FENTON, Michigan – As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals.
Nurses are being trained to provide care in fields where they have limited experience. Hospitals are scaling back services to ensure enough staff to handle critically ill patients. And health systems are turning to short-term travel nurses to help fill the gaps.
Adding to the strain, experienced nurses are “burned out with this whole (pandemic)” and some are quitting, said Kevin Fitzpatrick, an emergency room nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, where several left just in the past month to work in hospice or home care or at outpatient clinics.
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“And replacing them is not easy,” Fitzpatrick said.
As a result, he said, the ER is operating at about five nurses short of its optimal level at any given time, and each one typically cares for four patients as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge anew. Hospital officials did not respond to requests for comment.
But the departures are not surprising, according to experts, considering not only the mental toll but the fact that many nurses trained in acute care are over 50 and at increased risk of complications if they contract COVID-19, while younger nurses often have children or other family to worry about.
“Who can actually work and who feels safe working are limited by family obligations to protect their own health,” said Karen Donelan, professor of U.S. health policy at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. “All of those things have been factors.”
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Donelan said there is little data so far on how the pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people in the country, is affecting nursing overall. But some hospitals had a shortage even before the virus took hold, despite a national rise in the number of nurses over the past decade.
With total confirmed coronavirus cases surpassing 9 million in the U.S. and new daily infections rising in 47 states, the need is only increasing.
Wausau, Wisconsin-based Aspirus Health Care is offering $15,000 signing bonuses for nurses with at least a year of experience and hiring contract nurses through private staffing companies to handle a surge in hospitalizations that prompted the system to almost quadruple the number of beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.
Aspirus, which operates five hospitals in Wisconsin and four in small communities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, also is moving nurses around between departments and facilities as hot spots emerge, said Ruth Risley-Gray, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Aspirus.
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Outside help still is needed, in part because some nurses have gotten sick from or were exposed to the cornavirus during the current wave, which “came with a vengeance” starting in August, Risley-Gray said. At
Washington — With coronavirus infections spiking in more than three dozen states, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), predicted Sunday that the Thanksgiving holiday will be an “inflection point” for the pandemic.
“Things are getting worse around the country,” Gottlieb said in an interview with “Face the Nation.” “I think Thanksgiving is really going to be an inflection point. I think December is probably going to be our toughest month.”
Gottlieb, who led the FDA under President Trump, said spread of the virus is accelerating in 23 states, including across the Midwest and the Great Lakes region, while 15 states have a positivity rate above 10%. There is an expanding epidemic in all 50 states, he said.
“This is very worrisome as we head into the winter,” Gottlieb said, adding that “as we get into the next two or three weeks, it’s going to be unmistakable what’s happening around the country. And we’re going to have to start taking tough steps.”
Public health experts and doctors in the Trump administration have warned for weeks Americans should brace themselves for a difficult winter, but Mr. Trump has claimed the country is “rounding the turn.” During a rally in Michigan on Friday, the president claimed without evidence that doctors are profiting off deaths from COVID-19.
“You know, our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right?” Mr. Trump alleged. “I mean, our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, ‘I’m sorry, but, you know, everybody dies of COVID.'”
Gottlieb said it’s “troubling” for Mr. Trump to suggest doctors are manipulating data to get higher reimbursements. He noted the CARES Act, which the president signed into law in March, provides more money for COVID-pneumonia cases because it’s more expensive to treat those patients in hospitals.
“Any doctor that would be documenting COVID-pneumonia in a case where the patient doesn’t have pneumonia, that’s fraud,” he said.
When asked where Mr. Trump might have heard such a claim, Gottlieb said it’s unlikely he came up with the allegation on his own.
“Unfortunately I think there [are] probably advisers telling him that,” he said.
There have been more than 9.1 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., and the death toll surpassed 230,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic also continues, with more than 22 million Americans currently receiving jobless aid, according to the Department of Labor.
