Wednesday, September 29, 2021 – California Healthline

California Healthline Original Stories
Hospitals Confront Climate Change as Patients Sick From Floods and Fires Crowd ERs
Patients sickened in heat waves, flooding and wildfire have raised awareness of climate change’s impact on health. Now, some hospitals are building solar panels and cutting waste to reduce their own carbon footprints, with support from a new office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But the industry is moving slowly. (Miranda Green, 9/29)
The Part of the ‘Free Britney’ Saga That Could Happen to Anyone
Britney Spears was forced into psychiatric care — and compelled to pay for it. That can happen to any patient who has an episode of serious mental illness, piling financial woes onto their stress and vulnerability. (Christopher Magoon, 9/29)
Statewide School Vaccine Mandate Possible, Newsom Says: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday said that his administration hasn’t ruled out implementing a statewide vaccine mandate in K-12 schools. “We are in discussions with 1,050 school districts,” Newsom said Tuesday morning. “We’re working very closely with their staff to understand the logistical challenges and hurdles.” Read more from The Sacramento Bee.
San Diego Extends Vaccination Deadline: San Diego is giving city workers an extra month to comply with the new vaccine mandate. The deadline has been delayed from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1, which will allow labor negotiations to continue over whether unvaccinated workers will be fired, suspended or face some other fate. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.
Vaccine and Mask Mandates
San Francisco Chronicle: Adult, Senior Care And In-Home Workers Must Be Fully Vaccinated, New California Order Says
Adult and senior care facilities workers and workers who provide in-home care must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 30 as part of a California public health order issued Tuesday, officials said. The order “mirrors” the state’s existing coronavirus requirement for health care workers that was announced on August 5, state public health officials said. (Hernández, 9/28)
San Francisco Chronicle: What San Francisco Is Saying About The Future Of The Indoor Mask Mandate
San Francisco’s strict indoor mask mandate could ease in the near future, a top San Francisco health official said, though the nature of the changes and the timing are unclear. While the indoor mask mandate currently remains in effect, Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said that discussions are ongoing to figure out “where there may be flexibility.” (Thadani, 9/28)
San Francisco Chronicle: COVID In California: Masks May Be Required For The 'Foreseeable Future'
Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said at a community meeting Tuesday night that he imagines dropping indoor mask mandates on a “gradation,” and masks may remain in place in certain high-risk settings for the “foreseeable future.” He implied that the current mandates may remain until 5- to 11-year-olds can be vaccinated, which could happen as early as next month. (Vaziri, Beamish and Fracassa, 9/28)
Los Angeles Times: L.A. Considers Sweeping Indoor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate 
Los Angeles leaders on Wednesday will consider a sweeping law requiring adult customers to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination to enter a wide array of public places, including indoor restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, shopping centers, museums, movie theaters and hair and nail salons. The plan would be one of the strictest vaccine orders to date — and likely make demonstrating inoculation status part of the daily routine for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Angelenos. (Money and Lin II, 9/28)
City News Service: LA City Council To Vote On Vaccine Mandate For Indoor Spaces 
The Los Angeles City Council will consider an ordinance on Wednesday, Sept. 28 to require people to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entering indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping centers, entertainment venues and personal care establishments beginning Nov. 4. Starting Oct. 21, indoor public spaces that fall under the ordinance would be required to display advisory notices of the vaccination requirement. (Shuttleworth, 9/28)
Los Angeles Times: LAUSD Struggles To Meet COVID Vaccine Mandate Deadlines 
High-stakes COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadlines are fast approaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District and employees who refuse the inoculations face losing their jobs while unvaccinated students would ultimately be forced off campus into an online program. While the vast majority of students and teachers are expected to comply — and possibly even feel reassured by the mandate — large numbers in the nation’s second-largest school district have so far resisted the requirement. Currently, about 1 in 5 district employees, about 12,000 workers, have not begun their immunization, according to information provided at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. A loss of that magnitude would add more disruption to school operations, especially as the district is struggling to fill more than 2,000 vacancies. (Blume, 9/29)
CNN: LeBron James Confirms He Was Vaccinated For Covid-19 Months After Being Initially Skeptical
