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COVID-19: Recovery, Contact Tracing, Telehealth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance on “Deciding to Go Out” with  resources for the public on best practices to safely venture outside and begin to resume daily activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC recommends these considerations:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in my community?;
  • Will my activity put me in close contact with others?;
  • Am I at risk for severe illness or do I live with someone who is at risk?; and
  • Do I know what to do if I get sick?

The guidance document also includes tips for those thinking about going to banks, dining at restaurants, hosting gatherings or cookouts, using gyms, and attending salons.

Guidance on Resuming Health Care Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released recommendations for facilities to provide non-emergent health care in areas that are in Phase II of recovery. In the guidance, CMS recommends:

  • facilities optimize telehealth services to minimize in-person services and ensure individuals, especially those with disabilities, have access to the proper communication tools to use such services;
  • all individuals that are high-risk continue to shelter-in-place; and
  • phased approaches for facilities that require in-person services.

CMS also released guidance on what patients should know about seeking health care during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Meanwhile, CDC released separate guidance on using telehealth to expand access to essential health services during COVID-19. The guidance provides information on:

  • the benefits and potential uses of telehealth;
  • strategies to increase telehealth uptake;
  • telehealth reimbursement;
  • safeguards for telehealth services; and
  • potential limitations of telehealth.

Overview of CDC Contact Tracing

CDC released an overview of the agency’s role and approach to contact tracing, as well as helpful tools for states.

Core disease control measures are used by states and local health departments to stop the spread of disease. These measures can include case investigation, contract tracing, contact support, and self-quarantine. Important considerations, such as staffing resources and availability of digital tools for case management, play a role in developing contact tracing plans.

To assist communities in conducting contact tracing, CDC also updated a toolkit for health departments, which includes talking points and sample public service announcements.

Essential Hospital Leads the Way in Expanding Capacity

An upcoming issue of Health Affairs highlights the work of essential hospital NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H) in expanding the public workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. NYC H+H rapidly expanded capacity across its 11 acute-care hospitals and three new field hospitals. To keep up with demand, the hospital system redesigned recruiting, onboarding, and training processes.

Learn more about the efforts of NYC H+H to meet hospital staffing needs in a recoded COVID-19 webinar hosted by the association.

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

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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