Around the nation: Super Bowl LVI fans to receive free KN95 masks

Fans attending Super Bowl LVI will receive free KN95 masks to wear during the game, in today’s bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Ohio, and Virginia.

California: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer on Tuesday announced that fans attending Super Bowl LVI would be given free KN95 masks to wear during the game. According to Ferrer, the NFL is also planning to distribute over 60,000 test kits at its interactive football theme park, known as the NFL Experience, which will launch on Feb. 5. Free rapid testing will also be available at SoFi Stadium and the LA Convention Center. (Vakil, The Hill, 1/26)
Ohio: Cleveland Clinic has appointed Rohit Chandra as its chief digital officer, a newly created role, effective Feb. 14. As chief digital officer, Chandra will oversee the information technology division and lead the clinic’s global digital innovation. Chandra, who brings over 25 years of digital technology and engineering experience, most recently served as VP of engineering for technology startup Sunshine Products. “New technologies are reinventing how we access, deliver and experience the best possible care,” said Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic president and CEO. He added that Chandra “has proved himself a visionary in applying these tools and technologies. His fresh perspective will benefit our patients, caregivers and organization as Cleveland Clinic grows to touch more lives around the world.” (CoutrĂ©, Modern Healthcare, 1/28)
Virginia: State Attorney General Jason Miyares on Friday ruled that Virginia public colleges could not enforce Covid-19 vaccine mandates for students as a requirement for admission or in-person attendance. The ruling came after Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) requested a review of the vaccination requirements. Miyares determined that even though Virginia schools require vaccination against other diseases, they do not have the authority to implement a Covid-19 vaccine mandate since Virginia’s General Assembly has not approved it. “Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine, the legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements,” Miyares said. (Knutson, Axios, 1/28)

Virginia’s new Republican attorney general said Friday that public colleges in the state can’t mandate COVID-19 vaccines for students as a requirement for admission or in-person attendance.

Why it matters: State Attorney General Jason Miyares’ ruling came from a requested review of the mandate by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who promised to end the state’s mask mandate and vaccination requirements during his campaign for governor.

Though Virginia schools require students to be vaccinated against other diseases, such as diphtheria or tetanus, Miyares said those requirements were passed by Virginia’s General Assembly.

In passing those requirements, the General Assembly gave public colleges the power to enforce them.
Since the General Assembly has not passed a coronavirus vaccine requirement for students, the attorney general said public colleges don’t have the power to mandate or enforce such a requirement.
What they’re saying: “Although the General Assembly specifically authorized public institutions of higher education to assist the Department of Health and local health departments in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, the legislation did not grant such institutions power to impose vaccine requirements,” Miyares said.

He said that the state of emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic did not expend the powers of entities “that are expressly subject to the control of the General Assembly.”
“Notably, the authority to require immunization during a public health emergency belongs to the State Health Commissioner.”
The big picture: The University of Virginia, George Mason University and at least five other Virginia campuses recently announced that they would end their vaccine requirements for their employees after a separate directive from Youngkin, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeper: Virginia schools push back as Youngkin’s mask opt-out kicks in

Leave a Comment