NBA superstar LeBron James confirmed Tuesday he received the Covid-19 vaccine, months after being initially skeptical of it. “Everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature,” James said during the Los Angeles Lakers media day in El Segundo, California. “I know that I was very skepticism (sic) about it all. But after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but my family and my friends. That’s why I decided to do it.” (Vera and Close, 9/29)
CBS News: LeBron James Says He Got The COVID Vaccine Despite Initial Skepticism
LeBron James on Tuesday said he received the COVID-19 vaccine despite his initial skepticism. The Los Angeles Lakers star spoke with reporters on the Lakers' annual media day for the upcoming season, saying he and his family got the vaccine after he did his own research. "I think everyone has they own choice — to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature," he said. "I know that I was very (skeptical) about it all but after doing my research. I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends." (Jones, 9/28)
AP: NBA Releases Protocols To Teams For Virus Safety This Season
The NBA released tentative health and safety protocols to its teams Tuesday, detailing how unvaccinated players will be tested far more often than their vaccinated colleagues and face a slew of other restrictions. Among the rules for unvaccinated players: They will not be able to eat in the same room with vaccinated teammates or staff, must have lockers as far away from vaccinated players as possible, and must stay masked and at least six feet away from all other attendees in any team meeting. (Reynolds, 9/28)
Vaccines for Children
NPR: Pfizer Submits Favorable Initial Data To The FDA On Kids' COVID-19 Vaccine Trial 
Pfizer and BioNTech are another step closer to seeking authorization for young children to receive the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration that shows a "robust" antibody response and "favorable" safety outcomes in kids ages 5 to 11 who received the two-dose regimen in clinical trials. The companies plan to submit a formal request for emergency-use authorization of the vaccine for that age range "in the coming weeks," they said Tuesday. (Chappell, 9/28)
The Wall Street Journal: Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine For Kids May Not Be FDA Authorized Before November
Regulatory clearance of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech vaccine for young children may not come until November, according to a person familiar with the matter, after the companies said they won’t ask for the green light for a few weeks. The companies said Tuesday they provided U.S. health regulators with data from a recent study of their vaccine in children 5 to 11 years old. They said they would file an application asking the Food and Drug Administration to authorize use in the coming weeks, though they had previously targeted submitting the application as early as the end of September. (Hopkins and Armour, 9/28)
Modesto Bee: When Could Kids Ages 5-11 Get Pfizer COVID Vaccine?
Pfizer-BioNTech have submitted data on their COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5-11 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for initial review, according to a Tuesday news release. The companies first revealed their data on the age group last week, announcing their vaccine appears to be safe and effective in children between 5 and 11 years old with a dose that’s a third of the amount given to teens and adults. The Pfizer vaccine is currently available in the U.S. for anyone ages 12 and up. (Camero, 9/28)
Modesto Bee: 55% Of Parents Would Get COVID Vaccine For Young Kids: Poll
A new poll found a slim majority of parents would get their young children vaccinated against COVID-19. The Gallup poll released Tuesday found 55% of parents with children under 12 plan to get them a coronavirus vaccine when one is authorized for use in younger kids while 45% said they don’t plan to. The poll also found that a slimmer majority of parents are worried that their children will contract the virus. (Aldridge, 9/28)
Vaccine Rollout and Booster Shots
Los Angeles Times: 400,000 Plus Americans Have COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
At least 400,000 people in the United States have received COVID-19 booster shots since the extra injections were authorized last week, the Biden administration said Tuesday. “Our planning and preparation on boosters have propelled a strong start,” said Jeff Zients, a White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told reporters during a livestreamed news conference. Zients said most of the 400,000 injections were administered over the weekend, and nearly 1 million people have scheduled appointments to get their third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The administration’s partnerships with states, long-term care facilities, doctors and pharmacies enabled it to “immediately” roll out boosters following last week’s approval of the shots by the federal government, Zients said. (Logan, 9/28)
Fox News: COVID-19 Vaccine Third Shot Side Effects On Par With Second Dose: CDC Study 
Most additional doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine administered roughly six months after the primary series resulted in mild to moderate side effects, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday. The study was conducted when third-dose eligibility was limited to patients with moderate to severe immunocompromising conditions. The findings stemmed from data collected between Aug. 12 to Sept. 19 through v-safe, the CDC’s voluntary phone-based surveillance system, and included 22,191 registrants who reported receiving a third dose of the vaccine. (Rivas, 9/28)
Modesto Bee: Who Can Get A COVID Vaccine Booster Shot In California? 
