settings as well as outside the school settings are in imminent harm,” said Dr. Mark McDonald. McDonald also noted that the risk of oxygen deprivation can led to “permanent neurological damage in children, which we will not be able to address because the window will have passed.”
The state questioned McDonald’s beliefs in masks and the government response to the pandemic. McDonald said he believes that a healthy person confers no benefits to others when wearing a mask.
The plaintiff’s second witness, Knut Whittkowski, a New York-based epidemiologist with 35 years in the field, said he reviewed scores of studies and could not find evidence that masks were effective outside a health care setting.
“I went through all the literature I could find, and all the literature I was presented and I could not find convincing evidence on the effectiveness of surgery masks or bandannas or other masks worn in non-health care settings in general,” Whittkowski said. “And in particular, I couldn’t find evidence for the effectiveness of mask wearing by children.”
ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Florida experienced a statewide uptick of 4,115 coronavirus cases since Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported in Wednesday’s numbers.
The Florida Department of Health reported a total of 790,426 positive coronavirus cases; 48,722 hospitalizations; and 16,571 coronavirus Florida resident deaths. Florida saw an increase of 66 deaths since Tuesday’s update.
Hospitalization numbers included by the state are all coronavirus treatments ever done at medical facilities.
The current number of hospitalizations with primary diagnosis of coronavirus is 2,340.
The number of people hospitalized has been increasing in recent days, reported the Tampa Bay Times. Hospitalizations hit their peak in mid-July with just under 10,000 people seeking treatment.
The Florida Department of Health’s current coronavirus report for Pinellas is 25,534 cases; Hillsborough has 47,596 cases; Polk has 22,852 cases; Pasco has 10,781 cases; Sarasota has 9,567 cases; Manatee has 13,175 cases; and Dade has 183,996 cases.
The statewide weekly positivity rate is about 5 percent, according to Johns Hopkins.
Even though Florida is experiencing a high level of positive increases, many communities across Florida will be celebrating Halloween on Saturday traditionally, and the Center for Diseases Control offers recommendations for a safe celebration.
There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration, the CDC reported on its website.
According to the CDC, in combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk, so it is important to consider them individually and together:
Community levels of COVID-19 – Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration. Information on the number of cases in an area can be found on the area’s health department website.
The location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors.
The duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
The number of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread between attendees, and state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
The locations attendees are traveling from – Gatherings with attendees who are traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area. Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community
OTTAWA, Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) released Anatomy of a Road Crash and The Impact of Road Crashes on First Responders & Communities: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Critical Incident Stress in acknowledgement of National First Responders Day. These fact sheets were produced by the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD), an initiative of TIRF, Drop It And Drive® (DIAD) and The Co-operators.
Each year, collisions on Canadian roads have devastating consequences for communities across the country, and distracted driving is a contributing factor in one in four fatalities. Concern understandably centres on the victims, families and communities who are directly impacted. But the immediate and long-term consequences for first responders, including police, fire and paramedics, who attend crash scenes is not always recognized.
“Police services and first responders are committed to protecting the lives and safety of everyone on the roads, regardless of circumstances. These professionals willingly place themselves in harm’s way to enforce traffic laws and mitigate loss of life when crashes occur,” says Robyn Robertson, President & CEO, TIRF. “First responders attend far too many crash scenes throughout their career and carry with them the tragic outcomes every day. Their contribution to the CCDD National Action Plan on distracted driving was vital to prevent other Canadian families from experiencing such losses.”
Between 2013 and 2017, there were 8,573 fatal collisions which claimed 9,436 lives and 582,067 injury collisions resulting in serious and minor injuries among 793,684 individuals. These crashes are not just numbers. For all of those involved, including first responders, it is very personal.
“A moment’s inattention while driving is all it takes to become part of tragedy. Having supervised more than 1,000 crashes during my career, I can attest that sitting with a family trying to explain why someone is no longer coming home, or is forever changed because of a bad choice is something you don’t forget,”, says retired Ontario Provincial Police Inspector Mark Andrews. “It is simple, really, distraction kills people. If people accept that, and accept the responsibility that driving safely is everyone’s job, we can stop the tragedies.”
