UPDATE: Nov. 21, 2020
Significant Pandemic Developments This Week
US suffers one Covid death every minute as global cases near 60m.
In the US, 1,448 people died on Friday according to Johns Hopkins University – the equivalent of one American death every minute.
- 1,445 Americans have died from COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, according to Worldometer, who analyze, validate, and aggregates data from thousands of sources in real time and from around the world.
- With Thanksgiving a week away and coronavirus cases exploding nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended against traveling or gathering for the holiday, urging Americans to consider celebrating in their own households instead.
Related COVID-19 developments
Hospitals stretched beyond means
Staffing in U.S. hospitals, particularly among nurses, has reflected a patchwork of local shortages in recent years, with a ready reserve of traveling and per-diem personnel deployed in response to sudden demand — a flu outbreak here, a hurricane there, a strike elsewhere.
In this fall surge of infections, supplies and equipment for patients and protective gear for health-care workers are not as scarce as they were early in the pandemic, though sporadic shortages still exist, especially in some rural areas.
Last year, a little more than 47,000 registered nurses worked temporary jobs, and 17,000 licensed practical nurses did the same, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is a small fraction of the 3.7 million nurses from both categories who were employed last year.
The health-care system last year spent $6.1 billion on travel nurses, a figure that will rise by at least 10 percent this year, said Barry Asin, president of Staffing Industry Analysts, a research firm that specializes in health-care staffing. While covid-related hiring of supplemental health-care workers is skyrocketing, employment of other health-care workers is down sharply because of the cancellation of elective procedures and other care, Asin said.
There is little independent research on the impact temporary nurses have on the quality of care. A 2012 study of a single hospital found they had neither a positive nor negative effect on patient outcomes.
Only one state, California, mandates staff-to-patient ratios. Standards are written into some union contracts. But in many places, it is up to nurses to speak up when they feel conditions are unsafe, which can endanger their jobs, said Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United, a nurses labor union.
“We are just completely overrun,” said Rachel Heintz, who works in the emergency department at CHI St. Alexius with McKamey. Both are stewards for the labor union.
Hospital President Kurt R. Schley said there are vacancies in the emergency department and acknowledged that the surge has created “an additional strain to a well-recognized nursing shortage in our community and the region.”
Hawaii Re-Opens Amid National Pandemic Surge
The state has reopened to tourism and allowed incoming travelers from out of state who have tested negative for the coronavirus to avoid quarantine as of Nov. first. Gov. David Ige previously acknowledged that the state’s partners in a COVID-19 testing program for trans-Pacific travelers won’t test children younger than 12. Ige said untested children of families who arrive in Hawaii will be subject to a 14-day quarantine, even if their parents arrive with a negative test.
Ige said he’s not ready to lift the 14-day interisland travel quarantine. However, the state’s so-called quarantine measures are limited by totally inadequate testing and enforcement resources. Beyond a few Oahu hotels working with DOH, it’s strictly an honor system, and people don’t fly to Hawaii for vacation only to stay inside their rooms for two weeks.
Right Time to Reboot Tourism?
Hawaii appears ready to fall into the same pattern seen elsewhere around the world, but with one significant difference. As we open up for business during the middle of a global pandemic, cases and deaths will skyrocket, but unlike the mainland, Hawaii’s woefully lacking medical infrastructure will collapse under the weight of escalating hospitalizations — worst yet, the state’s population living on outer islands will be hardest hit, already facing a chronic shortage of doctors and inadequate medical care.
Hawaii Pandemic death toll reaches 120, case count nears 11,500, 735 cases require hospitalization.
Reported as November 19th, 2020
COVID-19 Impact on the United States
- COVID 19 Case Total exceeds 12 million and climbing / U.S. Deaths surpasses 257,000, as of November 19, 2020, according to the Worldometer data tracker,
- The number — far higher than any other nation’s — exceeded the number of U.S. lives lost to the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks combined.
The United States has now suffered 19% of the world’s deaths from Covid-19, despite accounting for only 4% of the world’s population.
COVID-19 Impact on the World
Global coronavirus case count exceeds 57 million and COVID-19 deaths now exceed 1.3 million people worldwide.
BeyondKona continues to monitor and report on the COVID-19 pandemic, sourcing information from the most reliable and available data sources.