California coronavirus updates: Grand jury finds Sacramento County Board undercut public health response during pandemic

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Grand jury finds Sacramento County Board undercut public health response during pandemic 

Biden administration gives green light for another COVID-19 booster for people 50 and older

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US have dropped to their lowest levels

China sends in military to assist with Shanghai lockdown

Trimmed down $10 billion congressional COVID-19 deal is moving forward

COVID-19 By The Numbers

Monday, April 4

1:57 p.m.: Grand jury finds Sacramento County Board undercut public health response during pandemic 

A scathing report from the Sacramento County Grand Jury issued Monday afternoon accuses the County Board of Supervisors of ignoring Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye’s request for assistance in COVID pandemic response for five months.

The grand jury found that “the Board’s apathy during the most significant public health emergency in over a century, one that impacted every resident of Sacramento County, delayed needed OPH program funding and undercut public health order enforcement.”

The grand jury found that the Officer of Public Health’s COVID response activities should have been the Board of Supervisors’ top priority and recommends that the County Board of Supervisors, the County Executive and the County Office of Public Health jointly develop a public health emergency response plan.

9:43 a.m.: Biden administration gives green light for another COVID-19 booster for people 50 and older

The Biden administration has given the go-ahead for another COVID-19 vaccine booster for people aged 50 and older and certain people who are immunocompromised.

As reported by NPR, they can now get another Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech booster at least four months after their last dose.

But just because you can get an additional booster, does that mean you need to?

Health officials argue that protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots wanes over time. And they are concerned about people considered to be at highest risk of getting severe COVID.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t make it clear how urgently people should be lining up for second boosters. The agency says these groups are “eligible” for the shots, but stopped short of saying if they should get them.

Some infectious disease experts say not everyone in this age group needs another booster shot now.

9:33 a.m.: COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US have dropped to their lowest levels

COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have plunged to their lowest levels since the summer of 2020, offering a much-needed break for health care workers and patients alike following the omicron surge.

According to the Associated Press, the number of patients hospitalized with the coronavirus has fallen more than 90{e9f0aada585b9d73d0d08d3c277fd760092386ec23cac37d50f4b8cd792b062a} in more than two months, and some hospitals are going days without a single COVID-19 patient in the ICU for the first time since early 2020.

The freed-up beds are expected to help U.S. hospitals retain exhausted staff, treat non-COVID-19 patients more quickly and cut down on inflated costs.

More family members can visit loved ones, and doctors hope to see a correction to the slide in pediatric visits, yearly checkups and cancer screenings.

“We should all be smiling that the number of people sitting in the hospital right now with COVID, and people in intensive care units with COVID, are at this low point,” said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi.

But, he said, the nation “paid a steep price to get to this stage. … A lot of people got sick and a lot of people died.”

9:16 a.m.: China sends in military to assist with Shanghai lockdown

China has sent more than 10,000 health workers from across the country to Shanghai, including 2,000 military medical staff.

According to the Associated Press, they’re struggling to stamp out a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak in China’s largest city.

Shanghai is conducting mass testing of its 25 million residents as what was supposed to be a two-phase lockdown entered its second week.

Many factories and financial firms have been able to keep operating by isolating their employees, but concern is growing about the potential economic impact of an extended lockdown in China’s financial capital, which is also a major shipping and manufacturing center.

Friday, April 1

10:13 a.m.: Trimmed down $10 billion congressional COVID-19 deal is moving forward

Federal lawmakers have moved to the brink of clinching a scaled-back bipartisan compromise to provide a fresh $10 billion to combat COVID-19.

According to the Associated Press, that could set up final congressional approval next week. The price tag was down from an earlier $15.6 billion agreement between the two parties that collapsed weeks ago after House Democrats rejected cutting unused pandemic aid to states to help pay for it.

President Joe Biden previously requested $22.5 billion in early March. With leaders hoping to move the package through congress quickly, the lowered cost seemed to reflect both parties’ calculations that agreeing soon to additional savings would be too hard.

The effort, which would finance steps like vaccines, treatments and tests, comes as Biden and other Democrats have warned the government is running out of money to counter the pandemic. At the same time, the more transmissible omicron variant, BA.2, has been spreading quickly in the U.S. and abroad.

9:41 a.m.: Easing coronavirus protections could hurt Medicaid recipients and cause significant disruptions to the system, experts say

When the stated end of the COVID-19 pandemic comes, it could create major disruptions for U.S. health care, the Associated Press reports.

Experts say the cumbersome health care system has been made more generous, flexible and up-to-date technologically through a raft of emergency measures.

Winding down those temporary policies could start as early as the summer if the Biden administration ends a federal public health emergency that’s been in effect for over two years.

A change like this would force an estimated 15 million Medicaid recipients to find new sources of coverage and require congressional action to preserve broad telehealth access for Medicare enrollees. 

It also would scramble COVID-19 rules and payment policies for hospitals, doctors, insurers and patients.

9:25 a.m.: Shanghai moves into second part of COVID-19 lockdown

About 16 million residents in Shanghai are being tested for the coronavirus as a staged lockdown shifts to the western half of China’s biggest city and financial capital, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, eastern districts that were supposed to be ending their lockdown were told it might be extended in spots where COVID-19 cases are found. The lockdown of the city with 26 million people has rattled global markets, worried about the possible economic impact.

Residents sent to designated testing sites were met by long lines and waits of more than 90 minutes. People who are sick are sent to hospitals, and people who test positivity without any symptoms are sent to temporary isolation centers, including gymnasiums.

Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here

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