Several counties in California recommend their residents wear mask indoors as the delta variant spreads and Covid-19 cases increase, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, and Missouri.
- California: Six counties in the state—Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Ventura—on Tuesday urged residents to resume wearing masks indoors as the delta variant continues to spread and Covid-19 cases increase. Overall, a total of 17 California counties have recommended that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks while inside public places, but, currently, only Los Angeles County has reinstated a mask mandate for its residents. The city of Pasadena, which has its own separate health department, intends to also reinstate a mask mandate for its residents. Around 56% of California's total population live in areas that are either recommending or requiring indoor masking. (Money, Los Angeles Times, 7/20)
- District of Columbia: FDA last week approved Astellas Pharma's immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus—branded as Prograf—for use in preventing organ rejection in lung transplants. It is the first immunosuppressant to receive approval for such use, MedPage Today reports. Tacrolimus had previously been approved for preventing organ rejection in kidney, liver, bowel, pancreas, and heart transplants. In addition, FDA approved the drug based on a non-interventional study using data from the federal government's transplant registry and Social Security mortality records; no prospective trial testing tacrolimus in lung transplant patients was conducted. According to MedPage, FDA's approval in this regard underscores the agency's recent receptiveness to basing formal approvals for drugs and medical devices on retrospective clinical evidence. (Gever, MedPage Today, 7/19)
- Missouri: GEHA on Monday announced Arthur Nizza as the organization's new CEO, replacing Rich Bierman, who had been serving as interim CEO. Nizza has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the health care industry and most recently was EVP and COO of UnityPoint Health. (Kaberline, Kansas City Business Journal, 7/19)