In a blog post on the website of King & Spalding law firm in Austin, healthcare lawyer Catherine Greaves noted that staffing challenges as well as employee education should be among the top concerns during preparations for COVID-19.
If possible, patients under investigation should be given a surgical mask and moved to a negative pressure room. Healthcare workers should use appropriate PPE, including eye protection that should be goggles and not safety glasses.
In QSO 20-09-ALL, CMS noted that healthcare organizations have been told to consider emerging infectious diseases as part of the all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness all healthcare providers have been required to follow since 2016. The memo also notes that the CDC continues to issue information on the 2019-nCoV that began in China at the end of last year and has infected thousands, including more than 600 people who have died.
As of February 4, more than 20,000 cases of infections had been reported, with 98.9% of the cases in China, and the virus had been tied to more than 400 deaths.
As of February 4, the number of 2019-nCoV cases is estimated at 20,701, with 427 deaths and 727 patients considered recovered, according to a dashboard created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The CDC confirmed that 2019-nCoV has spread between two people in the U.S. The latest patient is an Illinois resident with no history of travel to Wuhan, but shared a household with a patient diagnosed with the virus on January 21.
The new virus has been compared to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. The CDC says the process for evaluation and the PUI form to report suspected cases remains unchanged from the ones used with MERS-CoV, which was the virus of concern in 2015.