In The News

Congress Passes and the President Signs into Law Third COVID-19 Package

March 27, 2020

Today, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It includes more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to help the economy and health care providers respond to the pandemic. 

ANA has been aggressively pushing Congress and the Administration to do something about the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Thankfully, the legislation provides $1.5 billion to States for the equipment, contact tracing to identify additional cases, and other public health preparedness and response activities. Additionally, it provides $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for critical medical supplies, including more PPE, and life-saving medicine. 

Additional details of the agreement include: 

  • $150 billion for hospitals and health providers 
  • $1,200 checks for middle class Americans
  • $150 billion for states and local governments
  • $500 billion for loan guarantees for businesses
  • $350 billion for small businesses to maintain payroll
  • Reauthorizes Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs
  • Authorizes NPs and CNS’ to certify home health care for their patients
  • Includes United States Public Health Service Modernization – Ready Reserve Corps to respond to public health and national emergencies. 

Congressional leaders have indicated there will be additional supplemental packages to come in the following weeks. ANA will continue to be engaged with Congress and the Administration about priorities for nurses in the upcoming packages. Some areas that need to be addressed are: 

  • Prioritize treatment of nurses, and other frontline health care providers who contract COVID-19, so those individuals can go back to work as soon as possible. 
  • Instruct all manufacturers of respirators providing equal or higher protection as N95s, such as N99 or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators, to sell their supply to health care facilities at fair market value. 
  • Retrofit or repurpose closed or currently running manufacturing plants and put individuals back to work by manufacturing more PPE in the United States. 
  • Require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide science-based information on the transmission of the virus so that nurses can make the best decision on the appropriate level of protection. 
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop reporting requirements to better track shortages of PPE. 

As we continue to move forward, ANA will continue to provide updates on what Congress is doing to address COVID-1

 

Governor Polis Updates March 28, 2020 COVID-19

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

Topline Update

As of today we have 1,734 cases, 31 deaths, and 239 hospitalizations out of 11,676 completed tests. 

The most up-to-date public health order can be found here.

While the state is not requiring it, our Department of Public Safety has added a Critical Business Self-Certification form to their website in response to requests from employees and private sector members for a document to carry that certifies that they are traveling for work for a critical business. The form is voluntary. It is not required. Link to the document can be found  here.

Today, the Governor announced that he is removing restrictions on auto insurance for drivers for Restaurant Delivery. In an effort to protect these workers and their vehicles, the Colorado Department of Insurance released emergency regulations to allow for restaurant workers  to deliver food with less red tape and insurance delays. Restaurant owners are encouraged to contact their insurance agents, brokers or companies to discuss additional coverage riders and other options that could offer more protection for their workers and their businesses. Such options could prove useful even after the COVID-19 emergency. 

Stay at Home Order

We have been getting a lot of questions from the press and from the public about our Stay-At-Home Order. As you all know, the Governor announced a stay-at-home order that took effect yesterday at 6 a.m. and will last until April 11. We want to stress to everyone that this is not a competition to see what you can get away with. This is not a time to try to figure out how close you can get to the line. This is a time to stay as far away from the line as you possibly can.

 Just stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary. And if it is absolutely necessary, keep your distance from others, wash your hands frequently, wipe down surfaces, and practice common sense. Use your best judgment and err on the side of safety for yourself and others. And the age old wisdom applies here -- if you have to ask yourself if something is smart or safe -- it’s probably not. Treat this as seriously as you would treat a tornado, or a flood, or a wildfire, or a hurricane. Because the threat is just as real. And the more noncompliance there is, the longer and more severe this crisis will be, and the longer these extraordinary measures may be in place.

Some of the most frequent questions we are getting are

  1. Enforcement: This is an executive order, that means it is the law. The rule of law is the foundation of our society; it must be followed. Residents who suspect that a person or an establishment is violating the order should first contact their local public health agency to report any concerns. Residents may also file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at [email protected] if local law enforcement or a local public health agency is unresponsive.

  2. Parks and Outdoor Recreation: If you absolutely need to recreate, please do it in your own communities close to your home. This should not be treated as a “vacation.” This is not the time to drive two or three or four hours from Denver to a mountain community -- many of which are already reeling from this crisis -- and potentially contribute to the spread in our mountain communities. We’ve all seen the videos on social media of people packed onto trails at state parks -- that can be just as dangerous as being packed into a bar or at a crowded theater.

The trails are often quite narrow, so when you pass someone else, you’re most likely within six feet, and folks shouldn’t be going off-trail anyway -- we should all be practicing the ‘leave no trace’ guidelines. The mountains and canyons have been there for thousands of years. They will be there after this all blows over.  Just have patience and stop putting yourself and others at risk.