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended groups that can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster. The agency is citing studies that show the vaccine’s reduced protection over time for certain people against mild to moderate disease. This comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for people that are high risk or are 65 years and older. (Truong, 9/28)
Sacramento Bee: Racial Disparity In COVID Vaccine Rate Among Sacramento Children 
Children who are American Indian and Alaska Native, Black or white are among the least vaccinated in Sacramento County, according to new data from the public health department. Children between ages 12 and 19 in general have the lowest vaccination rate of any age group in Sacramento County, but only about one in three American Indian and Alaska Native and Black children are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 16. (Yoon-Hendricks and Morrar, 9/29)
CalMatters: Rapid COVID-19 Tests In Short Supply In California
Sarah Voit likes to keep 10 to 15 rapid test kits on hand in case any of the residents of the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in Hayward need to be tested for COVID-19. They’ve had some infection scares, and the antigen tests — which return results in minutes — have been crucial to curbing the virus in the family shelter. But in recent weeks, the staff has struggled to purchase enough rapid test kits. The local Walgreens and Costco have started limiting sales to one per customer. “We ran into the same issue at the beginning of the pandemic when we were trying to buy Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer,” said Voit, the shelter’s program director. (Hwang, 9/27)
Los Angeles Times: How Delta Variant Cooled U.S. And California Economic Outlook 
The Delta variant of the coronavirus has upended the calculations of forecasters — not just at UCLA Anderson’s widely cited group, but among academic, government and corporate economists nationwide. The outlook has gone from “sizzling to ho-hum,” the UCLA quarterly forecast, released Wednesday, reported. (Roosevelt, 9/29)
Capital & Main: California COVID Worker Protection Program Expiring
September was always going to be a brutal month for California’s lower income labor force, much of which is still in recovery from COVID-related layoffs. Not only did federal pandemic unemployment assistance come to an end, but an important eviction moratorium in the state is set to expire as well. Understandably, both issues have commanded attention, if not redress. Just under the radar, though, another blow is about to be struck. And this time, the ability of workers to safeguard themselves against the virus itself may be compromised, even as they are finally beginning to hear their names called back to work. (Kreidler, 9/28)
Capitol Hill
Stat: The Federal Covid-19 Response Will Continue If There’s A Shutdown, Mostly
The federal government’s efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic will continue even if the government shuts down this week, a Biden administration official tells STAT — but key health agencies will still face major staff shortages. The Senate has until Thursday night to prevent a government shutdown, and things are not looking good: Late Monday, Republicans blocked a procedural vote as part of a standoff related to raising the government’s debt limit. (Florko, 9/28)
AP: Sign Of Progress, Biden Digs In To Strike Deal On $3.5T Plan
Pressure mounting but with signs of progress, President Joe Biden will hunker down at the White House to try to strike a deal and win over two holdout Democratic senators whose support is needed for his potentially historic $3.5 trillion government overhaul. With Republicans solidly opposed and no Democratic votes to spare, Biden canceled a Wednesday trip to Chicago that was to focus on COVID-19 vaccinations so he could dig in for another day of intense negotiations with lawmakers ahead of crucial votes. (Mascaro and Miller, 9/29)
The New York Times: Yellen Warns Congress That Debt Limit Must By Raised By Oct. 18 
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned lawmakers on Tuesday of “catastrophic” consequences if Congress failed to raise or suspend the statutory debt limit in less than three weeks, saying inaction could lead to a self-inflicted economic recession and a financial crisis. At a Senate Banking Committee hearing where she testified alongside the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, Ms. Yellen laid out in explicit terms what she expects to happen if Congress does not deal with the debt limit before Oct. 18, which the Treasury now believes is when the United States will actually face default. In her most public expression of alarm about the matter, she described the standoff within Congress as a self-inflicted wound of enormous proportions. (Rappeport, Cochrane and Smialek, 9/28)
Health Care Industry
San Diego Union-Tribune: Bayer Buys San Diego Biotech Vividion For Up To $2 Billion 
