COVID

fitness

24 Hour Fitness wants California to ease COVID restrictions

24 Hour Fitness Chief Operating Officer Karl Sanft gave state and local officials a guided tour of the chain’s downtown Sacramento location Wednesday, highlighting the facility’s COVID-19 provisions while asking policymakers to consider easing capacity restrictions.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg asked questions of Sanft and his staff as they made their way through the 48,000-square-foot facility, which is next to Golden 1 Center in the Downtown Commons. City Council members Angelique Ashby and Eric Guerra, Assemblyman Jim Cooper and Danielle Stumpf from the California Department of Health and Human Services also participated in the tour.

“It’s more important than ever to take care of your physical health and your mental health,” Steinberg said. “I’ve said oftentimes over the past seven or eight months that COVID-19 is the pandemic, but mental health and mental illness might be the epidemic because this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for people.”

Sanft said 24 Hour Fitness is adapting after its industry and so many others were decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. He noted the company has closed more than 140 gyms since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is June, including the Carmichael location on Arden Way.

“The impact to the business has been tragic,” Sanft said. “… The impact on our team members and members alike has been nothing short of tragic.”

Sanft said protocols put in place at 24 Hour Fitness locations have been effective. He pointed to the fitness center’s touchless check-in system, social distancing measures and safety-first approach to reopening amid the pandemic. General manager Tony Cigliutti said staff and members undergo temperature checks and health screenings before entering the facility. Masks are required at all times and areas including the swimming pool, steam room and sauna are closed.

The downtown location is currently limited to a capacity of 102 members under red-tier restrictions, 10% of the building’s normal capacity. Sanft is asking state and local leaders to increase that number to 25%, saying the building is big enough to safely accommodate 250 members while maintaining proper social distancing.

“We believe that we can operate at higher levels of occupancy,” Sanft said. “Our request, candidly, is 25%” within the red tier.

24 Hour Fitness provided data showing nearly 9.5 million people have checked in at 24 Hour Fitness locations across the country since the pandemic began in March. From June 12 to Oct. 15, 44 employees and 38 members of 24 Hour Fitness tested positive for COVID-19, but none of those cases were contracted at 24 Hour Fitness facilities, the company said.

“What’s really interesting about the fitness industry is, unlike many other businesses, everybody checks in,” Sanft said. “So it’s really simple for us to not only know who was here, but know who was here at the same time.

“Contact tracing is very easy for us to do. Across the clubs that we operate in the 13 states where we do business, we have yet to have a COVID case be traced back to one of our clubs, so

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health

City reports 84 COVID cases; 2 deaths

The City of Midland Health Department is currently conducting their investigation on 84 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Midland County bringing the overall case count to 5,378.

The City of Midland Health Department is currently conducting their investigation on 84 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Midland County bringing the overall case count to 5,378.

Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The City of Midland Health Department is currently conducting their investigation on 84 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Midland County bringing the overall case count to 5,378. Today’s new cases are reflective of lab results from the rest of 10/25 and partial 10/26. There are 1,328 isolated cases, 2,983 recovered, 711 under investigation, 262 unable to locate/refused and 94 COVID-19 related deaths in Midland County.

The City of Midland Health Department will continue to monitor the individuals in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, Midland County, the City of Midland and Midland Health confirmed Midland County’s 93rd and 94th COVID-19 related death.


The 93rd patient, a female in her 80s with underlying health conditions, was being treated at Manor Park. The patient passed away on October 27, 2020.

The 94th patient, a female in her 70s with underlying health conditions, was being treated at Manor Park. The patient passed away on October 28, 2020.

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health

COVID Rising in Southwest Va.; Health System Issues Warning | Virginia News

By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Southwest Virginia is seeing a sustained, troubling increase in cases of COVID-19 driven partly by small family gatherings, the governor and top health officials said Wednesday, as one area health system issued a stark warning that its resources were being stretched thin.

