Inconsistent state and federal reporting requirements for large commercial labs running COVID-19 tests are complicating efforts to track the disease, contact people whose tests are positive and coordinate care. Public health officials and health care workers say it takes too much time to get and use the information they need, and health information exchange managers say the big labs aren't sharing their test results.
President Donald Trump said forthcoming guidance will recommend that Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, although another official said the specifics are still being debated. "In light of these new data, along with evidence of widespread transmission in communities across the country, CDC recommends the community use of cloth masks as an additional public health measure people can take to prevent the spread of virus to those around them," said a copy of the guidance obtained by The Washington Post.
The novel coronavirus has now infected more than 1 million and killed almost 53,000 people worldwide as cases continue to surge in the US, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The US accounted for more than 245,000 infections and more than 6,000 deaths, while Italy and Spain reported 13,915 and 10,935 deaths, respectively.
Veterinary diagnostic laboratories at Oregon State University and Louisiana State University are making viral transport medium for COVID-19 tests. The medium is a sterile fluid that protects the genetic material on swabs until they reach a testing lab, and veterinary labs routinely make VTM and already had the needed equipment, says Justin Sanders, head of the Molecular Diagnostics Lab at OSU.
Pets that are accustomed to spending the day alone while their families are at work and school suddenly have around-the-clock company where stay-at-home orders have been issued, and some might not be thrilled about it, behaviorists say. If pets are being pestered all day or their owners are highly anxious, their wellbeing could suffer, says dog trainer Kathryn Horn.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposed establishing a consolidated national list of animal diseases whose occurrence must be reported to federal and state animal health officials. The proposal includes foreign animal diseases but would not require reporting of diseases in wildlife, though APHIS is accepting public comment regarding how to track the occurrence of notifiable diseases in wildlife.
A study involving 120 patients presenting with dry eye found that those with diabetes had 51.54% loss of meibomian glands compared with 11.29% among those without diabetes, and that a high level of A1C was tied to greater meibomian gland loss. The findings, presented at the virtual Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, were based on data obtained through infrared imaging of the participants' eyelids using professional imaging equipment, but researcher Gloria Wu noted that evaluating the number of meibomian glands could also be done with newer smartphones capable of taking black-and-white infrared photos.
Health care is having its "Amazon moment" as it disrupts itself by ramping up telehealth, digital and virtual care during the novel coronavirus pandemic, says Jefferson Health CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko, "I think we were always wondering what the big disruption would be that got us to join the consumer revolution, and I think this is it," Klasko said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis created an Innovation Response Team by calling on technology entrepreneurs to find out-of-the-box ways to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic. The IRT is helping Colorado companies switch gears to make needed supplies, such as sanitizer and face shields, and is looking at using new technology such as 3D-printed masks and ventilator accessories.
Northwell Health added beds and patient registration capacity to its EHR system in anticipation of a surge in patients at its 23 affiliated hospitals, developed clinical order sets for positive COVID-19 tests, and is developing predictive analytics to balance patient load, says CIO John Bosco. Northwell began using Microsoft Teams about a year ago, and about 25,000 employees across the health system use it to collaborate and communicate.
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