Tag: health

Holiday air travel surges despite dire health warnings



FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 file photo, a traveler wears a mask as she walks through Terminal 3 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Transportation Security Administration said nearly 1.2 million people went through U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country back in March, despite the pleadings of public health experts for people to stay home over Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)


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FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 file photo, a traveler wears a mask as she walks through Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Transportation Security Administration said nearly 1.2 million people went through U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country back in March, despite the pleadings of public health experts for people to stay home over Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Nearly 1.2 million people passed through U.S. airports Sunday, the greatest number since the pandemic gripped the country in March, despite pleas from health experts for Americans to stay home over Thanksgiving.

The Transportation Security Administration screened at least 1 million people on four of the last 10 days through Sunday. That’s still half the crowd recorded last year at airports, when more than 2 million people were counted per day.

With new reported cases of coronavirus spiking across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a warning against Thanksgiving travel just a week before the holiday.

Some airlines had reported a pullback in bookings as virus cases grew. On Monday, JetBlue Airways said “booking trends remain volatile,” and a recovery in travel demand will be uneven into next year.

JetBlue, the nation’s sixth-largest airline, plans to fly only half its normal schedule in the fourth quarter and revenue will fall about 70% from the same period last year. Those are slightly deeper reductions in flying and revenue than the New York carrier had expected before the recent spike in infections.



FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 file photo, travelers walk through Terminal 3 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Transportation Security Administration said nearly 1.2 million people went through U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country back in March, despite the pleadings of public health experts for people to stay home over Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 file photo, travelers walk through Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The Transportation Security Administration said nearly 1.2 million people went through U.S. airports on Sunday, the highest number since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the country back in March, despite the pleadings of public health experts for people to stay home over Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

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Ochsner LSU Health offers free COVID-19 testing at Shreveport recreation centers

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is offering free coronavirus testing this week at several recreation centers in Shreveport.

Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, it is encouraged that you get tested to know your COVID-19 status in order to prevent illness in others.

Coronavirus testing will be provided at the following locations:

Monday, Nov. 30

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Bill Cockrell Community Center – 4109 Pines Rd., Shreveport

Tuesday, Dec. 1

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Querbes Park Community Center – 3500 Beverly Place, Shreveport

Wednesday, Dec. 2

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Querbes Park Community Center – 3500 Beverly Place, Shreveport

Thursday, Dec. 3

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Billberry Park Community Center – 1902 Alabama Ave., Shreveport

Friday, Dec. 4

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Billberry Park Community Center – 1902 Alabama Ave., Shreveport

If you want to be tested please bring an ID and insurance card, if applicable. There are no out-of-pocket costs for those seeking a test and no one will be turned away based on their insurance status. Testing is available at the times listed or until all test kits have been utilized.

You will receive your test results within 3-4 days via the MyChart patient portal or by phone.

Those who test positive will have the opportunity to participate in Ochsner’s 14-day symptom tracker program designed for COVID-19 patients who do not require hospital care. Participants receive daily text messages to monitor symptoms and can be connected to our 24/7 nurse on-call line for additional support.

In addition to offering community testing, Ochsner LSU Health has the following resources available:

  • Call the free COVID-19 information line at 844-888-2772 for 24/7 advice.
  • Ochsner LSU Health patients can schedule a video visit with their provider and send secure messages via MyChart.
  • New patients can see a provider over video through ochsnerlsuhs.org/anywhere or via the Ochsner Anywhere Care app.

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Millions travel during holiday despite health warnings

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Despite health warnings, millions of people took to the skies for Thanksgiving travel, making airports the more crowded than any time since the pandemic began.

Travelers said they went to visit family over the holiday weekend, but took extra safety precautions at their destinations.

“Obviously we had our masks and wherever we went there was cleaning sanitizing zones and social distancing, you know all the restaurants, everyone was on board with making sure that we were following all the protocols,” SFO traveler Dan Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin went to Palm Springs for Thanksgiving.

REPORTER: “What made you travel despite the CDC’s recommendations not to?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “You know, we already planned the vacation before the recommendation and felt very safe. Like right now, there’s not very many people in here.”

