Covid, Flu, RSV Are On The Rise Across California: Regional health officers issued joint recommendations late last week on how to safely navigate the holidays — including strongly worded advice for some people to wear masks. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle and KTVU.
California Unveils New Virus-Tracking Dashboard: The California Department of Public Health quietly replaced the state’s covid dashboard with a new respiratory virus dashboard that tracks hospital admissions, deaths, and test positivity rates for covid and flu side by side. The new site appeared Friday. Read more from Bay Area News Group.
Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today's national health news, read KFF Health News’ Morning Briefing.
More News From Across The State
Becker's Hospital Review:
California Pediatric Hospital Plans $1.5B Expansion
Oakland, Calif.-based UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is planning a $1.5 billion expansion, San Francisco Business Journal reported Dec. 1. The project will demolish two buildings that aren't compliant with seismic regulations and build a new eight-story, 330,000-square-foot building. The facility will contain a new emergency department, larger operating rooms and a behavioral health unit. The health system is financing the project through debt financing, philanthropy, state funds for pediatric healthcare, and cash. Construction will start in 2027 and wrap up in 2030. (Schwartz, 12/1)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Long Waits For Rooms Leaving Patients In ER Hallways For Hours. Could New State Law Worsen Problem?
Bill Dixon, 80, lay on a bed between two white fabric dividers in the hallway of the emergency department at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas Friday, one of 14 patients waiting for an emergency bed to open up. (Sisson, 12/3)
Central Valley Journalism Collaborative:
In Stockton, How Medical Professionals Are Helping Police Resolve Tense Situations
A unique team of medical professionals is hitting the streets of Stockton, offering an alternative to only sending armed police officers to assist people dealing with a mental health crisis. The city’s Mobile Community Response Team (MCRT), which recently completed the first of a three-year pilot program, is composed of outreach specialists, licensed clinical social workers and medical assistants. (Aguilar, 12/1)
DeSantis Says He Will Replace Obamacare With A ‘Better Plan,’ Cautions House GOP On Biden Impeachment Inquiry
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, if elected president, he would “replace and supersede” the Affordable Care Act with “a better plan,” saying that “Obamacare has not worked.” “You will have a totally different health care plan,” the Republican presidential candidate said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, later adding, “This will be replacing Obamacare.” DeSantis said details of the plan will likely be worked out in the spring and that his campaign would “roll out a big proposal.” (Maher, 12/3)
Obamacare Is Even More Popular Than The Last Time Trump Tried To Kill It
Donald Trump couldn’t repeal Obamacare in 2017, largely because it had become too popular. It’s even more popular now. Roughly three-in-five Americans like the 2010 health care law, even more than when Trump and Republicans in Congress came to the brink of wiping it out. And some of the Affordable Care Act’s better-known provisions — like protections for preexisting health conditions — engender even greater support. (Shephard, 12/2)
The Bakersfield Californian:
45 Counties, Including Kern, To Delay Launch Of Major Mental Health Law
Nearly every county across California will share an unfortunate resolution in the coming year: They each will delay their launch of a new mental health law expected to change the face of involuntary treatment. At a city of Bakersfield Homelessness and Housing Committee meeting last Tuesday, Alison Burrowes, the interim director of Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, gave city officials the news that they won’t be ready anytime soon. (Donegan, 12/2)
The Trace and The New Republic:
Few States Block Gun Purchases After Emergency Mental Health Hospitalizations
The Trace conducted a comprehensive analysis of gun laws in all 50 states and found that only five states—California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, and Washington—impose some form of a gun ban after an emergency mental health hospitalization that’s not followed by a court-ordered commitment. (Mascia, 12/4)
OxyContin Maker Bankruptcy Deal Goes Before The Supreme Court On Monday, With Billions At Stake
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would shield members of the Sackler family who own the company from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids. The agreement hammered out with state and local governments and victims would provide billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic. The Sacklers would contribute up to $6 billion and give up ownership, and the company would emerge from bankruptcy as a different entity, with its profits used for treatment and prevention. (Sherman, 12/4)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Opioid Victims Who Won’t Sign Off On Purdue’s $6 Billion Settlement
Ellen Isaacs lost her son to an opioid overdose. But she wants none of the settlement money offered by the family that sold billions of the same OxyContin pills that got her boy hooked. Isaacs would rather see the family suffer years in court. “There’s not enough money that’s going to bring any of our kids back,” said Isaacs, 58 years old. (Gladstone, 12/3)
Explainer: How Will The Supreme Court Reshape US Opioid Epidemic Relief?
The revised deal is supported by all financial stakeholders in the case, including all state attorneys general, but is opposed by the Justice Department's bankruptcy watchdog and some individual opioid plaintiffs. Under the deal, the Sacklers would pay up to $6 billion to a trust that would be used to settle claims filed by states, hospitals, people who had become addicted and others who have sued Purdue. (Kruzel, 12/4)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Give Holiday Cheer In The Form Of Blood
"Since the COVID pandemic, the blood supply has been very challenging," said Joe Sortijas, director of laboratory for Kern County at Adventist Health. "There was a national shortage, especially with type O neg blood. As the COVID-19 situation improved, blood supply gradually improved as well. We still occasionally experience some shortages but our local provider, Houchin Community Blood Bank, has been very responsive to our needs." (Friend, 12/3)
No More Late Night Alcohol Sales: Army And Air Force Exchange Stores To Ban The Practice Next Month
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES, says that beginning Jan. 1 it will no longer sell alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at its stores in the U.S. and around the world. The change on Army and Air Force bases is meant to support the Pentagon's suicide prevention initiative, which said that limiting when alcohol is available "reduces heavy drinking and other adverse outcomes associated with alcohol misuse," including suicide, according to Defense Department research and recommendations. (Lawrence, 12/1)
Maker Of Wegovy, Ozempic Showers Money On U.S. Obesity Doctors
Drugmaker Novo Nordisk paid U.S. medical professionals at least $25.8 million over a decade in fees and expenses related to its weight-loss drugs, a Reuters analysis found. It concentrated that money on an elite group of obesity specialists who advocate giving its powerful and expensive drugs to tens of millions of Americans. (Terhune and Respaut, 12/1)
Pfizer Nixes More Study Of Twice-Daily Obesity Pill Treatment That Made Many Patients Nauseous
Pfizer shares sank Friday when the drugmaker said it would abandon a twice-daily obesity treatment after more than half the patients in a clinical trial stopped taking it. The pharmaceutical company said it will focus instead on a once-daily version of the pill, danuglipron, instead of starting a late-stage study of the other version. Late-stage studies are usually the last and most expensive trials a drugmaker undertakes before seeking regulatory approval. (Murphy, 12/1)