The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, remain at an impasse over another coronavirus relief package. But Gottlieb said it’s crucial for Mr. Trump to focus on supplying aid to the states in his second term, if he wins reelection.
“They have to get a stimulus passed. They’ve got to get funding out to states to try to deal with this,” he said. “I think we need to focus on what we’re going to prioritize in terms of trying to keep things open and get
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House coronavirus task force warned that much of the country is in the grips of an “unrelenting” surge in COVID-19 cases and urged tough countermeasures, as the number of U.S. infections reported on Thursday hit a new daily record of more than 91,000.
The hardest-hit regions in the West and Midwest encompass a number of battleground states expected to play a pivotal role in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election contest between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
“We are on a very difficult trajectory. We’re going in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading task force member and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said coronavirus cases were on the rise in 47 states, and patients were overwhelming hospitals across the country.
“If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths,” Fauci said in a CNBC interview on Wednesday night.
The White House coronavirus task force has warned states in the middle and western parts of the country that aggressive measures will be necessary to curb the virus’ spread, according to weekly state reports seen by CNN.
“We continue to see unrelenting, broad community spread in the Midwest, Upper Midwest and West. This will require aggressive mitigation to control both the silent, asymptomatic spread and symptomatic spread,” one state’s report said.
The ominous assessment was echoed on Thursday by Dr. Ashish Jha, Brown University’s dean of public health, who told Reuters, “things are very, very bad in the United States right now.”
“We are having some of the largest breakouts that we’ve had during the entire pandemic,” he said, adding that the initial waves of infections last spring were more localized.
“And nine, 10 months into this pandemic, we are still largely not quite prepared.”
At least a dozen states – Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oregon – reported record one-day increases in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally.
Seventeen states reported a record number of hospitalizations, a metric that has soared across the country and is independent of how much testing is being done.
Nationally, health authorities on Thursday confirmed 91,248 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day increase in cases reported to date, according to a Reuters tally. The previous 24-hour record tally was 84,169 cases, set just last Friday.
The number of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 stood at
During a University of Melbourne panel discussion, Fauci said it’s possible a “substantial proportion of the people” won’t receive vaccination until the second or third quarter of next year, even with the U.S. getting a vaccine in the next few months.
“I think it will be easily by the end of 2021, and perhaps even into the next year, before we start having some semblances of normality,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.
“We’re not in a good place,” Fauci added. “Now we’re averaging about 70,000 [cases] a (day). That’s a bad position to be in.”
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He also encouraged Americans who want to avoid another shutdown to wear a mask.
“If you don’t want to shut down, at least do the fundamental basic things, which are really the flagship of which is wearing a mask,” Fauci said. “We can’t have this very inconsistent wearing that you see, where you see some states that absolutely refuse to wear a mask.”
The top infectious disease expert’s comments come amid surging cases of coronavirus in the country, as the seven-day daily case count is measured at 75,522, according to The New York Times.
Johns Hopkins University reported that the average number of new cases is up 21 percent this week compared to last week. But testing has only jumped 6.63 percent in the same period, according to CNN analysis of the COVID Tracking Project, negating the argument that more testing is leading to more cases.
Several states are struggling with this month, with 29 documenting record single-day case counts and 11 measuring record single-day death counts since the beginning of the pandemic.
Forty states as of Wednesday recorded 10 percent more new cases this past week compared to the previous week, nine states remained steady and Missouri was the only state with 10 percent fewer cases in the past week when compared to the week before.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in South Dakota reached new heights for the fourth straight day on Wednesday.
The number of daily new cases also set a record, with 1,270 people testing positive for the virus. The virus has surged in the state and region, sending South Dakota to the nation’s second-worst ranking in new cases per capita over the last two weeks. Johns Hopkins researchers report that one out of roughly every 77 people in the state has tested positive in the last two weeks.
The Grease star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and has twice received the news the disease has metastasised to other organs in her body, most recently in 2017.