The Patient Safety Movement Foundation presented Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) with the Foundation’s 5-Star Hospital award for making commitments in alignment with the Patient Safety Movement Foundation’s evidence-based Actionable Patient Safety Solutions (APSS). The APSS addresses patient safety challenges that hospitals are facing daily and offer solutions designed to help hospitals eliminate preventable patient deaths.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028005223/en/
The Patient Safety Movement Foundation presented the award virtually to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s (from left to right): Associate Chief Quality Officer, Quality Assurance & Safety, Lori B. Key, MBA, RN, and Chief Quality & Value Officer, George T. Blike, MD, MHCDS (Photo: Business Wire)
“Each year, more than 200,000 patients die from preventable hospital errors in the U.S., and 4.8 million across the globe. Those numbers are simply not acceptable and unthinkable,” said David Mayer, MD, Patient Safety Movement Foundation CEO. “Our 5-Star Award acknowledges the commitment these organizations have made toward achieving ZERO preventable deaths. The leadership demonstrated by these leaders is a model others can follow in instituting best practices in patient care.”
Mayer virtually presented the award to Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Associate Chief Quality Officer, Quality Assurance & Safety, Lori B. Key, MBA, RN, and Chief Quality & Value Officer, George T. Blike, MD, MHCDS. You can view the presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yevVBFjc-3M&feature=youtu.be
This award is a result of the collective work of DHMC employees and leaders who adopted the principles of high reliability and demonstrate those behaviors by establishing safety behaviors, reporting opportunities to improve systems and processes, and by providing individual expertise in designing and implementing quality and safety improvements.
“We’re very honored to receive this award and very pleased to be part of this movement and committed to a group that has the philosophy of ‘all teach, all learn and all improving’ when it comes to patient safety,” said Blike. “The spirit of sharing, learning, growth and improvement is what we value as an organization.”
More than 4,793 hospitals across 48 countries have committed to implementing one or multiple of the APSS developed by the Patient Safety Movement Foundation workgroups. For more information about the 5-Star Hospital program, please visit:
About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health: DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK HEALTH (D-HH), New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves a population of 1.9 million across northern New England. D-H provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH. DHMC was named again in 2020 as the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in 9 clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth-Hitchcock also includes the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 51 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation; the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state’s only children’s hospital; affiliated member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene, and New London, NH, and Windsor, VT, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and 24 Dartmouth-Hitchcock
SEIU: Workers at 11 Tenet Healthcare Hospitals Across California Overwhelmingly Vote to Strike, Calling for Contract to Address Pandemic Safety
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2020
Employees Want to Work with Tenet on a Contract that Ensures PPE, Staffing, and Clear Safety Protocols
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Workers at 11 Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike to demand that the giant hospital chain bargain in good faith with employees over health, safety, and other working conditions in their facilities, as caregivers continue to risk their lives caring for patients with COVID-19.
The strike vote covers 4,300 workers at the 11 facilities who are members of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West. The vote margin was 96 percent in favor of the strike.
Tenet has rejected most of the workers’ proposals on pandemic safety. Workers are asking Tenet to go beyond the minimal federal guidelines to make sure the most comprehensive protections are in place.
“We are scared to come to work knowing we are at great risk of exposure to COVID-19,” said Gisella Thomas, a respiratory therapist at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. “We want to work with management at our hospitals to increase protections for our health, our patients’ health, our families’ health, and the health of our communities. We have put forth a pandemic safety proposal that addresses issues workers are concerned about, like staffing, PPE, and increased COVID-19 testing for employees.”
Tenet has made more than $1 billion in profits in the first three quarters of 2020 and received more than $250 million in taxpayer bailout money in California alone. Tenet’s Chief Executive Officer Ron Rittenmeyer was paid more than $24 million in 2019, and the chain’s president and chief operating officer Saum Sutaria was paid nearly $14 million.
“We are calling on Tenet to increase its investment in worker safety and staffing in the middle of the worst pandemic in over a century – to ensure the safety of healthcare workers, our patients, and our entire communities.”
The strike will occur at the following Tenet hospitals in California:
INDIO: John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital JOSHUA TREE: High Desert Medical Center LAKEWOOD: Lakewood Regional Medical Center LOS ALAMITOS: Los Alamitos Medical Center MANTECA: Doctors Hospital of Manteca MODESTO: Doctors Medical Center PALM SPRINGS: Desert Regional Medical Center SAN LUIS OBISPO: Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center SAN RAMON: San Ramon Regional Medical Center TEMPLETON: Twin Cities Community Hospital TURLOCK: Emanuel Medical Center
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the United States, with 97,000 members. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.
