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COVID-19 Update
July 2, 2020
IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.
 
Iowa Update
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 29,701 Iowans have tested positive, up 549 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 313,156 tested.  No additional deaths were reported since our last update, keeping the total at 717 deaths. Now 23,742 Iowans have recovered. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
 
Across the state as a whole, the seven-day daily average of new reported cases in Iowa bottomed out last month at an average of 266 new cases per day in the week preceding June 17. That number is back up to 383 in the seven days preceding Monday, according to data the Iowa Department of Public Health releases.  Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that Iowa has changed the way it counts who has recovered from COVID-19 in a way that now shows more people recovering from the virus.  Starting Monday, the state began considering Iowans to have recovered from COVID-19 28 days after a positive test, or two incubation periods of the coronavirus, unless the state receives information that the person is still hospitalized or has not recovered. Prior to this change, individuals were only counted as recovered when a public health official followed up with them ten days after a positive test to confirm recovery.
 
A new Test Iowa clinic site is scheduled to open in Pottawattamie County on Mon., July 6, 2020, located at All Care Health Center, 902 South 6th St., in Council Bluffs. This is the second Test Iowa location in the area. The first site opened on May 29 at the Western Historic Trails Center, 3434 Richard Downing Ave., also in Council Bluffs. A list of all active Test Iowa sites can be found here.
 
Clinic sites are partnerships between the State of Iowa and local health care providers to increase access to testing in their communities. Clinics operate and staff the test sites. The state provides testing supplies and processes the samples through the State Hygienic Lab.
 
Individuals who wish to get tested at any site must first complete the online assessment at testiowa.com. They will then be directed to schedule an appointment. 
 
The Office of Governor Kim Reynolds released the agenda for the next Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board meeting. The agenda can be found here. The Advisory Board meets today at 9:30 a.m. and is designed to help Iowa grow during COVID-19 with a focus on modernizing Iowa’s economy as well as education, health care, workforce and quality of life.
 
IowaBio Member Highlights
Eurofins has designed a unique program to combat COVID-19. The Eurofins SAFER@WORK™ program is designed to help limit the impact of COVID-19 on your workplace.
 
Eurofins is a world leader in the provision of clinical diagnostics, forensic, pharmaceutical, food, environmental and agroscience laboratory testing.
SAFER@WORK Programs are comprehensive with services including:
  • COVID-19 PCR testing
  • antibody testing
  • environmental surface testing
  • product and wastewater testing
  • associated services such as risk profiling, symptom tracking, and contact tracing
Epidemiologists help design the most appropriate sampling and testing protocols, according to your specific needs, combining the various services described above and according to local regulations and contexts. For information or a quote for your organization please contact saferatwork@eurofinsus.com.
 
