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  • 02/11/2022 3:58 PM | Anonymous

    The CDC published new data  on Friday, February 10th,  showing that COVID booster shots lose protection effectiveness  after about four months.  This increases the probability that Americans with high risk complications may need a forth shot.  The data was evidence of the mRNA shots’ waning power against moderate to severe illness.  Similar research from Israel and Britain showed that protection from booster doses declines within a few months. 

    The analysis did not include a breakdown by age and focused on people who sought medical care for symptoms of COVID.

    Read more at The New York Times

    Get COVID updates and tracking numbers at The New York Times


  • 02/06/2022 2:59 PM | Anonymous

    The New York Times reports that many health experts are 
    noting worsening physical conditioning and mobility among older adults as a result of COVID-19 changing their regular physical activity. Those who had mild COVID infections, as well as those who avoided infection, maybe suffering functional declines. A University of Michigan survey of some 2,000 Americans, aged 50 to 80 in early 2021, found that 40 percent of those over 65 reported reduced physical activity and less time spent on their feet since March 2020, the start of the pandemic.  This representative national sample indicated worsened physical conditioning and mobility among older Americans.

    Pandemic related restrictions may have led to the decline. Gyms, yoga studios, pools, adult day programs, community and senior centers all close for extended periods; and older people  undertook fewer ordinary chores and errands and may have skipped recreational pastimes.  

    Read more at The New York Times


  • 02/04/2022 11:05 AM | Anonymous

    Medicare will start paying for home Covid-19 tests beginning this spring. Last month, the Biden administration began requiring health insurers to cover the cost of home tests.Some 36 million senior citizens and Americans with disabilities in the traditional Medicare program will be able to get reimbursed for tests purchased at participating pharmacies and retailers. .

    Read more here at CNN.

  • 02/03/2022 4:24 PM | Anonymous

    The requirements of international entry for US travelers are confusing and change regularly.  You don't have to only worry about getting into your destination, but you have to worry about securing a negative PCR test to get back into the US.  Many travel experts are recommending that international travelers wear a well-fitting mask (N95 or KN95) in public areas and take extras with you, take a coronavirus test before you go, know the rate of infection and vaccination at your destination, and take a couple of rapid tests to use if you feel sick while traveling.  Check multiple sources to get the best list of requirements in addition to the information provided by your airline or travel agent.  Take multiple copies of every document in case you have to submit one, you will have other copies.

    Read more at the Washington Post

  • 12/23/2021 3:31 PM | Anonymous

    If you are like most of us you are nervous about traveling to see family and friends over the holidays.  Or you find out that the small family Christmas dinner for 6 is now for 25 including long lost cousins.

    If you decide at the last minute to cancel your holiday travel reservations, here are some tips from the Washington Post.

    Read more at the Washington Post

  • 12/11/2021 9:44 PM | Anonymous

    In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, flu season has arrived in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza.

    COVID UPDATE The numbers are on the rise. As of December 7, the U.S. is seeing more than 120,000 cases a day, up 27% in the last two weeks. More than 55,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized across the country, up more than 15% over the last two weeks. The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against the coronavirus. If eligible, people who have been vaccinated should also get their booster dose.

    FLU SEASON According to the CDC, the number of flu cases is currently low across the country, but starting to rise. Most cases are being seen in children and young adults. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months or older get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are available at many different locations, including pharmacies and health departments. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a flu vaccine near you

    DO I HAVE THE FLU OR COVID? There are more similarities between the two illnesses than differences, including their symptoms, making it difficult to know which virus you have. If you become sick, experts recommend that you call the doctor with your symptoms and begin to quarantine. Also, it is possible to have both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time which could lead to more serious illnesses and even death. A test may be necessary to determine which virus is making you ill.

    Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

    • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue (tiredness)
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle pain or body aches
    • Headache
    • Vomiting and diarrhea
    • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19
       

    Those at highest risk for either illness include older adults, people with underlying medical conditions or women who are pregnant. Healthy children face a higher risk for complications from influenza. Infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both.

    Both COVID-19 and flu can result in serious complications, some of which include pneumonia, respiratory failure, fluid in the lungs, sepsis, heart attack or stroke, and multi-organ failure. Additional complications associated with COVID-19 can include blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain.

    WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD?

