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Updated  1/12/2022

COVID-19 in 2022

This webpage serves as a refreshed view of COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies as we enter year three of the pandemic in 2022. The global pandemic and the Public Health Emergency (PHE) in the U.S. continue; the situation remains dynamic.

We have all learned much since the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared in late 2019. We continue to learn and adjust; COVID-19 may be with us for some time. Please bookmark this page and check back for updates. For your convenience, legacy COVID-19 content and resources (2020-2021) remain available, but the page is no longer being updated.

Premier is steadfast in its commitment to meeting the needs of our member hospitals and health systems and the patients they serve during these trying times. Premier’s concerns about supply chain risk management opens in a new tab are not new. We have built forward-thinking capabilities to help protect the supply chain in times of disruption. Premier’s “Supply Chain Disruption Updates” (member login required) opens in a new tab are intended to guide our members through the current supply chain and what actions they can take to stay ahead of disruptions. These are in addition to the array of resources to support preparations for higher activity volumes related to variant surges.

Pandemic

A pandemic is an epidemic occurring worldwide or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and affecting large numbers of people. The World Health Organization (WHO) opens in a new tab initially declared COVID-19 a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, it upgraded the status to a global pandemic opens in a new tab. That status continues as we enter 2022. Vaccines and boosters will help to de-escalate to epidemic, that is, disease localized to a region, or even to endemic – the disease is a constant presence in a specific location. For example, Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, is endemic to parts of Africa.

PHE in the U.S.

In the U.S., the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may, under section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act determine that a disease outbreak presents a public health emergency opens in a new tab. This allows for a host of regulatory flexibilities in responding. COVID-19 was first declared a PHE effective Jan. 31, 2020. On Oct. 15, 2021, as expected, HHS Secretary Becerra extended the PHE opens in a new tab through Jan. 16, 2022.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), personal protective equipment (PPE) opens in a new tab includes protective clothing, gloves, face shields, goggles, facemasks and/or respirators or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance to healthcare workers and the public about PPE, including masks, continues to evolve with the growing knowledge about COVID-19’s transmissibility. Their most current recommendations are
  • From early in the pandemic, Premier has taken a proactive stance to assure the integrity, quality and safety of products used in healthcare settings. A Mar. 15, 2020, blog served to heighten awareness of the perils of the “gray market” for PPE opens in a new tab. The pandemic has shed must needed light on the downsides to a reliance on the off- shore (international) production of PPE used in the U.S. Resiliency of the supply chain is an imperative. Premier has partnered with or directly invested in the reliable, high quality domestic production of gloves opens in a new tab and gowns opens in a new tab. Premier has also focused efforts opens in a new tab to ensure access to necessary drugs used in the war against COVID-19 to mitigate “drug shortages.” A recent venture opens in a new tab brings U.S.-based drug supply and manufacturing capabilities to North Carolina. Partnerships and collaboration opens in a new tab enable the drive to greater supply chain transparency, risk mitigation and business continuity for U.S. healthcare providers.

Hand Hygiene

  • Hand hygiene, simply put, means “wash your hands.” This basic action of keeping hands clean helps prevent the spread of germs like COVID-19. This is one thing we can all do. Kids, adults, healthcare workers – anyone can wash their hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer. It is a safe, effective and proven opens in a new tab method.

Isolation Versus Quarantine

  • Isolation and quarantine opens in a new tab are tactics used to help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease such as COVID-19. Isolation is used to protect others from someone who has a known or suspected infection with COVID-19. Quarantine separates individuals who have been exposed to the infection from others to see if they become sick or test positive.
  • On Jan. 4, 2022, the CDC updated its guidance regarding duration of isolation for COVID-19. Their comprehensive “COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation” opens in a new tab page contains comprehensive information, education and resources for an array of scenarios and settings. Guidance may change over time.

Testing

  • The FDA regulates the authorization process to make COVID-19 tests available in the U.S. They have helpful information and resources on the types of tests and where to get a test available for consumers opens in a new tab (the general public). For clinicians and other healthcare users, they provide information and vital updates, such as the recent report on the impact of virus mutations (variants) COVID-19 tests opens in a new tab.
  • As of Jan. 7, 2022, the CDC website indicates testing guidance for non-healthcare personnel is in the process of being updated. Their prevailing information, including education for the public, was updated Dec. 28, 2021 opens in a new tab. In brief, persons with possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or with known exposure to an infected person should get diagnostic testing.

Vaccines

  • Variants opens in a new tab are mutations (changes) in a virus. Such changes are normal and expected; however, some variants result in a virus being more contagious or make it resistant to treatments or vaccines. Those variants must be monitored more carefully.
  • There are two “Variants of Concern (VOC)” opens in a new tabcirculating in the U.S.: Delta and Omicron. As of Dec. 20, 2021, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is now the most dominant strain in the U.S.; according to the CDC opens in a new tab, it accounts for over half of all cases across the country. We are still learning about the transmissibility and severity of illness with Omicron. We do not yet know how well available vaccines and medications work against it. The CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms and cautions that breakthrough infections opens in a new tab in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.
  • In the meantime, we already have tools opens in a new tab at hand to help mitigate COVID-19 and its variants.