fog.png
Friday February 26th, 2021 5:45PM

Vaccinations reach nursing homes, as California faces crisis

By The Associated Press

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The first COVID-19 vaccinations are underway at U.S. nursing homes, where the virus has killed more than 110,000 people, even as the nation struggles to contain a surge so alarming it has spurred California to dispense thousands of body bags and line up refrigerated morgue trucks.

With the rollout of shots picking up speed Wednesday, lawmakers in Washington closed in on a long-stalled coronavirus relief package that would send direct payments of perhaps $600 to most Americans. Meanwhile, the U.S. appeared to be days away from adding a second vaccine to its arsenal.

At the same time, a major snowstorm pushing its way into the Northeast raised concern it could disrupt distribution of the first vaccine.

Nursing home residents in Florida began receiving shots Wednesday, after nearly 2,000 such vaccinations were administered in West Virginia on Tuesday. Thousands more are scheduled there in the coming days. Other states are expected to follow soon.

The elderly and infirm in long-term care have been among the most vulnerable to the virus and, together with health workers, are first in line to get the limited, initial supplies of the vaccine, developed by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech. Nursing home residents and workers account for more than one-third of the nation's 300,000 or so confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

In Florida, the longtime retirement haven whose 141,000 nursing home residents are the second most of any state behind California, eagerness to get the vaccine was mixed with some anxiety.

“I hope it will help me from getting COVID,” said 88-year-old retired schoolteacher Vera Leip, a resident of John Knox Village near Fort Lauderdale. “I don’t know anything about it, but I would prefer not to have it.”

The home is not requiring its employees to get the vaccine, and only 80 of the 200 staffers in the skilled nursing facility volunteered for the first wave, said Mark Rayner, its director of health services. He said many of those declining the shot are African-American and don’t trust it, given the nation's history of medical experimentation on Black people.

“They are frightened,” he said. “There is that culture line even as much as we educate them.”

West Virginia, with one of the oldest and unhealthiest populations in America, is working with small and local pharmacies to reach nursing homes across the heavily rural state, leapfrogging states that are relying on a partnership with the CVS and Walgreens drugstore chains to kick in any day now.

Marty Wright, head of the West Virginia Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes and assisted living communities, said the state's pharmacies expect to get 7,000 doses into arms by the end of the week.

The developments come as as the crisis grows increasingly dire by many measures.

The U.S. recorded over 3,000 deaths on Tuesday for the third time in less than a week, eclipsing the peaks seen last spring. New cases are running at over 212,000 a day on average. And the number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 hit another all-time high Tuesday of about 113,000.

California is distributing 5,000 body bags mostly to the hard-hit Los Angeles and San Diego areas and has 60 refrigerated trailers standing by as makeshift morgues as deaths surge. The state is averaging 163 virus deaths per day, up from 63 just two weeks ago.

With new cases of the infection in California averaging more than 32,000 a day — nearly as many as the entire U.S. was seeing just three months ago — hospitals in parts of the state are running out of space in intensive care wards.

In Fresno County, officials said Tuesday that just 16 ICU beds remained available and were filling rapidly. To keep up, the county’s hospital system has contracted with a Virginia company to supply doctors, nurses and others to staff a temporary 50-bed facility that will start receiving patients by the end of the week.

“Unfortunately, I’m anticipating a grim set of weeks before and after the New Year, just given the trends that we’re seeing with the number of cases,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, the county’s interim public health officer.

In Orange County, health officials planned to send large tents to four hospitals to help accommodate patients.

In Washington, congressional leaders said they hoped to seal a deal as early as Wednesday on a package that would extend aid to individuals and businesses and help ship vaccines to millions. It would include enhanced federal unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus checks.

On Thursday, a government advisory panel will consider whether to endorse emergency use of a second vaccine, made by Moderna.

Meanwhile, officials supervising distribution of the first vaccine said they didn't expect the winter storm to disrupt distribution.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the government is tracking the vaccine shipments precisely, has staffers in place to receive them and believes the companies transporting them — FedEx and UPS — have the expertise to navigate the storm.

