New information on Long COVID is emerging as researchers investigate the causes and symptoms of the elusive condition. Meanwhile, stakeholder groups and providers are appealing to the federal government for guidance on returning to normal operating procedures as perception of the pandemic subsides.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a report on patient experiences of Long COVID, which is now defined as a set of 50 conditions linked to the illness that impact the entire human body. According to the report, between 5% and 30% of everyone who has had COVID-19 may have Long COVID symptoms. The Biden administration has also sent a $750 million supplemental funding request to support Long COVID research and treatment.
One of the more alarming long-term conditions associated with contracting COVID-19 is the incidence of new seizures or epilepsy. According to Physician’s Weekly, researchers in the United Kingdom explored the connection between these conditions in patients who had contracted COVID-19 and compared them to cases of influenza. As compared with influenza, the incidence of seizures and epilepsy within six months was increased.
Additionally, a new study demonstrates that more than 20% of patients transferred to inpatient care following COVID-19 rehabilitation experienced hallucinations. Among the cohort studies, no patient had pre-existing diagnosed mental health problems and all patients exhibited cognitive impairment, Neurology Advisor reports.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra vowed to give states 60 day notice that the public health emergency would come to an end, but the deadline for the next PHE cutoff has passed without the announcement of a renewal or warning that it will end. The National Association of Medical Directors sent a letter to Congress late last week requesting certainty that PHE will be extended, and for 120 days notice prior to the time that Medicaid coverage redeterminations would be set to begin.
A group of attorneys general (including Arizona) led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, filed a petition under the Administrative Procedures Act asking HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to repeal the interim final rule requiring all staff at nursing facilities to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Skilled Nursing News reports that 76% of nursing home staff and 60% of new residents have not received the new bivalent booster. In Arizona, only 15.2% of staff and 22% of residents are considered up-to-date on vaccination.
In an effort to improve uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, HHS announced a $350 million initiative through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for supported health centers to increase vaccinations among underserved populations, HHS said that the funding will support health centers through a variety of vaccination options and events.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from a nursing home operator that was seeking to avoid a lawsuit filed in state court over the COVID-19 related death of a resident. California nursing home operator Glenhaven Healthcare is being sued by the family of Ricardo Saldana for allegations of elder abuse, willful misconduct, negligence and wrongful death, according to Reuters.
Japan has announced a new antiviral pill developed by Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Shionogi & Co. to treat COVID-19. The treatment, known as Xocova, is the first alternative to Pfixer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio, and has been authorized for emergency use in Japan, the Wall Street Journal reports. Shionogi will pursue authorization for use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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