Getting Workforce Back To Full Strength Will Require Faster, Easier, And Better COVID-19 Tests

After the COVID-19 crisis came to Connecticut, the New Haven office of Comprehensive Dental Health shut down completely for two weeks. Later, Dr. Joseph Tagliarini began opening the office a few days a week with a skeleton crew to handle emergencies. Now the office is operating at nearly full staffing—with six full-time and six part-time employees. Nobody on the staff has gotten sick, and Tagliarini wants to keep it that way. He hopes the health care industry will produce a new generation of tests for the virus that will be simple, inexpensive, and accurate, and will deliver results on the spot.

Low-Income Children Are Most Vulnerable To Pandemic’s Long-Term Effects

Tameeka Coleman and six of her children lived on the streets before moving into a shelter in Fairfield. “We were together, so it was bearable,” said Coleman, 38. The hardest part was when her children cried for their home. “They wanted to know how we had lost our apartment,” said Coleman, who was evicted after she couldn’t pay the rent. Living conditions play a key role in children’s well-being.

Vape Marketing Linked To COVID-19 Draws Critics

Vape manufacturers have long been accused of marketing to teens with flavors like mango and cotton candy. Now vaping opponents say vape manufacturers are exploiting the coronavirus with face mask and hand sanitizer giveaways and #COVID-19 discounts. One maker of disposable vapes, Bidi Vapor, declared on Instagram: “A Bidi Stick a day keeps the pulmonologist away.”

The national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says the tactics are hypocritical. Its president, Matthew L. Myers, said it’s imperative that young people quit vaping to avoid being susceptible to COVID-19. “Never before in our history has it been more important for young people to have healthy lungs,’’ Myers said.

Deaths In Nursing Homes Show Steady Decline

The pace of coronavirus deaths in nursing homes has slowed to its lowest level since mid-April, but cases rose to 8,322 up from 7,875 the week prior. Nursing home deaths represent 60% of all COVID-related deaths, figures released Friday by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) show. For the week, 208 nursing home residents died, compared to 263 the week prior. In all, 2,398 Connecticut residents have died in nursing homes, up from 2,190. Of the state’s 213 nursing homes, 167 (78%) have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, up from 165 a week ago.

Ombudsman’s Facebook Chats Are Lifeline For Families Worried About Loved Ones In Nursing Homes

Families with loved ones in nursing homes–unable to visit while getting frustratingly sparse information about them–have found a champion in Mairead Painter. Painter, the state’s long term care ombudsman, who works for the state Department of Aging and Disability Services, launched live chat sessions on Facebook that quickly evolved into a real-time information pipeline for families. “I was trying to think about how we can reach people. Normally, residents and family members are sometimes the last people to get information,” said Painter, whose office is independent of the state Department of Public Health.  “I wasn’t sure anybody would join [the chats].

Nursing Homes Cited For Infection-Control Violations

Nursing homes inspected for infection-control practices during the pandemic revealed deficiencies, including failure to separate COVID-positive residents from residents who do not have the virus, improper use or no use of personal protective equipment (PPE), failure to practice good hygiene and handwashing and the improper sanitation of equipment. One facility was cited for allowing an assistant director of nursing, who tested positive for COVID, to work for five days. Plans of correction were submitted by each home. None of the facilities were fined. The unannounced, in-person inspections resulted in enhanced staff training and additional deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE), according to the Department of Public Health (DPH).

‘Cautious Enthusiasm’ For Plasma Treatment In COVID-19 Cases

Stamford Hospital is treating most of its critically ill coronavirus patients with blood plasma from people who have recovered, after stunning turnarounds in several patients who were gravely ill. “We started with only the sickest patients on respirators. Then we offered it to all of the patients on respirators, then all the patients in the ICU, and now all the COVID patients in the hospital on 40 percent oxygen, not with a ventilator,” said Dr. Paul Sachs, director of pulmonary medicine. “So far, there has been cautious enthusiasm.”

Plasma transfusions are gaining traction at other hospitals throughout Connecticut and nationally as well, as doctors wait for a breakthrough treatment. Nuvance Health, which includes Danbury and Norwalk hospitals, reports more than 200 patients system-wide treated with plasma so far.

Coping With Pandemic: Managing Fear

Fear of becoming infected with COVID-19 is reasonable – especially now with plans announced to start reopening Connecticut. There are things you can do to take precautions and be proactive and plan for your own safety. ConnHealthITeam · Coping With Pandemic: Manage Your Fear
C-HIT’s Colleen Shaddox talks with Rajita Sinha, Foundations Fund Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and the founding director of the Yale Stress Center, about how to take control and manage fear during the pandemic.