  1. Houses of Worship: We know faith is important to so many Coloradans, and more than that, houses of worship often function as community centers -- a place to come together. We know how difficult this is on so many Coloradans.  The order states that houses of worship may remain open for essential activities, but must practice social distancing, which means that at least six feet apart for each party and limit to 10 or less. We want to stress the importance of using electronic platforms to broadcast worship. Essential church staff including religious leaders can conduct services from the house of worship and broadcast it to members as long as all of the support staff are practicing proper social distancing. As with everything -- please don’t go out unless you have to, and please take steps to have church or synagogue or mosque or temple services by electronic means.

  1. Additional Allowances: A few more additional allowances for going out include:

  • Parents transporting children to comply with parenting plans.

  • Fulfilling online orders.

  • Administering elections and participating in elections are critical government functions.

  • We want to stress that even if your business qualifies as a critical business, we urge you to comply with social distancing requirements and allow employees to work from home as much as you can.

 If you still need additional clarification on what is considered essential. You are able to reach out to [email protected]with your questions. 

The data behind the decisions

Today, the Governor gave a slide presentation during his press conference to discuss some of the predictive modeling that is guiding the public health decisions that he is making.

Thank you to Dr. Jon Samet, Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and his team who have been working hard to put together the modeling data in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

A copy of the presentation is here. This data explains why the Governor  issued the Stay-At-Home order. It is a blunt force instrument to knock down this curve as quickly and as hard as we can to spread it out. The more we can do to increase social distancing,  the more time we have to build additional capacity, secure medical equipment, build ventilators etc. The goal is to do a Stay-At-Home order once, make it as quick as possible so we can save our healthcare system and save lives. IF we are successful, we will be able to resume normal economic activity.

 Grant application for our COVID Relief Fund is open!

Community based organizations can start applying for relief funds. The link can be found onwww.helpcoloradonow.org or gohere. Community-based organizations that meet the following three criteria areas are eligible to apply: Organization type, populations served, and alignment with one of the Fund’s three funding priority areas of Prevention, Impact and Recovery. For more information on requirements, visit the website to review eligibility and to apply! 

 

American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses

March 27, 2020

The American Nurses Foundation is supporting nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. We have launched a national fund for the public to address the emerging needs identified by the American Nurses Association to respond to the health threat to nurses posed by the virus. These include: 

  • Providing direct assistance to nurses in partnership with Nurse's House and other organizations
  • Ensuring nurses have access to the latest science-based information 
  • Driving the national advocacy focused on nurse and patients 
  • Aiding nurses' mental health and well-being in this unprecedented and long-term stressful environment.  

Seed funding in the amount of $1 million has been committed by Johnson & Johnson and they will be launching a campaign to drive Text to Give contributions. This effort is unfolding in terms of needs and contributions and we will keep you posted.  We will also share opportunities to be a part of shaping the programs we put in place and making sure monies get to nurses all across the country. 

 

ANA Issues Crisis Standards of Care Guidelines

March 27, 2020

ANA is issuing guidance related to crisis standards of care.  In a pandemic, nurses can find themselves operating in environments demanding a balance between time-limited crisis standards of care and longstanding professional standards of care.  This guidance applies to decisions about care made during extreme circumstances such as those resulting from emergencies, disasters or pandemics like COVID-19. 

ANA recommends that this guidance be used to inform discussions at the regional and facility level, while also informing nurses about crisis standards of care.

ANA Crisis Standards of Care Guidelines

ANA Guidance for Nurses Who Want to Volunteer 

ANA Guidelines for Consumers Who Want to Help

 

 

Governor Polis Updates March 25, 2020 COVID-19

Analysse here with the Governor’s Community Engagement team! In an effort to continue to provide you with an official update from the Governor’s office, below includes the latest steps we are taking to respond to the Coronavirus threat. The most valuable resource we have is time and we need to do more to slow down the spread of the virus. We appreciate your support in helping to spread these updates to your network.

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

 Topline Update

As of today we have 1,086 cases, 19 deaths, and 148 hospitalizations out of 8,064 completed tests. 

As you can see, the numbers continue to grow, and at this point, require more drastic action.

Today, the Governor signed a letter to the President asking him to declare a Major Disaster for the State of Colorado to help us deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. A Major Disaster declaration would free up a host of federal resources to assist with Medical Care, Housing, Disaster Management, Unemployment Assistance, Case management, Legal Services, Nutrition, Crisis Counseling, Hazard Mitigation, and other areas.

Furthermore, the Governor has called on the President to grant Colorado Dual Status Commander Authority. This designation will ensure unity of command, allowing regular, federal military units to be controlled by a single commander representing the Governor. This will help to eliminate confusion and conflict, and allow us to streamline the utilization of our military personnel in this response.

*NEW* -  Stay at Home Order

Today, after much deliberation with our team and with public health experts, the Governor announced that we are finalizing a statewide Stay-At-Home order that will begin on Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 a.m. and will last until Saturday, April 11, 2020.

The full order will be released by midnight. In short, what a Stay at Home order means is individuals are only to interact with their household and only leave their houses for essential activities and to take extreme precautions to limit coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. 

Facilities that remain open must take steps to ensure social distancing or face legal consequences. If this order is going to be effective, instructions need to be clear and concise to all Coloradans and we must obey them. Coloradans should not leave their homes except for certain activities including:

  • Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine, liquor, or cannabis

  • Going to and from work if you are an essential employee

  • Seeking medical care

  • Caring for dependents or pets

  • Caring for a vulnerable person in another location

  • Or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties.

  • Limiting our social interactions is the most effective way to get control of this virus. The projections dictate that more extreme measures must be taken to avoid a colossal breach of our health care system’s capacity. The priority MUST be preventing a catastrophic loss of human life. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, our fellow Coloradans, and our fellow Americans to reduce the spread of this virus. Our goal is to prevent the unnecessary sacrifice of human lives. And it’s going to take all of us.

Grocery Store Guidance

At the state level we are focused on keeping all Coloradans safe, especially essential employees. We know that grocery stores have been very busy these past few weeks, and they will continue to be busy. Yesterday, the Governor sent a letter to grocery executives -- and followed up with Safeway and King Soopers this morning -- asking them to prioritize the health and safety of their workers and help reduce the spread of the virus by:

  • Providing appropriate gloves, masks, face screens, and other personal protective equipment to grocery store workers to the extent possible

  • Consider expanding into grocery delivery services, prioritizing service to those at the highest risk

  • Provide daily designated time periods for higher-risk individuals to shop - I know some stores are already doing that.

  • Establish entrance/access controls to ensure crowds are in compliance with safe social distancing practices like standing six feet away from each other in line

  • To the extent possible, assign those employees with higher health-risks to tasks with lowest exposure risks such as backroom work.

We want to make sure that those essential employees are able to perform their work safely while we manage this crisis. We’re also calling on municipalities to temporarily suspend plastic bag fee ordinances for thirty days because of the potential to spread COVID-19 through the use of reusable grocery bags.

Federal Stimulus Package

As this pandemic continues, we will continue to need the federal government to step up for Coloradans. This package will help workers and small businesses.

The package being negotiated includes $600 per week in additional unemployment benefits and extends the time in which individuals can collect unemployment benefits to 39 weeks. There are also more than $300 billion in loans and grants to small businesses across the country. Individual Americans would receive up to $1,200 per person in direct payments based on income with an additional $500 available per child.

Army Corps of Engineers / ICU Beds

Right now, Army Corps of Engineers are assisting with planning and constructing alternative care sites, which are existing facilities that can be converted to provide medical care for non-COVID patients and/or patients who are recovering from COVID-19. This is incredibly important, and they need to be brought online quickly so we can handle the coming surge of cases. At the peak of this crisis, we expect to need thousands of more hospital beds. If we do not flatten the curve, the need for those beds could be all at once. So building this extra care space will be vitally important for our state’s health care system capacity.

Testing Update

The State lab has eliminated its backlog, and tripled its testing capacity. We know that one lab is not going to be enough -- we need every lab in the state at maximum capacity. We’ve conducted 7 mobile testing sites to date. And there are new labs coming online to do testing: CU, CSU, University Hospital, Children’s. And we are in the process of distributing 4500 test kits to Local Public Health agencies for additional testing at community-based testing sites in Fort Collins, Grand Junction, and Colorado Springs.

Urgent Call for More Ventilators

One area that continues to be a challenge is getting our hands on enough ventilators. Right now we’re about 7,000 short of what we will need at the peak. Our latest delivery from the national stockpile included zero ventilators. Our Innovation Response Team is working as hard as they can to identify manufacturers and supply chains, but we need private sector manufacturers in our state to join this cause and help us produce these ventilators that will save the lives of our neighbors, our friends, our parents, grandparents, maybe even ourselves.

PPE Drive / HelpColoradoNow / COVID-19 Relief Fund / Donate Blood

We want to continue to encourage those who are able to continue to rise to the challenge in all sorts of ways.

  • Personal Protective Equipment:To donate PPE keep the bare minimum amount of supply you need to conduct essential or life saving functions, and contribute the remainder to our state's COVID19 response. If you have small quantities of supplies to contribute, between 1-25 boxes of personal protective equipment donate these supplies to yourlocal public health department, local community health center, community clinic, or local hospital. If you have more than 25 boxes, or the pieces of larger equipment such as anesthesia machines or ventilators, fill outTHIS FORM.

  • Relief Fund: To donate to COVID-19 Relief Fund, go to HelpColoradoNow.org

  • Volunteer to Help: Sign up to volunteer atHelpColoradoNow.org

  • Donated blood:Visitvitalant.org to find a location to donate near you.

  • Innovation Response Team:Private sector companies who want to partner with us on acquiring testing, critical constrained medical supplies, technology, or support services for people who are isolated go toHelpColoradoNow.org.

We’re all in this together, and we will continue to look for both public and private sector solutions that will allow us to address the public health crisis and the economic crisis at the same time. The most important and responsible thing we can do -- for our state, country, and the lives of those around us -- is to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary.

 
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