There were only two new COVID-19 related deaths reported in Arizona on Wednesday, and 469 new cases. The total number of Arizona deaths attributed to COVID-19 is 17,430 and there are 870,624 cases now reported in Arizona with 11% of intensive care unit beds in use by COVID-19 patients, 14% of ICU beds are available.
This information comes from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) COVID-19 data dashboard.
On May 4, the New York Times reported that cases in Arizona had been climbing, with the daily average climbing 19% over two weeks, marking the second largest rise in the nation over that period following Wyoming. Will Humble told the NYT that the increase in new cases was due to an influx of travelers and the prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant, which is associated with increased transmissibility.
We’re not going to experience the type of lethal experiences that we would have in December, January or February.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in a report released on Tuesday that the variant out of India, B.1.617 has contributed to the surge in India and is more contagious than most versions of the coronavirus, according to the New York Times. It is not yet known how the variant will respond to vaccines but does demonstrate an increase in transmissibility.
A bipartisan group of members of Congress have introduced legislation seeking to protect healthcare providers from lawsuits related to the pandemic. In the same vein as the Arizona State Legislature’s SB 1377, healthcare professionals would not be liable for harm caused by care or withholding services due to the pandemic, including providers practicing outside of their normal area or with a lack of resources. From American Medical Association president Dr. Susan Bailey, via Modern Healthcare:
If communities shut down physicians offices or reschedule elective surgeries, that causes adverse health outcomes in patients beyond a physician’s control.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is requesting that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allow providers to use their COVID-19 provider relief funds past the current June 30 deadline. The AHA argues that while COVID-19 cases have fallen, there are still a number of residual, significant expenses that hospitals incur as a direct result of the pandemic, Becker’s Hospital Review reports.
CMS will increase the Medicare payment for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusions, a major effective treatment for patients with COVID-19. The coverage will occur under the Medicare Part B benefit. Effective beginning last week, the national average payment rate increased from $310 to $450 for most health care settings, CMS said in a press release.
The American Medical Association held a webinar “Coding and COVID-19 Vaccines” which covers CPT code revisions and changes in precedent. Read more about the Vaccine Coding Caucus’s changes at the AMA website.
Mental Health During COVID-19
ABC15 reports that an internal audit highlights major problems inside a Veterans Affairs hospital that officials believe led to the death of a veteran suffering from mental illness. The report highlights the case of a veteran who was desperately seeking help and did not receive any from the multiple staff he contacted until he decided to take his own life.
According to KING5 Seattle, the mental health issues among children have continued to mount during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatrist units are overflowing and many students are having a difficult time acclimating to school and other social activities.