___

Associated Press writers Cuneyt Dil in Charleston, West Virginia, Olga R. Rodriguez in Fresno, California, and Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Senior Health, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Google glitch, snowstorm bring virtual learning frustrations
A Google services outage this week and potential impacts from a snowstorm in the Northeast highlight the fragile chain of connectivity that's powering widespread remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic
1:57PM ( 29 minutes ago )
'If not one thing, it's another': Northeast preps for storm
The Northeast is girding for a major snowstorm at a key moment in the coronavirus pandemic
1:56PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Vaccinations reach nursing homes, as California faces crisis
The first COVID-19 vaccinations are underway at U.S. nursing homes, where the virus has killed upwards of 110,000 people, even as the nation struggles to contain a surge so alarming that California is dispensing thousands of body bags and lining up refrigerated morgue trailers
1:47PM ( 38 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Fed keeps rate near zero but sees brighter economy in 2021
The Federal Reserve will keep buying government bonds until the economy makes “substantial” progress, a step intended to reassure financial markets and keep long-term borrowing rates low
2:05PM ( 20 minutes ago )
US angling to secure more of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine
U.S. officials say they’re actively negotiating for additional purchases of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine after passing up a chance to lock in a contract this summer because it was still unclear how well the shots would work
2:05PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Prague zoo's month-old Sumatran orangutan finally has a name
Prague’s zoo says it's finally completed the process of naming a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan born in the park on Nov 17
1:47PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Buttigieg recalls struggles of Clinton nominee
Transportation secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg, who will be the first openly gay person to serve in a Cabinet, has tipped his hat to a Bill Clinton-era ambassadorial nominee whose nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans because of his sexuality
1:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
China prepares for return of spacecraft with moon samples
Chinese ground crews are standing by for the landing of the first new samples of rocks and soil from the moon in more than 40 years
11:47AM ( 2 hours ago )
Negotiators near agreement on long-delayed COVID-19 aid bill
Top congressional leaders appear to be on the brink of a long-delayed COVID-19 aid package
11:40AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
UK still plans to ease restrictions on holiday gatherings
Britain's planned easing of restrictions around family gatherings over Christmas across the U.K. looks set to be retained despite a sharp spike in new coronavirus infections
6:02AM ( 8 hours ago )
Biden's challenge: Creating a COVID-19-free White House
President-elect Joe Biden soon will be entering a no-Zoom zone at the White House
5:32AM ( 8 hours ago )
Trump voters accept Biden election win 'with reservations'
For weeks, President Donald Trump has been on a mission to convince his loyal base his victory was stolen and the contest was rigged
5:22AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Minnesota frees man serving life in child's 2002 death
A Black man who was sentenced to life behind bars as a teenager has walked out of a Minnesota prison
10:29PM ( 15 hours ago )
US vaccinations ramp up as 2nd COVID-19 shot nears
Hundreds more U.S. hospitals have started inoculating their workers as a second COVID-19 vaccine moves toward government authorization
9:23PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: Kansas mayor resigns over mask mandate threats
A western Kansas mayor says she is resigning, effective immediately, because of threats she has received after she publicly supported a mask mandate
8:17PM ( 18 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Biden taps Buttigieg for transportation, Granholm for energy
President-elect Joe Biden is nominating his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation and intends to choose former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary
8:30PM ( 17 hours ago )
Ex-Houston officer accused of assault in bogus fraud claim
A former Houston police captain has been charged with assault after running a man off the road and holding him at gunpoint in an effort to prove what authorities call a bogus voter fraud scheme
8:17PM ( 18 hours ago )
Boko Haram claims abduction of students in northern Nigeria
Rebels from the Boko Haram extremist group claimed responsibility for abducting hundreds of boys from a school in Nigeria’s northern Katsina State last week
8:12PM ( 18 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
On a mission: Tom Cruise insists on social distancing on set
Tom Cruise has launched an expletive-laden rant at colleagues on the set of his latest “Mission: Impossible” movie after he spotted two workers failing to abide by social distancing rules
12:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Italy considers tighter limits during holidays
The Italian government is weighing even tighter restrictions over the Christmas holiday to avoid a new resurgence
12:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
UK survey: Ethnic minorities less likely to take COVID jab
Research in the U.K. suggests that people from ethnic minority backgrounds or with lower incomes are less likely to take the coronavirus vaccine being rolled out in Britain
11:28AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
The Latest: West Virginia coronavirus deaths pass 1,000
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in West Virginia has pushed past 1,000 with the announcement of a record 34 deaths
5:15PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Appalachian hospital in Ky. vaccinates workers
The new COVID-19 vaccine has arrived at an Appalachian hospital in Kentucky, and medical workers have received the first injections
4:21PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Pence, McConnell urge confidence in vaccine
Vice President Mike Pence says he looks forward in the days ahead to receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 and will do so without hesitation
3:29PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Health - Senior Health
Google glitch, snowstorm bring virtual learning frustrations
A Google services outage this week and potential impacts from a snowstorm in the Northeast highlight the fragile chain of connectivity that's powering widespread remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic
1:57PM ( 30 minutes ago )
'If not one thing, it's another': Northeast preps for storm
The Northeast is girding for a major snowstorm at a key moment in the coronavirus pandemic
1:56PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Hack brings unwanted attention to obscure but vital IT firm
Before this week, few people were aware of SolarWinds, a Texas-based software company providing vital computer network monitoring services to corporations and government agencies around the world
12:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
World's space achievements a bright spot in stressful 2020
This year was a big one for space and next year promises more achievements
11:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
Minnesota juvenile lifer walks free after 18 years in prison
A Black man who was sentenced to life behind bars as a teenager has walked out of a Minnesota prison
11:20AM ( 3 hours ago )