However, the 72-year-old, who has used plant-based remedies including medicinal cannabis alongside traditional treatments like surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy, to keep her cancer at bay, views her illness as an experience that his improved her as a person.
“I don’t know what I would be without it now,” she told The Guardian.
“I see it as my life’s journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion,” she went on.
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“It has been a gift. I don’t wish it on anyone else. But for me, it’s been important in my life,” Newton-John explained.
The actress also resists talking about fighting her cancer, as she’s averse to combative metaphors.
“I don’t think of myself as sick with cancer,” she divulged.
“I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don’t like war. I don’t like fighting wherever it is – whether it’s outside or an actual war inside my body,” Newton-John elaborated.
She declared: “I choose not to see it that way. I want to get my body healthy and back in balance. Part of that is your mental attitude to it. If you think: ‘Poor me,’ or ‘I’m sick,’ then you’re going to be sick.”
The Physical singer also doesn’t want to know if doctors believe the cancer is terminal, adding: “I don’t believe them anyway. I mean, no one can tell you that.”
PARIS (Reuters) – French hospitals registered 1,307 new coronavirus patients on Monday in the highest one-day increase since April 2, which saw 1,607 new patients, as the health system comes under increasing stress from a runaway infection rate.
French health ministry data showed that France now has a total of 17,784 coronavirus patients in its hospitals, compared with a record 32,292 on April 14, at the height of the March-May lockdown.
The ministry also reported 26,771 new confirmed coronavirus cases in past 24 hours, from 52,010 on Sunday. On Monday, the tally usually drops sharply because of reporting lags over the weekend.
The death toll went up by 257, taking the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018. The number of people in intensive care units rose by 186 to 2,770.
Several regions in France have implemented emergency plans in hospitals, delaying non-essential operations to make space in ICU units for COVID-19 patients and cancelling staff holidays.
Sources told Reuters that authorities were looking at options for still tighter measures to fight COVID-19, including starting a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m curfew earlier, confining people to their homes at weekends except for essential trips, and closing non-essential shops.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Editing by Franklin Paul and Alison Williams)
The group, which represents pediatricians, says about 792,188 children have been infected in the US as of October 22. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 8.6 million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus.
The AAP said 94,555 new child cases were reported from October 8 to October 22.
Severe illness and deaths from Covid-19 are still rare among children. As of October 22, children represented between 1% and 3.6% of total hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.6% and 6.9% of all child Covid-19 cases resulted in hospitalization and in states that reported the information, up to 0.15% of all children with Covid-19 died. Sixteen states reported no child deaths.
The AAP said it started collecting this data in the absence of regular releases of information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC provides a national number of cases by age in its data tracker, but the age data isn’t released on a regular schedule. The AAP reports on numbers of cases among children weekly.
With the CDC numbers it is also hard to know where the cases are coming from, as there are no geographic indicators provided with the CDC’s age data.
The AAP’s count is not totally complete, because not all states report data in the same way. The cases are likely undercounted, according to the organization. These numbers come from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. A smaller subset of states report information about hospitalizations and deaths by age.
The AAP recommends that children wear masks, avoid large crowds and keep a healthy distance from others. It also suggests all children 6 months or older get a flu shot. Pediatricians say it’s even more important than ever to get a flu shot before the end of October.
With two respiratory diseases circulating at the same time –flu and coronavirus — will be confusing to doctors, parents and caregivers. Plus, hospitals and clinics could be overwhelmed with the double burden.
The two viruses cause similar symptoms but a study published September in JAMA Network Open found that children hospitalized with Covid-19 were more likely to have fever, aches, diarrhea and vomiting than were children with the flu.
Children with Covid-19 also tended to be older and have at least one underlying health condition. Babies under a year old with certain underlying conditions such as asthma or diabetes may also be more likely to have severe illness from Covid-19.
Covid-19 and seasonal flu in children led to similar rates of hospitalization, intensive care admission, and need for a ventilator to help breathing, the study found. The CDC says 189 children died from flu over the 2019-2020 season.