“To be quite frank, today our region is in a really bad place in this pandemic,” said Jamie Swift, the chief infection prevention officer for Ballad Health, which serves southwest Virginia, as well as adjacent parts of Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Gov. Ralph Northam said at a news conference in Richmond that Virginia overall is among just a handful of U.S. states not reporting large increases in COVID-19 cases. But the seven-day testing percent positivity rate in the region’s westernmost localities is about twice the rate of the rest of the state’s 5.1 % and has been increasing for 15 days, Northam said.

“I strongly urge everyone in the southwest — look at these numbers and step up your precautions,” Northam said.

The governor said there were no immediate plans to introduce new regional restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, but he said such a move was a possibility if the numbers keep trending up.

Northam and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Daniel Carey said gatherings of extended family members not living in the same household were contributing to the spread. Virginia has so far reported nearly 177,000 cases of COVID-19 and just over 3,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to health department data.

Dr. Karen Shelton, the director of a health department district that includes much of southwest Virginia, wrote in an email that other factors contributing to what she called a “surge” in cases included: outbreaks at churches, inconsistent mask wearing, in-person schooling, social gatherings of friends and coworkers, and relatively fewer people telecommuting due to less broadband access.

Shelton also said a surge in cases in neighboring Tennessee was contributing.

“Tennessee has fewer regulations and has had events, social gatherings, and sports. Friday night football has continued with fans gathering closely in stands without masks,” she wrote.

Swift, Ballad’s infection prevention officer, said at a news conference that it was “past time” for the area to change its behaviors.

The health system said it had seen a 43% increase in the cases across its region over the past week, 88.5% of its ICU beds were full, and it had 181 team members in quarantine or isolation.

“At this rate, we’re only going to be able to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Ballad’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton.

Dane Poe, the administrator of Lee County, located in the furthest southwest tip of Virginia, said the county has been lucky so far to not have more than a few dozen cases requiring hospitalization. The county’s only hospital closed in 2013.

Still, having to be prepared for the additional hospital trips has further strained the six already-strapped volunteer agencies in the

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health

Predictions of more suicides, overdoses and domestic abuse during COVID are coming true

Nine months later, those grim predictions look like they’re coming true.

“There is a mental health wave to this pandemic,” Dr. Ken Duckworth, chief medical officer of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, told ABC News. “We as a species don’t do well with uncertainty.”

The pandemic, for many Americans, has exacerbated already-stressful scenarios — deaths of loved ones, illnesses, loss of income — according to psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe.

Additionally, stay-at-home orders and school closures — important actions to prevent virus spread — created downstream consequences such as social isolation, eroding support networks and additional financial strain.

All of these factors are contributing to more suicides, overdoses and violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And specialists warn that this mental health pandemic within the virus pandemic also will disproportionately affect Blacks, Hispanics, the elderly, people of lower socioeconomic status of all races, and health care workers.

PHOTO: A teenager spends another day on the family couch, staying indoors in extended isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, April 25, 2020.

A teenager spends another day on the family couch, staying indoors in extended isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, April 25, 2020.

Many of these accelerating public health crises already were worsening before COVID-19.

In 2018, the U.S had the highest age-adjusted suicide rates since 1941. By June, a CDC survey of 5,470 US adults found that one-third reported anxiety or depression symptoms. About 10% said they had considered suicide during the last month, and the rate of suicidal thoughts was highest among unpaid caregivers, essential workers, Hispanic or Black respondents and young adults.

People age 18 to 25 may be the most affected group, Duckworth explained.

“We need to take a look at the age impact,” Duckworth added. “In the age where identity is developed, young adults are missing college.”

The opioid epidemic, previously considered the greatest public health threat in the U.S., also has worsened since the virus outbreak. After overdose deaths briefly plateaued in 2017 — stricter regulations of prescription drugs were enacted — deaths began creeping upward again because of illegal synthetic substitutes like fentanyl.

“We were making some improvement in terms of treatment options for opioid addiction prior to the pandemic,” Dr. Harshal Kirane, medical director of Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research, told ABC news. “However, there were still major treatment gaps that have worsened now that we have a superimposed pandemic.”

More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related deaths since then pandemic struck, according to the American Medical Association.