    • Stay home if you’re sick. 
    • Wear masks in crowded outdoor settings and for activities where people may not be vaccinated. Masks should be worn by people two years and older. Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.
    • Continue to social distance.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    Read more at www.redcross.org

  • 11/23/2021 12:55 PM | Anonymous

    Holiday traditions are important for families and children. And, all of us are anxious to get back to our family gatherings and holiday traditions. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated.

    Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays:

    • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
    • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
    • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
    • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
    • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.I
    • f you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
    • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

    If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

    Read more at the CDC

  • 10/29/2021 10:19 AM | Anonymous

    On October 28, 2021, Red Cross announced that it will implement a vaccine requirement for all employees, effective January 1, 2022. This requirement also applies to all volunteers who work in-person in Red Cross facilities and operations. Employees and volunteers will need to be fully vaccinated or have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31 to continue working in 2022. Red Cross will continue to have a medical and religious accommodation process for employees, but not offer testing as an alternative to vaccination, as this option would not be compliant with known federal, state and local regulations.

    Click to read the full announcement from Red Cross President Gail McGovern.


    10/28/2021

    Message from Gail: Red Cross Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

    The following message is from Gail McGovern, president and CEO:

    Throughout the pandemic, I have witnessed the dedication and strength of our American Red Cross workforce. We have continually been called on to do great things amid extraordinary circumstances, and we have answered that call without hesitation. I am grateful to each of you as we navigate this challenging time for our organization, our nation and the world.

    Over the past six months, the course of the pandemic has changed dramatically – from the proud COVID-19 vaccine selfies and unmasked early summer days to the unforeseen surge of COVID-19 cases bringing a return to masking and uncertainty just a couple months later.

    With the emergence of the delta variant, the pandemic landscape has evolved in its complexity. Federal, state and local vaccination mandates have been implemented as COVID-19 vaccination rates have stalled and hospitalizations increased. Many of these mandates already apply to our Red Cross employees and volunteers who are working to deliver our mission in these localities. More are on the horizon. In fact, at the Federal level, there is a mandate that any organization that has a covered federal contract must ensure that the workforce that carries out or supports those contracts is fully vaccinated. That mandate applies to the Red Cross.

    That’s why, today, I am announcing that the Red Cross will implement a vaccine requirement for all employees, effective January 1, 2022. Additionally, this requirement applies to all volunteers who work in-person in Red Cross facilities and operations. That means these employees and volunteers will need to be fully vaccinated or have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31 to continue working in 2022. While we will continue to have a medical and religious accommodation process for employees, we will not offer testing as an alternative to vaccination, as this option would make us non-compliant with known federal, state and local regulations.

    If a volunteer is entirely virtual and will never need to enter a Red Cross facility or operation, this vaccination requirement will not apply unless there is a need to enter a facility or operation in-person, or local, state or federal laws dictate otherwise.

    As you know, our employees and volunteers serve alongside one another each day as one team. And as one team of Red Crossers, we will take this next critical step to battle the ongoing pandemic. I understand that there are some Red Crossers who remain hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, we must adapt to the changing pandemic environment and comply with the federal, state, and local laws. I am confident that together we will meet these challenges head on – like the many hurdles we have surmounted during this devastating pandemic – and we will continue to deliver our mission for those who turn to us during their darkest moment. Our country needs a vibrant, healthy Red Cross.

    Tomorrow, we will send detailed information to all employees and volunteers about our new vaccination requirement. In the meantime, for those who have not yet received a vaccine, I sincerely encourage you to schedule your vaccine as soon as possible so that you are fully vaccinated by December 31.

    Thank you for your support and service to our beloved mission.

    With deepest appreciation,

    Gail


  • 10/07/2021 11:25 AM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 Vaccine booster shots are available for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months ago and are at least 65 years of age or living in a residential community.  Also, adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. Since that risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community, people aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available. 

    At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine may need a booster shot. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots are expected soon. With those data in hand, CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots.

    Read more at the CDC 

  • 09/21/2021 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Starting in November, the U.S. will open the country to fully vaccinated foreign visitors from 33 countries with proof of full vaccination and a negative coronovirus test within three days of their arrival date.  Many Americans have been seperated from family who are not U.S. citizens during the pandamic.  Unvaccinated Americans who wish to enter the U.S. will now be able to do so but will face strict testing requirements.  Unvaccinated foreigners will still be barred from entering the U.S. 

    The CDC will issue quidelines to airlines, which will include the collection of travelers'  phone numbers and addresses to facilitate contract-tracing.

    Read more at USAToday

    Read updates from the CDC




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