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July, 2020

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Red Cross Statement on Collecting Convalescent Plasma for Treatment of COVID-19

“During this uncertain time, the American Red Cross has adapted to meet the extraordinary challenges of this coronavirus pandemic and fulfill our lifesaving mission to alleviate suffering as we confront an emergency unlike any we have faced in a century.

In late March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to collect plasma from those who have recovered from this new coronavirus to treat patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.

Since that time, the Red Cross, FDA and our industry partners have worked around the clock to put this new initiative in place by establishing a process to identify, qualify and collect convalescent plasma safely from recovered COVID-19 individuals, at both Red Cross and local blood collection organizations. To date, the Red Cross has distributed hundreds of convalescent plasma products and is projected to collect and process hundreds more this week.  We are adding resources to qualify and collect from more donors in the weeks to come to help increase collections.

Thousands of potential donors have responded to our call to help patients seriously ill with active COVID-19 infections. However, until recently only a small percentage of individuals initially met FDA’s eligibility criteria, of having a verified COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as being symptom free for at least 28 days prior to donation or symptom free for at least 14 days prior to donation and having a negative COVID-19 test result.

On April 27, the Red Cross began testing for COVID-19 antibodies for convalescent plasma donations from eligible donors in collaboration with our partner, Creative Testing Solutions (CTS). This automated test is able to screen donated convalescent plasma for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, allowing the Red Cross to simplify the eligibility process and qualify more potential donors.

Please note that the Red Cross is NOT providing COVID-19 antibody testing for members of the public or routine Red Cross blood, platelet or plasma donors.

The Red Cross is grateful to recovered COVID-19 patients who have stepped up in an effort to help someone in need during this difficult time. We recognize that so many want to provide support during this pandemic and the Red Cross continues to work aggressively to fulfill these emerging needs for patients across the country through our humanitarian mission.

Learn more about this effort at”

MGM Resorts Unveils Reopening Plan for Las Vegas Casinos, Hotels

No buffet-style meals, more handwashing, protective masks: The days of gambling like James Bond are numbered in pandemic-era Sin City.

MGM Resorts International on Tuesday unveiled a “seven-point safety plan” to reopen its Las Vegas casinos and hotels.

Expect no more buffet-style meals, plexiglass barriers and handwashing stations on the casino floor, physical distancing at slot machines and fewer players at card tables and digital room keys in hotels. The bottom line: The days of gambling like James Bond in a heated game while people crowd the card table to admire your winnings are a thing of a past.

“Employees will discourage players from standing (except Craps) and guests will be asked not to stand beside or behind players,” the MGM Resorts reopening plan states. MGM Resorts in mid-March shuttered its entertainment properties amid the coronavirus crisis.

The proposed reopening protocols mostly address the safety needs of employees and casino and hotel guests, and do not directly address how the Las Vegas casino operator will protect Hollywood entertainers who perform on its stages.

Other safety measures included in the report are touchless ticketing for entertainment shows, no lineups for hotel arrivals and food ordering and pickup using smartphone apps. “Guests will no longer need to wait in line, if they so choose. Guests can confirm their arrival time, add payments and verify their ID all before setting foot in the lobby,” the MGM Resorts strategy plan reads.

Hotel employees and guests will also for the most part be expected to screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter properties, as they face “temperature checks” and answering screening questions to get through the front door.

“We ask that guests abide by a similar self-screening protocol prior to arriving and during your stay. If you have reason to believe you may have been exposed to the virus, we strongly urge you to follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine and not travel to our properties,” the report advises.

And once in hotels, employees will be provided with and required to wear protective masks and gloves, including those counting the casino’s daily takes, or “large volumes of cash.” MGM Resorts earlier reopened its casino properties in Macao, as it now works with Nevada authorities to develop a post-pandemic plan for its U.S. properties.



original article:

Preparing the palace: How an iconic Las Vegas casino plans to conquer Covid-19

Las Vegas (CNN)At the heart of a nearly vacant Las Vegas Strip, Caesar’s iconic palace stands empty.

