Florida grapples with COVID-19's deadliest phase yet
Florida is in the grip of its deadliest wave of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a disaster driven by the highly contagious delta variant. While Florida's vaccination rate is slightly higher than the national average, the Sunshine State has an outsize population of elderly people, who are especially vulnerable to the virus; a vibrant party scene; and a Republican governor who has taken a hard line against mask requirements, vaccine passports and business shutdowns. [Source: AP]
Staffing shortages put increased strain on Florida hospitals
According to the latest data, hospitalizations in Florida from COVID-19 have been hovering around 16,000 patients for the past week. That number is down from a high of 17,000 the previous week. But it's not offering much of a break for a majority of Florida hospitals that report experiencing a critical staffing shortage. [Source: WUSF]
Rules changed on updates for Medicaid managed care plans
Florida Medicaid managed care plans and managed dental plans soon won’t be required to send twice-a-month updates to health care providers who have filed complaints against them. The written updates provide information about the status of complaints. State Medicaid director Tom Wallace sent a memo last week to managed care and managed dental plans announcing that, effective Nov. 29, they will be required to provide the updates every 30 days, with the first notices due 30 days after complaints are received. [Source: ews Service of Florida]
UCF students use new life-like holograms in healthcare studies
It's like something out of a sci-fi movie. Students at the University of Central Florida are using holograms — that's right, 3-D projections of actual live people— to further their studies in the medical field. The futuristic technology, created by PORTL Inc. and known as "Dr. Hologram," allows students to have very "true-to-life" interaction in order to practice more humanistic care, according to Bari Hoffman, associate dean of clinical affairs for the College of Health Professions and Sciences, who spearheaded the project. [Source: WTSP]
While Gov. Ron DeSantis said people shouldn’t “read too much into” the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to block a Texas law that bans almost all abortions, Republican legislative leaders indicated Thursday they will determine if Florida can enact similar restrictions. Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, called the Texas law “a new approach,” with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling “encouraging.” [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› A Florida doctor said she'd stop treating most unvaccinated patients in person but denied violating the Hippocratic Oath [Newsweek ]
A doctor in Florida said she is no longer treating unvaccinated patients in person amid climbing COVID-19 cases in the state. Dr. Linda Marraccini, who is based in South Miami, told Newsweek in an interview Saturday that she believes the policy is in the best interest of her patients and that it follows science—thereby not violating the Hippocratic Oath.
› Experts: Increasing number of pediatric COVID patients is cause for concern [News Service of Florida]
As Florida schools opened their doors to students - some maskless - the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased more than tenfold. At a news conference Thursday, University of South Florida College of Public Health professor Jason Salemi said an average of six children were hospitalized each day with COVID-19 in early June. But during the last week of August, that increased to an average of 66 children.
› Orlando OB-GYN battles misinformation about vaccines, pregnancy and COVID-19 [WMFE]
AdventHealth Orlando announced this week they were moving from ‘Black Status’ to ‘Red Status ‘ and allowing additional surgical procedures that had been put on hold to go ahead. But there are still a lot of patients with COVID-19 in hospital and fighting for their lives. Dr. Rachel Humphrey, AdventHealth Orlando’s director of high risk pregnancy care, says pregnant women are among those patients, and many of them are unvaccinated.
› Hillsborough County could get $60 million in opioid settlement [WUSF]
Hillsborough County is one of more than 3,500 state and local governments from around the country that filed a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies. The county joined thousands of other governments in a lawsuit against 14 drug companies accused of causing the opioid crisis by downplaying their additive qualities. These include Johnson & Johnson, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen.