The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 9 updated interim COVID-19 infection control guidance to require universal use of eye protection for health care personnel in communities with moderate to sustained SARS-CoV-2 transmission. These communities have high likelihood or confirmed exposure within communal settings and potential for rapid increase in cases.
HHS Updates Data Reporting Process
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued updated guidance and FAQs about COVID-19 data reporting for hospitals, hospital laboratories, and acute care sites.
Notably, as of July 15, hospitals no longer should report COVID-19 data to the National Healthcare Safety Network site. Instead, hospitals should report data daily in one of four ways:
- if their state has assumed reporting responsibility, submit data to the state to submit on hospitals’ behalf;
- submit data to HHS’ TeleTracking portal;
- authorize their health information technology vendor or other third party to share information directly with HHS; or
- publish the data to the hospital or facility’s website in a standardized format, such as schema.org.
HHS no longer will send one-time data requests to inform distribution of remdesivir, other treatments, or supplies; the agency will rely on daily data reporting for this purpose.
For issues with accessing the TeleTracking portal or questions about the data, contact TeleTracking Technical Support at 1.877.570.6903.
ASPR Updates Alternate Care Site Toolkit
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) updated the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force Alternate Care Site (ACS) Toolkit.
The third edition of the toolkit, which provides guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) entities as they expand capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, includes recommendations for retaining ACSs as operationally ready but unused “warm sites.” To maintain this status, SLTT entities are urged to keep ACSs configured or disassemble them and store the medical equipment for rapid activation.
Under certain conditions, SLTT entities might be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program for costs associated with keeping ACSs minimally operational when COVID-19 cases decrease and the facilities are no longer in use.
The updated toolkit also includes:
- updated directions and supply lists;
- expanded information about funding sources
- guidance on providing dialysis support;
- new temperature screening protocol;
- information on retaining a warm site, and
- a glossary.
HHS Announces Surge Testing in Hotspot Locations
HHS on July 7 announced no-cost COVID-19 testing in Jacksonville, Fla.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Edinburg, Texas. These communities have seen significant increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. In partnership with eTrueNorth and each community, HHS will offer 5,000 tests per city per day. The temporary surge testing sites will be live from five to 12 days and open to individuals ages five and older. Test recipients need not be a resident of the community where the sites are located.
FDA Warns of COVID-19 Tests with False Positive Results
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns health care providers of an increased risk of a false positive result using BD SARS-CoV-2 Reagents for the BD Max System test. This test received an emergency use authorization on April 8.
Health care providers should consider any positive result with this test presumptive and confirm with an alternative authorized test. Providers should report issues to MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.