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Maine Medicine Weekly Update
August 06, 2021


In This Issue
Weekly Headline
New Maine Immunization Law for Schools Takes Effect Sep 1
Annual Membership Meeting
Registration Open for MMA’s 168th Annual Membership Meeting (Sep 10-12)
COVID-19 Pandemic Updates, Guidance & News
Resources & News: COVID Vaccination Mandates Dominate Recent Pandemic Discussion
Connecting Providers and Schools for COVID-19 Administration
Maine CDC Health Action Alerts
Maine CDC Investigates Four Recent Cases of Legionella in Bangor Area
Maine CDC Health Alert Network: Varicella (Chickenpox)
Maine CDC Immunizations
Maine CDC Makes New Vaccine Products Available Through Maine Immunization Program (MIP)
Maine CDC Vaccine Provider Training
Independent Physician Practices
JAMA: The Increasing Role of Physician Practices as Bill Collectors—Destined for Failure
AMA Drafts CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule Summary
JAMA
This Week’s Top Articles from JAMA Network
AMA: What Doctors Wish Patients Knew Series
More News
SUPPORT for ME: Strengthening Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Services for MaineCare Members
Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership’s Renowned Physician Executive Leadership Institute – The Advanced Course
Maine Community Action Partnership: Did You Know?
MMA Mary Cushman, MD Award for Humanitarian Service - 7/30 Nomination Deadline
UPCOMING EVENTS
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
Working with Children & Adolescents? Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) Webinar Series (August thru December 2nd Wednesday of month)
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Nurse Practitioner
Physician
Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Richmond Area Health Center
Help educate new physicians – join our accredited Family Medicine Residency Program as faculty
Join our region-leading Neuroscience/Stroke Center
Contract Clinical Advisor - Healthcare Coalition of Maine
Medical Director
Northern Light Health is seeking board-eligible/board-certified Cardiologists

 
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COVID-19 Pandemic Updates, Guidance & News

Resources & News: COVID Vaccination Mandates Dominate Recent Pandemic Discussion

  • US CDC: COVID Vax Doubled Protection for the Previously Infected
  • AAP: Pediatric COVID-19 cases up 84%
  • 'Never Seen Anything Like It': Delta Is Making A Growing Number Of Kids Very Sick
  • Coronavirus Booster Shots for the Immunocompromised Expected To Be Authorized Soon
  • Moderna Says Booster Likely Needed Before Winter
  • Should You Recommend a COVID Booster to Patients?
  • Half of total US population fully vaccinated; 65+ Percent of Mainers
  • Poll Finds Most Unvaccinated Americans Believe Coronavirus Vaccine Poses Greater Health Risk Than the Disease
  • Delta Variant Q&A with Associate Professor in Epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Northern Light, MaineHealth, University of Maine Mandate Vaccinations
  • Are Vaccine Mandates Legal? Maine Labor Attorney Says Yes
  • National Mandate News:
  • Houston-Area Hospitals Suspend Elective Surgeries as Delta Variant Rages, Hospitalizations Increase
  • Florida Hospitals Suspending Elective Surgeries and Putting Beds In Conference Rooms, Auditorium and a Cafeteria
  • Yelp Announced It Is Adding COVID-19 Guidelines to Its Business Listings

US CDC: COVID Vax Doubled Protection for the Previously Infected

Unvaccinated people are more than twice as likely than the fully vaccinated to get reinfected with COVID-19, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, supporting the agency’s recommendation that people previously infected with COVID-19 get vaccinated for more protection.

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report counters the argument that people previously infected with the coronavirus don’t need the vaccine because natural immunity offers enough protection.

Important Note: Thedata were from May to June 2021, prior to reports of the Delta variant becoming the predominant strain in the U.S.

AAP: Pediatric COVID-19 cases up 84%

About 72,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending July 29, up 84 percent from the week prior, according to an August 4 report  from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  After declining in early summer, child cases have steadily increased in July.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”

US CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens

'Never Seen Anything Like It': Delta Is Making A Growing Number Of Kids Very Sick

A Yahoo News article opens with the following, “The number of very sick children admitted to Children's Hospital New Orleans with Covid-19 has exploded over the past two weeks — from zero to 20.”

"I've never seen anything like it," said Dr. Mark Kline, the hospital's physician-in-chief. "We are seeing children fall ill that we just simply didn't see in the first year of the pandemic, before the delta variant came along."

“Despite the dramatic increase in cases, Laham and other pediatric infectious disease experts nationwide tell NBC News that there is no hard evidence yet that the delta variant has transformed the virus into something more dangerous in kids.”

Coronavirus Booster Shots for the Immunocompromised Expected To Be Authorized Soon

A Washington Post article (subscription required) claims federal officials could act within days or weeks, according to federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not been announced.

Moderna Says Booster Likely Needed Before Winter

Moderna this week reported that its COVID-19 vaccine maintained 93 percent efficacy six months after the second dose but added that a booster shot will likely still be needed before the winter. the data was collected before the delta variant became prevalent in the United States. Read more from The Hill.

