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Covid testing is ‘turned off’ because laboratories can’t cope amid spiralling Omicron surge



Covid laboratories “cannot handle the scale of testing requests being sent to them,” MEN was told as the ability to order home kits or book PCR appointments was frozen across England today.

The UK health authority admitted tonight that test availability was “paused” during times of “exceptional demand” but urged people to keep trying.

At the time of writing, some parts of England were now offering slots, but in Greater Manchester the government website said there were “very few” available in Greater Manchester.

Sources the MEN have spoken to on both the health and test-and-trace systems believe the situation is a symptom of laboratories being unable to keep up with demand.

A Lighthouse Lab employee said his facility had been operating “at full speed” around the clock and was well past capacity as more and more people looked for tests.

But it now “can’t handle the number of tests arriving,” they said, as their lab now has 25 times more daily tests to process than it did in December.

“I suspect that the current break in new test availability slots is used to process the backlog.”

A senior in the Greater Manchester Health System said they were also told that the same reason was behind the lack of testing today.

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They said they have had concerns for some time that laboratory capacity would be insufficient as the government urged people to get tested during the Christmas season in the face of highly transmissible exposure.

Case numbers in parts of Greater Manchester are now around 1,800 infections per 100,000 people, by far the highest recorded during the pandemic and rising rapidly. Salford has the highest rate outside of London and the South East on the latest figures from tonight.

The lab worker said more than 50 percent of the tests her lab ran are positive now, compared to 10 or 20 percent before.

Meanwhile, a second source on the test-and-trace system said their test center was rated “fully booked” today, even though it was actually empty for half the day – suggesting that its capacity was simply reduced by the national system to reduce demand .

Lateral flow test kits

Lateral flow test kits

“It is very difficult to tell people that you are fully booked when they are in an empty test site,” they said, adding that some labs are currently refusing to do any further processing tests.

The parallel lack of lateral flow tests, which are designed to help people with no symptoms to check if they have the virus before socializing, is also likely to increase demand, they said.

“I think people are getting PCR testing as an alternative.”

It is understood that over Christmas itself, nursing homes struggled to access PCR test kits on the 119 number the government is supposed to call them. A recorded message informed them that kits would no longer be available until mid-January, although the issue has been partially resolved.

As infection rates rise, the numbers also have an impact on the NHS workforce, which is faced with increasing absences. Employees did not have access to PCR testing today, despite being classified as key workers.

The rules say that if they have had contact with someone who has the virus, they cannot come to work until they test negative. A doctor warned that the resulting disorder in health and nursing services could lead to general practitioner practices and nursing homes being “closed” due to staff shortages.

Separately, a senior hospital worker agreed that “absence” was her main concern, but that she had also noticed a second pattern of high incidence of “random” infections in hospitalized patients for a different reason.

A man walks past a COVID-19 testing center in Manchester

“We find a patient with Covid in a non-Covid ward and have to close the entire ward.”

They said their trust’s downsizing plans would “last for now”.

The MEN asked the Department of Health and Welfare to comment on the problem of laboratory capacity but referred us to the UK Health Authority.

A spokesman for the UK health authority said: “The UK testing program is the largest in Europe, with nearly 400 million tests performed since the pandemic began.

“We are delivering record numbers of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with nearly 8 million test kits made available to pharmacies between today and New Years Eve.

“We have made 100,000 additional PCR booking slots available every day since mid-December and are rapidly expanding our capacities – over half a million tests were carried out on December 23rd alone and the delivery capacity doubled to 900,000 PCR and LFD test kits per day.

“If you did not get the test you needed from, please check every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available every day.”

It said people who are symptomatic should still visit this link or call 119 to make an appointment or order a home test kit.

However, it does say that “during periods of exceptional demand” there may be “temporary” pauses in ordering or receiving tests.

The laboratory network has already been expanded to include winter surge capacity, and the capacity will be expanded further.

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Men’s Health

Homeless and rehousing centers in Bloomington concerned with rising COVID-19 numbers



Local nonprofits dedicated to helping the homeless and those living in extreme poverty hope to share their resources and willingness to serve the community despite the surge in COVID-19 cases in Bloomington.