SFO saw no large crowds on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which is usually one of the busiest travel days.

But health experts are more concerned about where people are going to, potentially super spreading events to see family.

Which was on Donny Molina’s mind — he spent the holiday in Las Vegas.

“We didn’t have a lot of family over for Thanksgiving. We tried to keep it small,” Molina said. “We’ve seen family members that we need to see, other than that you know we just FaceTimed.”

“It was tense,” SFO traveler Annette Parent said. “The planes were full.”>

For Parent, travel was necessary.

“I went to see my mother in Oregon who is not doing very well,” she said. “She doesn’t have COVID but she’s elderly and she needed some help.”

Despite the CDC’s dire warning to stay home, millions of Americans traveled for Thanksgiving.

SFO saw the busiest days – since the pandemic began.

REPORTER: “Are you feeling COVID regulation fatigue?”

DAN GILMARTIN: “Absolutely. Well for one, my ears are killing me right now from this mask. But just socially, it was just nice to get out of town. There were a lot of people in palm springs there but again everyone was separated but it was nice to be out in public to be around the community be around people.”

“Probably a little bit,” Molina said. “I try not to think about it too much but I feel we have to be feeling it a little bit but just trying to make the best of it and try to stay safe and hopefully it will be over soon.”

“No, I think it’s essential and I really wish people wear their masks most of the time,” Parent said.

And doctor’s next concern — the upcoming winter holidays. What effect will those gatherings have on COVID-19.

It is recommended you get tested three to five days after you’ve potentially been exposed to the virus to avoid a false negative test result.

Doctors say it may be some time until we know the full effects of these Thanksgiving gatherings, it usually takes two to three weeks to gather all the data.

Santa Clara County updated its

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The District of Summerland is reviewing over the recreation and health needs of the community – Penticton News

The District of Summerland will be reviewing the Summerland Community Recreation & Health Centre Engagement Strategy Summary and the Draft Needs Assessment report from the Director of Community Services on Monday. 

The update on the project will provide an overview of community summary and further information on options presented from the program and space requirements excerpt.

This section of work on the project is targeted to be completed by the end of January 2021.

Consultants hired by the district have now completed the comprehensive community engagement process. The public survey included over 600 responses, online open houses, stakeholder workshops, stakeholder questionnaires, and meetings with the Steering Committee, Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and the Penticton Indian Band (PIB), as well as content for the project website.

From the results, the consultants have begun to develop program and space requirements for the new facility. First choice options for spaces and costs details will be provided, along with options and costs for secondary spaces for Council’s consideration. 

Key feedback from the community on the project include replacement and improvement of the aquatic centre as the highest priority. There is strong support for a larger pool, more than one pool, a hot tub, and better accessibility. 

The community would also like to see replacement of the fitness centre, building a better workout space with access to cardio machines, and weights. There is also a demand for gymnasium space, adding to indoor activities for all ages in fall/winter/spring; event and community gathering space, programs and drop-in for children, youth and families. 

Additional community services would also like to be improved in the community centre, including youth programs with a dedicated youth space, childcare/daycare for children up to 5 years old, Seniors’ services as well as  a dedicated seniors’ spaces. 

There is a need for better access to family doctors, a walk-in health service option, and space for dedicated mental health professionals (Interior Health).

After Monday’s meeting, the summary of the results will be posted on the website. The community is encouraged by the District to review the documents and provide feedback on their level of support for the options presented. 

Funds for the initial phase of the project are budgeted for $80,000 and are included in the District of Summerland 2020 Financial Plan.

Full details of the Community Engagement Summary and the Program and Space Requirements Excerpt will be presented to the council on Monday.

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Mental health hospital suspends staff vacation due to COVID cases

A state-run psychiatric hospital in Rhode Island has suspended all medical staff vacation in response to a rising number of coronavirus cases among patients and workers.

“We regretfully are canceling all direct care patient support vacations” effective midnight Nov. 25, according to a letter to Eleanor Slater Hospital staff, The Providence Journal reported.

