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COVID-19 in the News February March 2nd through March 9th, 2021

Published on 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

This week we highlight key updates spanning from March 2nd through 9th of 2021.

Resource Spotlight: CDC Guidance when You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

The CDC has updated their guidance for when you have been fully vaccinated. Following is what has changed: If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • “You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
  • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.”


March 2, 2021: Merck and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Production Collaboration

An HHS Press Release details that that HHS will be coordinating with Merck to “repurpose some of its existing Merck facilities for rapid large-scale manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics for use in public health emergencies included the current pandemic.” Janssen Pharmaceuticals will be the first federal partner to use these facilities to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines.

March 4, 2021: Alabama Safer at Home Order Extended until April 9, 2021 at 5 p.m.

On March 4th, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey once again extended the Safer at Home order. While the mask requirements did not change there are a few new changes to the order, for example:

  • Hospitals and Nursing Homes: Subject to reasonable restrictions, patients and residents will be allowed visits from as many as two caregivers (up from one) or as many as two visitors (up from one) at a time and
  • Senior Citizen Centers: Programs other than congregate meals may resume, but only outdoors and subject to guidelines by the Alabama Department of Senior Services. Meals still available by curbside pick-up or delivery.


March 4, 2021: COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Meeting

HHS has filed a notice in the Federal Register to provide notice that the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force is conducting a virtual meeting on Friday March 26, 2021 from approximately 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. They do note the time is tentative and subject to change. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss equitable vaccine access and acceptance. The meeting is open to the public and will be live streamed at Information about the meeting will be posted on the HHS Office of Minority Health website at


March 4, 2021: MLN Connects – COVID Vaccine Resources for Hard to Reach Patients

CMS provided the following information in their March 4th edition of MLN Connects:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting Medicare-Medicaid dually eligible individuals, racial and ethnic minority groups, and individuals with disabilities. You can help make sure hard to reach Medicare patients get COVID-19 vaccination information during this public health emergency.

More Information:

  • CMS Office of Minority Health COVID-19 Resources on Vulnerable Populationswith fact sheets in multiple languages to assist organizations who work with those most vulnerable, such as older adults, those with underlying medical conditions, racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities, and people with disabilities
  • CDC Communication Toolkitfor migrants, refugees, and other limited-English-proficient populations”


March 5, 2021: COVID-19 Scams

The OIG updated their Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams webpage to alert the public about fraudulent offers of COVID-19 tests, HHS grants, and Medicare prescription cards in exchange for personal details including Medicare information. “These scammers use the coronavirus pandemic to benefit themselves, and beneficiaries face potential harm. The personal information collected can be used to fraudulently bill federal health care programs and commit medical identity theft.”


March 5, 2021: First Molecular Non-Prescription, At-Home COVID-19 Test Granted Emergency Use Authorization

The FDA issued a EUA for Cue COVID-19 Test for Home and Over the Counter (OTC) Use. “Cue COVID-19 Test for Home and Over The Counter (OTC) Use test is authorized for non-prescription home use for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in anterior nasal (nasal) swab specimens collected with the Cue Sample Wand. This test is intended for use in adults (self-swabbing) or children two years of age or older (swabbed by an adult) with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19.”


March 5, 2021: EUA for Adaptive Biotechnologies T-Detect COVID Test

The FDA announced in a bulletin the issuance of a EUA for the T-Detect COVID test developed by Adaptive Biotechnologies. The test can aid in identifying people with recent or prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 and “is indicated for use by qualified healthcare professionals on samples from individuals who are 15 days or more post-symptom onset.”


CDC COVID Data Tracker – United States COVID-19 Cases

Data Date Total Cases Total Deaths Cases in Last 7 Days
September 8, 2020 6,287,362 188,688 282,919
October 5, 2020 7,396,730 209,199 301,438
November 2, 2020 9,182,628 230,383 565,607
December 14, 2020 16,113,148 298,266 1,476,230
January 4, 2021 20,558,489 350,664 1,502,620
February 1, 2021 26,034,475 439,955 1,015,960
March 7, 2021 28,771,749 522,973 412,103
Resource: CDC COVID Data Tracker at
Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.