Overdoses — both fatal and non-fatal — have increased 20% compared with the same time period in

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health

HHS Loosens Restrictions on COVID Relief Fund Spending

Responding to the concerns of physician and hospital associations and some members of Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has backed off from recent reporting requirements for groups that have received payments from the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), a $175 billion fund established by the CARES Act. However, it’s unclear whether HHS’ new approach will satisfy healthcare providers.

In an October 22 policy statement and guidance that significantly revised the content of guidance released on September 19, HHS explained that it had imposed the reporting requirements to prevent PRF payments from making some providers more profitable in 2020 than they were before the coronavirus pandemic.

HHS’ September guidance “has generated significant attention and opposition from many stakeholders and members of Congress,” the department said. “There is consensus among stakeholders and members of Congress who have reached out to HHS that the PRF should allow a provider to apply PRF payments against all lost revenues without limitation.”

The American Group Medical Association (AMGA) sent HHS a letter on October 21, the day before the policy change, in which it explained what’s at stake. Earlier guidance from the department, AMGA noted, had indicated that the providers could calculate COVID-related lost revenues by using “any reasonable method.” That included basing the calculation on the difference between budgeted and actual revenue in 2020.

The September guidance document, in contrast, said that providers had to calculate their lost revenues by computing the negative change in their net operating income from 2019 to 2020.

“Earlier guidance allowed our members to use ‘any reasonable method’ to determine their expenses and losses due to COVID-19,” the letter said. “Now, HHS is changing that calculation to one that will not capture the extent of their losses. AMGA members are still facing severe financial headwinds as they continue to deal with new COVID outbreaks and a difficult economic outlook. Changing the rules in the middle of this pandemic just adds to our members’ existing burdens. HHS should reinstate the earlier standard.”

The October update of the guidance, however, does not do that. Instead, HHS said, “Recipients may apply PRF payments toward lost revenue, up to the amount of the difference between their 2019 and 2020 actual patient care revenue.”

AMGA spokesman Matt Clark told Medscape Medical News that because AMGA members had not yet been asked for their reaction to the new policy, the association could not comment on it.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), which agreed with AMGA’s objections, also had no substantive comment. “This latest update is definitely welcome, but it’s complicated, and we have to analyze it to determine whether it meets our concerns or whether it still needs improvement,” said Mollie Gelburd, associate director of government affairs for MGMA, in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

Getting Down to Nuts and Bolts

Under both sets of reporting requirements, physician practices that received more than $10,000 in PRF payments must report their healthcare-related expenses attributable to the coronavirus that haven’t been reimbursed by

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health

White House admits report that listed ‘ending’ COVID pandemic as Trump accomplishment was ‘poorly worded’

The White House acknowledged on Wednesday that a report touting the “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of the Trump administration’s accomplishments was “poorly worded.”

“I think that was poorly worded,” White House communications director Alyssa Farah said on Fox News. “The intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus.”

On Tuesday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a 62-page report outlining what it called “highlights” in “Advancing America’s Global Leadership in Science & Technology” over the past four years. The “ending of the COVID-19 pandemic” was among them. 

The pandemic has not ended. 

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses thousands of supporters during a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport October 27, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President Trump at a campaign rally in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump has repeatedly sought to downplay the seriousness of the virus while defending his handling of the pandemic. In the most recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 62 percent of Americans identified “managing COVID” as a “major failure” of the administration. Exactly half that number listed it as a “major accomplishment.”

As cases continue to surge in the Upper Midwest, including states Trump is expected to win easily, the president has complained that the media is too focused on covering the outbreak rather than his accomplishments.

“Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media,” he tweeted Wednesday. “They will talk about nothing else until November 4th, when the Election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”

More than 226,000 Americans have died of complications related to COVID-19, and more than 8.6 million have been infected since the outbreak began.

And health officials in several states, including Idaho, Texas and Utah, are reporting that hospitals are at or above capacity.

Trump has also falsely said the United States is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus. Last week the country set a new daily record for coronavirus cases, with 83,757 on Oct. 23.