 

Should You Recommend a COVID Booster to Patients?

In this MedPage Today opinion piece, internist and nephrologist Robert Colton, MD, reviews the current booster landscape and who should get a booster now.

Spoiler: people with cancer organ or stem cell transplants, HIV, severe primary immunodeficiencies,

asplenia, advanced chronic kidney disease, and conditions requiring immunosuppressive medications such as chemotherapy, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, certain biologics such as rituximab, and high-dose corticosteroids

 

Half of total US population fully vaccinated; 65+ Percent of Mainers

The White House reported Friday that half of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The seven-day average of newly vaccinated people is up 11% from last week and 44% over past two weeks. (Yahoo News)

*The percentage includes all ages, including those younger than 12 who are not yet eligible to get the vaccine. CDC data shows that 58.5 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

The State of Maine CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard shows 69.2 percent (819,000) of Mainers are fully vaccinated as of Thursday, August 5.

Poll Finds Most Unvaccinated Americans Believe Coronavirus Vaccine Poses Greater Health Risk Than the Disease

A Kaiser Family Foundation report released this week found that “unvaccinated adults, especially those who say they will “definitely not” get a vaccine, are much less worried about the coronavirus, the Delta variant, and have less confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines compared to those who are vaccinated.”

Also revealing was, “more than half (including 75% of “definitely not”) say getting vaccinated is a bigger risk to their health than getting infected with coronavirus.”

Delta Variant Q&A with Associate Professor in Epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

David Dowdy, MD, PhD, of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains what Delta means for vaccine effectiveness, who should be most concerned, and the best way to protect yourself.

Northern Light, MaineHealth, University of Maine Mandate Vaccinations

Northern Light Health on Monday announced will require its staff members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves one of the vaccines.

·      With few exceptions, vaccination will be required within six weeks of full FDA approval, and will be a condition of employment.

·      About 20 percent of Northern Light employees were unvaccinated as of July 19.

On Tuesday, MaineHealth released a statement that they too will require employees to be vaccinated as condition of employment by October 1. The release stated  that “as of late July, 83.8 percent of all MaineHealth care team members were fully vaccinated.”

The only exceptions for hospital employees and University students will be medical and religious exemptions in compliance with federal law.

The University of Maine System will require COVID-19 vaccination of all students engaged in an on-campus experience this fall. According to the UMaine website, “all members of the UMaine and UMaine Machias communities, including incoming new employees and undergraduate, transfer and graduate students, should upload their vaccination information via our secure campus portal. University leaders also indicated that discussions are underway with labor leaders for a similar policy for university faculty and staff.”

While Maine is instituting a verification process, a Washington Post article reveals Some colleges and universities are recommending vaccines for students, but not keeping track.

National Mandate News:

US To Require Foreign Travelers to Be Vaccinated When Restrictions Lift (The Hill)

The California Department of Public Health issued an order on Thursday mandating workers in health care settings be fully inoculated or receive their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 30.

United Airlines Mandates Covid-19 Vaccines for All US Employees (CNN)

The California Department of Public Health issued an order on Thursday mandating workers in health care settings be fully inoculated or receive their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 30.

United Airlines Mandates Covid-19 Vaccines for All US Employees (CNN)

Are Vaccine Mandates Legal? Maine Labor Attorney Says Yes

In a WMTW-TV interview, Maine labor attorney Peter Lowe, who represents many Maine companies and municipalities says yes.

·      Employers do have to provide accommodations for employees with bona fide medical restrictions and those with genuine religious objections.

·      The mandates are on solid legal ground and judges in two states have already shot down arguments.

 

Houston-Area Hospitals Suspend Elective Surgeries as Delta Variant Rages, Hospitalizations Increase (Houston Chronicle)

·      The State of Texas reported 8,522 patients hospitalized for COVID on this week — a 46 percent increase over the week before, and more than four times as many as a month before.

·      At Texas Medical Center hospitals, 336 patients were admitted for COVID-19.

·      COVID-19 patients currently occupy about a quarter of the Texas Medical Center’s ICU beds.

·      The hospital has 1,330 ICU beds.

·      The hospital’s CEO was quoted as saying, ““If unvaccinated people could know what medical people see every day,” he said, “they’d surely be vaccinated.”

Florida Hospitals Suspending Elective Surgeries and Putting Beds In Conference Rooms, Auditorium and a Cafeteria (Associated Press)

·      Florida is averaging nearly 18,000 newly confirmed infections per day, up from fewer than 2,000 a month ago.

·      Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi alone account for more than 40% of all hospitalizations in the country.

·      Mississippi had just six open intensive care beds in the entire state.

·      Georgia medical centers are also turning people away.

·      The vast majority of those now hospitalized are unvaccinated.

Yelp Announced It Is Adding COVID-19 Guidelines to Its Business Listings

The platform said in a blog post that users will be allowed to filter businesses based on whether they require proof of vaccination and whether staff are fully vaccinated.

 

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