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Recording of APTA Live Vaccine Panel
On Jan. 28, APTA staff and member experts presented the latest on the COVID-19 vaccines —effectiveness, dissemination, the possibility of PTs administering the vaccines, and more. The recording of the APTA Live event is now available for viewing.

From CDC

U.S. COVID-19 Cases Near 27 Million, Death Toll at 460,000
Total U.S. coronavirus cases reached 26,852,809 as of Feb. 9, according the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. A total of 462,037 people have died from the virus so far. Health care workers have administered 4.2 million vaccine doses.

Mask-Wearing Mandates Tied To Decline in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
In a study published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, researchers found that “10 sites participating in the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in states with statewide mask mandates reported a decline in weekly COVID-19-associated hospitalization growth rates by up to 5.5 percentage points for adults aged 18-64 years after mandate implementation, compared with growth rates during the 4 weeks preceding implementation of the mandate.”

Staff Vaccination Rates in Long-Term Care Facilities Remain Low, as Hesitancy Persists
According to a CDC report, the median percentage of long-term care facility staff receiving one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine remains at 37.5%. About a third of health care workers surveyed indicated uncertainty about safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.


OSHA Issues Employer Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing Spread of COVID-19
A new resource from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers detailed guidance on face coverings, physical distancing, and implementation of a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention program in the workplace. Additional guidance addresses respiratory protection in long-term care facilities and improved ventilation.

In the Media

U.S. Sees Biggest Weekly Drop in Cases, Hospitalizations, But Officials Urge Caution
From Reuters: “The United States reported a 25% drop in new cases of COVID-19 to about 825,000 last week, the biggest fall since the pandemic started, although health officials said they were worried new variants of the virus could slow or reverse this progress.”

Congress Considering Easing Telehealth Restrictions
From mHealthIntelligence: “Lawmakers have re-introduced a bill that would allow healthcare providers to use telehealth to treat anyone in the any state throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act, filed in both the House and Senate this past week, aims to allow providers to bypass state and federal licensing requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency and improve access to care for consumers.”

Washington Hospitals Pull Fake N95 Masks From Shelves
From Fox News: “Hospitals across Washington state were alerted Friday to pull select N95 masks off their shelves and send them for analysis after an investigation uncovered knockoffs, said the state’s hospital association.”

Administration To Begin Shipping Vaccines Directly to Pharmacies
From Politico: “Many pharmacies are already administering vaccine doses that have been allocated to states. Under the new program, the federal government would ship doses directly to pharmacies. The new pharmacy initiative — which is aimed at broadening access to vaccines generally — is separate from an ongoing federal program to have Walgreens and CVS vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities.”

New in Research

B.1.1.7 Variant Doubling Every 10 Days in the U.S.
In a preprint article not yet peer-reviewed, researchers report that the detection rate of the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the U.K., doubled every 10 days, with an increased transmission rate of 35%-45%.

Researchers Say Frequency, Duration of Acute Care Therapy Improves COVID-19 Outcomes
A study of 312 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has found that increasing the amount of physical therapy patients receive during acute care results in higher mobility levels at discharge and increased odds of being discharged to home versus a care facility. Researchers found that each additional 10 minutes of physical therapy was associated with improved mobility and activity levels at discharge. The study was published in PTJ.

Study Examines Predictors of Low Physical Function in Older Adults Recovering From COVID-19 and Acute Respiratory Failure
In a study published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, authors conclude that most COVID-19 survivors who experienced acute respiratory failure due to pneumonia “exhibited substantial physical dysfunction influenced by age, mechanical ventilation need and previous disability.”

Inpatient Rehab May Improve Functional Outcomes in Postacute COVID-19 Patients
Researchers evaluated data from the first 100 patients in a specialized COVID-19 rehabilitation unit. They found that inpatient rehabilitation was linked to significant motor, respiratory, and functional improvement. Authors suggest that the illness may turn into a motor impairment due to the time spent in intensive care. The study appears in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Study Suggests Possible Link Between Guillain-Barré Syndrome and COVID-19
In a small systematic review published in Frontiers of Neurology, authors suggest that Guillain-Barré syndrome may be linked to COVID-19, and conclude that patients diagnosed with the syndrome should be tested for COVID-19.

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