Coronavirus Timeline

April 2, 2020

US sees highest-ever initial unemployment claims at 6.6 million, doubling previous week’s record high.

April 1

US sees 5000th death

March 24, 2020

India imposes “complete,” 21-day lockdown.

March 23, 2020

IOC announces 1-year delay of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

UK imposes lockdown: most stringent restrictions since WWII.

March 19, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom orders the entire state to “shelter-in-place”; several other states follow in coming days.

March 18

US-Canada border closing to all nonessential traffic

March 16

San Francisco issues “stay home” order. Five other Bay Area counties issue “shelter-in-place.”

UCLA’s Anderson Forecast announces the beginning of the 2020 recession.

Trump administration: limit gatherings to 10 people, avoid discretionary travel

March 15

States begin mandating the closure of bars and restaurants, some allowing for take-out and delivery.

CDC recommends cancelling events over 50 people

March 12

Professional and collegiate sports leagues suspend or end seasons

March 11

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces all K-12 schools in Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties to close through April 24, limits public gatherings to 250 people; expands the orders statewide March 13.

Many other states and districts follow suit over the coming days.

Google tells all US employees to work from home.

March 9

All of Italy goes on lockdown.

March 8

Italy places travel restrictions on the entire Lombardy region and 14 other provinces.

March 7

The virus surpasses 100,000 cases worldwide

March 6

SIA announces cancellation of the 2020 SIA Executive Forum

March 5

Microsoft becomes first major company to tell Seattle-area employees to work from home; pledges to continue to pay affected hourly support workers; Mandate expands worldwide based on health agency and government guidance.;  Google, Facebook, Amazon follow suite within days; Santa Clara issues a health ordinance warning companies against gatherings of 50 or more people

March 4

The CDC formally removes earlier restrictions that limited coronavirus testing of the general public to people in the hospital, unless they had close contact with confirmed coronavirus cases; According to the CDC, clinicians should now “use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested”; Google asks all Seattle-area employees who can work from home to do so; Northshore School District in Seattle area becomes first district to close, initially through March.

March 3

The Federal Reserve slashes interest rates by half a percentage point in an attempt to give the US economy a jolt in the face of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. It is the first unscheduled, emergency rate cut since 2008, and it also marks the biggest one-time cut since then.

March 1

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declares a public health emergency in the state of Florida; Over the next several days, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Utah and Oregon declare states of emergency.

Feb. 29

A state health official announces that a patient infected with the novel coronavirus in Washington state has died, marking the first death due to the virus in the United States; Washington declares a state of emergency.

Feb. 26

CDC officials say that a California patient being treated for novel coronavirus is the first US case of unknown origin. The patient, who didn’t have any relevant travel history nor exposure to another known patient, is the first possible US case of “community spread”; President Trump places Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the US government response to the novel coronavirus.

Feb. 25

Italy’s Lombardy region issues a list of towns and villages that are in complete lockdown. Around 100,000 people are affected by the travel restrictions.

Feb. 21

The CDC changes criteria for counting confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the US and begins tracking two separate and distinct groups: those repatriated by the US Department of State and those identified by the US public health network.

Feb. 19

Passengers who have tested negative for the novel coronavirus begin disembarking from the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship, despite mounting evidence from infectious disease experts they could unknowingly be carrying the virus back into their communities.

Feb. 14

A Chinese tourist who tested positive for the virus dies in France, becoming the first person to die in the outbreak in Europe.

Feb. 13

Egypt announces its first case of coronavirus, first in Africa.

Feb. 4

10 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored in Yokohama Bay are confirmed to have the coronavirus. The ship, which is carrying more than 3,700 people, is placed under quarantine scheduled to end on February 19.

Feb. 2

A man in the Philippines dies from the coronavirus; the first reported death outside mainland China.

Jan. 31

The Trump administration announces it will deny entry to foreign nationals who have traveled in China in the last 14 days.

Jan. 30

The US reports its first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus; The WHO determines that the outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Jan. 29

The White House announces the formation of a new task force that will help monitor and contain the spread of the virus.

Jan. 22

Wuhan says it will “temporarily” close its airport and railway stations for departing passengers following news that the death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 17. Chinese authorities confirm at least 547 cases in the mainland.

Jan. 21

Officials in Washington state confirm the first case on US soil.

Jan. 20

The National Institutes of Health announces that it is working on a vaccine against the coronavirus.

Jan. 16

Japanese authorities confirm that a Japanese man who traveled to Wuhan is infected with the virus.

Jan. 11

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announces the first death caused by the coronavirus. A 61-year-old man, exposed to the virus at the seafood market, died on January 9 after respiratory failure caused by severe pneumonia.

Jan. 7

Chinese authorities confirm that they have identified the virus as a novel coronavirus, initially named 2019-nCoV by the WHO.

