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Breaking News

Hospital screening stations close as of Sept. 25

COVID-19 is becoming like the flu and other infections that are always circulating. Yet, because of the vulnerable nature of the patients we serve, we need to stay vigilant to maintain a safe environment of healing.

To this point, we have maintained screening stations in our hospitals even though the OSHA standards that required them expired last December. Actions that were taken in response to OSHA directives now need to transition into our regular operations.

At this time we believe we can safely can step down some of our procedures.

Screening stations at Chandler and Good Samaritan hospitals are closing. As of Sunday, September 25, visitors to the hospitals will be expected to self-screen using a supplied QR code that sends them to an online screener. Read more…

COVID testing standard operating procedure updated

The need for pre-procedure COVID testing will continue to be evaluated to support patient and staff safety qualifications and meet CDC and Infection Prevention & Control requirements.

Procedures were last updated on August 26, 2022, and can be found here: COVID Testing Standard Operating Procedure.

CDC recommends first updated COVID-19 booster

On September 1, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.  Read the media release

These updated COVID-19 boosters add omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.

In the future, the CDC is expected to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups.

 

Eastern State Hospital enacts new COVID processes

COVID and capacity challenges prompt change in processes.

As of the evening of Aug. 31, new COVID processes have been implemented at Eastern State Hospital to ensure they are meeting patient and staff needs across the hospital. An entire unit will no longer be quarantined when a patient from that unit tests positive. Instead, they will:

  • Move the positive patient to Wendell1 (COVID unit).
  • Test all patients on the unit and move any additional positive patients to W1.
  • Use contact tracing to determine those most at risk for exposure; provide education; and request that those patients mask. Make clinical decisions as needed regarding any necessary quarantine.
  • Continue to admit new patients to that unit, which is deemed at ELEVATED PRECAUTION rather than exposed. Staff should be vigilant with PPE (surgical mask) on these units.
  • Retest all patients at days 3, 6 and 9 for enhanced surveillance.
  • Continue unit programming with masking and distancing. Encourage patients to distance in common areas when possible.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning on the impacted unit(s).
  • Continue appointments and visitation for most patients per our usual process, unless deemed clinically inappropriate.
  • Continue to allow learners in elevated precaution units, using PPE diligently.
  • Educate patients and support persons upon admission of the risks of exposure and recommended masking and vaccination.
  • Update signage for each unit door to reflect these changes.

How are these decisions made? We continue to evaluate our practices daily to ensure we are meeting patient and staff needs across the hospital. In exploring options for processes that allow us to be more flexible in our approach, we consulted with the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government (LFUCG) Health Department, the state Department for Public Health, and UK Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), and reviewed relevant regulatory standards that apply. All of those consulted fully supported these changes.

For more background on this change, Eastern State providers and staff can find more information in The Bridge.

Updates on use of Evusheld in adult and pediatric patients

Please see the updated interim guidelines on use of Tixagevimab/Cilgavimab, known as Evusheld, in pediatric and adult patients:

If you have questions, please contact Becca Nolen, PharmD, BCPS, BCIDP, pharmacy program coordinator for medication use policy and education, at Rebecca.Nolen@uky.edu or 314-422-3271.

 

Updated guidance for inpatient management in pediatric patients

Please note that the interim pharmacotherapy guidance for inpatient management of pediatric patients with COVID-19 infection has been updated:

Interim Pharmacotherapy Guidance for the Inpatient Management of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection in Pediatric Patients

 

CDC streamlines COVID-19 guidance

On August 11, the CDC announced it is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to:

  • help people better understand their risk;
  • how to protect themselves and others;
  • what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19; and
  • what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus.

Their announcement stated that “COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic.”

The CDC stated that its guidance updated August 11 is intended to apply to community settings. In the coming weeks it will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for health care settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with the August 11 update.  Read more…

Staying up to date with COVID vaccination

You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible.

READ:  Stay Up to Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines, U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

FDA recommends inclusion of omicron BA.4/5 component for vaccine booster doses

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to make adjustments to vaccine boosters. The following is an excerpt. Read the full media release.

As we move into the fall and winter, it is critical that we have safe and effective vaccine boosters that can provide protection against circulating and emerging variants to prevent the most severe consequences of COVID-19. Following a thorough discussion on June 28, 2022, an overwhelming majority of the advisory committee voted in favor of including a SARS-CoV-2 omicron component in COVID-19 vaccines that would be used for boosters in the U.S. beginning in fall 2022.

Following the vote, and striving to use the best available scientific evidence, we have advised manufacturers seeking to update their COVID-19 vaccines that they should develop modified vaccines that add an omicron BA.4/5 spike protein component to the current vaccine composition to create a two component (bivalent) booster vaccine, so that the modified vaccines can potentially be used starting in early to mid-fall 2022.

As we expect this coming year to be a transitional period when this modified booster vaccine may be introduced, we have not advised manufacturers to change the vaccine for primary vaccination, since a primary series with the FDA-authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines provides a base of protection against serious outcomes of COVID-19 caused by circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2.

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