November 30, 2020
Florida is privatizing state-run COVID testing sites

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Florida is privatizing state-run COVID testing sites

| 9/8/2020

Florida is privatizing state-run COVID testing sites

Less than two months after state-run COVID testing sites were overwhelmed with demand amid a surge in new infections, Florida officials are turning to a single private vendor to reduce operating costs for the sites, beginning with a Broward County site at the busiest intersection in Pembroke Pines. The state will consolidate vendors for nurses, equipment and lab work at the testing site at C.B. Smith Park, according to Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida's nursing homes are officially open to visitors. Now what?

As Florida families have discovered, the end of Florida’s six-month lockdown of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes isn’t immediate or simple. Even with an 11-page clarification from the state Division of Emergency Management, each of the state’s several thousand facilities will have to develop its own policies and procedures. And there are still important questions unanswered. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

See also:
» State sends millions of masks, gloves, gowns to Florida nursing homes ahead of reopenings
» South Florida nursing home operators say new COVID testing rules are ‘impossible’ to meet

Flu season is expected to come fast and strong this year. Here’s what you need to know.

If there’s any indication of what flu season will be like during the pandemic take note: CVS has ordered double flu vaccinations than last year, about 18 million. South Florida’s pharmacists and doctors are encouraging vaccination earlier this year, pushing for September and October rather than November or later. “We are expecting an active flu season, with the possibility that some people could get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time,” said Paula Eckardt, medical director of the infectious disease program at Memorial Healthcare System. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida nurses group warns of school nurse shortages as lawmakers push for in-person learning

As more kids return to the classroom this week, more lawmakers on Capitol Hill are advocating for in-person learning. But school nurses say they are concerned there aren’t enough medical professionals in the schools. Florida Nurses Association Executive Director Willa Fuller warned that in-person learning is making kids “basically, be an experiment.” Fuller said health professionals should be monitoring and advising students and teachers. [Source: WWLP]

Florida’s top healthcare administrator leaves to join hospital lobbying group

The secretary for Florida’s health agency, one of the point people for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ coronavirus response, is leaving the post to lead one of the state’s healthcare lobbying groups. Mary Mayhew, secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, is leaving to become CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, a lobbying group that represents most of the state’s hospitals, DeSantis announced Friday. Her last day will be Oct. 4. A search is starting for a successor. More from the Miami Herald and Health News Florida.


› Medical exam delays keep graduates in limbo
Medical students have confronted uncertainty because of delays in their licensing exams, which are needed before they can become residents at hospitals. The United States Medical Licensing Examination temporarily suspended its exams in late March after the private company administering them, Prometric, shut down in-person testing sites. Some medical students said they learned of the postponements from Prometric less than 48 hours before their tests.

› COVID-19 mental health crisis: How Northeast Florida providers plan to keep up with growing need for help
America is facing a mental health crisis. It’s not an exaggeration, it’s a data-driven fact. A new CDC survey done during the coronavirus pandemic shows overall depression, serious consideration of suicide and increased use of substance abuse are about three times the rate that researchers found in the last quarter of 2019. Three times higher. These trends are closely in line with the COVID-19 mental health crisis that’s happening in Northeast Florida, which is why one organization is stepping up to help the growing need for care.

› Health alerts issued across South Florida as cases of West Nile Virus spread
All three South Florida counties are under health alerts after more cases emerged of West Nile Virus, a disease spread to humans by mosquitoes and concern that symptoms of the disease are similar to those of COVID-19. The latest alert from Miami-Dade County was issued after officials confirmed five new cases of West Nile Virus due to local transmission Thursday.

› Should a decades-old lice medication be used to treat COVID-19? Some Florida doctors think so
Several South Florida doctors are using an anti-parasitic drug for lice and pinworms to treat COVID-19 patients. The drug has not been given the green light to treat the novel coronavirus, although trials are underway, and the National Institutes of Health recommends against using it that way.

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