On Fox, Farah tried to explain the president’s statement.

“We’re still in the midst of the pandemic,” she said. “We’re turning the corner, and what we mean by that is, we’re rushing therapeutics, we’re in the best place to treat the virus that we’ve ever been in.”

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health

WH communications director Farah says science office’s COVID statement was ‘poorly worded’

White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah clarified a White House statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic on “America’s Newsroom.”

The White House’s science policy office was criticized for listing “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” as one of President Trump’s accomplishments in a press release, which Farah said was “poorly worded.”

“Cases are still rising and we need the American public to remain vigilant,” she said. “This is the top priority of the president, defeating this virus and rebuilding our economy. But we are rounding the corner because we think that we will have a vaccine by the end of the year, and because of the president’s leadership, we expect that we’ll be able to massively deploy that on a large scale to as many as 100 million Americans by the end of the year.”

TRUMP INSISTS US ‘ROUNDING THE TURN’ ON CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AT NEW HAMPSHIRE RALLY

The Office of Science and Technology Policy statement read: “From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Administration has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

As of Wednesday morning, the U.S. had reported more than 8,779,655 coronavirus cases and at least 226,722 deaths, as several areas of the country struggle to contain surging cases.

“Does the White House — the president — believe the virus has been defeated?” host Sandra Smith asked.

TRUMP, BIDEN CLASH OVER CORONAVIRUS REOPENING PLANS

“No, absolutely not,” Farah replied. “That was poorly worded. I think that the intent was to say that it is our goal to end the virus.”

She pointed to Trump’s leadership amid the pandemic, saying there will be more positive announcements coming soon from the White House.

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“We are rushing therapeutics. … We’ve got remdesivir on the market that people are able to use. We’ve got monoclonal antibodies. We’ve got steroids that are able to be used to treat the most vulnerable. We have massive testing and the ability to isolate cases,” Farah concluded. “We are in the best position to date to treat the virus than we have been at any time.”

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health

Swiss take ‘middle path’ in curbs to slow COVID without crippling economy

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland on Wednesday ordered dance clubs closed and added new mask requirements while leaving the nation largely open for business as it tries to contain surging COVID-19 cases without resorting to a stricter, economy-crippling lockdown.

The government in Bern ordered in-person college classes halted from Monday, placed new limits on sporting and leisure activities, and ordered masks worn in packed offices, secondary schools and even outdoors if people cannot keep their distance.

Switzerland, which in June appeared to have COVID-19 contained as daily cases dwindled to just a handful, saw new infections soar to 8,616 on Wednesday – roughly 0.1% of the population in a single day.

Even so, the government stopped short of shutting retail business, restaurants and other key segments of the economy in hopes that more-limited measures will be enough.

“We have to work with a scalpel and make very precise cuts,” Health Minister Alain Berset told reporters in Bern. “If it’s not possible to get the virus under control, then other measures are possible. But we’re trying to take a middle path.”

In some regions, hospitals and intensive care units are filling up, with doctors warning the health care system could be stretched to breaking point within 10 days.

To help avoid such a scenario, public gatherings will be limited to 50 people or less, and sporting and cultural activities with more than 15 people will be banned.

Bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m., while private family gatherings will be capped at 10 people.

The country plans to deploy up to 80,000 COVID-19 tests daily – 50,000 rapid antigen tests and 30,000 of the more accurate molecular tests – to expand screening capacity stretched by rising cases.

As domestic infection rates now exceed much of Europe, the Swiss also eased quarantine requirements for incoming travellers, with only areas abroad with rates 60% higher than Switzerland affected.

Officials were seeking to minimize impacts with the package, which includes numerous exceptions including for children under 16.

“We don’t have any time to lose,” President Simonetta Sommaruga said. “The damage to the economy would be greater if we were to do nothing now.”

The new measures are indefinite.

The country will refrain for now from expanding measures to support business after concluding existing programmes are sufficient to soften the pandemic’s blow, the government said.

