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January 19, 2022

Around the nation: The Covid-19 public health emergency still isn't over, HHS says

Daily Briefing

    HHS renewed the Covid-19 public health emergency declaration that was set to expire Jan. 16, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Utah.

    • District of Columbia: HHS on Friday renewed the Covid-19 public health emergency declaration for an additional 90 days, effective Jan. 16. The extension came after the American Hospital Association in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, said, "The emergency declarations have proven critical in equipping hospitals and health systems with the tools and resources necessary to manage the recent Covid-19 surges and ensure high-quality care in this unprecedented environment. In their absence, the challenges of the pandemic will be exponentially more difficult to overcome." (AHA News, 1/11; AHA News, 1/14)
    • District of Columbia: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, on Sunday tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement by Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler. Milley is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and received a booster dose. Currently, he is experiencing "very minor symptoms" while "working remotely and isolating himself," Butler said. According to Butler, all other "Joint Chiefs of Staff except for one" have tested negative for Covid-19. (Gonzalez, Axios, 1/17)
    • Utah: Intermountain Healthcare on Saturday announced temporary restrictions that limit patient visitation at its facilities after the Utah Department of Health on Friday reported over 11,000 new Covid-19 cases—the second-highest total since the start of the pandemic. Under the new restrictions, which go into effect Tuesday, overnight visitors will be permitted only for pediatric patients, laboring or postpartum mothers, patients who are critically ill, or patients suffering from dementia. Intermountain requires masking in all its hospitals and clinics—even inside of private patient rooms. In addition, the health system will limit daytime visiting hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help mitigate potential exposure from unmasked visitors during sleep. (Miller, Salt Lake Tribune, 1/15)

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