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Booster shots lose their bite four months in, CDC warns

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Friday that shows COVID-19 booster shots begin to become less effective against the Omicron variant after about four months but still provide substantial protection against hospitalization. ... Read more»

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Biden to provide 400 million N95 masks to Americans

As the Omicron variant surges and hospitals are pushed to capacity, the Biden administration announced a new program Wednesday to give 400 million nonsurgical N95 masks to Americans free of charge to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Read more»

With Az’s health care system at breaking point, experts plead for vaccinations, masks & distancing

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread like wildfire in Arizona and shatter previous records in the pandemic, health experts are pleading with people to vaccinate, mask up and socially distance themselves to reduce stress on the health care system.... Read more»

With 14k new COVID cases, Arizona sees a repeat of 2021's winter surge

The number of daily reported COVID-19 cases soared to more than 14,000 Monday - amid the surge of the Omicron variant - the second-most since the pandemic began, surpassed only by the 17,000 reported exactly one year ago. ... Read more»

Laws shield hospitals from families who believe loved ones contracted COVID as patients

Throughout the pandemic, lawmakers from coast to coast have passed laws, declared emergency orders or activated state-of-emergency statutes that severely limited families’ ability to seek legal accountability on hospitals infection-control practices in COVID-related care.... Read more»

Arizona health officials: Unvaccinated 15+ times more likely to die of COVID

A new report from state health officials found that unvaccinated Arizonans were nearly four times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 in October and were more than 15 times more likely to die from the illness than vaccinated people.... Read more»

Rural midwives fill gap as hospitals cut childbirth services

As hospitals across the country are struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, some have had to cut or suspend obstetric services - but at least 8 states, including Arizona, have passed laws expanding coverage for midwifery and doula services.... Read more»

Success of COVID antiviral pills hinges on access to speedy and accurate tests

The U.S. could soon have access to a new antiviral pill expected to alter the deadly trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic - but experts say the success of the treatments would hinge on whether high-risk infected patients will be able to get tested fast enough to make a difference.... Read more»

As Arizona COVID cases rise, officials push vaccinations and masks for the holidays

As hospitalizations rise and the holidays approach, health officials concerned about a new wave of infections are urging Arizonans to take preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. ... Read more»

Labs with no one to run them: Why public health workers are fleeing the field

Public health nurses, microbiologists, epidemiologists, health officers and others who fend off infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV, inspect restaurants and work to keep communities healthy are abandoning the field - a problem temporary boosts in funding can’t fix.... Read more»

FactCheck: FEMA staff and contracted medical workers required to follow vaccine mandate

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is deploying contracted medical workers to understaffed hospitals who are required to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates, despite false social media posts claiming the workers sent by FEMA are “exempt.”... Read more»

Medicare punishes 2,499 hospitals for high readmissions

The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program - created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the federal government’s effort to penalize hospitals for excessive patient readmissions - is ending its first decade with Medicare cutting payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals.... Read more»

School nurse deficit deepens as states seek relief

Despite a severe nationwide shortage of registered nurses - and the unrelenting need in hospitals overrun with COVID-19 cases - much of the $500 million the American Rescue Plan Act set aside to bolster school-based health services will likely not be spent on fresh troops.... Read more»

Biden’s vaccine mandate could further strain rural hospitals

In the broadest sense, President Biden’s vaccine requirement for health care workers will alleviate the strain on health centers by boosting the country’s vaccination rate - but the story may be more complicated in rural America, where resistance to the vaccine remains strongest. ... Read more»

Valleywise Health sees 'modest decline' in COVID-19 cases but fears nursing shortage will worsen

As Arizonans continue to get vaccinated, the number of COVID-19 cases in one major health system has tapered off; however, Valleywise Health continues to suffer a severe nursing shortage, and officials fear the coming deadline for employees to be vaccinated may make it worse.... Read more»

HHS says COVID-19 vaccinations may have saved 1,000 lives in Arizona

COVID-19 vaccinations have saved an estimated 1,000 lives in Arizona and have prevented as many as 2,800 hospitalizations for the disease, according to recent estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services. ... Read more»

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