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COVID-19: After the Crisis

Latest Updates:

Due to the rapidly changing information available on COVID-19, this page is updated frequently. The latest updates include:

Resuming Deferred Procedures

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: Premier Healthcare Alliance:

Testing

A common, core component of the guidance and roadmap is COVID-19 testing capability and capacity to accommodate the needs of both the healthcare workforce and patients to make sure all feel safe when they come in to seek healthcare services.

CMS cautions any decision to resume procedures is at the discretion of local and state authorities. The guidance recommends routine COVID-19 screening for staff, accompanied by testing and quarantine as appropriate. A facility that decides to reopen procedures should also create areas to reduce the risk and exposure to COVID-19. Any patient who is coming in for a procedure must also be screened for potential symptoms of COVID-19. “When adequate testing capability is established, patients should be screened by laboratory testing before care, and staff working in these facilities should be regularly screened by laboratory test as well,” according to the guidance.

For COVID-19, there are two types of tests available:

  • 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

CDCOverview of testing for SARS-CoV-2 opens in a new tab (updated June 13) provides comprehensive recommendations on testing for COVID-19.

CDCInterim Guidance on Testing Healthcare Personnel for SARS-CoV-2 (updated July 2).

CDC SARS-CoV-2 Testing Strategy: Considerations for Non-Healthcare Workplaces opens in a new tab (updated July 3). These considerations are meant to supplement, not replace, any federal, state, local, territorial or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which workplaces must comply.

FDA – Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) – COVID-19 resources opens in a new tab. Lists current and terminated EUAs for diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices used to diagnose and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including both PPE and in vitro diagnostics.

FDASerology/Antibody Tests FAQs opens in a new tab

Contact Tracing

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.

Second Wave: Surge Preparedness

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-19Surge opens in a new tab tool is invaluable in planning.

Premier is hosting a webinar opens in a new tab on Tuesday, May 5 at 2 p.m. ET to introduce our real-time technology solution opens in a new tab for evaluating the incidence and trends in COVID-19.

For more information and resources to support surge preparedness, click hereopens in a new tab.