CMS issued the directive in response to an emergency use authorization (EUA) on March 9 by the CDC and FDA. That EUA offered guidance “expanding the types of facemasks healthcare workers may use in situations involving COVID-19 and other respiratory infections” to include some industrial respirators, according to Quality, Safety & Oversight Group memo QSO-20-17-ALL.
The memo points hospitals and other providers to several online resources, as well as answering several frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 patients and suspected patients. Specifically, it “strongly” urges providers and surveyors to monitor the CDC Health Alert Network website for COVID-19 related issues.
Products on the list have qualified for use against COVID-19 through the Agency’s Emerging Viral Pathogen program. This program allows product manufacturers to provide the EPA with data, even in advance of an outbreak, that show their products are effective against harder-to-kill viruses than SARS-CoV-2.
The virtual visit is conducted by a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. Most of the clinicians work at the health system’s telehealth platform, Spectrum Health Now, but they are being supplemented with clinicians from urgent care centers and primary care clinics who have spare time.
The actions follow those of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which last week issued a last-minute cancellation of this week’s annual conference in Orlando, at which 45,000 people from across the globe were expected to attend.
According to the dashboard developed by Johns Hopkins University to track the progress of COVID-19, there were 111,363 total confirmed cases worldwide as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern on Monday. Of that total, 566 were in the U.S. There are 3,892 total deaths (3,008 in Hubei Mainland China) and 22 in the U.S., 17 of those in King County, Washington state.
In recent days, several major companies including Cisco, Amazon, and Microsoft, decided to withdraw from the conference, which typically draws around 45,000 attendees, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
Researchers from Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong reported that no healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 and no hospital-acquired infections were identified after the first six weeks of the outbreak, even as the health system tested 1,275 suspected cases and treated 42 active confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The order was sent out late Wednesday in a Quality, Safety & Oversight Group memo, and followed up with two others on guidance for the prevention of COVID-19 in hospitals and nursing homes, specifically.
The summit typically features keynote addresses from public figures and patient safety experts, and plenary sessions with healthcare luminaries, and patient advocates, as well as announcements from organizations who have made their own commitments to reach the PSMF’s goal of zero preventable deaths by 2020. This year’s event was to include more information on the PSMF’s plans post-2020.