Federal Actions
  • The FDA provided guidance with recommendations for those developing COVID-19 vaccines for the ultimate purpose of licensure. The guidance, which reflects advice the FDA has been providing over the past several months to companies, researchers, and others, describes the agency’s current recommendations regarding the data needed to facilitate the manufacturing, clinical development, and approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Yesterday, the FDA distributed the first round of SARS-CoV-2 reference panel materials. The panel is an independent performance validation step — for diagnostic tests of SARS-CoV-2 infection — being used for clinical, not research, purposes. The reference panel can help characterize a test's level of detection and establish relative sensitivity among tests. The FDA panel is available to commercial and laboratory developers who are interacting with the FDA through the pre-EUA process or whose tests have been issued an EUA. The FDA will provide the reference panel to developers at the appropriate stage in the process.
  • The CDC has released interim guidance on SARS-CoV-2 testing for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. As schools consider and prepare for reopening in the fall, these guidance documents are intended to help schools and universities make decisions about the appropriate use of SARS-CoV-2 testing. These CDC considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, and acceptable and be tailored to the needs of each community.
  • The CDC continues to update its dashboard with new guidance documents and details, and I highly encourage taking a look at the succinct answers provided to frequently asked questions. Over the weekend and today, the agency updated considerations for restaurants and bars, strategies for daily life and coping, and the newest social media toolkit
  • HHS will extend its partnership with national pharmacy and grocery retail chains CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens, Quest (through services at Walmart), and eTrueNorth (through services at Kroger, Health Mart, and Walmart) so they may continue to provide access to COVID-19 testing. The partnership, which is part of the Community-Based Testing Program, has scaled up to more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites in 48 states and D.C.. Approximately 70 percent of these testing sites are located in communities with moderate-to-high social vulnerability, as evidenced by their racial, and ethnic composition, and their housing, economic, language barrier, and similar considerations.
  • The Administration re-established the Ready Reserve Corps as part of the U.S. Public Health Service. More information on this can be found here
  • Dr. Anand Shah, FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs, welcomes Toby Lowe, the Associate Director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, to discuss the basics of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 on the new FDA Podcast, "FDA Insight."
  • The House and Senate have both passed a bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8th. The program allows small businesses to secure low-interest loans to help maintain their payrolls. President Trump is expected to sign the piece of legislation this week. 
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) wrote to request information from ten companies and one trade association about their practices and prices for diagnostic and serological tests for COVID-19. The request comes after the Committee conducted an initial examination that has yielded disturbing information about potential price gouging of COVID-19 tests, and providers’ compliance with both the Families First Coronavirus Response (Families First) Act and the CARES Act.
  • The following COVID-19 hearings are slated to place in Congress this week:
    • Thursday (7/2) 9 AM House Oversight, “The Administration’s Efforts to Procure, Stockpile, and Distribute Critical Supplies”
    • Thursday (7/2) 10 AM Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations, "Hearings to examine Operation Warp Speed, focusing on researching, manufacturing, and distributing a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine."
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 2,624,873 total cases and 127,299 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. 
  • The U.S. set another single-day case record for COVID-19 yesterday at nearly 50,000. Texas alone had over 8,000 new cases. 
  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced that effective July 1st, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts, including residents returning home, are instructed to self-quarantine for 14-days. The guidance did not apply to travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, or New Jersey. Additionally, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt from this directive.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that eight additional states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who have traveled to New York from those states, all of which have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. The newly-added states are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee. He also said the Capital Region and Western New York have been cleared to enter the fourth phase of reopening.
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) released the “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap,” a document to help school districts create local plans for in-person learning in the fall. She also announced the state will not advance to the fifth phase of her reopening plan by the Fourth of July weekend, as she had originally planned.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says the state is "not going back" on reopening its economy, even as it's surged to become one of the nation's top states for new coronavirus cases.
  • Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that she signed an EO requiring that most Kansans in a public space must wear a mask, beginning July 3rd.
  • Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (D) extended Guam's public health emergency declaration to July 30th.
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until September 4th.
  • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) extended her disaster declaration through August 3rd and announced the state has moved into Phase 3 of reopening. She also announced that under Phase 3, social gatherings can be no larger than 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. Public events can be up to 125 people indoors or up to 250 people outdoors. Any organizers planning to host a group of more than 100 people will need to submit plans to Commerce RI.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) introduced more details around the state’s Protect Our Neighbors framework. This new phase in reopening will give local communities more freedom to provide economic opportunity while ensuring that they have the necessary public health capacity. The introduction of the new phase means that different parts of the state could be at different phases of reopening, based on local conditions and capabilities.
