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CDC Prepares for Coronavirus Spread After Six U.S. Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update COVID-19 guidance for health care providers following six patient deaths in Washington state. Circumstances indicate that these patients were infected through person-to-person spread.

These cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases detected and confirmed in the United States to 16 as of March 3, while 27 presumptive positive cases have tested positive by a public health laboratory and are pending confirmatory testing at CDC.

Resources on Preventing Community Spread

CDC has released additional resources on preventing the virus’ spread in communities. The resources are targeted to first responders, colleges and universities, and mass gatherings or large community events.

The agency also released new resources for health care facilities, including:

CDC updated its guidance on the use of N95 filtering facepiece respirators with additional strategies for optimizing respirator supply during the COVID-19 response. These resources include contingency and alternate capacity strategies, a checklist for health care facilities, and considerations when using stockpiled N95 respirators beyond the manufacturer-designated shelf life.

FDA Issues Lab Test Policy

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Feb. 29 released a new policy allowing laboratories that have developed and validated COVID-19 diagnostic tests to begin using the tests before the agency approves their Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests.

This policy applies only to laboratories that are certified to perform high-complexity testing to comply with requirements in the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. The FDA guidance includes information for test developers about test validation, FDA notification, and interim confirmatory clinical testing.

After a test has been validated, laboratories should notify the FDA via email and submit a completed EUA request within 15 business days.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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