APTA Releases Practice Advisory on Vaccine Administration
APTA has issued a practice advisory to tell you what you need to know about vaccine administration being coordinated at the state level, your state’s current stance on permitting PTs and PTAs to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, and resources to stay up to date on changes.
APTA Live Event: Learning From PTs With Long COVID-19
On Wednesday, March 24, members of the UK-based Long COVID Physio support group shared their experiences as physical therapists living with the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 and how that impacts their professional and personal lives. You can view the recording at APTA.org, or on APTA's social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
CMS To Begin Recovering Money From Providers Who Received COVID-19 Loans
CMS recently announced that the 12-month delay on recoupment for money issued through the COVID-19 Accelerated & Advance Payment program is drawing to a close. Beginning at one year from the date the payment was issued, providers and suppliers who opted for the program can expect a 25% "recoupment" — essentially a 25% reduction in payments owed from Medicare for 11 months, followed by a 50% recoupment for the next six months, if any money is still owed.
U.S. COVID-19 Cases Near 30 Million, Deaths at 540,000
Total coronavirus cases have reached 29,652,483 as of March 23, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. A total of 539,517 people have died from the virus so far. Health care workers have administered 128 million doses of vaccines.
CDC Updates Infection Control Assessment and Response Tool for Nursing Homes
The longer and more comprehensive ICAR tool reflects updated testing guidance, increases emphasis on PPE, adds guidance on remote ICAR assessment, and includes a facilitator guide.
CMS Updates Nursing Home Guidance With Revised Visitation Recommendations
CMS announced guidance on expanding indoor visitation in nursing homes, writing that facilities "should allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents," with some flexibility regarding vaccination rates and infection status. Given the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission, CMS continues to recommend that facilities adhere to guidance for testing and the core principles of COVID-19 infection control, including maintaining physical distancing and conducting visits outdoors whenever possible.
In the Media
COVID-19 Cases Rising in 27 States; U.S. in "Precarious Spot," Say Officials
From CNBC: "As of Sunday, the seven-day average of new cases rose by 5% or more in 27 states, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Across the U.S., the nation logged an average of 54,308 new cases per day over the past week — a 1% rise from the prior week after months of rapidly declining case numbers, according to the data."
Fauci, U.S. Officials Say AstraZeneca Released Outdated Data From Vaccine Trial
From STAT: "U.S. health officials raised concerns early Tuesday that positive results that AstraZeneca announced Monday for its Covid-19 vaccine may have been based on 'an incomplete view of the efficacy data' from a clinical trial and relied on 'outdated information,' throwing another curveball in the saga of the company’s vaccine. In a statement issued soon after midnight Tuesday morning, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it had been informed about the data questions by the data and safety monitoring board auditing the trial."
Some Long-Haulers Say Symptoms Improved After Getting COVID-19 Vaccine
From Washington Post: "Arianna Eisenberg endured long-haul covid-19 for eight months, a recurring nightmare of soaking sweats, crushing fatigue, insomnia, brain fog and muscle pain. But Eisenberg’s tale has a happy ending that neither she nor current medical science can explain. Thirty-six hours after her second shot of coronavirus vaccine last month, her symptoms were gone, and they haven’t returned."
CDC Identifies New Variants of Concern, Hot Spots
From CIDRAP: "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said two coronavirus variants first detected in California, B.1427 and B.1429, are now considered as variants of concern. The CDC said the variants may be 20% more transmissible. In comparison, the variant B117, first identified in the United Kingdom, is considered 50% more transmissible than the original wild type COVID-19 virus. Neither of the new variants of concern are thought to escape the effectiveness of currently approved vaccines, but therapeutics, including monoclonal antibody treatments, may be slightly less effective."
COVID-19 Outcomes Worse for MS Patients With Mobility Problems
From MedPage Today: "Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection had worse COVID-19 outcomes if they needed help walking or couldn't walk at all, COViMS registry data showed. Older age, Black race, and cardiovascular comorbidities also raised the risk of more severe COVID in MS patients, reported Amber Salter, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and co-authors in JAMA Neurology."
New in Research
Persistent Dyspnea After COVID-19 Linked to Reduced Physical Fitness
In a PTJ study published ahead of print, authors write that persistent dyspnea, along with muscle deconditioning, may explain ongoing physical symptoms in patients after hospitalization for COVID-19. They suggest that tailored rehabilitation interventions for persistent dyspnea "should probably include muscle reconditioning, breathing retraining, and perhaps respiratory muscle training."
Reinfection With SAR-CoV-2 May Be More Common Than Previously Thought
In a study in Denmark published in The Lancet, authors conducted PCR testing during the second surge of the virus on those who were positive during the first surge. Of those, 72, or 0.65%, tested positive again. Authors suggest these findings "could inform decisions on which groups should be vaccinated and advocate for vaccination of previously infected individuals because natural protection, especially among older people, cannot be relied on."
Long COVID-19 More Likely in Patients With Five or More Symptoms Early On
In a UK study published in Nature Medicine, authors analyzed data from the COVID Symptom Study mobile app and found that individuals who experienced symptoms for longer than 28 days were more likely to have experienced five or more of any symptom during the first week of illness. These symptoms most often included fatigue, headache, difficulty breathing, hoarse voice, and muscle pain.