COVID Updates for Travel Nurses: June 30, 2021
The world has their eye on the Delta variant — and now, the Delta Plus variant (yes, that’s it’s real name.) Still, for now, COVID-19 case numbers remain at record low numbers.
However, as predicted, there have been COVID outbreaks in areas with low rates of vaccination. For now, experts are unsure how much the virus will continue to spread and mutate in vaccinated individuals, as well as what that might mean for those who are vaccinated.
Here’s what travel nurses need to know about what’s currently happening with COVID, along with travel nursing jobs available right now.
What’s Happening with COVID-19 Right Now
To date, according to the CDC, the US has seen 33,451,748 cases of COVID, with 72,327 new cases in the last 7 days. The death toll from COVID now stands at 601,506; 111 of those have been recorded as new deaths.
The data boils down to some relevant points:
- Case counts decreased about 4% from last week
- Case counts are 95.5% lower than the Jan. 2021 peak
- On average, 300 deaths are reported every day from COVID-19
The New York Times COVID case map shows cases and deaths are lower than they’ve been since March 2020. They note that there aren’t a lot of hotspots in urban areas, but some rural outbreaks have occurred in Missouri and Arkansas.
Despite all the progress on the COVID-19 front, the Delta variant is now officially a “variant of concern” (VOC), according to the CDC. The Delta variant originated in India and is more transmissible than previous variants. Experts don’t yet understand the level of risk this variant poses to vaccinated people.
What’s Happening in Hospitals Right Now
Overall, hospital admissions have steadily decreased since April and continue to decline. There was a 7.8% decline in admissions over the past week and admissions of high-risk patients over the age of 85 have declined as well.
Despite the lack of COVID-19 admissions, there has been an increased demand for other types of travel nurses, including an unseasonably high need for OR nurses and pre- and post-op surgical nurses.
If you’re a travel nurse looking for some of the highest-paying rates, keep an eye out for positions in the following areas:
- Pain management
- Urgent care
- Home health (as many patients are coming home sick from hospital stays)
Here’s a sampling of some of the current travel nursing pay rates and locations available to travel nurses right now:
- New York: ER, $6K/week
- California: OR, $5.4K/week
- California: L&D $5.2K/week
- Massachusetts: OR, $4.9K/week
- Indiana: Cardiac ICU, $4.9K/week
- Idaho: Cardiac ICU, $4.8K/week
- Rhode Island: PACU, $4.8K/week
- Michigan: M/S Rehab, $4.6K/week
- Rhode Island: PACU, $4.6K/week
- Ohio: ER, $4.5K/week
What’s Happening with the Vaccine
According to the CDC, 54% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 46.3% is fully vaccinated. The country is currently not on track to meet President Biden’s announced goal of reaching a 70% vaccination rate by the Fourth of July.
Vaccination rates, in general, have declined. Data suggests nearly all US deaths from COVID are occurring in people who haven’t been vaccinated.
The big news of the week is both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to provide lasting immunity. A peer-reviewed study suggests that the vaccines will provide years of immunity. It’s still not officially clear how long the immunity will last, but the study is the first one to show that the vaccines encourage the immune system to continue to generate antibodies long after the initial jab.
In other news:
- A judge threw out a lawsuit by employees of Houston Methodist, who sued a hospital for mandated that they receive the COVID vaccine. The employees plan to take the case onto the Supreme Court.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced employers do have the right to mandate vaccines, although accommodations can be made through the ADA act.
- The CDC did find a “higher-than-expected” link between myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and the Pfizer vaccine, but ultimately concluded that the risk from the vaccine is still rare and less than the risks associated with COVID. Bottom line? The CDC still recommends anyone who can get vaccinated do so, including kids 12 and older.