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Mental health struggles on the rise during pandemic, CDC report says

Nearly 29 percent of some 1,000 people surveyed online in the US in March and April reported experiencing depression, and just over 18 percent reported substance use increase or initiation as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Feb. 5. And, […]

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Nearly 29 percent of some 1,000 people surveyed online in the US in March and April reported experiencing depression, and just over 18 percent reported substance use increase or initiation as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Feb. 5.

And, the report said, survey respondents of color, particularly Hispanic participants, reported higher rates of mental health concerns.

“Racial and ethnic minority groups have experienced disparities in mental health and substance misuse related to access to care, psychosocial stress, and social determinants of health,” the report said, adding that addressing “psychosocial stressors, mental health conditions, and substance misuse among U.S. adults during the COVID-19 pandemic is important, as are interventions tailored for racial and ethnic minority groups.”

The report said Hispanic adults “reported higher levels of stress and worry about not having enough food or stable housing than did” white adults.

According to the report, 28.6 percent of 1,004 online survey respondents reported depression, 18.2 percent reported substance use increase or initiation, and 8.4 percent disclosed suicidal thoughts or ideation.

The report identified 100 respondents as Black non-Hispanic, 118 participants as Hispanic/Latino, 129 as other/non-Hispanic, and 657 as white non-Hispanic.

The document said respondents identified as Hispanic/Latino reported the highest rates of mental health concerns in all three categories, with 40.3 percent of 118 respondents reporting depression, 36.9 percent reporting substance use increase or initiation, and 22.9 percent disclosing suicidal thoughts or ideation.

The 129 respondents identified as other, non-Hispanic reported a depression rate of 31.4 percent, while 15.1 percent disclosed substance use increase or initiation, and 8.9 percent reported suicidal thoughts or ideation.

In addition, the report said 27.7 percent of 100 respondents identified as Black non-Hispanic reported depression, 15.6 percent reported substance use increase or initiation, and 5.2 percent disclosed suicidal thoughts or ideation.

The report said the 657 white non-Hispanic respondents reported depression at a rate of 25.3 percent, while 14.3 percent reported substance use increase or initiation, and 5.3 percent disclosed suicidal thoughts or ideation.

The report stated additional public health measures are necessary to address the mental and behavioral health consequences of the pandemic.

“Addressing barriers or disruptions to access to and delivery of mental health and substance use services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including considerations for health care systems, practices, and providers using telehealth coverage; consideration of parity in insurance coverage for mental health and substance use services; and use of virtual mental health treatment and substance use recovery groups, is important,” the report said.

The CDC said policies and programs “can be adapted or developed to reduce preexisting racial and ethnic group disparities in social determinants of health … while also addressing psychosocial stressors unique to communities with large racial and ethnic minority populations. The mental health and psychosocial needs of U.S. adults, including persons in racial and ethnic minority groups, are an important consideration when promoting community resilience and preserving access to and provision of services during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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Disney California Adventure theme park plans to host a food festival tentatively by March

© P_Wei/Getty Images Disney California Adventure theme park plans to host a food festival tentatively by March Disney announced it will tentatively host a food festival at California Adventure Park in mid-March. The “all-new, limited-time ticketed experience” will also feature “unique, carefully crafted entertainment experiences.” Disney recalled about 1,000 employees who were laid off or […]

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a large ship in the water: Disney California Adventure theme park plans to host a food festival tentatively by March


© P_Wei/Getty Images
Disney California Adventure theme park plans to host a food festival tentatively by March

  • Disney announced it will tentatively host a food festival at California Adventure Park in mid-March.
  • The “all-new, limited-time ticketed experience” will also feature “unique, carefully crafted entertainment experiences.”
  • Disney recalled about 1,000 employees who were laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic to work the event.

Disney announced on Monday plans to host a food festival tentatively scheduled for mid-March after the state lifted its stay-at-home order last month.

In a letter commemorating the 20th anniversary of the California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said the “all-new, limited-time ticketed experience” will feature “world-famous food and beverage offerings from around the resort, the latest merchandise and unique, carefully crafted entertainment experiences.”

The event will have “limited capacity and enhanced health and safety measures in place,” Potrock added. The food festival prompted the company to recall about 1,000 employees who were laid off or furloughed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This past year has presented extraordinary challenges, but that has not curtailed in any way our ability to move forward with a spirit of optimism,” Potrock said in the memo to employees.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a regional stay-at-home order in early December of last year as COVID-19 infections surged in the state. Newsom lifted the order on January 25 “as projected ICU availability over 4 weeks in all regions rose to over 15%,” according to a press release.

Disneyland and its rides will still remain closed amid the ongoing pandemic. California reported nearly 10,500 cases and more than 200 deaths on Monday. More than three million cases have been reported in California, and the death toll in the state surpassed 44,000.

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Oregon’s food safety program fees could increase if bill earns legislative approval

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Legislators in Oregon are considering whether to allow the state’s Department of Agriculture to increase fees for food safety program fees.

The bill in question, Senate Bill 33, has the backing of Gov. Kate Brown. In addition to the fee increases the bill would declare an emergency in relation to the food safety programs, according to the summary of the bill.

“This 2021 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2021 Act takes effect on its passage,” states Section 2 of the bill.

The bill involves 15 percent increases in the next two state fiscal years for food safety program fees. It specifically states that it does not alter or effect the agriculture department’s authority to adopt rules imposing additional license fees.

If approved by the Oregon lawmakers, the legislation would allow the agriculture department to increase the program fees by 15 percent in each of the two coming fiscal years, which begin on July 1 in 2022 and 2023. 

The emergency declaration in the proposed legislation would become effective immediately upon the bill’s approval.

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Public will be kept out of public health department’s ketamine review process

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DENVER (KDVR) — The months-delayed state health department review of Colorado’s ketamine waiver program will remain confidential, according to Michelle Reese, a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) employee familiar with the ketamine review.

“We intend to keep not only the work of the investigatory panel confidential but also the members at least until a final report is produced,” said Reese, who provided an update during Monday’s Emergency Medical Practice Advisory Council meeting. 

The group, also called EMPAC, is responsible for approving  ketamine waivers for medical directors.  The waivers allow paramedics, practicing under the medical director’s supervision, to administer the drug to patients prior to arriving at a hospital.

Reese said details about the review mostly would be kept confidential.

FOX31 reported in December that CDPHE had quietly paused the review process before ever naming any panelists despite an August 2020 announcement by CDPHE’s executive director, Jill Hunsaker Ryan, that the review would immediately begin.

“We wanted to connect with the AG’s office and make sure that he work that we were going to be doing would not interfere with their investigations,” said Reese of the Colorado Attorney General’s investigation into Elijah McClain’s death, which was announced prior to the ketamine review announcement, in June 2020.

McClain died in August 2019 days after an altercation in which police used the carotid hold on him and after paramedics subdued him with ketamine.

Reese said the ketamine review process had once again resumed, but the public would not be made aware of the progress until the review was complete.

“We want (the panel of experts) to be able to do their work unfettered and without fear of recrimination – for any individual member – as far as expressing their opinion and feeling comfortable that they can do so without being harassed or contacted. So, we really are going to try to keep the workings and everything of this panel confidential until everything is concluded.”

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