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September 15, 2022

Around the nation: CDC issues health alert over a rise in pediatric hospitalizations linked to EV-D68

Daily Briefing

    CDC on Friday issued a health alert warning providers about a rise in hospitalizations linked to enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Louisiana, Georgia, and Minnesota.

    • California/Louisiana: Sutter Health and Ochsner Health on Tuesday announced that Ochsner Health's CEO Warner Thomas will leave the health system to serve as Sutter Health's CEO, effective Dec. 1. Thomas will succeed Sutter Health's interim CEO James Conforti, who stepped into the role after former Sutter Health CEO Sarah Krevans retired in January. Ochsner Health's board appointed CFO Pete November as Thomas' successor, effective Nov. 1. "As the first external CEO of this organization in more than 40 years, Warner brings a fresh perspective, strategic vision and an exceptional ability to navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape," said Sutter Health board chair Gubby Barlow. (Kacik, Modern Healthcare, 9/13)
    • Georgia: CDC on Friday issued a Health Alert Network advisory warning providers about a rise in hospitalizations linked to EV-D68—a virus that typically causes colds, but can lead to a form of progressive paralysis, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). According to CDC, between April and August, there was a significant increase in EV-D68 cases among children tested at facilities in the New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN). The number of cases reported at NVSN facilities between July and August 2022 was higher than those reported in 2021, 2020, and 2019. Pediatric infectious disease physicians are encouraging pediatricians and clinicians at EDs and urgent care centers, and parents, to watch for early symptoms of AFM. "EV-D68 is back this year and circulating in the U.S.," said Kevin Messacar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Children's Hospital Colorado, who warned that previous increases of the enterovirus preceded spikes in AFM. "So we want providers, first-line health care workers, pediatricians, ER docs to be on the lookout for cases of patients presenting with weakness, knowing that this is circulating, so that those cases can be diagnosed quickly and managed appropriately." (D'Ambrosio, MedPage Today, 9/10; Joseph/Branswell, STAT, 9/12; CIDRAP News, 9/9)
    • Minnesota: Roughly 15,000 nurses on Monday walked out of seven health systems in the Minneapolis and Duluth areas on a three-day strike, marking the largest strike ever by private-sector nurses. According to the nurses, who are asking for salary increases, higher pay will help improve patient care and ease understaffing issues that worsened during the pandemic. Tracey Dittrich, who has served as an RN at one of the hospitals for almost 24 years, said nurses are tired of "hospital administrators and managers that are telling us to do more." According to Dittrich, the hospitals should increase nurse pay and hire more nurses and support staff. "There are shifts where you have three critically ill patients, and you have to decide which patient gets the care, when," Dittrich said. "I work with people all the time that go home every day and feel horrible because one child had to wait longer for medication, or another child needed to wait longer for an IV. Another child maybe had to wait for a breathing treatment because we just couldn't get to them all fast enough." (Ahmed/Ehlke, Associated Press, 9/13)

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