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HHS testing official warns Nevada must drop antigen testing ban

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USA TODAY

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ top testing official said Friday Nevada’s ban on rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes could “endanger lives” and urged state health officials to immediately reverse course.

Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Nevada would face unspecified enforcement actions if state health officials did not remove an order instructing nursing homes to discontinue use of point-of-care antigen testing machines made by two companies, Quidel and Becton, Dickinson.

HHS  “expects immediate action from Nevada to reverse its unwise, uninformed and unlawful unilateral prohibition,” Giroir said Friday in a phone call with reporters. “Lives are at stake and our administration is not going to allow actions to risk our seniors or any other vulnerable or underserved population.”

Nevada health officials did not immediately return calls or emails from USA TODAY.

On Oct. 2, Nevada officials ordered nursing homes and other long-term facilities to discontinue use of the antigen testing instruments authorized by Food and Drug Administration “until the accuracy of the tests can be better evaluated.”

 (Photo: Becton, Dickinson)

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services chief medical officer and two other high-ranking health officials cited a high rate of false positive results at eight facilities that used the antigen tests, according to a bulletin for nursing homes and health-care providers.

But Giroir said Nevada’s ban represents a misunderstanding of the role of testing machines in screening large numbers of people who might unknowingly pass the virus to others.

HHS has purchased and sent rapid antigen testing instruments to nearly 14,000 nursing homes nationwide as part of a strategy to protect vulnerable seniors. Deaths in nursing homes represent up

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Drop ‘unwise, uninformed and unlawful’ ban on rapid testing in nursing homes

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ top testing official said Friday Nevada’s ban on rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes could “endanger lives” and urged state health officials to immediately reverse course.

Why widespread COVID-19 testing is crucial to fighting the coronavirus pandemic

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Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Nevada would face unspecified enforcement actions if state health officials did not remove an order instructing nursing homes to discontinue use of point-of-care antigen testing machines made by two companies, Quidel and Becton, Dickinson.

HHS  “expects immediate action from Nevada to reverse its unwise, uninformed and unlawful unilateral prohibition,” Giroir said Friday in a phone call with reporters. “Lives are at stake and our administration is not going to allow actions to risk our seniors or any other vulnerable or underserved population.”



Brett Giroir wearing a suit and tie: Adm. Brett Giroir, director of U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, looks on as he testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 31, 2020.


© Kevin Dietsch, AFP via Getty Images
Adm. Brett Giroir, director of U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing, looks on as he testifies during a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on a national plan to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 31, 2020.

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Nevada health officials did not immediately return calls or emails from USA TODAY.

On Oct. 2, Nevada officials ordered nursing homes and other long-term facilities to discontinue use of the antigen testing instruments authorized by Food and Drug Administration “until the accuracy of the tests can be better evaluated.”

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services chief medical officer and two other high-ranking health officials cited a high rate of false positive results at eight facilities that used the antigen tests, according to a bulletin for nursing homes and health-care providers.

But Giroir said Nevada’s ban represents

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Labour announces ban on conversion therapy, plan to help provide gender-neutral bathrooms in schools



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The Labour Party has announced several policies to help New Zealanders “live free of discrimination” based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The policies include banning conversion therapy and working with schools to provide gender-neutral bathrooms.

The party’s Rainbow spokesperson Tāmati Coffey says more work needs to be done to “keep moving towards a more inclusive New Zealand”.

“We will pass a law to ban the harmful practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the misguided idea that people are wrong or broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is fundamentally wrong,” he said.

“Conversion therapy has been linked to severe adverse mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

“It is a practice that causes harm and is out of place in the kind, inclusive and modern country we are.”

Two petitions were presented to Parliament in 2018 calling for a ban on conversion therapy. The Justice Select Committee responded at the time by saying that while there was agreement that conversion therapy was harmful, “more work needs to be done” before any decision is taken to ban it.

Labour MP Grant Robertson says it hasn’t banned the practice during its three years of governing because there wasn’t “full government support” for it.

“What we are now saying though is this will be something we will push in government and we will pass legislation,” he said.

“The kind of practices that attempt to change or suppress somebody’s sexuality are wrong and we need to make sure that we send a very clear message about that.”

Along with the ban, Labour MP Louisa Wall says the party will also

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Trump ban on ‘divisive’ and ‘anti-American’ training for federal contractors has workplace diversity experts worried

Diversity and inclusion training providers are concerned recent strides in corporate America to address racial and gender disparities will take a back seat after President Donald Trump ordered restrictions on racial sensitivity training for federal contractors.



a man standing in front of a computer: Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory test X-ray equipment for the scientific investigation of an 1,800 year-old Egyptian mummy at the Advanced Photon Source on Nov. 27, 2017.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory test X-ray equipment for the scientific investigation of an 1,800 year-old Egyptian mummy at the Advanced Photon Source on Nov. 27, 2017.

Many Chicago-area companies expanded their workplace diversity training programs earlier this year following the civil unrest resulting from George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

The topics of white privilege, systemic racism and unconscious bias have become focal points in those programs, consultants say. Now, they’re the target of an order from Trump cutting off funding to contractors who teach “divisive” and “anti-American” concepts.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order that bars federal contractors from promoting race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in their diversity training programs. Companies could risk losing contracts if they don’t comply.

The Chicago area is home to some of the biggest federal contractors, including aerospace manufacturer Boeing and medical device maker Abbott Laboratories, which recently inked a deal with the federal government to provide 150 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests. Neither responded to requests for comment.



a large building: Argonne National Lab's Advance Photon Source building on March 15, 2019.


© Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Argonne National Lab’s Advance Photon Source building on March 15, 2019.

Under the order, contractors are prohibited from teaching concepts that “promote divisiveness in the workplace and distract from the pursuit of excellence and collaborative achievements in public administration.”

Contractors can’t teach that the U.S. is fundamentally racist or sexist, claim members of a certain race are oppressors or put blame on a certain race or sex for past actions committed by other members of the

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Trump extends ban on anti-racism training for federal contractors

Sept. 22 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday extended a ban on training involving race- and sex-based discrimination for federal contractors to include various “divisive concepts.”

Concepts included in the executive order signed by Trump on Tuesday include the idea that one race or sex is superior, that the United States is fundamentally racist and that an individual should feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish” and other forms of physiological distress or be considered inherently racist, sexist or oppressive based on their race or sex.

“Training like that discussed above perpetuates racial stereotypes and division that can use subtle coercive pressure to ensure conformity of viewpoint,” the executive order states.

The order applies to training provided at executive departments and agencies, the U.S. military, federal contractors and recipients of federal grants.

“Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don’t there’s nothing in it for you!” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.

Earlier this month, Trump directed federal agencies to stop anti-racism training including concepts such as “White privilege,” and “critical race theory” as well as training that “suggests either (1) the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”

Additionally, he announced plans for a new commission to promote “patriotic education” in U.S. schools last week.

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