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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Irvine seems ahead of UCLA (with emphasis on "seems")


It appears that UC-Irvine is running somewhat ahead of UCLA in terms of vaccinating employees in the second tier group based on the announcement excerpted below. The caveat is #2 in the excerpt - vaccine availability. Do they actually have the vaccine in sufficient amounts to do what they say? Or is what is being announced just a plan:

Vaccine Distribution - Employees

Vaccine distribution for UCI employees will begin in carefully planned phases beginning the week of January 18. Employee eligibility will be based on two things:

  1. Federal, state and county guidelines
  2. Vaccine availability

The first phase will include UCI employees aged 65 and over, plus all campus housing and dining employees. 

Invitations to schedule vaccinations will be sent to employees’ UCI email addresses from the UCI Health system when the employee is eligible for vaccination.  

An employee is currently defined as: faculty, other academic appointee, faculty emeriti, and career, contract, temporary, and part-time staff.

Retired staff who are not currently active on UCI payroll are not eligible and should follow county guidelines for obtaining their vaccinations.

Student employees will be eligible for vaccinations as part of the student vaccination program and not as part of the employee vaccination program...

Full announcement at https://uci.edu/coronavirus/testing-response/covid-19-vaccine.php#:~:text=UCI%20Health%20will%20begin%20offering,18. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

San Diego Problem

Until now, UC-San Diego has stood out as the campus allowing more in-person/on-campus activity than the others. Luck may be running out:

UC San Diego reports big surge in COVID-19 infections among students returning from holidays

By GARY ROBBINS, 1-14-21, San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego says that 245 of its students have tested positive for COVID-19 since the winter quarter began on Jan. 4 — the kind of surge the university avoided last fall through a major testing and education campaign called “Return to Learn.” University data shows that 109 of those students live at UCSD, which has one of the most comprehensive COVID testing programs in academia. The other 136 students are living off campus in the San Diego area. UCSD also says that 61 of its employees have tested positive for the virus. The university further says that since the beginning of the year, COVID-19 positive people have appeared at more than 20 residence halls, the main student union, the Telemedicine Building, Biological Research Facility II, where some virus testing is managed, major research and classroom buildings, dining halls, the school’s new Target store, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, near campus, and the Nimitz Marine Facility in San Diego Bay.

"(Eighty-five percent) of the on-campus students who are infected went home for the holiday and are testing positive during the incubation period following their return,” said Dr. Robert T. “Chip” Schooley, a professor of medicine who is helping run Return to Learn. “Our interpretation is that they acquired the virus in the community during the break. Going home during a raging pandemic is a dangerous thing. The on-campus case rate is now declining to pre-break levels as we work through the infections that came back from the winter break.”

About 7,300 students are currently living on campus, a figure that the university hopes to significantly increase by early February. Fewer than 40 students tested positive for the virus last fall when students moved into campus dorms.

Source: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/health/story/2021-01-14/uc-san-diego-reports-surge-in-covid-infections-among-students-returning-from-holidays

UCLA Vaccine Distribution to Employees


There was a Zoom "Town Hall" yesterday concerning the distribution of vaccines to the UCLA community. Below is a link to the one-hour event. It should be noted that much of the hoopla about distribution of vaccines in California is reported to be just that, hoopla. The state doesn't have sufficient vaccines to do what is being promised. People are evidently signing up for appointments to be vaccinated at drug store chains that may never occur:

Mass confusion over new COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as L.A. senior citizens face weeks of delays:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-14/california-covid-19-vaccine-rollout-brings-mass-confusion

The hoped-for rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for Angelenos 65 years and older was met with chaos and confusion Thursday, with the county saying it could be weeks before that group will be able to receive their shots. It was a day of frustration for seniors trying to make appointments. Some were able to schedule them at retailers, but it’s unclear whether those appointments will be honored. Calls and emails poured into doctors’ offices and pharmacies, and appointment websites run by retail pharmacies reportedly crashed under the flood of requests. County health offices fielded flurries of phone calls from residents confused by the mixed messages from state and local officials. Gov. Newsom, in his announcement Wednesday, said people 65 and older could get vaccinated, but local health officials followed with public statements soon after, saying the opposite...

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California just made it easier for people to get vaccinated. For many, it feels harder than ever.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/14/world/covid19-coronavirus#california-just-made-it-easier-for-people-to-get-vaccinated-for-many-it-feels-harder-than-ever

Excerpt:

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement on Wednesday seemed sweeping: California would open up eligibility for a coronavirus vaccine to anyone 65 or older, effectively abandoning a rollout plan that was meant to ensure that the most vulnerable would be first in line. A day later, residents of the vast and varied state were trying to navigate what many described as vaccination chaos...

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There have also been reports that policy has been shift to giving just the first of the two recommended shots. But the UCLA presentation below indicates that UCLA is continuing with the two-shot practice.

You can see the presentation at:

or direct to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ursd550KC6M or https://archive.org/details/newsom-1-4-21/UCLA+COVID-19+Vaccine+Town+Hall+for+Faculty+and+Staff+1-14-21.mp4. Note that UCLA Health also has separate plans for vaccinating patients who are not UCLA employees:

Important COVID-19 vaccine update
Dear (Name):

We are committed to giving you the most up to date information about how to get vaccinated in Los Angeles County. We know there have been many mixed messages in the media, and that counties are managing the vaccine distribution differently. We recognize this is confusing.

The distribution of the vaccination is managed by LA County. Due to limited supply, the county has only authorized COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers and nursing facility residents. UCLA Health has vaccinated our healthcare workers. We are now assisting the county by vaccinating healthcare workers from other organizations to help expedite this first phase and proceed with vaccinating patients. We will contact you as soon as the next phase of vaccinations is authorized by LA County.

