Nine doctors at a leading hospital in India have been placed in quarantine after a patient who hid his medical history came in contact with over 30 doctors and other medical staff, before testing positive for coronavirus.
The Government Medical College, the biggest hospital in the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra, has been one of two hospitals in the region to treat COVID-19 patients. Maharashtra, India’s richest state, has reported 230 cases of coronavirus, the highest in the country. Nagpur alone has 16 cases.
HuffPost India reports that there are fears that a rise in the number of cases—as experienced by other countries that are ahead of India in terms of the disease’s trajectory—could soon overwhelm the hospital’s staff, especially if more people need to be quarantined. The hospital admitted 70 suspected coronavirus patients just on Monday alone.
Doctors, nurses and other medical staff employed by India’s overburdened public healthcare system have faced shortages of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.
— James Martin
Spain Health System On The Brink As Daily Death Toll Climbs — 3/31/20, 7:10 a.m. ET
Spain is struggling to avoid the collapse of its health system, with hospitals in at least half of its 17 regions at or very near their ICU bed limits, and medical workers making up 14% of its 88,000 reported infections.
The country registered 849 fatalities related to coronavirus overnight ― the highest number in 24 hours since the epidemic started, although the increase in percentage terms was slightly lower than in the previous days. The death toll rose to 8,189 on Tuesday from 7,340 on Monday, while the number of cases rose to 94,417 on Tuesday from 85,195 on Monday.
However, HuffPost Spain reports (in Spanish) that the situation in the country’s intensive care units is at a critical point, with ICUs at risk of saturation in up to six of the country’s autonomous regions.
— James Martin
Macy’s, Kohl’s And Gap To Furlough Majority Of Workers — 03/31/20, 12:08 a.m. ET
Macy’s, Kohl’s and The Gap announced Monday that they will stop paying a majority of their employees amid collapsing sales caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 300,000 people across the three companies will be furloughed. The workers will, however, continue to collect health benefits, The Associated Press reported.
— Dominique Mosbergen
New Jersey National Guardsman Is First U.S. Service Member To Die Of COVID-19 ― 03/30/2020, 11:30 p.m. ET
A New Jersey National Guardsman is the first U.S. service member to die of COVID-19, the Pentagon said Monday night.
The Guardsman, identified as Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, served as a physician assistant in the Army Medical Command, NPR reported. Hickok, who was reportedly not on active duty when he fell sick, died Saturday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy expressed his sorrow at the news of Hickok’s death. “Our thoughts are with his wife, children, and their family,” Murphy tweeted.
— Dominique Mosbergen
Illinois Gov. Announces Field Hospital In Nation’s Largest Convention Center — 3/30/20, 7:38 p.m. ET
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago will be turned into a field hospital with 3,000 beds, 500 of which are expected to be ready for use by the end of this week. The Illinois National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to have the entire alternate care facility up and running by the end of April, according to Pritzker.
The facility will be dedicated to non-acute COVID-19 patients, whom the governor said are “people whose condition could benefit from the care of medical professionals but who are likely not to need a formal ICU.”
McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, with four buildings making up a combined total of 2.6 million square feet, and 1.2 million square feet all on one level. Illinois has 5,057 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, more than 460 of which came in the last 24 hours. The state’s death toll from the virus is at 73, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
— Sanjana Karanth
Instacart Workers Go On Strike For Better Protections Amid Coronavirus — 3/30/20, 7:20 p.m. ET
Grocery shoppers and drivers working for Instacart went on strike nationwide to demand better protections — including hazard pay and expanded paid sick leave — as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.
Strike organizers insisted they will not go back to work until the grocery delivery company provides them with protective equipment such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, hazard pay of $5 per order, and expanded paid sick leave to cover those with health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus so they can afford to stay home.
“They send their CEO in San Francisco home, but they’re doing nothing for the backbone of their company. Without shoppers, they’re nothing,” Sarah Polito, a 28-year-old part-time shopper for Instacart and strike organizer in Newark, New York, told HuffPost. She is one of more than 200,000 “full-service” shoppers who are not employees of Instacart, but contractors with limited benefits. Read more.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
California Seeking To Hire Former And In-Training Health Care Workers — 3/30/20, 3:24 p.m. ET
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced a new initiative Monday to temporarily expand the state’s pool of health care workers as COVID-19 cases surge.
Qualified individuals may sign up for a job placement on a new website: HealthCorps.ca.gov. The program will place “individuals that may have retired in the last five years may be in the process of getting licensed or re licensed people that are in nursing schools or medical schools that are nearing the completion of those efforts,” Newsom said.
The move will allow for this flexibility in staffing through June 30. Beyond nurses and doctors, the search will extend to nearly every part of the health care system. Other roles Newsom listed include mental health experts, EMTs, pharmacists, phlebotomists, experts in respiratory care, technicians and medical administrators.
“We are going out now to deeply find the kind of talent that is necessary beyond the scope of practice changes and beyond the regulatory changes to make sure that we have the adequate workforce,” Newsom said.
California is also seeking more ventilators. It currently has 4,252 ventilators, Newsom said, but officials want to amass 10,000.
— Lydia O’Connor
Virginia Issues ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order Until June 10 — 3/30/20, 3:03 p.m. ET
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is now the latest U.S. governor to issue a statewide “stay-at-home” order. It is in effect until June 10 “unless amended or rescinded,” the latest date of any such order nationwide. Several states have extended their orders to either April 15 or April 30, with officials saying they will reevaluate every two weeks or so.