Tuesday, December 6, 2022 | California Healthline


Fentanyl Continues To Take Students’ Lives In Sacramento. Here’s How Parents And Schools Are Responding.

In the Sacramento neighborhood of Land Park, Jennifer tells the story of her 16-year-old son’s Fentanyl use, drug addiction and current rehabilitation. “Where to begin,” she says, overwhelmed, stumbling over a few sentences. Over in the suburb of Rocklin, Laura Didier starts her story at the end of her 17-year-old son’s life. “The last day that I saw my son alive was Christmas of 2020,” she says, her voice quivering, “and Christmas will never be the same.” (Prabha, 12/5)

San Francisco Chronicle:
SF Drug Crisis: Breed’s Tenderloin Center Is Closed. What’s Next?

With the closure this week of the controversial Tenderloin Center, city leaders are shutting the book on an imperfect experiment to address San Francisco’s drug epidemic — a heartbreaking, complicated and costly crisis. When Mayor London Breed opened the center in January as the anchor to her Tenderloin emergency initiative, she said she hoped it would help get homeless people struggling with addiction into housing and treatment as part of her larger plan to cut fatal overdoses and open-air drug dealing. (Moench, 12/5)

Los Angeles Blade:
Health Orgs Distribute Fentanyl Test Strips & Narcan In WeHo

The Institute for Public Strategies’ West Hollywood Project joined activists and members of health organizations Being Alive Los Angeles, LGBT Center’s Trans Wellness Center, AHF, The Wall Las Memories  APLA Health, Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (LA CADA), and Los Angeles Department of Public Health to distribute overdose prevention information and resources along with life-saving Fentanyl Test Strips and Naloxone nasal sprays. (12/4)

Congress Has Its Sights Set Too Low On Addiction, Advocates Charge

With just weeks remaining in the current session, Congress appears poised to let Biden’s first two years in office come and go without enacting any significant reforms to the country’s system for preventing and treating addiction — a potential missed opportunity that advocates warn could cost thousands of lives. (Facher, 12/6)

The Pandemic Has Created Two Very Different Kinds Of Workplaces. That Especially Matters For Women. 

Tessa Byars has seen friends scale back at work, transition to part-time jobs, and even swap careers in an attempt to juggle child care and a paycheck. But Byars, 40, never questioned whether she would have to do the same. Her employer, Patagonia, provided 16 weeks of paid maternity leave along with onsite child care at her office in Ventura, Calif., where she works in internal communications. Those benefits allowed Byars to take the time she needed after giving birth to her two children and when the time came, bring both of them back to work with her. (Mueller, 12/5)

COVID Antivirals: Supply Is Increasing. Use Isn’t

As California gears up for a winter of respiratory illnesses, health officials and providers often reference one encouraging factor — the greater availability of COVID-19 treatments and antivirals like Paxlovid. But many patients aren’t using them. “We have a concerning low rate of outpatient COVID-19 treatments, especially for vulnerable populations,” Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, chief equity officer at the California Department of Public Health, told doctors in an online event in November. “We want to remind the provider community that therapeutics are in ample supply and that most adults have qualifying conditions.” (Ibarra, 12/5)

Pfizer Asks FDA To Clear Updated COVID Shot For Kids Under 5 

Pfizer is asking U.S. regulators to authorize its updated COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5 — not as a booster but part of their initial shots. Children ages 6 months through 4 years already are supposed to get three extra-small doses of the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine — each a tenth of the amount adults receive — as their primary series. If the Food and Drug Administration agrees, a dose of Pfizer’s bivalent omicron-targeting vaccine would be substituted for their third shot. (Neergaard, 12/5)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Black COVID Patients Were Delayed Treatment Because Of One Medical Device. Why Are Doctors Still Using It?

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, East Bay Dr. Stephanie Brown began noticing a startling trend. Many of her Black patients were getting worse, even while their oxygen measurements said the opposite. Like her fellow emergency-room physicians, Brown was relying on pulse oximeters, the standard tool for measuring a patient’s blood oxygen level, to assess a critical cut-off point determined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Anything below 95% indicated a severe case of COVID-19 and the need for more intensive treatment, while those at 95% and above typically had milder symptoms. (Miolene, 12/5)

Long-COVID Symptoms In Teens May Evolve Over Time 

Long-COVID symptoms in adolescents may change over time, finds a study of nearly 5,100 non-hospitalized 11- to 17-year-olds in the United Kingdom published yesterday in The Lancet Regional Health-Europe. … The prevalence of shortness of breath and fatigue in those who reported them at 6 or 12 months appeared to increase at both 6 and 12 months in those who tested positive. But examination of individual questionnaires showed that the prevalence of these two symptoms actually declined at baseline or 6 months. The same pattern was also seen in participants who tested negative. (Van Beusekom, 12/5)

MIT Technology Review:
A New App Aims To Help The Millions Of People Living With Long Covid 

The new app, called Visible, aims to help people manage that process by collecting data every day in order to understand how their symptoms fluctuate. Users measure their heart rate variability (the variation in time between beats) every morning by placing a finger over the phone’s camera for 60 seconds. This measures the pulse by recording small changes in the color of the user’s skin. (Williams, 12/5)

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