Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – August 31, 2020

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Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – August 31, 2020

Weekly Review: COVID-19 Legal and Ethics Issues – August 31, 2020

All Nursing Homes Must Test Facility Residents, Staff, others for Covid-19

A new rule was issued Tuesday by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requiring long term care facilities to test their facility residents, staff, volunteers and individuals who provide services under other arrangements. The rules also establish new fines that may be levied against a nursing home for failing to electronically report at least weekly suspected and confirmed COVID-19 infections among residents and staff, total COVID-19 deaths among residents and staff, and personal protective equipment and hand hygiene supplies in the facility.

How Should A Covid-19 Vaccine Be Allocated?

When a vaccine is approved as safe and effective, there will not be enough doses for everyone. Who should be first in line to receive the Covid-19 vaccine? On September 1, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine will release a draft of a report [note: link will go live September 1] offering a Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of Covid-19 Vaccine developed by their Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus. They will hold a public listening session related to their draft report on September 2 from noon-5pm EDT [register here to participate], and will accept written comments on the draft from September 1-4.

Stay-At-Home Orders & Large Gatherings

Honolulu locked down: While Hawaii has put in place quarantine restrictions that have contributed to a 98% decline in tourism to the island over last year’s numbers, that still hasn’t stopped Covid-19’s spread there. The governor approved a stay-at-home order that went into effect last Thursday for the entire island of Oahu, including the city of Honolulu, after 215 new cases were diagnosed earlier in the week.

Los Angeles plans to file criminal charges against those who threw several huge house party in violation of the city’s ban on large gatherings. The city previously had cut off power and water to the rented mansion, as the parties being held there became the source of Covid-19 “super spreader” incidents.

Workplace Safety

Federal agencies that oversee workplace safety have been receiving complaints filed by workers being told not to share information about Covid-19 cases at their companies. According to Bloomberg Law,

In the past few months, U.S. businesses have been on a silencing spree. Hundreds of U.S. employers across a wide range of industries have told workers not to share information about Covid-19 cases or even raise concerns about the virus, or have retaliated against workers for doing those things, according to workplace complaints filed with the NLRB and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Workers at Amazon.com, Cargill, McDonald’s, and Target say they were told to keep Covid cases quiet. The same sort of gagging has been alleged in OSHA complaints against Smithfield Foods, Urban Outfitters, and General Electric. In an email viewed by Bloomberg Businessweek, Delta Air Lines told its 25,000 flight attendants to “please refrain from notifying other crew members on your own” about any Covid symptoms or diagnoses. At Recreational Equipment Inc., an employee texted colleagues to say he’d tested positive and that “I was told not to tell anybody” and “to not post or say anything on social media.”

Regulating Restaurant Capacity

The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the governor and state health director’s authority to re-impose bans on indoor dining after the state saw a rise in Covid-19 cases in the state.

 

|2020-09-01T07:58:22-04:00August 31st, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Ross Silverman

Ross Silverman
Ross D. Silverman, JD, MPH, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health and Professor of Public Health and Law at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He is a member of the IU Centers on Health Policy and Bioethics. His research focuses on public health and medical law, policy, and ethics, and law's impact on health outcomes and vulnerable populations. He also serves as Associate Editor on Legal Epidemiology for Public Health Reports, the official journal of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. His most recent Covid-19 publications include: "Ensuring Uptake of Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2" in the New England Journal of Medicine (with MM Mello & SB Omer), and "Covid-19: control measures must be equitable and inclusive" in BMJ (with ZD Berger, NG Evans & AL Phelan)

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