Supreme Court Decision

Safety Decision

The Supreme Court ruled CMS’s vaccine or testing requirement for healthcare workers was constitutional. The Court’s 5-4 decision lifted two injunctions blocking the safety requirement. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the three liberal-leaning justices, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in issuing the majority opinion that allows the CMS mandate to proceed.

The injunctions placed the rule on hold in 24 states for several weeks causing an increase in COVID cases. The requirement to get tested or vaccinated seems reasonable in a health care setting. CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the agency was “extremely pleased the Supreme Court recognized CMS’ authority to set a consistent COVID-19 vaccination standard for workers.”

In a Dec. 28 CMS memo, the agency issued deadlines and targets for the mandate. Workers must have at least one shot by Jan. 27, and a second shot (if applicable) by Feb. 28. It also has said it will provide 30-day and 60-day grace periods to providers that get shots to more than 80% of staff by the first deadline.

A McKnight’s Long-Term Care News survey found 75% of nursing homes restricted admissions due to staffing shortages or related pandemic issues in 2021.

South Carolina

South Carolina set another record for daily COVID cases by over 30 percent. DHEC reported 13,320 new daily cases based on data collected from Tuesday, January 4. Last week, the SCDDHEC announced at least 54 children were in the hospital due to COVID-19. This is a new record for the state. The previous record for South Carolina was 38 children in the hospital. The health agency also reported 11 children are in critical care, and two are on ventilators.  All of the children are unvaccinated. Expect a new record this week.

Dr. Brannon Traxlor as DHEC’s Public Health Director warned:

“We must stop the spread among our students and in our communities.” 

Please wear a mask, keep a safe distance, and stay safe.