COVID-19 in the News January 26th through February 1st, 2021

on Tuesday, 02 February 2021. All News Items | Case Management | Documentation | Coding

Can the FDA help you get a COVID-19 Vaccine? Who is Authorized to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines? Who is Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine in Alabama?

Resource Spotlight: Reminder – New Requirements for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

On January 12, 2021, the CDC announced an order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19. This order became effective as of 12:01 am EST on January 26, 2021. Specifically, If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).” The CDC has created a webpage specific to this new Order where you will find General FAQs, Passenger specific FAQs, and Aircraft Operators/Airlines/Crew FAQs.


January 26, 2021: Import Alert on All Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers from Mexico

The FDA announced, in a News Release, that “the agency has placed all alcohol-based hand sanitizers from Mexico on a countrywide import alert to help stop products that appear to be in violation from entering the U.S. until the agency is able to review the products’ safety. Over the course of the ongoing pandemic, the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products from Mexico that were labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but tested positive for methanol contamination.”


January 26, 2021: FDA Updates COVID-19 FAQs – Answering Questions About Help Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

The FDA updated their COVID-19 FAQs webpage with a new FAQ answering the question of whether or not the FDA can help someone get a COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA’s answer is “No. The FDA’s authority includes authorizing or approving COVID-19 vaccines for use in the United States, but the FDA is not responsible for vaccine distribution. Go to the CDC website to find your state and local health departments who are responsible for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. All questions and concerns should be sent to your state government or local health department. The U.S. government’s goal is to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for all people in the United States who choose to be vaccinated.

If you are contacted directly by someone who says they are from the FDA about a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, it is a scam. The Federal Trade Commission has easy tips on how to avoid COVID-19 vaccine scams. The FDA encourages you to report a potential COVID-19 drug or medical product scam on our website.”


January 28, 2021: Marketplace Special Enrollment Period for COVID-19 Public Health Emergency February 15, 2021 through May 15, 2021

In response to an Executive Order, HHS “announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals and families for Marketplace coverage in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which has left millions of Americans facing uncertainty and exceptional circumstances while millions of Americans have experienced new health problems during the pandemic. This SEP will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by the platform to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage. Beginning February 15, 2021 and through May 15, 2021, these Marketplaces will operationalize functionality to make this SEP available to all Marketplace-eligible consumers who are submitting a new application or updating an existing application. State-based Marketplaces (SBMs) operating their own platform have the opportunity to take similar action within their states.”


January 28, 2012: Declaration to Increase Workforce Authorized to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines

HHS has issued a fifth amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to add to the “categories of qualified persons authorized to prescribe, dispense, and administer COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” One new category includes authorizing “any physician, registered nurse, or practical nurse whose license or certification expired within the past five years to prescribe, dispense and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines in any state or U.S. territory so long as the license or certification was active and in good standing prior to the date it went inactive.” The unpublished version of this document is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on February 2, 2021.


January 29, 2021: Alabama Department of Public Health Expands COIVD-19 Vaccination Eligibility

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADHP) announced that “beginning February 8, people 65 or older and additional groups of critical workers will be eligible to get the vaccine.” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey indicated in the announcement that “We have all been frustrated that the supply of vaccine coming from the federal government hasn’t kept up with the demand…To be blunt, we simply haven’t gotten the vaccine that we’ve been promised, and this has created a major backlog of aggravation. Today’s announcement will ensure that as more vaccine is released, we will have a plan in place to get the vaccine in people’s arms more quickly.” Additional information about the vaccine is available on the ADHP COVID-19 Vaccine webpage. For those in Alabama who are interested in knowing when the vaccine becomes available at your local health department you can sign up for email notification at


February 1, 2021: OIG Adds Audits of Medicare Part B Telehealth Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to their Work Plan

The OIG has added telehealth to their Work Plan. Following is a detailed description of this planned audit:

“Telehealth is playing an important role during the public health emergency (PHE), and CMS is exploring how telehealth services can be expanded beyond the PHE to provide care for Medicare beneficiaries. Because of telehealth's changing role, we will conduct a series of audits of Medicare Part B telehealth services in two phases. Phase one audits will focus on making an early assessment of whether services such as evaluation and management, opioid use order, end-stage renal disease, and psychotherapy (Work Plan number W-00-21-35801) meet Medicare requirements. Phase two audits will include additional audits of Medicare Part B telehealth services related to distant and originating site locations, virtual check-in services, electronic visits, remote patient monitoring, use of telehealth technology, and annual wellness visits to determine whether Medicare requirements are met.”


CDC COVID Data Tracker – United States COVID-19 Cases

Data DateTotal CasesTotal DeathsCases 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
Resource: CDC COVID Data Tracker at

Article by Beth Cobb

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 Risk Assessment (CRA) Tool. You may contact Beth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.


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