Chaunie Brusie
Chaunie Brusie
December 13, 2021 - 3 min read

COVID Updates for Travel Nurses: December 8, 2021

While COVID cases and death rates are dropping, hospitalizations are going up. Hospitalizations have increased by more than 15% in the last two weeks, primarily driven by the Delta variant.

Vaccine rates are slowly continuing to rise. Meanwhile, despite the new Omicron variant making people nervous, it looks like Delta continues to remain the bigger problem for now.

Here are the most important COVID updates for travel nurses this week.

​​Interested in assignments in COVID-impacted areas? Start here.

What’s happening with COVID-19 right now

According to the CDC’s weekly data, COVID cases have dropped. Here’s what’s going on:

  • Cases are down 8.5% from the previous week tracked
  • Deaths have decreased 12.6% from the previous week tracked
  • To date, the U.S. has seen a total of 49,002,475 cases of COVID
  • The death toll from COVID has hit 785,655

The U.S. is currently averaging 860 COVID deaths per week, with 781,963 total deaths in the country as of the start of December.

Should you worry about the Omicron variant?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States classified a new variant of COVID-19, named Omicron, in late November as a Variant of Concern (VOC). On December 1, 2021, the CDC announced the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the United States. So far, cases have been identified in New York, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska.

Early reports indicate that Omicron may potentially be less contagious and less severe than other strains. What’s more, Delta is still the predominant strain in the United States. Experts are still gathering information to determine the risk posed by the Omicron variant.

What’s happening in hospitals right now

As before, there appears to be a delay between rising case rates and hospitalizations and, eventually, deaths. In the US, hospitalizations have gone up post-Thanksgiving by roughly 5%.

The New York Times COVID map and tracker indicates that New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota currently lead the country in cases per capita. More than 55,000 COVID patients are hospitalized nationwide.

With hospitalization rates rising, many hospitals are still struggling to source enough staff.

Current COVID-19 travel nursing jobs for December 8, 2021

  • California
    • Operating room: $8K/week
    • MICU/SICU: $7.8K/week
    • Emergency room: $7.8K/week
    • Labor & delivery: $7.5K/week
    • Labor & deliver;: PICU: $7K/week
  • Connecticut: Cardiovascular intensive care unit: $7K/week
  • Idaho
    • MICU/SICU: $8K/week
    • Stepdown – General: $7.5K/week
  • Illinois
    • Emergency room: $6.8K/week
    • Med/Surg; Stepdown – General: $6.5K/week
  • Massachusetts
    • Labor & delivery: $7K/week
    • Postpartum: $6K/week
  • Michigan: MICU/SICU; Med/Surg, Telemetry: $7K/week
  • Minnesota: Pediatrics; pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit: $6.5K/week
  • Montana: Coronary care unit, $6K/week
  • New Jersey: MICU/SICU; Med/Surg, Telemetry; telemetry: $7K/week
  • New York: Skilled nursing/long term care: $7K/week
  • North Dakota:
    • Stepdown – Cardiac; telemetry: $6.8K/week
    • Emergency room: $6K/week
  • Ohio
    • MICU/SICU: $8.5K/week
    • Med/Surg, Telemetry: $7.5K/week
  • Pennsylvania: Med/Surg, Telemetry; Stepdown – General; emergency room; MICU/SICU: $7K/week
  • Virginia: Respiratory therapist: $7K/week
  • Wisconsin: PICU: $7K/week
  • Wyoming: Labor & delivery: $6K/week

Speak with a recruiter about available assignments in COVID-impacted areas today.

What’s happening with the vaccine

If you live in New York, you’ve probably already heard about the new strict state mandates. Employees who work on-site for private businesses will be required to receive the vaccine.

“This is the biggest crisis not only of our time but in the history of New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “We cannot let COVID back in the door again.”

The mandate will go into effect on December 27 and more than 184,000 businesses will be affected.

New York expanded its vaccine requirements for children, too. Children 5-11 years old must get at least one dose by December 14. What’s more, all children 12 and up must be fully vaccinated by December 27 in order to enter restaurants and participate in extracurricular school activities. The FDA has found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children ages 5-11, with no serious side effects.

According to the CDC, vaccine numbers are slowly creeping up: 199.3 million people in the U.S. have now been fully vaccinated.

Here’s how the current vaccine numbers stack up:

  • 236 million people have received at least one dose
  • 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated
  • 47 million people have received a booster dose

The CDC recommends you receive a booster dose of the vaccine if you received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna at least six months ago and you are:

  • 65 years or older
  • Age 18+ and live in a long-term care setting
  • Age 18+ and have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ and work or live in a high-risk setting

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, boosters are recommended for anyone who is age 18+ and was vaccinated two or more months ago. Some hospitals are requiring their staff to receive a booster. Your doctor can provide you with more information about whether you’re eligible and where to get your shot. You’re free to choose which vaccine you receive for your booster.

​​Interested in assignments in COVID-impacted areas? Start here.

USA Covid-19 Crisis map

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