In what is considered to be the first reported case of natural transmission to great apes, several gorillas housed at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have fallen ill with the novel coronavirus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
- California: In what is considered to be the first reported case of natural transmission to great apes, several gorillas housed at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have fallen ill with the novel coronavirus, the Los Angeles Times reports. Officials confirmed infection among a few of the gorillas, and are presuming the entire troop is infected because they live together. As of Monday, Jan. 11, the entire troop is being monitored, and three gorillas are currently presenting with symptoms, which are being treated by veterinarians as they arise. According to zoo officials, the gorillas are thought to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic staff member, despite staff wearing personal protective equipment around the animals. The zoo—which plans to implement even stricter safety protocols—has been closed to the public since Dec. 6, 2020 (Wigglesworth/Wosen, Los Angeles Times, 1/11; Daly, National Geographic, 1/11).
- Illinois: Kim Keck, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), on Friday announced that BCBSA will no longer provide donations via its political action committee to congressional members who opposed the Electoral College count following the Capitol riots last week. "While a contrast of ideas, ideological differences and partisanship are all part of our politics, weakening our political system and eroding public confidence in it must never be," Keck said in a statement. "We will continue to support lawmakers and candidates in both political parties who will work with us to build a stronger, healthier nation" (Coleman, The Hill, 1/10).
- Massachusetts: UMass Memorial Healthcare and Harrington Healthcare System in late December 2020 filed paperwork for Harrington to become part of the UMass Memorial system. According to the two organizations, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission and the Massachusetts attorney general's office have to review the proposed deal, with the full regulatory review process expected to take roughly four months (Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/23/20).