MSSNY eNews: October 14, 2020 – COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit 6-Week High in US


Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Conference Call

COVID-19 General:
– Day 228
– 7 fatalities
– 111,744 tests yesterday
– 938 hospitalizations
– 6.2% infection rate in hotspots
– Statewide rate with hotspots: 1.1%
– Statewide rate without hotspots: .95%
– Gov estimates that hotspots will continue to exist for at least one year
– Gov reiterates that data on school infection rates are available on the dashboard

Infection Rate by Region:
Orange: 7.4%
Rockland: 7.2&
Brooklyn: 6.4%
NYC: 1.2%
Capital: 1.2%
Central NY: 1.2%
Long Island: 1%
Western NY: 1%
Finger Lakes: .7
Mid-Hudson: 1.6
North Country: .1%
Mohawk: .1%
Southern Tier: 1%

– The promoters of a Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons will be fined $20,000 for violating safety protocols
– Gov will send out a notice to local governments on closing schools and religious gatherings
– Gov will send a letter to schools in red zones reminding them to close
– Local governments and schools that violate closure orders will not receive state funding

What else can the Gov do to increase enforcement?
– Gov: local governments do not have the authority to make their own public health plans
– The state can impound all funding to localities
On reimagining the NYPD: it has taken four months for the NYPD to hold forums
– Gov: the good news is they’re doing something; the bad news is that an agency can’t    reinvent itself
There are officers that have had it with the pandemic, rising crime rates, and reform
– Gov: officers are not the bad guy, we have to address public distrust
On Orthodox Jewish communities, is there still unrest?
– Gov: some groups have been helpful, and some yeshivas have been opened
Why is the governor worried about a sweet sixteen party?
– Gov says even a single party can become a super spreader event
Do we have enough capacity to handle a potential second wave?
– Gov: we have always had more capacity than we have used

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit Six-Week High
The U.S. is reporting the highest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations since Sept. 2, according to COVID Tracking Project data cited by The Wall Street Journal. 

As of Oct. 12, 35,056 people were hospitalized nationwide, up 16 percent from a week prior. Hospitalizations are still lower than figures seen in July, when more than 59,000 people were hospitalized nationwide, according to WSJ.

Eight more updates:

  1. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — can survive on some common surfaces for up to 28 days, though it is unclear whether the surviving amount of virus could infect someone, an Australian study published in Virology Journal found.
  2. Johnson & Johnson voluntarily paused the clinical trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Oct. 12 after a participant developed “an unexplained illness,” the drugmaker told STAT.
  3. While Belgium, Spain and the U.K. have higher overall COVID-19 death rates than the U.S., the U.S. death rate has far surpassed other high-income countries since May 10, according to a study published Oct. 12 in JAMA. The U.S. death rate since May 10 is 36.9 deaths per 100,000 residents. Sweden had the second highest rate at 23.5 per 100,000.
  4. There was a 20 percent increase over expected deaths in the U.S. between March 1 and Aug. 1, according to a separate study published in JAMA. Of the 225,530 excess deaths researchers identified, 67 percent were attributed to COVID-19.
  5. Investing in testing and contact tracing for COVID-19 pays for itself at least 30 times over, two economists wrote in a viewpoint article for JAMA. They calculated that improved testing and tracing would cost the government about $6 million per 100,000 inhabitants and prevent an estimated $176 million in COVID-19 costs. Read the full article here.
  6. President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 “on consecutive days” with Abbott’s rapid antigen test, according to an Oct. 12 memo from White House physician Sean Conley, DO. President Trump is “not infectious to others,” based on those test results and “in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions,” Dr. Conley wrote. However, some physicians have warned against relying too heavily on results from rapid tests, reports The Wall Street Journal. The CDC does not recommend using antigen tests to inform decisions about ending isolation, instead recommending a PCR test to confirm rapid antigen test results. Dr. Conley’s most recent memo did not share PCR test results for President Trump.
  7. The number of Americans willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine dropped by 11 percentage points in one monthsitting at 50 percent in late September, according to a Sept. 14-27 Gallup poll of 2,730 adults. Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would receive an FDA-approved vaccine in July, while 61 percent said the same in August.
  8. Some COVID-19 survivors are experiencing “brain fog,” or cognitive symptoms including memory loss, confusion, difficulty focusing and dizziness, reports The New York Times.“There are thousands of people who have that,” said Igor Koralnik, MD, chief of neuro-infectious disease at Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine and head of a post-COVID clinic. Scientists are uncertain what causes the brain fog, which can affect people who were only mildly ill from COVID-19 and had no previous medical conditions. (oct. 13, Becker’s Hospital Review)

NYS DOH Guidance for School Administrators Regarding Limited Temporary Enforcement of Student Immunization Requirement
NYS DOH is suspending enforcement of required vaccinations for students for a period of 30 days if such student intends to obtain the required vaccinations in the coming 30 days. This applies only to students attending school exclusively remotely.

For students using remote learning exclusively, if a school does not receive proof of all required vaccinations by 30 days from the date of the DOH letter, the school shall not permit the student to attend, including through remote learning, until such proof has been received. Read the DOH letter to school administrators here.


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New OPMC Signage Requirement
Despite strong MSSNY opposition, the Governor recently signed into law legislation requiring every physician’s “practice setting” to post a conspicuous sign identifying for patients the OPMC’s website for reporting suspected misconduct here.

Click here to read MSSNY President Dr. Bonnie Litvack’s statement objecting to this new requirement.

There is no specific template specified in the law or by DOH.  One possible template to meet the provisions of this law as suggested by MSSNY legal counsel is to say in the signage:

We are committed to ensuring that our patients receive appropriate medical care.  You can get information regarding your rights and how to report professional misconduct at“

It should be noted that, because of the section of the law that was amended by this legislation, failure to place this sign in your practice setting will NOT subject a physician to financial penalties that otherwise are applicable for other violations of the Public Health Law.  However, failure to post this sign could subject the physician to discipline by the OPMC if it is shown that there was a “willful or grossly negligent” failure to comply.

MSSNY continues to have discussions with DOH staff regarding aspects of this new signage requirement, including how it will apply in settings not controlled by the physician, such as a hospital, nursing home or clinic.  DOH has sent a letter to all physicians advising them of this new law, noting that these signs must be visible in areas accessed by patients and those who accompany patients to visits, such as “waiting rooms, check-in/out areas and treatment areas.”

NYS DOH COVID-19 Update on Thursday, Oct. 22

The Thursday October 15th 1 PM NYS DOH Healthcare Provider COVID-19 Webinar is CANCELED FOR THIS WEEK ONLY!

Please join the NYS Department of Health on Thursday, October 22nd at 1-2PM for a COVID-19 update for healthcare providers. To accommodate the large number of participants, find the webinar streaming via YouTube Live (and available for viewing immediately thereafter) on the NYSDOH COVID website for providers.

Audio number and code: TBD

Recipients: All Prescribers

For questions: Please send an e-mail to




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