The hotel’s doors are locked for the first time in its storied 54-year history.

The casino floor is nearly as silent as its statues, save for the siren song auto-playing from a few slot machines echoing through the polished halls.

It’s been the worst experience of Tony Rodio’s 40-year casino career. Now, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment is undertaking the Herculean task of safely reopening the 85-acre resort in the era of Covid-19, he told CNN.

“People want to get back to normal again. It’s just going to be a process getting there,” Rodio said.

The initiative at Caesars Palace is among at least four reopening plans unveiled so far by Las Vegas resort operators itching to serve tourists again while getting employees back to work, even as trade unions demand more transparency and the adoption of their own safety guidelines. Plans by MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and The Venetian include potentially modifying HVAC systems, suspending buffet service and setting protocols for what to do if a coronavirus test comes back positive.

While states begin to implement phased reopening plans, the Nevada Gaming Commission is laying out its agenda to safely bring Sin City back from economic hell. The gaming control board on Thursday released guidelines for reopening casino restaurants, but there’s still no word on when the gaming can begin.

At Caesars Palace, card tables, dice games and even slot machines are being retooled across the casino floor with social distancing and disinfection in mind, Rodio explained.

“We will be deactivating every other slot machine and removing the stool from the game,” he said, standing at an darkened slot machine at the center of three-machine row. “A customer can’t even stand here and play this game because the game’s not even active, and so we will do that throughout the whole floor.”

At card tables, the number of seats will be reduced from six to three, he said. And say goodbye to the classic casino scene of a crowd cheering a winning streak.

“Nobody will be able to be within 6 feet of any of the three customers that are playing,” Rodio said. “You’re certainly not face-to-face.”

The changes are being implemented as luck is running out for casino staff. Caesars Entertainment’s says 90% of its 60,000 worldwide employees have been furloughed or laid off.

New rules are a gamble in themselves

With no reliable reservations on the books and few remaining staff on site, it’s hard to imagine how future revelers and the army of workers who serves them will take to a new set of rules.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has repeatedly called for the city’s businesses to reopen but refused to provide guidelines on how they should do so safely. “They better figure it out,” she said last month, referring to business owners. “That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.”

Throughout Caesars Palace, large red signs posted remind guests to remain 6 feet apart and encourages — but doesn’t require — them to wear masks.

Employees will be held to stricter requirements — including masks during shifts and daily temperature checks. “They’ll also be asked to complete a questionnaire before they returned to work for the first time to see if they have anything that would lead us to want to get them tested,” Rodio said.

As for the Sisyphean task of sanitation, “we have more than enough decks of cards, so we’ll be changing out the decks of cards a more frequently,” Rodio said.

The dice on craps tables will be cleaned after each roll, and the chips will be frequently sanitized, too, he said. For larger surfaces such as slot machines and elevator banks, employees will be equipped with electronic sprayers.

Guests checking in to one of the 3,960 rooms will be able to use kiosks instead of the front desk, and cleaning staff will not enter rooms during guests’ stay, Rodio said.

“So, you begin to see us moving, you know, taking a small step, but a very important step, back towards normalcy,” Rodio said.

The powerful Las Vegas culinary union held a rolling protest Tuesday night to demand gaming operators reopen safely. Hundreds of cars lined the strip, with hospitality workers and their families honking and waving signs that read, “Don’t gamble with workers’ lives,” and “Don’t roll the dice with our safety.”

Workers are demanding more transparency from casinos on plans to reopen and asking Nevada’s governor to adopt unions’ safety protocols.

For now, the steps being take a Caesars Palace are among the first in an odyssey towards a new casino culture, one its leaders believe will retain the spirit of Las Vegas.

“I can’t tell you when we’re going to get back to 100% normal, but I’m confident that we’ll get there,” Rodio said. “I think that it will be in 2021 at some point.”

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