Dec. 31

Cases of what is now known as Covid-19, detected between Dec. 12 and Dec. 29 in Wuhan, China,  first reported to the WHO.

Healthcare staffing firms see increase in demand amid pandemic

As the fight against Covid-19 rages on, forecasts say the US has already entered a recession. However, a number of healthcare staffing firms report increased demand for staff by hospitals and others.

“We have definitely seen an uptick in crisis response style orders,” says April Hansen, executive VP of workforce solutions and clinical services at Aya Healthcare, a healthcare staffing provider headquartered in San Diego.

Hospitals are concerned about their own staff becoming unavailable because of quarantines as well as additional patients coming in to be treated. Hansen says hospitals were in planning mode last week and started sending orders last weekend.

Aya is currently posting more than 1,000 crisis-response jobs.

Some states have begun taking action to offer expedited licensing procedures. Also, hospitals are cancelling elective surgeries. “That leaves an entire group of clinicians that are highly skilled and qualified which can easily be redirected to other areas of the health system,” Hansen says.

The situation around the pandemic remains dynamic and fluid.

Still, “it’s very affirming of our profession and all the different types of healthcare providers,” says Hansen, who is a nurse herself.

Unprecedented Situation

The severity of the coronavirus situation is a first, says 35-year healthcare staffing industry veteran David Savitsky, CEO of ATC Healthcare Inc., based in the New York area.

“We’ve never really experienced this kind of a high level, all-hands-on-deck-everywhere-in-the-country situation,” Savitsky says. “It’s unprecedented. We’re trying to do everything we can to help the facilities we work with meet their needs, be able to help the patients that they have and will have.”

Savitsky says he was quarantined for 14 days after coming in contact with a Coivd-19 victim. “I already have lived the result of the coronavirus.”

As far as demand, he says his company is seeing a demand in orders, including for med-surge nurses, which had not been in demand prior to the pandemic. Increased demand is also coming for intensive care nurses, respiratory therapist, respiratory and X-ray techs, and emergency department openings, among other positions.

Buyers are concerned over the supply of healthcare professionals because these front-line workers are more likely to be exposed and put in quarantine than other types of workers. There are also concerns that some current workers may be nervous and reluctant to come in for work. Many in healthcare may also have children at home because of school closures, and that is adding pressure to the workforce as well.

More patients are also coming. Savitsky says the “worried well” arrive at healthcare facilities thinking they have Covid-19 symptoms. While they may not have the disease, they must be treated as if they did until proven otherwise.

Some hospitals are so concerned they are asking staff to remain at the facility overnight. “Once they are in and functioning, they want them to stay,” says Amy Stafford, director of operations at ATC Healthcare. Facilities hope by doing this they will have staff on hand to immediately step in as well as quell concerns the workers could be exposed to the coronavirus outside the hospital.

Hospitals are also not so fast to tell workers who may have been exposed that they can’t work. In one case, two nurses were exposed to a person suspected of having Covid-19, but they were allowed to continue working while being tested to ensure they did not have the disease while the patient’s results were being processed. Ultimately, the patient was found to not have Covid-19.

Hospitals aren’t the only facilities seeing increased need for staffing either, Stafford says. Nursing homes are as well. In addition, some large, nonhealthcare companies are setting up screening stations at their sites to test employees for Covid-19 before they are allowed to come into the building to go to work.

Majority Willing to Work

IntelyCare, an online nurse staffing platform based in Quincy, Massachusetts, surveyed its nurses and found that 74% of nursing professionals are still willing to work during the pandemic. However, 26% of nurses would consider reducing or stopping work to avoid infection.

Nurses also prioritized the availability of hand sanitizers, masks and hazard pay, according to the company.

IntelyCare also says all of its nursing workers are required to complete a Covid-19 best practices course in the IntelyCare app before taking shifts. The company is also making the app available to all nurses.

“We are seeing unprecedented demand on our platform and app from nursing facilities and nurses, all looking for support in dealing with coronavirus,” Chris Caulfield co-founder and chief nursing officer at IntelyCare, said in a statement.

The company says it has also put protocols in place to immediately notify nurses if they have worked at an infected facility.

Internal Staff

At Aya Healthcare, internal staff is working seven days a week at this time to take care of clients, says Amber Zeeb, VP, employee experience.

Zeeb says approximately 90% of staff are working from home, and the transition has been smooth. Many staff members had worked at home at some point in the past. And for those internal workers still in the office, the company has ramped up cleaning and disinfecting as well as practicing social distancing. Aya has also cancelled events and curtailed nonessential travel. The company is also bringing in extra help to handle the extra work.

“I’m incredibly proud and impressed to see how people have come together,” she says.

Right now, it’s unknown how long the pandemic will last, although many governments are issuing orders aimed at slowing the virus’ spread. There were 4,226 cases of Covid-19 in the US and 75 deaths as of March 17, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.