April 30, 2020

Around the nation: Trump declares meat processing plants 'critical' to prevent shortage

Daily Briefing

    President Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order declaring meat processing plants "critical infrastructure" to ensure the plants remain open during the public health emergency, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arizona, District of Columbia, and Maryland.

    • Arizona: The Arizona Department of Health Services has launched a system that hospitals throughout the state can use to coordinate admissions, transfers, and discharges of patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. There are no fees for hospitals to use the system, and many hospitals have committed to sharing real-time information on their bed and ventilator capacities through the system (Drees, Becker's Health IT, 4/24).

    • District of Columbia: President Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order declaring meat processing plants "critical infrastructure" to ensure the plants remain open and prevent a potential meat shortage in the United States. The order comes as meat plants throughout the country have reported thousands of cases of Covid-19 among workers. Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, urged the Trump administration "to immediately enact clear and enforceable safety standards" and require meat companies to provide personal protective equipment, enforce physical distancing measures, and make daily coronavirus testing available to employees at the plants (Swanson/Yaffe-Bellany, New York Times, 4/28; Colvin, Associated Press, 4/29; Mason/Polansek, Reuters, 4/28).

    • Maryland: FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Monday issued a statement asking manufacturers of hand sanitizers to ensure their products are made "in a way that makes them unpalatable to people, especially young children, and … they are appropriately labeled to discourage accidental or intentional ingestion." For example, FDA suggested manufacturers could add denatured alcohol to the sanitizers, which would give them a bitter taste. The move comes as state and local health departments throughout the country have reported an influx of emergency calls related to ingesting disinfectants, The Hill reports (Moreno, The Hill, 4/28).
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