December 16, 2021

Around the nation: Covid-19 once again forces Cornell to shut down its campus

Daily Briefing

    Cornell University shut down its campus and moved to its highest alert level after officials detected signs of the omicron variant in positive student samples, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Missouri, and New York.

    • District of Columbia: The U.S. Air Force discharged 27 service members after they failed to comply with the Nov. 2 deadline for all active-duty airmen to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. According to an Air Force spokesperson, the discharged personnel first received counseling about the vaccines, but when they still refused, commanders discharged them for failing to comply with the Pentagon's vaccine rule. In general, service members will receive counseling and education before facing disciplinary actions, including discharge. "It remains [Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's] expectation that … the mandatory vaccine will be implemented in a … compassionate and thoughtful way," said Pentagon spokesperson, John Kirby. (Watson, CBS News, 12/14)
    • Missouri: Centene Corporation on Tuesday announced that CEO Michael Neidorff will retire next year amid a leadership transition and formal agreement with Politan Capital Management. Neidorff will remain executive chairman until the end of 2022, at which point Centene plans to have a new CEO in place. "I am confident our company is well positioned to ensure a smooth transition," Neidorff said. "With the value creation plan in place, the governance enhancements announced today, and our strong leadership team, I have never been more confident in the future success of this company." (Tepper, Modern Healthcare, 12/14)
    • New York: Cornell University this week moved to "alert level red" and began shutting down its campus amid rapidly spreading Covid-19 cases among its students. By Tuesday afternoon, there were 469 active cases of Covid-19 among students—and roughly 3% of student tests for Covid-19 were positive in the week of Dec. 6. In addition to moving all final exams online for the fall semester, the university has also closed school libraries and canceled all campus activities, including the Dec. 18 graduation ceremony for fall graduates. "While I want to provide reassurance that, to date, we have not seen severe illness in any of our infected students, we do have a role to play in reducing the spread of the disease in the broader community," said University President Martha Pollack. (Franklin, NPR, 12/14)

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