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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.

UK HealthCare pharmacists do not prescribe Paxlovid

Recently, the FDA authorized pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid with certain limitations. This authority extends to Kentucky, as there is no specific law that restricts pharmacists from prescribing this product.

After consideration, however, UK Retail Pharmacy leadership has chosen to continue to defer prescriptive authority to providers and to maintain the pharmacist’s role solely as dispensing these medications. This decision applies to the pharmacists at all UK Retail Pharmacy locations: Kentucky Clinic, Chandler, Turfland, Good Samaritan, Bluegrass Clinic and University Health.

Several factors led to this decision, most specifically the inconsistency of our staffing shifts throughout the business hours and IT limitations within Epic regarding pharmacists as ordering providers.

Paxlovid (standard and renal dosing) continues to be available with a prescription at Kentucky Clinic Pharmacy, Turfland Clinic Pharmacy and now Bluegrass Clinic Pharmacy (3101 Beaumont Centre Circle). Additionally, a small stock will be maintained for inpatient use (for rare occasions).

Please direct any questions you may have to Tony Tagavi, director, UK HealthCare Retail & Community Pharmacy Services for Clinic-Based Pharmacies.

Interim guidelines for treatment of hospitalized COVID patients updated

Today we posted updated Interim Pharmacotherapy Guidance for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection in Hospitalized Adult Patients. The updates were effective June 21.

Please look for all interim pharmacotherapy guidance under the Clinical section of Guidelines and Documents.

Paxlovid to be added to inpatient formulary, July 20

Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) will be added to the inpatient formulary on July 20. The therapy is available under emergency use authorization for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who are not admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. Current criteria for use include symptomatic adults with a positive COVID test who are at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

The standard dose is nirmatrelvir 300 mg (2-150 mg tablets) and ritonavir 100 mg (1-100 mg tablet) by mouth twice daily for five days, and therapy should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis (within five days of symptom onset). Dose reduction is required for eGFR <60 mL/minute, and Paxlovid has many significant drug-to-drug interactions, which should be reviewed prior to ordering. Read more…

Infection and hospital admissions

As reported for the United States in today’s COVID-19 Situation Report issued by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University:

Both new hospital admissions (+12.0% over the past week) and current hospitalizations (+11.4%) continue to increase, despite the ongoing plateau in daily incidence. New hospitalizations among children aged 17 years and younger are approaching its second-highest peak (November 2021). The most rapid increases in current hospitalizations are being reported in Alabama (+22%), Arkansas (+30%), Louisiana (+21%), New Hampshire (+24%), Oklahoma (+21%), Rhode Island (+22%), South Carolina (+39%), and West Virginia (+24%).

UK HealthCare Policy on Wearing a Mask

Masks are crucial in discouraging transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus and its variants. In order to promote a safe environment within UK HealthCare facilities:

Please refer to our Interim Policy Requiring Employees, Patients and Visitors to Wear a Mask for more details, including who should not wear a mask, feasibility and adaptations.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents

On July 8, the FDA expanded full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15.  The vaccine has been available for this age group under emergency use authorization since May 2021. The vaccine earlier received FDA approval for use in ages 16 and above in August 2021.


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