German pharma giant Bayer hasn’t had a major presence in San Diego. But its multi-billion dollar acquisition of Sorrento Valley biotech Vividion Therapeutics just changed all that. Vividion had been planning to go public when Bayer offered it up to $2 billion in up-front and milestone payments with virtually no change to the biotech’s operations. (Wosen, 9/28)
Air Quality
CapRadio: Dangerous Air: As California Burns, America Breathes Toxic Smoke 
Western wildfires pose a much broader threat to human health than to just those forced to evacuate the path of the blazes. Smoke from these fires, which have burned millions of acres in California alone, is choking vast swaths of the country, an analysis of federal satellite imagery by NPR’s California Newsroom and Stanford University’s Environmental Change and Human Outcomes Lab found. (Saldanha, Romero, Wells and Glantz, 9/28)
Sacramento Bee: Sacramento Expands Air Quality Monitoring To Low-Income Areas
The city of Sacramento will deploy 100 air quality monitors to expand community air quality monitoring, particularly in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color disproportionately impacted by air pollution. In partnership with the Sacramento Metro Air District, the $500,000 pilot program approved by City Council on Sept. 21 will prioritize placing sensors in neighborhoods that have historically lacked real-time, localized air quality information such as Franklin, Fruitridge, Northgate and Gardenland. (Yoon-Hendricks, 9/28)
Los Angeles Times: Strong Winds Fanning Windy, KNP Complex Fires 
Gusty winds blowing through the southern Sierra Nevada continue to spread the growing KNP Complex and Windy fires, which have burned more than 135,000 acres combined as they tear through steep, rugged terrain. Furious westerly winds — some gusting up to 40 mph — fanned the Windy fire’s growth by nearly 2,000 acres in a day. The fire, raging in the Sequoia National Forest and Tule River Indian Reservation, had ballooned to 87,318 acres on Tuesday and was only 4% contained. (Seidman, 9/28)
Public Health
FiercePharma: Amid New Pricing Pressure, Lilly Cuts Cost Of Generic Insulin By Another 40% 
With drugmakers facing renewed calls to lower the cost of prescription drugs, Eli Lilly has taken preemptive action, dropping the cost of its generic insulin by 40%. Starting next year, Lilly’s list price for Lispro Injection will be $82.42 for an individual vial and $159.12 for a five-pack of pens. The move prices Lispro 70% less than its branded counterpart, Humalog U-100, and returns the cost of insulin to 2008 levels, the company said. (Dunleavy, 9/28)
San Francisco Chronicle: Risk Of Dementia 73% Higher For People With These Symptoms In Early Adulthood, UCSF Study Says
Depression in young adulthood might increase risk for cognitive impairment in old age, a new UCSF study has found. The study — which used predictive models to determine depressive symptoms over a lifetime — found that the chances of cognitive impairment were 73% higher for those estimated to have elevated depressive symptoms in early adulthood, and 43% higher for those estimated to have elevated depressive symptoms in mid- and later life. (Echeverria, 9/28)
Axios: More Than Half Of U.S. Children Had Detectable Lead In Blood 
More than half of children under 6 years old in the U.S. had detectable lead levels in their blood, with exposures much higher from children in communities with pre-1950s housing or with public insurance or high poverty rates, a new study found. The study, published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, is the first known national analysis investigating the "association of lead exposure with individual- and community-level factors." (Fernandez, 9/28)
Los Angeles Times: As Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Surge, A New Tool Lets You Report Them Anonymously 
Responding to increases in hate crimes and harassment of Asians and Asian Americans, a national advocacy group has launched an online tool to allow people to report incidents of violence or harassment in 29 languages. The goal is to collect data to better gauge incidences of anti-Asian violence nationwide to help inform policymakers and community leaders and to assist in framing legislation. (Garcia, 9/28)
City News Service: LA County Looks For Novel Ways, More Money To Fight Rising STD Rates 
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called on Tuesday, Sept. 28, for more resources and coordination to fight a troubling spike in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Supervisor Hilda Solis said it was important the county not lose sight of other public health needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our county is in the middle of an ongoing STD crisis that has seen cases here skyrocket,” Solis said. “As we’ve seen with COVID-19, the rise in STDs is heavily associated with many social determinants of health, leading to many of the same communities hit disproportionately by the pandemic bearing the brunt of this crisis as well.” (9/28)
SF Gate: San Francisco Is 'Drowning In Fentanyl.' Where Is The Drug Coming From?
