COVID-19: After the Crisis
On Dec. 11 the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 Vaccine. Updated COVID -19 Vaccine information is now available here.
- Diagnostic – are you currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- Serologic (“antibody test”) – you have had a recent SARS-CoV-2 infection
Contact tracing is a well-established public health technique used to slow down the spread of infectious outbreaks, such as COVID-19. Specially trained individuals provide support to patients with known or suspected infection to help them recall everyone they have had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious. Contacts are informed they may have been exposed and are armed with education, information and support to understand their level of risk of developing COVID-19 and how to quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms. Timeliness is critical to successful contact tracing.
- Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) – A Coordinated, National Approach to Scaling Public Health Capacity for Contact Tracing and Disease Investigation opens in a new tab
- CDC – Principles of Contact Tracing opens in a new tab
- CDC – COVID-19 Contact Tracing Training Guidance and Resources opens in a new tab
- CDC – Key Information to Collect During a Case Interview (May 21) opens in a new tab
- CDC – Fact Sheet: National Service Resources to Support COVID-19 Contact tracing opens in a new tab
- Public Health Foundation (PHF) – Free contact tracing training opens in a new tab resources.
Many U.S. hospitals and health systems heeded guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (March 18) and others to pause on any non-emergent/non-urgent surgeries and procedures as a strategy to preserve PPE and other finite resources, including healthcare workforce, early in the pandemic.
On June 8, CMS issued updated recommendations opens in a new tab for re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent, non-COVID-19 healthcare services. The safe resumption of care is of utmost importance. The guidance applies only to Phase II areas, those with no evidence of rebound or surge.
In April, CMS provided guidance opens in a new tab for facilities to begin to resume performing deferred procedures, such as elective surgeries. Elective surgeries are considered those procedures that are preplanned by both the patient and the physician that are advantageous to the patient but are not urgent or emergent. The American College of Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses and American Hospital Association also issued a joint statement opens in a new tab and have shared their roadmap to operationalizing resumption of surgeries.
The following information, resources and tools are provided to support organizations to thoughtfully and practically re-engage and scale up to resume normal, safe, full-service surgery and procedural services.
Three critical operational considerations are:
- Adequate, appropriate PPE opens in a new tab for healthcare workers; patients and visitors should wear cloth face coverings. Such coverings are not PPE, but do serve an important function of “source control” opens in a new tab
- Appropriate staffing, including preserving surge capacity
- Testing capabilities and capacity; CMS recommends viral testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, for hospitalized patients and those imminently undergoing a procedure or surgery
- Three Foundational Steps to Restart Elective Cases (May 11) opens in a new tab
- Practices to Carry Forward from the Pandemic (April 28) opens in a new tab – Strategies, resources and tools to thrive.
In the past three most memorable pandemics, 1918’s Spanish flu, 1968’s Hong Kong flu and 2009’s H1N1 flu, the second wave was consistently deadlier than the first. We are now dealing with the first wave of COVID-19, and there is no reason to expect this pandemic will behave differently. Organizations must prepare for surge and wave 2 now, even as you recover from wave 1. CDC’s COVID-19 Surge opens in a new tab tool is invaluable in planning.
For more information and resources to support surge preparedness, click hereopens in a new tab.