IHA Daily Briefing: Oct. 8

Friday, October 8, 2021
White House Report on COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements
Children Losing Caregivers during Pandemic
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
Sluggish September Jobs Report
Briefly Noted

White House Report on COVID Vaccination Requirements
A new White House report on COVID-19 vaccination requirements indicates that almost 2,500 hospitals, or about 40% of all U.S. hospitals, have announced vaccination requirements for their workforce. The report was released yesterday as President Biden was in the Chicago area urging private employers to implement vaccination requirements.

The report says hospital vaccination requirements span all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In addition, eight states—California, Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—and the District of Columbia are requiring all healthcare workers in the state to get vaccinated, and four states—Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey— are requiring health workers to get vaccinated or tested regularly, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Healthcare worker vaccination requirements have been shown to work time and time again,” the White House report stated. “They boost vaccination rates and result in limited resignations and dismissals. They are an essential tool to help protect U.S. patients and healthcare personnel.”

In an address at Clayco Construction in Elk Grove Village yesterday, President Biden cited Rush University Medical Center, which “has gone from 72 percent to more than 95 percent of its employees fully vaccinated under its requirements.”

The President urged more employers to require their employees to get vaccinated:

“Folks, vaccination requirements work, and there’s nothing new about them. They’ve been around for decades. We’ve been living with these requirements throughout our lives. Students, healthcare professionals, our troops have been required to receive vaccinations for everything from polio to measles, to mumps, to rubella. And the reason most people in America don’t worry about polio, measles, mumps, rubella is because they’ve been vaccinated.

“So, today, I’m calling on more employers to act. My message is: Require your employees to get vaccinated. With vaccinations, we’re going to beat this pandemic finally. Without them, we face endless months of chaos in our hospitals, damage to our economy, and anxiety in our schools, and empty restaurants, and much less commerce.”

Children Losing Caregivers during Pandemic
More than 140,000 U.S. children lost a primary or secondary caregiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published Thursday in Pediatrics. Researchers say that means one U.S. child loses a parent or caregiver for every four COVID-19 deaths.

Overall, the study shows that approximately 1 out of 500 children in the U.S. has experienced COVID-19-associated orphanhood or death of a grandparent caregiver. There were racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in COVID-19-associated death of caregivers: children of racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 65% of those who lost a primary caregiver due to the pandemic.

State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 2,744 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, including 35 additional deaths. IDPH also reported 19,244 new confirmed and probable cases, including 209 additional deaths, since last Friday, Oct. 1, an increase of 509 cases and a decrease of 27 deaths from the previous weekly totals.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,650,108 cases, including 25,224 deaths. In the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 145,034 specimens for a total of 32,938,108. As of last night, 1,653 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 412 patients were in the ICU and 209 patients were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests is 2.1%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity is 2.6%. The latest daily case positivity rate is 1.89%.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily in Illinois is 35,898 doses, with 33,235 doses administered in the past 24 hours. IDPH reports 64.5% of adult Illinoisans (18 years and older) have been fully vaccinated, while 82% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 12 years and older, 63% have been fully vaccinated, while 80.4% have received at least one vaccination dose.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 44.1 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 99,000 cases; seven-day moving average of more than 93,000 cases), with 708,784 deaths (a daily increase of 1,550).

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 236.5 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 450,000 cases), with more than 4.83 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 91 million cases and more than 2.23 million deaths.

Sluggish September Jobs Report
Employment in healthcare changed little in September (-18,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job losses occurred in nursing and residential care facilities (-38,000) and hospitals (-8,000), while ambulatory healthcare services added jobs (+28,000). Employment in healthcare is down by 524,000 since Feb. 2020, with nursing and residential care facilities accounting for about four-fifths of the loss.

Overall, nonfarm payrolls rose by 94,000 last month. The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, the lowest rate since February 2020.

Briefly Noted
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will review and answer questions on the new quality reporting measure for COVID-19 vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel during an American Hospital Association members-only webinar Oct 12 at 11 a.m. CDT. To register, click here.

The Illinois Dept. of Public Health has confirmed the first human West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2021. A Will County resident who first became ill in late August and tested positive for West Nile virus has died.

UnitedHealthcare announced that it will offer individual health insurance plans in Affordable Care Act Marketplaces in seven additional states, including Illinois, in 2022.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released the 2022 Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to help people with Medicare compare plans ahead of Medicare Open Enrollment, which starts Oct. 15. Plans are rated on a one-to-five scale, with one star representing poor performance and five stars representing excellent performance. For more information on the 2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings, including a fact sheet, go to http://go.cms.gov/partcanddstarratings, and download the “2022 Star Ratings Data” zip file in the downloads section.

Microsoft is ending support for the Internet Explorer (IE) 11 browser in June 2022. Due to security concerns about this browser, as of Oct. 13, 2021 users will not be able to access the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website (qpp.cms.gov) using IE 11. The QPP website will continue to support browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. IE11 users will need to download one of these browsers to access the QPP website on or after Oct. 13.