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COVID-19: New Travel Restrictions, National Strategy

Effective Jan. 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers entering the United States from a foreign country. Proof of recovery must comprise a recent positive viral test and a letter from a health care provider or public health official clearing the individual to travel.

The announcement comes after a continued uptick in COVID-19 cases nationally, in addition to reports of a new, more contagious variant.

CDC on Jan. 25 reported 293 COVID-19 cases caused by the B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a more contagious strain than the original virus. Overall, the agency reports more than 24.8 million COVID-19 cases and 416,010 related deaths in the United States as of Jan. 24 — a little more than a year after the first reported case in the country.

Biden Introduces National Strategy

President Biden on Jan. 21 released a National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. He also issued numerous executive orders related to the pandemic, including to:

In a statement, America’s Essential Hospitals praised Biden’s commitment to addressing the pandemic.

CDC Updates on Vaccines, Supply Guidance

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System shows 10 cases of anaphylaxis after the administration of more than 4 million first doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, from Dec. 21, 2020–Jan. 10, 2021. CDC outlines the nature of these reactions in the Jan. 22 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The agency urges vaccine distribution sites to screen recipients for contraindications and precautions; have trained staff and supplies present to manage anaphylaxis; observe vaccine recipients after administration; and immediately treat suspected anaphylaxis with intramuscular epinephrine.

Individuals receiving a COVID-19 vaccine can prepare by reading CDC’s updated resource, “What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19.”

The agency also updated its isolation gown prioritization strategy from crisis capacity to contingency capacity. Health care providers should prioritize gowns for higher-risk activities, including aerosol generating procedures and activities involving prolonged close contact with patients with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections. Providers also should prioritize the use of gowns for patients colonized or infected with emerging highly resistant organisms.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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