The letter also said, “We hope this vacation hold is temporary as we recognize the hard work and dedication of our staff and the need for time off.”

The letter was signed by Kathryn Power, director of the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, which oversees the Cranston facility.

A Slater spokesperson earlier this week confirmed that 14 patients and 35 staffers had tested positive for the virus.

Another hospital group, Lifespan, previously issued an appeal for retired doctors and nurses to return to work, and even sought medical students and interns, to help relieve the medical staff shortage. Lifespan operates Rhode Island, Miriam, Hasbro Children’s and Newport hospitals.

There were 1,525 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 11 more virus-related fatalities in Rhode Island in the past two days, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

The department did not provide updated statistics on Thanksgiving Day, when most testing sites were closed because of the holiday.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has now risen over the past two weeks from more than 716 on Nov. 12 to almost 767 on Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island was 5.89% on Thursday, down from over 6% two days prior, but still higher than it was two weeks ago.

State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island, the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The state’s death toll from the disease is now 1,346 patients.

The number of people in the state’s hospitals with the disease was down to 319 as of Wednesday, the latest day for which the data were available, the second consecutive day it has dropped. Of those, 37 are in intensive care.

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Airlines’ new ‘health passport’ could revive international travel

As more governments turn to mandatory COVID-19 testing for travelers in place of mandatory 14-day quarantines after arrival, the world’s airlines are developing a digital health passport that will collect and standardize coronavirus-related passenger data for border crossings and could jump-start international travel once it is widely used. Eventually, the current proof of negative test results prior to travel could be supplanted by proof of vaccination.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade group of the world’s airlines, said this week that its new IATA Travel Pass is in the final stage of development. “IATA Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travelers,” the organization said.

The Travel Pass includes four “interoperable modules” that can be combined to provide information and solutions for all aspects of international travel in the age of COVID, IATA said, including a global registry of government health requirements for travelers; a similar registry of testing and vaccination centers; an app that lets testing centers and labs securely share test results and vaccinations records with passengers; and a contactless travel app that lets users store their test and vaccination certificates, sharing them as required with airlines and government officials.

IATA said it expects to start pilot-testing its Travel Pass for transborder trips later this year with International Airlines Group (parent of British Airways, Iberia and others) and to launch it formally in the first quarter of 2021 for Apple devices and in April for Android. For more details on how it will work, click here.

We’ve already seen some individual airline efforts to incorporate COVID testing into their requirements for international travelers. A United flight last week from Newark to London was the airline’s first that required all travelers to test negative for the coronavirus. That was achieved by subjecting all passengers to rapid testing at the airport (at no charge) before boarding the aircraft.

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“These flights are a good proof-of-concept for governments around the world that are considering making testing part of the travel experience,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. “Expanding our testing efforts with pilot programs like this one not only helps guarantee passengers onboard test negative for COVID-19, it also adds another element to our layered approach to safety and demonstrates a way to work within quarantines to key international destinations.”

Qantas will require proof of a vaccination for all passengers when it resumes long-haul international flights next year.

Qantas will require proof of a vaccination for all passengers when it resumes long-haul international flights next year.

Qantas

This week, United expanded its COVID program by offering mail-in testing for passengers on its flights from Houston Bush Intercontinental to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean that require a negative test result for entry. And last week, American Airlines and British Airways started optional coronavirus testing for passengers on select flights to London from Dallas, New York and Los Angeles. In that project, eligible passengers will volunteer to

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The Best Ways to Disinfect Your Hotel Room During the Pandemic, According to Health Experts

Travel remains complicated while the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends staying home for your own safety as well as for others. But if you do decide to travel, local laws permitting, you’ll want to take as many safety precautions as possible. This includes sanitization, even if the hotel you’re staying in has stringent protocols in place.



a piece of luggage sitting on top of a building: Getty Images


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a piece of luggage sitting on top of a building: How to disinfect your hotel room during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to medical experts.


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How to disinfect your hotel room during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to medical experts.

To help, Travel + Leisure turned to medical professionals for advice on how to disinfect a hotel room when checking in during the pandemic. Below, we review the steps you should take upon booking and arriving at your hotel room.

