A testing site in Los Angeles has reported its first known case of "flurona," or a patient co-infected with both the coronavirus and influenza, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Texas, the District of Columbia, and Tennessee.
- California/Texas: A testing site on Jan. 1 detected the first known "flurona" case in Los Angeles County. The infected individual was a teenager who had recently returned from a family vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. According to Steve Farzam, COO of 911 COVID Testing, the teenager was experiencing "very mild symptoms" that could have easily been confused with sinusitis. "This is the first one that we're aware of," Farzam said. "In and of itself, it's not overly concerning; however, it is concerning and can be problematic for someone who has preexisting medical conditions, anyone who is immunocompromised." In addition, another "flurona" case was detected in Texas on Monday, where a child was infected with both influenza A and Covid-19. The patient is recovering at home. (Crane, New York Post, 1/5; Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 1/5)
- District of Columbia: Several retailers raised the prices of at-home Covid-19 tests after a deal with the Biden administration to sell tests at a lower prices expired in mid-December 2021. Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon had previously agreed to sell at-home Covid-19 tests "at cost" for three months, offering a discount of up to 35% from retail prices. After the deal expired last month, retailers began raising their prices. For instance, Walmart this week announced that it would increase the price of its BinaxNOW tests from $14 per box to $19.98, and Kroger increased the price of their tests to $23.99 per box. "We fulfilled our commitment to the Biden Administration to sell at cost for 100 days and that pricing program has now phased out and retail pricing has been reinstated," Kroger said in a statement. (Oshin, The Hill, 1/4; Tyko, USA Today, 1/4)
- Tennessee: HCA Healthcare on Tuesday announced that it had finalized the purchase of MD Now Urgent Care, a Florida-based network of 59 urgent care centers. According to the health system, the purchase of the urgent care network closed at the end of 2021. HCA has not disclosed the terms of the transaction. "The addition of MD Now Urgent Care in Florida enhances our already strong capabilities in a rapidly growing state by providing convenient outpatient care options for our patients," said Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare. "It also connects MD Now patients to a comprehensive statewide network of care, including acute care and specialty services should they be needed." (Paavola, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/4)