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From APTA.org

APTA COVID-19 Core Outcome Measures Resource Expanded, Now Includes Application Algorithm
A set of outcome measures selected by an APTA cross-academy/section task force has been expanded to include a new test and an application algorithm for tests and measures related to treatment of patients recovering from COVID-19.

Member Perspective: "Every Step of the Way: Letter to a COVID-19 Survivor"
"You were there for weeks and weeks and weeks. I saw your family try to talk to you from an iPad outside your room. Visitors weren't allowed for COVID-19 patients. The medical team became your family and we learned your story."

From CDC

U.S. COVID-19 Cases Top 9 Million, More than 230,00 Deaths
Total coronavirus cases have reached nearly 9.26 million as of Nov. 4, adding 588,208 new cases over the past week, according the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. Nearly 240,000 people have died from the virus so far.

CDC Updates Definition of "Close Contact"
In its criteria for contact tracing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised what qualifies as "close contact" with an individual with COVID-19. The guidance now defines a "close contact" as being within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Previous guidance stated that the 15 minutes must be consecutive.

From HHS

HHS Changes Use-By Date for Provider Relief Funds, Adds Information on Eligible Uses, and More
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has changed the date by which Provider Relief Fund money must be used — from July 31, 2021, to June 30, 2021 — and made other tweaks to its guidance documents. It's the latest in multiple significant changes to PRF requirements by HHS, which can continue to alter PRF rules. It's crucial to stay up-to-date on all the changes by frequently visiting the HHS PRF site.

HHS' TRACIE Website Provides COVID-19 Health Care Resources
The office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Response's publishes an extensive COVID-19 resource website called TRACIE, an abbreviation for the topical areas it includes: Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange. Two particular items of interest are a PPE Preservation Planning Toolkit and a Q & A transcript from a September webinar, "COVID-19: Optimizing Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment and Supplies."

From SBA

SBA Simplifies PPP Loan Forgiveness Application
The U.S. Small Business Administration released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process.

In the Media

COVID-19 Cases Surge Across the U.S.; Experts Predict Accelerated Growth
From CNBC: "As of Friday [Oct. 29], 18 states reached record-high hospitalizations based on a seven-day average, particularly in the West and Midwest — Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming all hit records, according to the Covid Tracking Project."

"Positive Trends" in Nursing Home Infections May Be Reversing
From ABC News: "In Maryland, where the percentage of the state's coronavirus deaths among those in nursing homes had been steadily dropping, the figure rose from a low of 32% in August to 53% by the end of October. In Oregon, where nursing home deaths made up fewer than half of the state's COVID-19 deaths, they now make up more than 57% of the state's overall coronavirus death totals."

HHS Will Distribute $333 Million to Nursing Homes That Reduced COVID-19 Infection Rates
From Fierce Healthcare: "HHS found that 10,631 nursing homes, more than 77% of the 13,795 eligible to get a payment, met the infection control criteria. The homes contributed 5,000 fewer COVID-19 infections in September compared with August. The agency added that 10,501 homes met both the infection control and mortality criteria. Those homes contributed to 1,200 fewer COVID-19 nursing home deaths in September compared to the month before."

Long COVID May Be Four Separate Syndromes
From Medscape: "The review found clear consistencies for a wide range of recurring symptoms among people who had been hospitalized because of COVID-19, as well as those who had COVID-19 in the community. Those who experienced ongoing COVID had problems with the respiratory system, the brain, cardiovascular system and heart, kidneys, the gut, the liver, and even skin. The authors said that such a wide range of symptoms created diagnostic uncertainty."

New in Research

New COVID-19 Guidance for Rehab Specialists
A new guide developed by a group of clinicians with early experience in managing patients with COVID-19 not only stresses the importance of early rehabilitation for those hospitalized with the disease, but also provides basic recommendations on how to approach that rehab, as well as options after discharge. The experts who developed the resource include APTA member Sowmya Kumble, PT, MPT.

HIV Rehab Offers Lessons for COVID-19 Rehab
Authors of a November PTJ Point of View offer six lessons learned from HIV rehabilitation that can be applied to rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients.

Telerehab During the Pandemic Offers Opportunity for Learning Health Systems
In another PTJ Point of View, authors make the case that "a learning health care system approach to the study of telerehabilitation can promote innovation in optimal health care delivery and fuel new scientific discovery."

PTs Have Important Role to Play in Disaster Response Planning
According to authors of a PTJ Rapid Review, "Evidence-informed, facility-based, and regional planning during the current COVID-19 pandemic will help physical therapists enhance their role in treating patients in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings."

Severe COVID-19 Infection May Be Due to Autoimmune Reaction
As many as half of severe COVID-19 cases may result from autoimmune antibodies circulating in the blood that trigger clotting and inflammation.

Minority and Low-Income Children at Higher Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Researchers found higher rates of both SARS-CoV-2 exposure and infection among Black and Hispanic children than among non-Hispanic white children. Children whose families were socioeconomically disadvantaged also had higher positivity rates. The findings mirror trends among adults.

People Who Received a Flu Vaccine Less Likely To Be Hospitalized for COVID-19
University of Florida researchers found that individuals who had been vaccinated for influenza in 2019 were almost two and half times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and more than three times less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Authors think this may be "the result of a general priming of the immune system."

U.S. Nursing Homes' Lack of PPE Increased Over the Summer
In a report from U.S. PIRG, between May and August, 46% of nursing homes reported that they lacked a week's supply of at least one type of personal protective equipment. As of late August, 16.8% were low on or out of N95 masks, 9.3% were low on surgical masks, 10.7% were nearly out of gowns, 8.4% were running out of eye protection, 4.6% were low on gloves, and 3.9% had no hand sanitizer or were about to run out of it.

N95 Masks Should Not Be Used for More Than Two Days
According to one study, masks worn for more than two days are highly likely to fail the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's fit-test.


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Nov 24, 2020

Hospitals at capacity, delirium in older adults as a COVID symptom, long-term lung infection, and more.

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CMS Won't Pay Out on New Code for Additional Pandemic Costs

Nov 4, 2020

A code aimed at extra provider costs related to stopping the spread of the coronavirus won't result in more money.

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HHS Changes Course (Again), Allowing Providers to Keep More Relief Money

Oct 23, 2020

The return to earlier reporting rules was accompanied by an expansion of the provider types that can apply for relief funds.