1. Communicate with your hotel and confirm cleaning procedures.

Before booking, contact your hotel, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the property’s COVID-19 cleaning protocols.

“Start by asking your hotel if they’ve had any positive cases among staff or guests, and review the COVID-19 updates on their website,” says Dr. Jack Shevel, founder and CEO of Zappogen, a distributor of hospital-grade sanitizing products. Dr. Shevel himself is immunocompromised, so he understands the importance of keeping yourself safe while traveling during the pandemic. 

He adds, “Request their sanitization and disinfection policies: Are temperature checks mandatory for everyone coming in and out? How frequently are employees tested?” He also recommends checking in remotely and using keyless room access whenever possible.

“I would also ask the hotel how long ago your room was occupied,” says Dr. Shevel. He notes that if the hotel isn’t disinfecting rooms thoroughly, allowing new guests to enter a room that was occupied less than 24 hours ago could be hazardous. Airbnb, for example, recommends a minimum of 24 hours. 

“Ask the hotel if they are disinfecting airborne pathogens via an electrostatic sprayer that uses an EPA-registered disinfectant. If hotels are taking the proper precautions, they should be disinfecting using a diffuser that sprays a mist into the air and kills airborne pathogens, as well as cleaning surfaces. If hotels are only wiping down surfaces, it isn’t sufficient to keep guests protected.”

He explains, “Disinfection has traditionally been achieved by wiping down non-porous surfaces. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted primarily by inhalation or from touching contaminated surfaces and then transferring the virus to your face and eyes. The latest studies indicate that the virus acts as an ‘aerosol’ and can remain airborne for up to 10 minutes.”

For this reason, Dr. Shevel recommends bringing your own diffuser and disinfectant to spray down the hotel room. “Ideally, you need something that kills pathogens in the air because the virus hangs in the air for long periods of time,” he says. “In addition, surfaces, floors, and porous surfaces such as curtains, fabrics, and couches need to be accounted for and disinfected.”

Before your arrival, you can also ask the hotel to remove unnecessary

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Millions of Americans travel for Thanksgiving, against advice of public health officials

Americans, millions of whom traveled against the advice of public health officials, tried to stay safe before they hunkered down with their families for Thanksgiving, a holiday remade by the pandemic as case numbers and death tolls rise.

Lily Roberts, 19, said she got tested for COVID-19 at San Francisco International Airport before driving home to Marin County in Northern California.

“I’m not worried about it because I’m not at risk,” Roberts said. “However, I do follow the rules and the precautions because of my parents. That’s why I’m getting tested because I do not want to bring it into my home.”

Thanksgiving travel traditionally comes with highs and lows but it’s even more fraught this year as travelers attempt to social distance while navigating crowds.

Lexi Cusano, 23, said Wednesday she encountered people standing too close in airport terminals, some not wearing masks or wearing them improperly, on her way from Miami to Hartford, Connecticut.

“It was just a little bit overwhelming and very shocking to me that people were just — you couldn’t move in a 6-foot radius without hitting someone or breathing in with a person next to you,” she said. “It was just a little bit crazy.”

She said travelers didn’t act any safer on the plane.

“People were just hanging out without their masks on,” said Cusano, who recently took a job in Miami. “I saw them walking back and forth from the bathroom, down the aisles, with no mask on, and I was like, this is a little bit ridiculous now.”

“You know, the main fear people have usually going on planes is: ‘Are we going to crash?’” she added. “But today, it was more like, ‘I’m breathing in the same air that’s been circulating in here and people are just being very irresponsible.’ So that was the main horror.”

Things appeared a bit cramped to Juan Mojuta who flew Wednesday night to Wilmington, North Carolina, from Arizona.

“The first flight was very claustrophobic,” Mojuta told WWAY-TV. “A lot of people. Very gathered. But the second flight wasn’t as bad.”

More than 12.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic’s start earlier this year and deaths have topped 262,200, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Data shows the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from 127,487 on Nov. 11 to 175,809 on Thursday. The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose from 1,044 to 1,658 over that time.

Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving, despite warning and pleas from elected and health officials in a number of states to stay home and keep holiday gatherings smaller than usual.

Cusano said she got tested at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut after landing and was told to expect results in two to three days.

Regardless of her test results, she said she plans to quarantine in Connecticut for a month or two to make sure

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Millions travel for Thanksgiving despite coronavirus, leaving public health experts ‘stunned’

Tens of millions of Americans are ignoring the advice of public health experts and plan to travel for Thanksgiving, according to the latest updates.



a group of people walking down the street: BOSTON, MA. NOVEMBER 22: A few travelers in the open section of Terminal A Sunday, November 22, 2020, in a sparsely occupied Logan Airport in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


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BOSTON, MA. NOVEMBER 22: A few travelers in the open section of Terminal A Sunday, November 22, 2020, in a sparsely occupied Logan Airport in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

“I have been stunned to see the reports of lines of travelers in airports,” Boston University professor Davidson Hamer said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory urging “postponing travel” plans as coronavirus cases surge.

Yet Sunday was the busiest day for air travel since the pandemic began, with 1.04 million travelers, according to the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration.

Though the numbers are still less than half those for travelers who flew last year for what’s traditionally the busiest travel season of the year, AAA predicts 50 million people will travel by plane, train or automobile this Thanksgiving. That’s down from 55 million last year.

Already travel volume is creeping up across New England. The region’s six airports, the largest of which is Boston Logan International Airport, have seen about 25,000 passengers per day since Friday. Air travel from the six airports spiked 23% on Friday, 71% on Saturday and 25% on Sunday. Monday was a lighter day with 20,000 passengers, according to the TSA.

Spokesman Daniel Velez said the agency expects “similar numbers” between Thanksgiving and Sunday.

A projected 10% dip in travelers is based on October metrics and is likely to be even bigger as Americans watch cases grow and heed warnings from public health officials, said Mary Maguire, director of public and legislative affairs for AAA Northeast.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” she said.

On Friday the U.S. set a record, reporting 204,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day. Massachusetts, too, is seeing a spike in cases. The number of new daily cases has consistently surpassed 2,000 per day over the past week, according to public health data.

“Right now, with the large amount of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in many communities, people need to be really cautious when traveling. The potential congestion that they may encounter waiting to board a plane, train or bus and the close proximity of seating — all of these things increase the likelihood of transmission,” said Hamer, an infectious disease specialist.

“And masks don’t 100% protect you,” he added.

Gov. Charlie Baker and local health officials are asking people to celebrate Thanksgiving with only the members of their household. In an effort to curb informal gatherings, which he has blamed for fueling the contagion in Massachusetts, the governor has capped indoor gatherings at 10 people.

Anyone traveling to Massachusetts, with the exception of people coming from Vermont or Hawaii, must either quarantine for 14 days or have a negative result on a COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of their arrival, according to the state’s travel

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Columbus Recreation and Parks closes facilities amid health advisory



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Columbus Recreation and Parks shared Friday that facilities will be closed as the city enters a stay-at-home advisory.

“Columbus Recreation and Parks Department continues to focus on serving residents during the pandemic. With the recent surge in cases in Columbus, the department is shifting its focus to ensure residents’ essential needs are met while promoting social distancing to slow community spread,” the department shared in a statement. 

Recs and Parks says it will focus on the following services for the next month:

  • Ensuring residents have access to fresh produce via free mobile produce markets. The produce markets will continue through Dec. 18. 
  •  Supporting connectivity during the holiday season via mobile Thanksgiving meals. With the support of the American Electric Power Foundation, Boar’s Head and Mid-Ohio Food Collective, the department is distributing 3,000 hot Thanksgiving meals at community centers with the highest need.
  • Enhancing core educational services at community centers, including Active Learning Sites and Capital Kids programming. All participants must register in advance.

As facilities close, the department encourages anyone in need of essential services to call their local community center. 

Outdoor parks and trails will remain open with social-distance protocols strongly urged. 

More details can be found online here.

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