View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/seiu-workers-at-11-tenet-healthcare-hospitals-across-california-overwhelmingly-vote-to-strike-calling-for-contract-to-address-pandemic-safety-301160966.html
Small pieces of plastic called microplastics can travel through wastewater into the ocean, where animals may consume them. Over time, this can cause microplastics to accumulate in animals who eventually become food for humans.
According to Plastic Oceans, more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
A 2020 study of microplastics in five different types of seafood found plastic in every sample the researchers tested, suggesting that microplastics do find their way into our food products. This may affect human health.
Keep reading to learn more about plastics in seafood, including the associated health risks and more about the dangers of ocean pollution.
Larger pieces of plastic present a number of health risks for sea life, as plants and animals can become entangled in them. However, in recent years, researchers have also turned their attention toward microplastics.
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters long. Their small size means that they can travel easily throughout the ocean. Animals may mistake them for food or accidentally consume them when eating other food.
Larger pieces of plastic can become microplastics as they break down over time and move around the ocean.
Some manufacturers may also use microplastics in their products. For example, cosmetic companies first began using tiny pieces of plastic in beauty products about 5 decades ago.
These small pieces of plastic are common in some exfoliating products and toothpastes because they are a cheaper alternative to nonplastic ingredients.
Consumers can check their beauty products by looking for microbeads on the label, or by using the Beat the Microbead app. It is worth noting that the United States banned the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products in 2015.
Microplastics are highly prevalent in seafood due to the vast quantity of them in the ocean.
Research consistently finds microplastics in a wide variety of animals, in both oceans and rivers that feed into the oceans. For example, one 2020 study of two fish species in a river found that 100% of these fish had microplastics in their bodies.
Plastics, and especially microplastics, can travel up the food chain. The closer to the top of the food chain an animal is, the more likely it is to eat lots of microplastics.
This occurs because smaller animals eat plastics, then larger animals eat those animals, and larger animals again eat those animals, all of which allow microplastic levels to continue accumulating.
Humans, at the top of the food chain, may then eat plastic-contaminated animals.
There is no way to eliminate microplastics from an animal once they are present, and there is no source of wild seafood that can guarantee that their products contain no microplastics at all.
Researchers do not yet fully know the effects of consuming plastic-contaminated seafood on human health. It may take decades to fully understand the effects of microplastics, since some might be cumulative, appearing only after several years.
Late-stage coronavirus vaccine trials run by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have resumed in the United States after the companies said Friday that serious illnesses in a few volunteers appeared not to be related to the vaccines.
Federal health regulators gave AstraZeneca the green light after a six-week pause, concluding there was no evidence the experimental vaccine had directly caused neurological side effects reported in two participants. The AstraZeneca news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Johnson & Johnson said that its trial, which had been on pause for 11 days, would restart after a company investigation determined that a “serious medical event” in one study volunteer had “no clear cause.” To maintain the integrity of the trial, the company said, it did not check whether the volunteer received the vaccine or the placebo.
Dr. Luciana Borio, a former acting chief scientist at the Food and Drug Administration, welcomed the announcements, citing the urgent need for multiple vaccines to remain in the race for a product that could protect the global population from the coronavirus, which has already killed more than a million people worldwide.
“The demand for safe and effective Covid vaccines exceeds any single manufacturer’s production capacity,” Dr. Borio said. “We really need several in the field.”
An F.D.A. spokesperson declined to comment on Friday afternoon.
AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are two of the four companies now in late-stage clinical trials in the U.S. for experimental coronavirus vaccines. Both companies are using adenoviruses, which typically cause harmless colds. The adenovirus is engineered so that it can chauffeur a coronavirus gene into human cells.
Their two high-profile competitors, Moderna and Pfizer, also in advanced trials, are instead using a technology based on genetic material known as mRNA. Delivered into human cells, the mRNA prompts the production of coronavirus proteins, triggering an immune response.
The incident sparked some concern among experts, who noted that a similar adverse neurological event, reported months ago, had occurred in another vaccinated volunteer. While this earlier event prompted its own pause in AstraZeneca’s trials, an independent safety board ultimately determined it was unrelated to the vaccine, allowing studies to resume.
Following the second AstraZeneca halt in September, trials abroad rapidly resumed in most countries. But the American hiatus persisted, with few details released as to why.
