19 June 2020
US general practices also suffering financially from COVID-19
Welcome to Friday afternoon on The Medical Republic‘s live COVID-19 blog. Are we there yet?
Got any tips, comments or feedback? Email me at [email protected]
- Afternoon update: GPs in the US also taking financial hits from COVID-19 pandemic, and updated advice on COVID-19 security for aged care facilities.
- Morning update: Deputy CMO calls for blood donations from recovered COVID-19 patients, while large US study suggests convalescent plasma transfusions are safe.
- The latest confirmed COVID-19 infection figures for Australia.
- It’s not just Australian general practices who are suffering financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA reports that in the United States, some family practices are turning to fundraising sites such as GoFundMe to keep their clinics afloat, and cites a survey which found 97% of 724 medical practices were negatively affected by COVID-19. Another survey of physicians in Texas found nearly two-thirds had cut their working hours, and 62% had their salaries reduced.
As recently as late May, 6% of 558 US primary care physicians said their practices were closed, and one-third had put staff on furlough.
- Also in the United States, the Washington Post has published a gut-wrenching tribute to some of the hundreds of healthcare workers who have died from COVID-19. Have the tissues handy; it’s devastatingly sad.
- The Australian Health Protection Principle Committee has released updated advice for aged care facilities on how to minimise the impact of COVID-19. Returned travellers, close contacts of COVID-19 cases, individuals who are unwell, or those who are not vaccinated against influenza should not be allowed into aged care facilities, but restrictions are lifted for children of all ages, visiting service providers, close relatives and spouses.
However only two visitors are allowed at a time per resident, and the visits should avoid communal areas. AHPPC has also advised that facilities should move to higher levels of protection if local cases of COVID-19 emerge.
- COVID-19 recoverees: the government wants your blood. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd has used National Blood Donor Week to issue a call for patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection to donate blood so it can be used for research into treatments for the disease.
While some early studies suggested transfusions of convalescent plasma could shorten the intensity or duration of severe COVID-19, more recent data has called those early findings into question. The one thing that does appear to be consistent across studies is that the treatment is safe, with new data from a 20,000-strong observational study finding a low incidence of serious adverse events even in a diverse population of COVID-19 patients.
However that latest study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, did not have a control group so even the authors said it was not designed to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment.
- There has been another surge in COVID-19 in Victoria, with 18 new infections reported yesterday. These included a toddler and staff member at separate childcare facilities, a staff member at a rehabilitation centre, and six returned travellers in hotel quarantine. Three cases are still under investigation.
Here are the latest confirmed infection figures around Australia to 9pm yesterday:
National – 7391, with 102 deaths and 6877 recovered
ACT – 108
NSW – 3137
NT – 29
QLD – 1066
SA – 440
TAS – 228
VIC – 1780
WA – 603