Beacon Inc. is one such non-profit organization that can provide housing and other essential services such as meal and laundry services and access to caseworkers.

Since the pandemic began, Beacon Inc. executive director Rev. Forrest Gilmore said his staff have adjusted protocols and encouraged customers at the Shalom Center and Friend’s Place to get vaccinated and get the booster shot.

With fewer resources related to COVID-19 than last year, Gilmore said staff cuts caused other problems enforcing safety measures like temperature checks at the door.

“We saw a really big eruption a year ago,” Gilmore said. “We had alternative accommodation for people to isolate and/or quarantine, but we don’t have that this year.”

Related: [Omicron surge pushes Monroe County into the county advisory red zone]

He said the shelter is fortunate to report that not a single person has been made homeless by COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Gilmore said winter also poses greater challenges and threats for those sleeping outside, particularly in colder and wetter conditions.

“Our program doesn’t necessarily change with the weather,” Gilmore said. “We always want people to be home and realize there’s a greater urgency and try to get people the things they need to be safe.”

Wheeler Mission is another community service organization that provides accessible housing and other essential goods and services to homeless, poor and vulnerable members of the community, said Dana Jones, director of Wheeler Mission.

“As the CDC has indicated, we have to learn to live with this in the future,” Jones said.

Jones said before the pandemic, the men’s facility was regularly operating at near capacity. The Wheeler Mission could accommodate a total of 130 men, but since the pandemic, the Wheeler Mission can only accommodate 117. He said staff are following Centers of Disease Control & Prevention protocols and are reducing maximum capacity. Wheeler Mission used to be able to provide 40 beds in the women’s shelter, today there are only up to 35 women.

“We have done much to provide care and comfort to the populations we serve during the pandemic,” Jones said.

Related: [New Hope for Families looks to provide homeless families with donations during holidays]

Jones said his staff are monitoring people as best they can and isolating them at the shelter if necessary.

New Hope for Families is an agency that supports and empowers families affected by homelessness.

“Homelessness looks different for different families,” said Emily Pike, executive director of New Hope for Families. “Families are often afraid to seek help because being homeless with your children is an act of abuse or neglect.”

Pike said she and her staff were working their hardest to prevent families from sleeping outside. New Hope has two buildings: one with four bedrooms and the other with three bedrooms. She said for families with critical needs, staff find motels and provide them with overnight services.

Pike said since the pandemic, New Hope has made sure families have been able to isolate in the shelters. New Hope also strongly encourages customers to get vaccinated and boosted. She said IU Health will be running a refresher clinic next week for those who wish.

Pike said she appreciates the help of the Monroe County Health Department and local clinics to ensure resources are available to the entire community and not just those with financial stability.

“An agency like New Hope couldn’t exist just anywhere; There’s a reason so many family shelters have a work requirement, a marriage requirement, and a faith requirement,” Pike said. “That’s because this reflects the values ​​of those communities, and I’m really proud that our community’s values ​​are that everyone deserves a safe place to sleep.”

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Men’s Health

Limitless X Founder and CEO Jas Mathur Teams Up With HealthCorps for Partnership to Empower Youth



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Entrepreneur and Limitless X founder and CEO Jas Mathur announced this week that he is teaming up with a non-profit organization HealthCorps to launch health and wellness programs aimed at teens and young adults.

As part of that announcement, Mathur spoke to Dr. Mehmet Oz, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of HealthCorps, to reflect on his own personal health journey, which is one of the reasons he was so interested in a partnership HealthCorps. As a young adult, Mathur sacrificed his personal health and at one point weighed 450 pounds. After turning his health around, he began running several health and wellness companies and became a sought-after fitness professional. During this process, he also built a massive platform with seven million Instagram followers.

During their discussion, Dr. Oz Mathur for his “boundless” journey.

“You recognized the challenges, you overcame them, and you continued to broaden your horizons,” he said. “What is often limitless is looking at the horizon, at the prospect of the possibilities out there. It really is limitless when you see the world like that.”