According to two vaccine experts familiar with the situation who were not authorized to discuss it publicly, the F.D.A. did not directly tie the vaccine to the two neurological illnesses, although it could
Nurses hold a meeting on one of five Covid-19 wards at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside where patients are taken to recover from the virus. Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images
This article originally appeared here on Salon.com
Since the start of the pandemic, around 635,000 Americans have been hospitalized for symptoms related to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The massive hospital influx of COVID-19 patients in this span has taxed the American healthcare system, in particular nurses, who deal with the minute-by-minute needs of these hundreds of thousands of patients. Unfortunately, many of those nurses say they have not been receiving the help that they need in return.
According to a report released last month by National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the United States, at least 213 nurses in the United States have died of COVID-19 and related complications since Sept. 16, nearly three-fifths of whom were nurses of color. (By contrast, just under one fourth of American registered nurses are people of color.) National Nurses United also told Salon that 232 nurses have died overall as of Friday.
The National Nurses United report also found that at least 1,718 health care workers have died of COVID-19 and related complications, including registered nurses; nearly one-third of the hospital health care workers who suffered this fate were registered nurses. Overall, their report found that there have been at least 258,768 cases of COVID-19 among health care workers, a number representing 166 percent of the 156,306 cases reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, their report states that the CDC is underreporting them.
Nurses are noticing this, too. A survey released in July of more than 21,200 nurses nationwide found that only 24 percent of nurses believe their employer is making sure they have a safe workplace. Only 31 percent say that every patient is screened for COVID-19. 36 percent are afraid of developing COVID-19, and 43 percent are afraid that they will spread the disease to a family member.
The data is even more sobering when it comes to personal protective equipment, or PPE, with 87 percent of nurses saying they were required to reuse at least one piece of PPE at some point. Nurses also report chronic understaffing issues, with 27 percent of those who work in hospitals reporting that staffing has declined in recent months, even though the likelihood of patient death increases by 7 percent for every extra patient in a hospital nurse’s workload.
“I’m so disappointed in our lack of preparation as a country for a pandemic,” a nurse from Pennsylvania wrote to Salon. “N95s [a type of surgical mask with a respirator on it] quickly became sparse and we were forced to reuse them for days, basically until [they] broke, when they are intended per the manufacturer to be single/ one time use. We had to put them in a brown paper bag in
As the first coronavirus vaccines arrive in the coming year, government researchers will face a monumental challenge: monitoring the health of hundreds of millions of Americans to ensure the vaccines don’t cause harm.
Purely by chance, thousands of vaccinated people will have heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses shortly after the injections. Sorting out whether the vaccines had anything to do with their ailments will be a thorny problem, requiring a vast, coordinated effort by state and federal agencies, hospitals, drug makers and insurers to discern patterns in a flood of data. Findings will need to be clearly communicated to a distrustful public swamped with disinformation.
For now, Operation Warp Speed, created by the Trump administration to spearhead development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments, is focused on getting vaccines through clinical trials in record time and manufacturing them quickly.
The next job will be to monitor the safety of vaccines once they’re in widespread use. But the administration last year quietly disbanded the office with the expertise for exactly this job. Its elimination has left that long-term safety effort for coronavirus vaccines fragmented among federal agencies, with no central leadership, experts say.
“We’re behind the eight ball,” said Daniel Salmon, who served as the director of vaccine safety in that office from 2007 to 2012, overseeing coordination during the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. ”We don’t even know who’s in charge.”
An H.H.S. spokeswoman declined to answer detailed questions about why the vaccine office, set up in 1987, was closed or how the health agencies were planning to track the safety of vaccines once they are injected into millions of people. In a brief statement, she said that Operation Warp Speed was working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to synchronize the IT systems” involved in monitoring vaccine safety data.
Scientists at the C.D.C. and the Food and Drug Administration have decades of experience tracking the long-term safety of vaccines. They’ve created powerful computer programs that can analyze large databases.
“It’s like satellites looking at the weather,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, the president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, who headed the National Vaccine Program Office from 2002 to 2017.
But monitoring hundreds of millions of Americans who may get different coronavirus vaccines from a variety of drug makers by summer is like tracking a major storm beyond anything researchers have dealt with before.
The closest parallel was in the spring of 2009, when a new strain of H1N1 influenza emerged, and researchers raced to make a vaccine. From October 2009 to January 2010, it was administered to over 82 million people in the United States.
As the vaccine was developed, Dr. Gellin and other federal officials and scientists organized a system to monitor the population for severe side effects and to promptly share results with the public. Eleven years later, it looks like the lessons of 2009 are being forgotten, experts say.
“We got all these different agencies together, we created governance around it, we created a