Chaunie Brusie
Chaunie Brusie
October 28, 2021 - 4 min read

COVID Updates for Travel Nurses: October 28, 2021

Nationwide, COVID cases are down significantly. In fact, new transmissions have dropped more than 50% across the country, according to USA Today.

Many experts have high hopes that the pandemic is finally, finally, nearing an end. But as winter approaches and talk of the new “Delta-plus” variant circulates, they’re also staying cautious.

Here’s more on what travel nurses need to know this week about COVID-19.

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 again, for the fifth week in a row.

Here are some quick data points about the numbers:

  • Cases are down 15% from the previous week tracked
  • Percent positivity of tests is 5.2%
  • The Delta variant is still accounting for the majority of all cases
  • To date, the U.S. has seen a total of 45,571,532 cases of COVID
  • The death toll from COVID has officially broken the 700K mark, standing at 737,990 deaths and making this pandemic the deadliest in US history.

The weekly death rate for COVID-19 has also decreased significantly and is down 4.3% (that’s a huge drop from last week’s reporting!), with an average of 1,253 deaths per week.

Should you worry about the Delta plus variant?

If you’ve heard about the Delta-plus variant — which has been called “Delta’s grandchild” — you’re right to be concerned about its potential impact. Like Delta, it’s an incredibly contagious variant with the potential to be more infectious that the initial COVID-19 virus.

However, early data suggests it’s unlikely to be more infectious than Delta.

What’s happening in hospitals right now

Hospitalizations across all age groups have continued to fall, by over 10% from the previously tracked week. Hospitalizations are still occurring at a rate higher in unvaccinated people than in vaccinated people, with unvaccinated people hospitalized at a rate of 12X more.

The New York Times COVID map and tracker continues to give a helpful snapshot of what’s happening with COVID around the country. According to that data:

  • Cases are down in 40 states across the U.S.
  • The Southern states, which led in record-breaking infections, hospitalizations, and deaths over the summer as Delta rages, now have the lowest numbers in the entire country
  • Alaska has finally stabilized in new infections and hospitalizations but is still leading the country in case count numbers
  • While most states overall have seen a decline in cases, some states have reported an increase: cases are up 63% in Michigan, 56% in Montana, and 39% in Vermont

While there is a clear decrease in COVID hospitalizations, some of the drops in case rates may be attributed to decreased testing as well. COVID testing is no longer freely covered by the government.

Current COVID-19 travel nursing jobs for October 28, 2021

If you’re looking to travel to a hard-hit area or are just wondering what kind of rates are available for travel nurses right now, below is a sampling of some of the current travel nursing positions available:

  • California:
    • L&D, Step-Down, $7.9K/week
    • PICU, $7.1K/week
    • L&D, $6.9K/week
    • NICU Level III, $6.9K/week
    • ER, L&D, $6.7K/week
    • ER, Coronary ICU, $6.5K/week
  • Idaho:
    • MICU/SICU, $8K/week
    • Med/Surg, $6.6K/week
  • Illinois: L&D, $6.3K/week
  • Indiana:
    • L&D, MICU/SICU, $7.2K/week
    • Med/Surg, Telemetry, $7.1K/week
    • Massachusetts:
    • L&D, $7K/week
    • L&D, ER, $6.5K/week
  • Michigan:
    • NICU Level III, Med/Surg/Telemetry, MICU/SICU, Pediatrics, $6.9K/week
    • Med/Surg, Telemetry, $6.8K/week
  • Minnesota: ER, Peds, PICU, NICU Level III, Pediatric ICU, $6.5K/week
  • Missouri: ER, $6.9K/week
  • New Jersey: L&D, ICU, ER, MICU/SICU, CCU, Med/Surg/Telemetry, $7.1K/week
  • New Mexico: ER, $6.7K/week
  • New York: PICU, $6.9K/week
  • North Dakota: Telemetry, Med/Surg, $6.6K/week
  • Oregon, L&D, $6.7K/week
  • Pennsylvania: Stepdown, Med/Surg, $7K/week
  • Rhode Island: ER, $6.2K/week
  • Washington: PACU, $6.4K/week
  • Washington, DC:
    • OR, CVOR, $7.7K/week
    • MICU/SICU, ER, $7.4K/week
  • Wisconsin: ER, $6.4K/week

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

What’s happening with the vaccine

An advisory panel to the FDA fully supported the Pfizer vaccine in a lower dosage for kids ages 5-11. That said, the FDA has yet to issue a formal decision approving the vaccine’s use for kids.

Typically, the FDA follows the panel’s recommendations, although it doesn’t have to. An approval is expected, however. Just this morning, Pfizer announced that the U.S. government purchased an additional 50 million doses from them.

“We are extremely proud to provide enough doses of our vaccine to help protect every U.S. child under 12 from COVID-19, if authorized by the FDA,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in the statement. “As we await the agency’s review of our application for emergency use of the vaccine in children 5 to under 12 years of age, and clinical trial results in children under 5, we are working with the U.S. government to help ensure communities across the country have access to pediatric doses as soon as possible. The introduction of doses for young children will be another critical milestone in addressing this public health crisis.”

The company also noted that they expect to deliver doses for all children –– including those under the age of 5 –– by April 2022.

Vaccine numbers for people aged 12+ have increased from our last update. According to the CDC, a total of 191 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated. There are now:

  • 66.5% of the U.S. population with at least one dose
  • 57.5% fully vaccinated Americans

The CDC has also now started to track booster doses. According to the CDC, about 7.6% of people in the U.S. have received a booster dose.

If you’re a nurse, odds are good you’ll be offered your flu shot soon if you haven’t already. The CDC does say it’s perfectly safe to get your COVID booster and your flu vaccine at the same time. In fact, some nurses have scheduled both at the same time so they would only have to potentially recover from normal side effects (like a slight fever and overall malaise) once.

The FDA also gave the green light for people to receive mixed dose boosters. This simply means that you can get a different type of booster than the original type of COVID-19 vaccine you received.

If you’re on the fence about a booster, the CDC recommends that you should receive a booster dose if you are:

  • over the age of 65
  • over the age of 18 and at high risk due to underlying medical conditions
  • are a healthcare worker or other worker exposed to COVID regularly

Most hospitals, healthcare facilities, and local health departments have started offering booster doses to people who fall under those guidelines, and some hospitals are even requiring staff to get boosters.

If you’re interested in receiving a booster dose, be sure to talk to your doctor about whether you qualify and where to receive one.

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

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