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US Coronavirus: Countries are trying to keep up with the rise in hospitalizations and testing demand

Samer Antonios, clinical director at Ascension Via Christi Health in Kansas, where Governor Laura Kelly signed off on the disaster emergency this week, said: caused by viruses. to challenge Covid-19.

Dr. Taison Bell, director of the intensive care unit at Virginia Health University, told CNN Saturday.

To protect hospital capacity, some states have cut elective surgeries at certain institutions.
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In New York, 40 hospitals – mainly in the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and central regions – have been asked to stop non-essential elective operations for at least two weeks because of low bed capacity, medical supplies state economy said Saturday.

As more patients need care, many people who may have Covid-19 symptoms have been left behind as tests are still hard to find and doctors have asked people who suspect they are positive. quarantine at home with or without confirmed infection.
The long line has been parity for the course at multiple testing facilities since the holiday. In Utah, four state-run testing sites experiencing some of the “highest demand and longest wait times” will be available by appointment only, starting Saturday, due to increased demand, Utah’s health department said Friday.
The move comes as officials take other measures to combat the spread of the virus. Utah’s most populous county, Salt Lake County, on Friday issued a Mask shelf life for 30 days for all indoor public places.
To try to ramp up the supply of tests, the Biden administration has distribution commitment 500 million free quick tests nationwide. Officials have given few details, but they are expected to launch a website this month where people can sign up for the tests online and then receive them in the mail.
The first contract to buy tests was signed and more is expected to happen in the coming weeks, officials told CNN Friday.
Medical Assistant Leslie Powers carries swab samples collected from people for on-site processing at the Covid-19 testing site Thursday in Long Beach, California

Vaccine requirements change

Nearly two-thirds of Americans eligible for the vaccine — anyone age 5 or older — are fully immunized, based on data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the number of those vaccinated and boosted was much lower, with 22% of the total population having done so.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday amended the emergency use authorization for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, shortening the time between the initial vaccination and the shot. repeat from at least six months down to five months for people over 18 years of age.

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Dr Peter Marks, Director of the FDA Center, said: “Vaccination is our best defense against Covid-19, including the variants that are in circulation, and shortens the duration of time. Since completing a main series and a booster dose can help reduce weakened immunity. for Biological Evaluation and Research.

The FDA shortened the time needed before a booster shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from six to five months. The Pfizer booster is authorized for everyone 12 years of age and older.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that she will require all healthcare workers to get a Covid-19 booster shot within two weeks of becoming eligible.

“Medical staff will be required to do this with no waivers other than medical exemptions and no testing options,” Hochul said. All former healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated by September.

Neighboring Connecticut issued a similar order on Thursday, as long-term care workers and hospital workers are required to receive booster doses in the coming weeks.

Debate about Covid-19 safety measures in schools

Hospitalize The number of children has increased dramatically, and concerns about student safety remain high.
Children's hospitalization rates hit record high as Omicron variant becomes common

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the positive rate for children tested for Covid-19 increased from 17.5% in December to 45% in January, according to CHLA Medical Director, Dr. Dr. Michael Smith.

CHLA currently has 41 patients at home who have tested positive for Covid-19 and about a quarter of the children hospitalized with Covid-19 require admission to the pediatric ICU, with some requiring intubation, Smit told CNN on Saturday.

In response to the increasing number of children hospitalized, disputes are ongoing over whether face-to-face learning is ideal during Omicron surgery and how students can safely go to school. out in different school districts this week.

Nearly 13% of New York City students tested positive for Covid-19 in a 24-hour period, according to sample test results from the city’s education department on Thursday. According to additional DOE data, no schools are closed at this time due to cases of Covid-19, but six school classrooms remain closed.

The Chicago Public Schools System (CPS) has classes are canceled since Wednesday due to a dispute between city officials and the teachers union over returning to classrooms, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants an agreement between the two to be completed by the end of this week.
“Our kids need to go back to school. School is safe,” she said CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted to teach remotely due to the Covid-19 surge, but the school district canceled classes, saying it wanted in-person learning.

CTU presented a new proposal to Lightfoot on Saturday that the union said would provide clarity on returning to the classroom, creating increased testing and safety procedures and restarting the process. education for students.

CPS rejected the proposal, saying it looked forward to “continued negotiations to reach an agreement.”

The district has agreed to CTU’s request to provide KN95 masks to all staff and students for the remainder of the school year and has said it will continue to provide weekly Covid-19 testing for all. both students and staff.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement Saturday his office helped secure 350,000 rapid antigen tests for Chicago Public Schools.

“I am committed to seeing our children and teachers safe in the classroom as soon as possible,” he said in the statement.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, students and staff will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before in-person schooling resumes Tuesday.

The baseline testing requirement was implemented at the beginning of the school year in August, and the district announced a week in advance both the baseline testing, along with the mandatory weekly testing for all staff and students who will continue. continues through January, with the current Omicron increase.

LAUSD Communications Director Shannon Haber told CNN Saturday.

Georgia public school teachers who test positive for coronavirus can return to school if asymptomatic and wearing masks
In Georgia, public school teachers test positive for Covid-19 no longer have to isolate before returning to school and contact tracing in schools is no longer required, according to a letter to school leaders released Thursday from Governor Brian Kemp and the health commissioner. Public Kathleen Toomey.

The Georgia Department of Public Health posted an updated administrative order Wednesday allowing teachers and school staff – regardless of immunization status – to return to work after being exposed to Covid-19 or tested for Covid. -19 positive if they remain asymptomatic and wear a mask while at work.

“Students, parents and educators have made it clear to us that they want to be in class, and we’re looking at a variety of methods to continue safe, in-person learning – including isolation protocols. updated isolation and quarantine, reduced contact tracing requirements and increased testing opportunities,” the letter from Kemp and Toomey said.

Local school districts can still develop and follow their own quarantine and isolation requirements, according to the order.

Natasha Chen, Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Kaitlan Collins, Chris Boyette, Michelle Watson, Carma Hassan, Laura Dolan, Steve Almasy, Melissa Alonso, Raja Razek and Rob Frehse of CNN contributed to this report.

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