CDC Pushing Environmental Control Reminders as Respiratory Infections Tick Upward

By A.J. Plunkett

The CDC is urging hospitals to implement broader source control as COVID-19 cases are spiking across the country along with an uptick in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Influenza is also a concern, especially as schools are back in session.

Check air-handling systems to ensure ventilation is functioning as they should and consider encouraging more staff and patients to wear masks.

The CDC is also reminding healthcare workers to be vigilant with hand hygiene, to practice physical distancing when necessary and implement screening and triage measures.

“Last year’s considerable respiratory virus season saw spread of COVID-19, flu, and RSV, which led to extra stress on an already overwhelmed healthcare system,” noted Mike Bell, MD, the deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, in a September 7 blog post.

“When respiratory viruses are spreading in the community, the risk for spread in healthcare settings increases as well. Remember: Regardless of your healthcare setting or which respiratory viruses are spreading in your community, these existing infection control measures can prevent and slow the spread to help protect patients and healthcare workers,” Bell said.

The blog post also includes links to guidelines for proper ventilation in healthcare facilities as well as ways to track virus cases locally for decision making.