San Francisco is in the grips of an unprecedented drug epidemic as fentanyl floods the street-drug marketplace, intensifying the peril of addiction and leading to a staggering number of overdose deaths. While myriad other drugs such as cocaine, heroin and especially methamphetamine are part of the city's recreational drug supply, the number of accidental overdose deaths tied to the astonishingly cheap, potent and addictive synthetic opioid went up 483% from 2018 to 2020. Fentanyl was detected in the blood of 89 of the 260 total people who died from overdoses in San Francisco in 2018, while it was present in 519 of the 712 people who overdosed in 2020, data shared by the city with SFGATE showed. (Graff, 9/28)
Modesto Bee: Abortion Battle Motivates Stanislaus Residents To Protest
Stanislaus County residents are set to march and rally for reproductive rights this weekend as an almost 50-year-old constitutional law allowing abortion in the nation faces possible overturn. The effort comes on the heels of two court cases that challenge Roe. v. Wade, a landmark decision made in 1973 protecting women’s choice on abortion. Texan women are traveling hundreds of miles for abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a state law in early September that bans nearly all abortions after six weeks, well before many even know they’re pregnant. (Briseño, 9/28)
Housing Crisis
Los Angeles Times: New High-Rise Will House Homeless People On L.A.'s Skid Row 
Construction kicked off Tuesday on a 19-story homeless housing project designed to reshape a corner of skid row in the image of more well-to-do environs. The 278-unit Weingart Tower will replace a parking lot at 555 S. Crocker St., around the corner from the Weingart Center, the project’s developer in collaboration with affordable housing developer Chelsea Investment Corp. The building is expected to open in December 2023. (Smith, 9/28)
Sacramento Bee: Can Construction Of ADUs Help Sacramento’s Housing Crisis?
State and city leaders have touted ADUs, also known as granny flats or in-law units, as mechanisms to help alleviate California’s housing crisis. But not many homeowners in Sacramento are building them. Last year, the city issued 76 building permits for ADUs — only about 2% of all housing units permitted that year. (Clift, 9/29)
Theranos Trial
CNN: Former Lab Director Testified Theranos Prioritized PR And Funding Over Patient Care 
On Tuesday, the testimony of a former Theranos lab director is set to continue in the criminal trial of the failed blood-testing startup's founder and former CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. Attorneys for Holmes have previously argued that the accuracy and reliability of the company's tests were not her responsibility, but rather fell to those running the lab. The state of the lab and Theranos' testing capabilities ahead of its major commercial launch with Walgreens has been central to the prosecution's case so far, with the former director's testimony going all day on Friday. (O'Brien, 9/28)
Bay Area News Group: Elizabeth Holmes Trial: Lab Chief's 'Moral Obligation' To Blow Whistle
Former Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff felt “obligated from a moral and ethical perspective to alert the public” about the Palo Alto blood-testing startup’s inaccurate test results, he testified Tuesday at the criminal fraud trial of company founder Elizabeth Holmes. However, under aggressive cross-examination Tuesday afternoon, a Holmes lawyer sought to paint Rosendorff’s trial testimony as inconsistent with statements he’d made earlier. (Baron, 9/28)
Dual Diagnosis How Fragmented Care Harms People with Both Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder
CHCF commissioned interviews with 54 people enrolled in Medi-Cal who are dually diagnosed with mental illness and substance use disorder to learn what is working — and not working — for them in the health care system.
CalAIM CalAIM Explained: A Plan to Transform Medi-Cal
The goal of CalAIM is to improve outcomes for Californians covered by Medi-Cal, especially those with the most complex needs. This fact sheet includes a high-level overview of the plan's details.
Medi-Cal Medi-Cal Facts and Figures
Get the latest data on Medi-Cal, which covers one in three Californians.
© California Healthline 1998-2021. All Rights Reserved.
California Healthline is a service of the California Health Care Foundation produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Powered by WordPress VIP


Book an appointment