(Reporting by John Miller, John Revill and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by Michael Shields and Nick Macfie)

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health

Melania Trump talks Covid diagnosis in solo campaign event

Melania Trump made her first solo appearance of the campaign Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where she touted her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign before charging that Joe Biden would “destroy America” as president.

The first lady opened her remarks, which came as her husband has been trying to woo back suburban women, by referring to her family’s battle with the coronavirus this month.

“We are all feeling so much better now thanks to healthy living and some of the amazing therapeutic options available in our country — thank you again for your well wishes!” she told group of about 200 mostly masked supporters in a barn in Atglen.

The rally Tuesday was the first lady’s first in more than a year. She was supposed to make a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania last week but it was postponed because of a “lingering cough” from the virus that also infected her husband and their son Barron.

Mrs. Trump offered a much softer message on the virus than the president, who has dismissed its threat at recent campaign appearances, repeatedly insisting that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.

“I know there are many people who have lost loved ones or know people who have been forever impacted by this silent enemy — my family’s thoughts and prayers are with all of you through this difficult time,” she said, calling for unity in combatting the virus.

“I believe in our incredible doctors, nurses, medical professionals and scientists,” Mrs. Trump said. She also urged Americans to “remember to follow CDC guidelines so that together we can minimize the spread of the virus until a vaccine can be developed” — even though her husband has routinely flouted those guidelines with his campaign rallies and fundraisers.

Trump also praised her husband’s tweeting — but not his tweets.

“For the first time in history, the citizens of this country get to hear directly and instantly from their president every single day through social media. I don’t always agree the way he says things, but it is important to him that he speaks directly to the people he serves,” Trump said.

She also promoted her “Be Best” anti-cyberbullying initiative and the “language of love” before taking a page from her husband’s playbook and ripping Biden’s “socialist” policies, the media’s focus on “idle gossip,” and Democrats’ “sham impeachment.”

“Joe Biden’s policies and socialist agenda will only serve to destroy America and all that has been built in the past four years. We must keep Donald in the White House so he can finish what he’s started and our country can continue to flourish,” she said.

Mrs. Trump told the crowd it’s been “the greatest honor and privilege to serve as first lady of this amazing country,” and urged them “to get out and vote on Nov. 3.”

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fitness

Nanyang CC’s Anytime Fitness added to list of COVID venues

SINGAPORE —A gym at a community club – visited on six separate occasions – and a Kopitiam outlet at the Changi Airport were among the additions made by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (28 October) to a list of places visited by community cases while infectious.

The Nanyang Community Club’s Anytime Fitness gym – located at 60 Jurong West Street 91 – was visited on 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, and 20 October from 12.35pm to 2.20pm, 10.25pm to 12.25am, 3.10pm to 4.25pm, 9.25pm to 10.20pm, 3.30pm to 5.05pm and 4pm to 5.25pm, respectively.

The gym is opened 24 hours to its members, according to its website.

Changi Airport Terminal 3’s Kopitiam outlet was visited on 22 October from 7.05am to 7.55am.

Other places added to the list are Our Tampines Hub’s Rumah Makan Minang restaurant, visited on 17 October from 5.50pm to 6.35pm, and Ice Cream Chefs at 12 Jalan Kuras, visited on the same day from 8.50pm to 9.45pm.

Those who had been identified as close contacts of confirmed cases would already have been notified, said the MOH.

As a precautionary measure, visitors who had been at these locations during the specified timings should monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit, it added.

They should see a doctor if they develop symptoms of acute respiratory infection – such as cough, sore throat and runny nose – as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

Individuals may access the SafeEntry Location Matching Self-Check service via the TraceTogether App, SingPass Mobile, or at wereyouthere.safeentry.gov.sg to check whether they were at these locations during the specified timings, based on their own SafeEntry records.

“There is no need to avoid places where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been. The National Environment Agency will engage the management of affected premises to provide guidance on cleaning and disinfection,” the ministry added.

The list of visited public venues excludes residence, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport and will be updated on a rolling 14-days basis, or one incubation period, and as epidemiological investigations progress.

On the same day, the MOH confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country’s total to 57,987.

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