September 14, 2021

Around the nation: 13 gorillas test positive for the coronavirus at an Atlanta zoo

Daily Briefing

    Thirteen gorillas at an Atlanta zoo recently tested positive for the coronavirus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Minnesota.

    • District of Columbia: The Department of Education (DOE) on Friday announced that it opened an investigation into Florida over Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) ban on mask mandates. According to Axios, Florida's ban on mask mandates has gone back and forth in the state's courts in recent weeks, with different judges either rejecting or upholding the ban. Most recently, Florida's First District Court of Appeal granted an approval to uphold the ban, which also includes a policy of withholding funding from school districts with mandates. In addition to its investigation into Florida, the DOE is currently investigating five other states—Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah—over similar bans on mask mandates. (Garfinkel, Axios, 9/11)
    • Georgia: Zoo Atlanta last week announced that 13 of its western lowland gorillas had tested positive for the coronavirus and are now receiving treatment. The zoo tested 20 gorillas for Covid-19 after they displayed symptoms of the illness, such as coughing, runny noses, and minor changes in appetite, the Washington Post reports. Samples sent to the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory returned 13 presumptive positive tests, and zoo officials are currently waiting for the National Veterinary Services Laboratory to confirm these results. According to Axios, zoo officials believe the gorillas were infected by a fully vaccinated team member who had an asymptomatic infection. "The teams are very closely monitoring the affected gorillas and are hopeful they will make a complete recovery," Sam Rivera, Zoo Atlanta's senior director of animal health, said. "They are receiving the best possible care, and we are prepared to provide additional supportive care should it become necessary." (Saric, Axios, 9/12; Firozi, Washington Post, 9/12)
    • Minnesota: The University of Minnesota last week announced it launched a research center focused on protecting medical devices from cybersecurity threats. The Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity (CMDC) was established and funded by the university in partnership with Optum, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Abbott Laboratories. (Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group.) According to Becker's Hospital Review, the organizations created the center on the request of members of the medical device manufacturing industry. In its first year, CMDC plans to hold roundtables and a hackathon, organize networking and training opportunities, and create a medical device cybersecurity course for the fall and a medical device cybersecurity internship program for the summer. (Drees, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/9)

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