More than a month ago, the World Health Organization warned that the Delta variant of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus would “pick off” the healthiest unvaccinated among us. Missouri has been the canary in the coal mine for that prediction, which has rung alarmingly true. The current situation in the Southwest Region of the state is dire. Yesterday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued two COVID-19 Hotspot Advisories for Greene, Jasper and surrounding counties. Signals from the rest of the state are foreboding. The health care system in the Southwest Region is very nearly overrun with regional COVID-19 hospitalizations projected to exceed previously set winter high-water marks as early as this week. If the rest of the state follows current trajectories — with Delta systematically picking off localized pockets of unvaccinated Missourians — our entire health care system will be very near the brink it flirted with during the winter of 2020-2021. This is avoidable. It is clear that the decision to become vaccinated is complex, personal and clouded by inundating and oftentimes competing messages. The national media attention Missouri has garnered in recent weeks has not resulted in an uptick in demand for vaccines according to DHSS data. It is time for health and equity stakeholders — and trusted community leaders in particular — to meet skeptical Missourians where they are. This will require stakeholders communicate facts about the virus and vaccines clearly, and then trust Missourians to make their own decisions while understanding that personal choice also has consequences for the health of their communities.
Click here for a full analysis of the status of COVID-19 in Missouri and the Southwest Region.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will extend to Aug. 20 the deadline for submitting comments on its COVID-19 health care emergency temporary standard. The original deadline for comments was July 21. OSHA said it would not extend the compliance dates and released tools for compliance including its field inspection and enforcement procedures for enforcing the ETS.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the emergency use authorization on Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine Monday to warn of the possible increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome. While the number of events is small enough to not be causal in nature, there is an increase in the 42 days after vaccine administration of the Janssen J&J vaccine. The EUA Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers now has been updated to include “Reports of adverse events following use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine under emergency use authorization suggest an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome during the 42 days following vaccination.” The Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers also has been updated to reflect the changes.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, developed the COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Therapeutics Calculator for Infusion Sites (mAbs Calculator). The mAbs Calculator is a free, data-informed decision support tool that is based on a comprehensive simulation framework. The mAbs Calculator can be used to inform staffing decisions and resource investments needed for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic infusion sites. mAB treatments remain a viable treatment option for those testing positive for COVID-19. Updated information, including ordering information and implementation resources, are available.
To assist members with time sensitive resource requests, MHA updated the COVID-19 Resource Request Process document. As a reminder, hospitals are able to request PPE, testing supplies, vaccines and supplies, staffing assistance, and ventilators through the state of Missouri. The request process for each resource is listed in this document.
MHA released a draft COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Guide to assist hospitals in developing policies surrounding workforce vaccination. The document addresses questions about mandatory vaccination policies, incentives, record keeping, screening and quarantine policies, and employee communications, among other topics.
MHA staff are seeking feedback to ensure the guide provides hospitals with the necessary information to develop vaccine policies. There is a link within the guide to provide feedback. All comments and suggested revisions will be considered and submitted to a board-approved task force appointed to review and finalize this guidance.