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Scalise Asks Dems To Hold Governors Accountable Who Sent COVID Patients To Nursing Homes

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Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, is putting governors on notice who ordered nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients knowing they were most vulnerable to it leading to thousands of avoidable deaths.

Scalise, who is the Ranking Member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, opened the subcommittee’s briefing Thursday by demanding that the governors who implemented the deadly policy be held accountable. Moreover, he’s sending a letter requesting answers from state leaders.

“The decision of several governors to essentially mandate COVID-positive patients go back to their nursing homes ended up being a death sentence, Scalise said. “New York has suffered 6,318 deaths in nursing homes. New Jersey – 6,327. Compare that to Florida – a retirement state – 1,454. On a per-capita basis, nursing home deaths in New York are 500 percent higher than Florida and New Jersey is 1,120 percent higher than Florida.”

“Other states, like Michigan, California, and Pennsylvania that forced COVID-positive patients back to nursing homes have similar, tragic disparities.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the original guidance for nursing homes on February, 6. The first nursing home outbreak, however, was after the CMS had issued that warning. From there, states continued to ignore CMS’s orders throughout the months of March and April.

Scalise added, “But unfortunately, on March 25th, Governor Cuomo’s health department issued a directive in contradiction to CMS guidance by mandating nursing homes to take COVID-19 positive patients.  New Jersey essentially copied New York’s order – also with deadly results. Two weeks earlier, Governor DeSantis of Florida prohibited transferring COVID-19 positive patients from hospitals to nursing homes. Very different orders yielded very different results.”

“On March 18th, Pennsylvania also issued guidance mandating nursing homes continue to accept new admissions and readmissions including patients that have COVID-19. While defending this decision, Pennsylvania’s own Health Secretary moved her mother out of a nursing home,” Scalise said.

“On April 15th, the Governor of Michigan issued a similar Executive Order mandating nursing homes accept patients regardless of COVID-19 status. Michigan State Democratic Representative Leslie Love criticized the Governor’s reckless order calling it ‘an epic fail.’  Mr. Chairman, shockingly, that order remains in effect today. I call on Governor Whitmer to rescind this order immediately and I hope my colleagues will join me in standing up for the patients and families in Michigan.”

Scalise is also asking his fellow subcommittee members to sign onto his letter to the governors.

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Healthcare

NY Gov Hochul issues executive order: Polio ‘an official diisaster’

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New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday issued an executive order that Polio is now considered an official disaster. 

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York State Health Commissioner. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up-to-date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”

The virus that causes polio has been found in the wastewater of more than one county, according to state health officials. “A sewage sample from Nassau County collected in August tested positive for poliovirus, following the prior detection of the virus in wastewater samples in Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County and New York City, further indicating that the virus is spreading in the area to some degree” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The Nassau County sample was also genetically linked to the single confirmed case of paralytic polio that had been identified this summer in a young adult resident in Rockland County who was unvaccinated.”

Hochul’s executive order has been issued through Oct. 9, and expands the network of providers able to administer polio vaccinations to “include emergency-medical-services workers, midwives and pharmacists.”

The new order makes providers send polio-immunization data to the New York State Department of Health in order to better help health officials “focus vaccination efforts on areas of low uptake.”

New York state health officials have sent out alerts to providers, have hung fliers “in houses of worship, grocery stores and summer camps and talked with community leaders about boosting vaccination rates this summer.”

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

The poliovirus spreads mostly when a person touches their mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s feces. Most infected people don’t develop any symptoms but can still spread the virus, a major concern for health officials, and around a quarter develop flulike symptoms. Those who are vaccinated are at low risk, health officials have said, as getting three doses of the polio vaccine administered in the U.S. is at least 99% effective at preventing paralytic disease.

Health officials, however, also said that certain New Yorkers who are fully vaccinated but at high-risk should receive a single lifetime booster. That applies to individuals who will or might have close contact with a suspected or confirmed polio patient, as well as healthcare workers in those areas who might handle poliovirus samples or treat patients who might have polio…

Two forms of the virus can cause paralysis, one of them being the wild poliovirus found in nature. The case in New York, on the other hand, is caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus, a mutated form of a strain used in an oral polio vaccine…

The oral polio vaccine, used in many parts of the world outside of the U.S., relies on a weakened, live form of the virus that recently inoculated children shed in their feces. In places with lower vaccine uptake, the weakened virus can sometimes circulate and mutate to become more like the wild virus and potentially paralyze people who are not fully vaccinated.

 

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