June 29, 2022
5 crucial Florida COVID stories of 2021, and what's ahead in 2022

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5 crucial Florida COVID stories of 2021, and what's ahead in 2022

| 1/4/2022

5 crucial Florida COVID stories of 2021, and what’s ahead in 2022

The second year of the coronavirus pandemic began amid a winter wave. The first week of 2021 saw Florida hit 15,000 new cases per day, higher than any point previously in the pandemic. But there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon. The first COVID-19 vaccines started arriving in hospitals, pharmacies and vaccination centers across the state. Months later, that glimmer is no more. Public health experts said poor vaccine turnout, lax social distancing and masking plus two highly infectious variants led to more infections and deaths from COVID-19 in 2021 than in the year before. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

State urges appeals court to act on health worker shots

Saying it is among states that are “unshielded,” Florida is pressing a full federal appeals court to at least temporarily block a Biden administration rule that would require health-care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. David Costello, an assistant state solicitor general, filed a document late Wednesday afternoon at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal pointing to a new Biden administration directive about moving forward with the vaccination requirement. The directive would apply to Florida and other states that have not received preliminary injunctions against the requirement. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida researchers are looking for long-term health effects of toxic algae exposure

Florida researchers are working to determine the impact harmful algal blooms have on human health. The study is primarily focusing on Cape Coral, Stuart, and areas around Lake Okeechobee. It’s funded by the Florida Department of Health, which has granted nearly $320,000 this year. For the past three years, Florida Atlantic University scientists and partners have been studying levels of toxins in the blood, urine and nasal swabs of people who live or work near red tide and blue green algae blooms. [Source: Health News Florida]

A 'glowing tumor' drug helps surgeons detect ovarian cancer

A new drug can help detect ovarian cancer in patients that surgeons might otherwise miss. The FDA recently approved the use of Cytalux, an imaging dye that providers can inject in patients ahead of surgery. It targets ovarian cancer tissues and glows in fluorescent light to draw attention to hard-to-spot tumors. Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa participated in clinical trials for the drug and served as the central lab for the study. [Source: WUSF]

Lawmakers asked to wake up and look at anesthesia laws during upcoming Session

Health care provider groups want lawmakers to examine how anesthesia and other pain-numbing services are delivered to hospitalized Florida patients. Three different types of health care providers are authorized to administer anesthesia in Florida: anesthesiologist assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists. They all have different roles and educational and training backgrounds, but they all have their eyes on bills filed in the Florida House and Senate for consideration in the Legislative Session that begins Jan. 11, 2022. [Source: Florida Politics]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Staffing shortage amid COVID surge shuts down labor and delivery unit at Holy Cross Health
Staffing shortages at a South Florida hospital amid the surge in COVID-19 cases has forced the shutdown of an entire department there. The rise in infections also has local officials opening new testing sites in South Florida. In Broward County, Holy Cross Health joined a growing list of hospitals nationwide to be hit hard by the record-breaking number of coronavirus cases.

› Florida Health system hit with data breach on patients, staff
The Broward Health hospital system on Saturday said it suffered a data breach in October where a hacker accessed personal and medical information of patients and staff. A statement from the hospital said the intruder accessed names, birthdays, addresses, banking information, social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, patient histories and treatment and diagnosis records, among other information.

› Fried alleges Florida’s health department is holding back COVID tests set to expire
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried alleged Thursday that the state Department of Health is sitting on a “significant” number of stockpiled COVID-19 tests that are set to expire. The accusation, made in a tweet, came as Gov. Ron DeSantis faced increased criticism from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and others for the lack of any state-run testing sites or state assistance on locally run sites amid the omicron surge.

› Three people collapse waiting in line for COVID testing in Tampa
Officials say three people collapsed while waiting in line at a coranavirus testing site in Tampa on Friday morning. City spokeswoman Lauren Rozyla says authorities received three medical calls at the Al Lopez Park testing site. One person left before being treated, but Rozyla says two women in their 60s fainted while standing in line. She says both had a history of blood pressure issues.

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