If you are a healthcare worker in LA County, appointments for vaccination are available here. If you are a resident of a county other than Los Angeles County, COVID-19 vaccination may be available through your local department of health.

Thank you for trusting UCLA Health to be your partner in health care. We are ready to go and prepared to serve our community. Stay tuned for further updates.

Sincerely,

Johnese Spisso, MPA
President, UCLA Health
CEO, UCLA Hospital System
Associate Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences

Robert A. Cherry, MD, MS
Chief Medical and Quality Officer
UCLA Health

Eve M. Glazier, MD, MBA
President, Faculty Practice Group
UCLA Health

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Going the Wrong Way

Every Thursday, we check into the new weekly claims data release to see what can be said about the California labor market. In the recent period, it has been at best a stall. Now, presumably thanks to the pandemic/lockdown effects, we seem to be going the wrong way.

New claims for the state are up notably in the week ended January 9 compared tot he previous week. The same wrong-way trend was reported at the national level, whether on a seasonally-adjusted or unadjusted basis.


The latest data are always at https://www.dol.gov/ui/data.pdf

CDC says "Education" includes Higher Education for Vaccine Priority - Part 2

 

After yesterday's post,* yours truly received this message from Vice Chancellor Michael Beck:

We have confirmed with the State that they also include higher ed in the education group.  It is important to note that education is limited to those who are working on-site.  However, for designated age categories, we will include employees working on-site and remotely.  Eventually we will be able to offer a vaccine to all employees as we work through all the phases.

UCLA Health has been sending emails to patients aged 65+ about vaccination. There are also sign-up options floating around the web for appointments at drug store chains to be vaccinated.

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*http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2021/01/cdc-says-education-includes-higher.html

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UPDATE: [Yamamura is a journalist with Politico who covers California.)

Source: https://twitter.com/kyamamura/status/1349587913047117827

Nurse Complaints

From Santa Monica Patch: UCLA Nurses Urge Hospital To Help Overburdened Staff In Pandemic: Urged the hospital to provide better staffing protections for nurses and patients

Jan 13, 2021

SANTA MONICA, CA — Registered nurses at UCLA's Santa Monica hospital asked that it help overburdened staff members continue care for patients during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Registered nurses at the University of California, Los Angeles' Santa Monica Medical Center and the University of California, Irvine's Medical Center on Wednesday protested their use of state waivers to circumvent registered nurse-to-patient safe staffing standards, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United labor union announced...

"Under 'expedited waivers,' hospitals can increase the workload of already overburdened nurses," the union said in a news release. "By the mere submission of a form, hospitals can require nurses in intensive care units and throughout the hospital setting to unsafely care for more patients at one time."

"For more than 10 months, since the pandemic began, we have been calling on UCLA to increase staffing to safe and adequate levels," Valerie Ewald, a registered nurse at UCLA, said in a statement. "I work in the dedicated Covid ICU at UCLA Santa Monica," Ewald said. "We are already stretched beyond our limits. I hate to even think about how increased ratios would affect our patient's outcomes in irreparable ways. UCLA has the resources to provide for safe staffing levels, if only they choose to do so."

"Since the start of this pandemic, nurses have been struggling to provide the highest quality of patient care despite very difficult circumstances," said Angela Mayfield, a registered nurse in a medical-surgical unit. "Nurses have worked short-staffed for months. The patients are getting sicker and sicker, and the pressure on the bedside nurse can be overwhelming. The thought of adding more patients to our already overburdened staff is very scary and could prove dangerous for us and our patients."

"The safety and well being of UCLA Health nurses our other health care workers and our patients is our overriding priority at all times," UCLA said in a statement to Patch. "We understand the anxiety created by the high volume of COVID-19 patients and associated workload, and we value our staff's dedication to safe, high-quality, compassionate patient care.

"UCLA Health hospitals meet and in some cases exceed state-mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios intended to ensure safety, and we regularly make adjustments in individual nursing units based on acuity of patient conditions," UCLA added. "Among many steps taken over the past few months, we have supplemented nurse staffing, cross-trained staff to different specialties and added support staff as needed.

"While this waiver provides important flexibility in our ongoing preparedness and surge planning strategies amid the increased number of COVID-19 patients, we have not had to invoke it since its approval by the state on Dec. 11, 2020," the hospital said.

Full story at https://patch.com/california/santamonica/ucla-nurses-urge-hospital-help-overburdened-staff-pandemic

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Big Settlement

From AP: The prestigious University of California system has reached a proposed $73 million settlement with seven women who accused a former gynecologist of sexual abuse. As part of the class-action lawsuit, more than 6,600 patients of Dr. James Heaps could receive part of the settlement — even if they have not accused the former University of California, Los Angeles, gynecologist of abuse. A federal judge must approve the deal between the seven plaintiffs, representing thousands of Heaps’ patients, and the University of California regents and the doctor. The proposed agreement, which includes several mandated reforms at UCLA, was filed Monday in federal court.

Patients have accused Heaps of sexual assault and sexual misconduct between 1983 and 2018, when he worked at the UCLA student health center and UCLA Medical Center. Accusations include making sexually inappropriate comments to patients, touching women sexually during exams without wearing gloves and simulating intercourse, often roughly, with an ultrasound probe...

Full story at https://apnews.com/article/sexual-misconduct-los-angeles-health-lawsuits-sexual-assault-3ae336993eb4dc96ccf8b0f3a0f66e62