Chaunie Brusie
Chaunie Brusie
July 15, 2021 - 3 min read

COVID Updates for Travel Nurses: July 14, 2021

After months of the number of COVID-19 cases on the decline, infections in the U.S. are on the rise again. All but three states in the U.S. have reported a doubled rate of COVID in only the past week alone.

The news is troubling and experts aren’t sure what the fall will hold.

Here’s what travel nurses need to know about what’s currently happening with COVID and what travel nursing jobs are available right now.

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

What’s Happening with COVID-19 Right Now

For the first time since April 2021, the CDC is reporting an increase in COVID infections for the U.S., up 16% from the week before.

But it’s not all doom and gloom yet. Despite the increase, the rate of new infections is roughly 94% less than it was at the peak in January of this year. And overall, case counts are low.

Here’s some quick data points:

  • Positive tests have increased about 9% from the previous week
  • To date, the US has seen 33,726,363 cases of COVID, according to the CDC
  • The COVID death toll now stands at 605,140

The Delta variant is officially the primary circulating strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. Some states are experiencing outbreaks that are straining local health systems.

Missouri, for instance, has been in the news as a Delta variant outbreak has overwhelmed local hospitals. Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates of any state. Doctors there are reporting a 10x increase in hospitalizations for some areas and younger patients than with previous outbreaks.

“We are seeing younger and sicker patients coming,” Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth in Missouri told USA Today. “The delta variant’s almost got to be looked at as a different disease, affecting younger people.”

What’s Happening in Hospitals Right Now

Along with an increase in cases across the country, hospitalizations from COVID are on the rise again.

According to the CDC, there’s been an overall increase in hospitalizations since June 28. This week’s numbers have increased about 9% from the previous week’s average.

Interestingly, younger people are being hospitalized than with the first few COVID waves.

For example, the CDC reports that more than 40% of hospitalizations due to COVID are for people ages 18-49. This could be due to a couple of factors. The higher vaccination rate among older people may be preventing more serious cases and younger people may have more exposure to the virus due to lifestyle.

The New York Times COVID case map shows that overall case counts are still relatively low compared to last March but some parts of the country are struggling, especially in areas where vaccination rates are low. Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Nevada are all currently experiencing outbreaks attributed to the Delta variant.

As outbreaks continue to happen, there may be more travel nurse positions opening up in hotspot areas.

Here’s a sampling of some of the current travel nursing positions and pay rates available:

  • Rhode Island, Med/Surg: $5.3k per week
  • California, NICU-Level 2: $5.2k per week
  • Idaho, L&D: $5.2k per week
  • Massachusetts, OR: $5.1k per week
  • Michigan, ER: $5k per week
  • Arizona, ER: $4.8k per week
  • Minnesota, PACU: $4.8k per week
  • Washington, L&D, ER, OR: $4.8k per week
  • New Jersey, OR: $4.7k per week
  • Michigan, Med/Surg, Cardiac Cath Lab, Long-Term Care: $4.6k per week

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

What’s Happening with the Vaccine

According to the CDC, 55.6% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 48.1% are fully vaccinated.

Vaccination rates, in general, have declined without picking back up. The data is showing nearly all US deaths from COVID are occurring in people who haven’t been vaccinated.

Some states have increased the push for vaccines, like Michigan, which is offering a $1 and $2 million lottery, along with $50K daily drawings for newly vaccinated individuals. Others states have gone the opposite way, like Tennessee, which recently fired its Director of Public Health for advocating for adolescents to get vaccinated and is now banning the advertising of vaccinations to adolescents.

As of right now, the CDC and FDA are pushing back against the need for a booster shot for fully vaccinated people. Pfizer is presenting data in support of a booster, but the FDA has noted they will not rely on studies from Pfizer alone in a recommendation of the booster.

In other COVID news:

  • Johnson & Johnson announced investigations into a link between Guillain-Barré syndrome and their COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 cases of the syndrome have been reported in people following vaccination with the J&J vaccine.
  • Chicago has added travel restrictions to people arriving from Missouri or Arkansas, two states with increasing COVID infection rates. Travelers from those areas are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before flying or quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

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

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