    • Gov. Polis also announced the closure of bars, although bars that have taken steps to open as restaurants may continue to operate in-person service, so long as they have patrons seated with their own party, in seating spaced six feet apart, and with no mingling.
  • Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) announced that Nevada will remain in Phase 2 of the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan through the end of July, due to the trends in COVID-19 infection rates, the time needed for expanded contact tracing to identify trends, and to see the impacts of the governor’s new face-covering directive.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered tougher restrictions for much of the state, requiring 19 counties experiencing increased spread of coronavirus to halt visits to indoor restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and card rooms.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced that bar seating will remain prohibited in restaurants as the Commonwealth moves into its third phase of reopening.
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order temporarily pausing the resumption of indoor dining, which had been scheduled to resume later this week.
  • In Pennsylvania, people must wear masks whenever they leave home, effective immediately. 
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
    • Finally, this site offers COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing and can be broken down by state.
International Affairs
  • The E.U. reopened its borders on Wednesday to visitors from 15 countries, excluding the U.S., Russia, and Brazil, and many European countries further eased pandemic restrictions.
  • Canada is extending a global travel ban and mandatory quarantine measures that require most travelers to Canada, including citizens returning home, to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Germany’s Interior Ministry said that, as of Thursday, people from Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay will be able to enter without restrictions. That will also apply to Japan, South Korea, and China -- but only if those countries also allow people from Germany to enter. 
  • Chile’s Ministry of Health reported 2,650 new COVID-19 infection cases yesterday, the lowest daily increase since May 19th.
  • Australian authorities will lock down more than 300,000 people in Melbourne’s northern suburbs for a month after two weeks of double-digit rises in new cases in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state. 
  • Spain and Portugal officially reopened their joint border to all travelers after a three-month closure.
  • The E.U. said yesterday it's in negotiations to obtain doses of remdesivir for its 27 member nations.
  • In Czech Republic, a rule requiring masks in all indoor facilities was eased, though Czechs will still have to wear face coverings on the Prague underground, in medical establishments, and in the north-eastern Moravian-Silesian region, where infections have spiked in two neighboring coal mining areas. 
  • Israel’s parliament has voted to allow the country’s domestic intelligence agency to track the cellphones of COVID-19 carriers for the next three weeks amid a resurgence in new cases. 
  • The WHO expressed concern on Wednesday over an arrangement for the U.S. to buy up almost all supplies of the drug remdesivir through the end of September. The deal most likely contradicts the WHO’s policy that treatments and vaccines for the virus should be distributed equitably to the most needy.
  • Global Cases: 10,717,158 Total Deaths:  516,738
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • The Federal Reserve held a two-day meeting in which officials and central bank staff paint a bleak picture of what lies ahead for the American economy. Officials at the meeting indicated they expect the economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession to be a slow one, with rates near zero for years.
  • The Administration has said they are seriously looking into "pool testing." With pooling, labs take samples from multiple people and test them as a group for COVID-19. If a pool yields a positive result, the lab would retest the reserved parts of each individual sample that went into the pool, pinpointing the infected person. It’s a way to dramatically and efficiently increase volume, to churn through what you expect to be a lot of negative samples at a fast clip.
  • An early release in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that in a multistate telephone survey of 350 adult inpatients and outpatients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection, only 46 percent reported recent contact with a COVID-19 patient. Most participants’ contacts were a family member (45 percent) or a work colleague (34 percent). Two thirds of participants were employed; only 17 percent were able to telework. The results suggest that case investigation, contact tracing, and isolation of infected persons are needed to prevent ongoing community transmission, given the frequent lack of a known contact. Enhanced measures to ensure workplace safety, including social distancing and more widespread use of cloth face coverings, are warranted.
  • Another early release in the MMWR examined the issue that symptom-based screening in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is inadequate to detect SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Repeated point prevalence surveys at 26 Detroit SNFs identified an attack rate of 44 percent; within 21 days of diagnosis, 37 percent of infected patients were hospitalized and 24 percent died. Among 12 facilities participating in a second survey and receiving on-site infection prevention and control (IPC) support, the percentage of newly identified cases decreased from 35 percent to 18 percent.
  • Nearly 60 percent of respondents in a recent poll said they thought the American public had handled the coronavirus poorly.
  • McDonald’s is pausing its plans to resume dine-in service at thousands of locations across the U.S. amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. The pause will last for at least three weeks. 
  • General Motors and Fiat Chrysler said sales of new vehicles fell by more than a third in the second quarter, but that demand has improved since April and May, when stay-at-home orders kept people away from dealerships.
  • United Airlines said yesterday that it will operate about three times as many flights in August as it did last month, increasing its traffic to the equivalent of about 40 percent of its August 2019 schedule.
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines
  • The BIO COVID-19 pipeline tracker is here.
  • Continue to look at the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints. The portfolio includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.
  • RetailDive tracks store reopenings in the U.S. 
Helpful Articles/Media
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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