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Federal Official Threatens Nevada for Halting Rapid Tests in Nursing Homes

The leader of the nation’s coronavirus testing efforts condemned Nevada’s health department on Friday for ordering nursing homes to discontinue two brands of government-issued rapid coronavirus tests that the state had found to be inaccurate.

“Bottom line, the recommendations in the Nevada letter are unjustified and not scientifically valid,” Adm. Brett Giroir, an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a call with reporters on Friday. The state’s actions, he said, were “unwise, uninformed and unlawful” and could provoke unspecified swift punitive action from the federal government if not reversed.

The rapid tests, which were distributed to nursing homes around the country in August by the federal government, were supposed to address the months of delays and equipment shortages that had stymied laboratory-based tests.

“The important issue is to keep seniors safe,” Admiral Giroir said in an interview on Friday. Antigen tests, he added, were “lifesaving instruments” that had been called “godsends” by some nursing home representatives. About 40 percent of the country’s known Covid-19 deaths came from nursing homes, according to a New York Times analysis.

But Nevada officials had discovered a rash of false positives among two types of rapid tests, manufactured by Quidel and Becton, Dickinson and Company, that had been used in the state’s nursing homes. Both tests look for antigens, or bits of coronavirus proteins, and had been advertised as producing no false positives.

Among a sample of 39 positive test results collected from nursing homes across the state, 23 turned out to be false positives, the state reported. (The bulletin did not specify whether negative results from the antigen tests, of which there were thousands, had been confirmed, leaving the number of false negatives unknown.)

“I would consider that to be a significant number of false positives,” said Omai Garner, a clinical

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CoreLogic Risk Analysis Shows Hurricane Delta Threatens 293,685 Homes with Storm Surge Damage

—With striking similarities to Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta threatens the same coastal towns already struggling to recover—

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released data analysis showing 293,685 single-family and multifamily homes across Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast with a reconstruction cost value (RCV) of approximately $62.85 billion are at potential risk of storm surge damage from Hurricane Delta based on its projected Category 2 status at landfall. These estimates are based on the October 7, 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) National Hurricane Center forecast.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201008005338/en/

Hurricane Delta: Number of Homes at Storm Surge Risk and Associated Reconstruction Cost Value (Graphic: Business Wire)

“After battering the Yucatán Peninsula near Cancún, Mexico, Hurricane Delta is headed for the Gulf Coast just weeks after Hurricane Laura brought significant wind and storm surge damage to the Texas and Louisiana coastlines,” said Curtis McDonald, meteorologist and senior product manager of CoreLogic. “Residents in these coastal areas are already trying to recover from their losses and are now faced with a second substantial storm. This season has been relentless, and Louisianans should be prepared for the long recovery road ahead.”

As Hurricane Delta approaches the Gulf, its path will become more certain and the metropolitan areas at risk will narrow. For the most up-to-date storm surge exposure estimates, visit the CoreLogic natural hazard risk information center, Hazard HQ™, at www.hazardhq.com.

The primary threats as Hurricane Delta makes landfall in central Louisiana will be storm surge and damaging winds. Heavy rainfall is also expected, but a fast storm speed is expected to limit catastrophic inland flooding. CoreLogic catastrophe and weather experts expect the 2020 hurricane season to continue on its above-average trend given warmer oceanic

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EMSA contractor threatens to terminate contract

A company that contracts to provide paramedics for Oklahoma City’s public ambulance service said Thursday it had served notice of its intent to terminate the contract as soon as Jan. 31, less than halfway through a five-year deal.

The Emergency Medical Services Authority, a public trust, and American Medical Response are wrangling over $16 million EMSA says has accumulated above AMR’s 10% profit cap. AMR questions the legality of the profit cap.

AMR said in a written statement that it filed papers in federal court in Tulsa in response to a lawsuit filed last month by EMSA. AMR asked that the $16 million withheld by EMSA be placed in the control of the court until the lawsuit is resolved.

EMSA provides ambulance service for about 1.1 million residents in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.

Withholding the money “while we are in the midst of a pandemic” jeopardizes integrity and stability of the emergency transportation system, and patient care, said Tom Wagner, AMR’s group president.

“AMR will continue to provide the same high-quality, life-saving services with its experienced and highly-trained paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Regardless of the lawsuit with EMSA, AMR will not leave these communities without emergency medical services,” Wagner said.

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Enormous California wildfire threatens desert homes near LA

A fire engine is driven through the devastation left behind by the Bobcat Fire on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Juniper Hills, Calif.

A fire engine is driven through the devastation left behind by the Bobcat Fire on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Juniper Hills, Calif.

AP

An enormous wildfire that churned through mountains northeast of Los Angeles and into the Mojave Desert was still threatening homes on Monday and was one of more than two dozen major fires burning across California.

Five of the largest wildfires in state history are currently burning and more than 5,600 square miles (14,500 square kilometers) have been charred, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

At 165 square miles (427 square kilometers), the Bobcat Fire is one of the largest ever in Los Angeles County after burning for more than two weeks. It was only about 15% contained.

Evacuation orders and warnings are in place for thousands of residents in foothill and desert areas, where semi-rural homes and a popular nature sanctuary have burned. Statewide, at least 23,000 people remain evacuated, Newsom said.

No injuries have been reported for the fire about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

However, 18 homes and other buildings have been destroyed and 11 damaged, some in the Juniper Hills area, with the toll rising to perhaps 85 when damage assessment teams can complete their work this week, fire officials said Monday evening.

Erratic winds that drove flames into the community of Juniper Hills over the weekend had died down, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Larry Smith.

“It’s slightly cooler too, so hopefully that will be a help to firefighters,” Smith said.

However, evacuation warnings — meaning residents should be prepared to flee if ordered — remained in effect for Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl and the annual Rose Parade, and Wrightwood, a mountain community near several

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