In telling his story, Mathur noted that he had to completely rethink his life and attitude to get there.

“I basically reinvented myself by reinventing the way I think.”


As a result of this transformation, he has become a successful investor and entrepreneur who has developed various brands in the marketing, health and wellness industries. As a teenager, Mathur specialized in internet advertising and website building. Now, Mathur’s marketing and branding company, Limitless, is responsible for launching premium dietary supplements and CBD supplement products.

Mathur’s wellness journey has helped him become a leader in the healthcare industry in return for the chance to work with him HealthCorps. The nonprofit organization works to save lives through health-based education leadership, programming, and service-learning in vulnerable communities. Her initiatives are launched both inside and outside of school to help teenagers improve their health.

“I’m happy about the support HealthCorps as they help others who are stuck in bad health choices or don’t have access to good nutrition or exercise programs to get the same opportunity,” Mathur said.

Mathur has also become an expert in developing fitness and exercise programs and has helped celebrities on their own personal health journeys. So join forces with HealthCorps sharing his expertise was a breeze. Sharing the story of his reinvention as the health and wellness pro of a teenage tech mogul, Jas explained why he is committed to HealthCorps’ mission and why he looks forward to working with them on important initiatives.

HealthCorps helps young people achieve their goals and dreams,” said Mathur. “I feel like I’ve done that in my life, and I want to help them accomplish the same thing in their own personal health journey.”

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Men’s Health

World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw’s High-Volume Strongman Workout



Brian Shaw has big goals for 2022. The former World’s Strongest Man (he won the title in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016) will be back in competition this year and his training has already begun. In a new video, he walks his followers through one of his high-volume workouts.

“I feel like I had a lot of momentum at the end of 2021 and I’m going to carry that into 2022,” he says. “Every single day is an opportunity to start. Every single day is an opportunity to get better… I am now building myself to be the strongest man in the world. It’s crazy to say, but we’re literally 20 weeks away, so every single workout, every single week is very, very important.”

Shaw shared that he now works with another strength coach, “Big House” Joe Kenn, who Shaw says is “one of the best, if not the best, strength coaches in the world.” Shaw says he worked with him back in 2005.

To begin the workout, Shaw begins with resistance band warm-ups (4 sets of 25 reps), including: overhead tricep band extensions, band pulls, and a Flex Fitness converging chest press. He takes about 10 minutes.

“It blew my arms out of my shirt,” he says. “I have a good pump running.”

Next, he does a prone dumbbell row (15 reps) with a top set shoulder press (one shoulder press for the first set, followed by a high incline and a lower incline for 5 sets of 15 reps each).

“Massive volume today,” he says.

He arrives and the sweat begins to pour.

“That got right in the middle with all those reps. That’s a lot of volume,” he says. “But the elevator press is an interesting movement because the overhead press is probably the hardest, and then it gets a little bit easier, a little bit easier as you get more and more tired. The rowing definitely caught up a bit faster than I thought they were going to do today. But the presses worked really well, I think. That was a hell of a challenge.”

The last thing he has is a medley including: one-arm cable lateral raises, one-arm standing overhead press with dumbbells, a seated one-arm shrug, one-arm overhead rope tricep extension, and one-arm dumbbell curl. He will do 15 reps for each exercise for 4 sets.

He gets there and works his way through all four sets.

“Man, I feel good. But I will definitely say that ‘Big House’ Joe Kenn is definitely putting me through my paces right now, and this volume definitely kicked my butt a little bit. I’m not used to it. It’s taken me a bit out of my comfort zone here,” admits Shaw. “But sometimes, if you want to get better, you have to step out of your comfort zone. And if you want something bad enough, you have to be willing to work for it. If I put that amount of work into the next 20 weeks on my way to becoming the world’s strongest man, it’s going to be something very, very good and something I’m proud of.”

Emily Shiffer is a former men’s health and prevention digital web producer and is currently a freelance writer specializing in health, weight loss and fitness.

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