COVID-19 Update | March 5, 2021
SHEA Coronavirus News
SHEA Converse & Convene: COVID-19 Variants and its Impact on Testing and Prevention Measures (Open to SHEA Members)   
This members-only networking event will focus on questions related to the variants and the impact it has on testing and prevention measures. Please note this event is not recorded and is intended for members to have an open, candid discussion around this topic.   
Moderator: Bhagyashri Navalkele, MD, FACP, University of Mississippi Medical Center 
Technical Guidance, Standards and Resources
Reduction in COVID-19 Patients Requiring Mechanical Ventilation Following Implementation of a National COVID-19 Vaccination Program — Israel, December 2020–February 2021 (CDC MMWR)  
First Month of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring — United States, December 14, 2020–January 13, 2021 (CDC MMWR)  
Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Among Persons Aged <18 Years — Mississippi, May–September 2020 (CDC MMWR)  
SARS-CoV-2 Infection Risk Among Active Duty Military Members Deployed to a Field Hospital — New York City, April 2020 (CDC MMWR)  
Travel from the United Kingdom to the United States by a Symptomatic Patient Infected with the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 Variant — Texas, January 2021 (CDC)  
First Identified Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Variant P.1 in the United States — Minnesota, January 2021 (CDC MMWR)  
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Use of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, February 2021 (CDC MMWR)  
Media Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, on Signing the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Recommendation to Use Janssen’s COVID-19 Vaccine in People 18 and Older (CDC ACIP)  
Special Settings and Populations 
Clinical Care 
Testing and Cases 
Occupational Health 
Event Announcements
The Role of Telehealth in Expanding Access to Healthcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations for Vaccine Uptake and Monitoring for Adverse Events (CDC COCA) 
Thurs. Mar. 11, 2PM-3PM ET 
Presenters: Erica Tindall, MSN, MPH, APRN, AGNP-C, CIC, Ann Mond Johnson, Mandy Reed, Michelle Rizor, MHSA, Daniel Smith, PA-C, Todd Vento, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA  
CDC COVID-19 Partner Update: Expanding the COVID-19 Vaccination Toolbox: An Update on Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Vaccine EUA and New Federal Vaccination Programs (CDC COCA) 
Monday, Mar. 8, 3PM ET
Presenter: Dr. Cynthia Ogden 
Trade Press, Journal Articles and White Papers
Persistent SARS-CoV-2 RNA Shedding without Evidence of Infectiousness: A Cohort Study of Individuals with COVID-19The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2021; jiab107, Daniel Owusu, et al. 
Changes in SARS CoV-2 Seroprevalence Over Time in Ten Sites in the United States, March – August, 2020Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2021; ciab185, Travis Lim, DrPH, et al. 
Federal Policy Updates
OSHA Exploring and Emergency Temporary Standard for Protection from Infectious Diseases 
Background. The updated Heroes Act, passed by the House last October, included a provision that would require OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) within 7 days of enactment and a permanent infectious disease standard within 24 months of enactment. See Sec. 202 on p. 23 of the section-by-section
The ETS would: 
  • Require employers to conduct a hazard assessment and develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect workers from COVID-19; 
  • Require employers to implement appropriate controls, provide worker training and report outbreaks to OSHA and public health authorities; and  
  • Incorporates, as appropriate, guidance issued by the CDC, NIOSH, and OSHA  
Based on the proposed statutory requirements for the ETS, we could expect a similarly high-level ETS from OSHA by March 15 (if the agency decides an ETS is necessary). A permanent infectious disease standard would likely be more prescriptive and entail a public comment period at a later time. An Executive Order (EO) signed by President Biden on January 21 calls for OSHA to issue an ETS by March 15 or provide a report on why the agency would not move forward with one.  
A Department of Labor OIG report includes a recommendation for an ETS. Labor OIG states: “Having an ETS could be of importance during the pandemic as enforceable criteria because under the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, violations are rarely issued.”  Recommendations are on p. 16 of the report and OSHA’s written response is on p. 29.  
OIG Recommendation 4: Analyze and determine whether establishing and infectious disease-specific Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is necessary to help control the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to worksites. 
OSHA Response: OSHA accepts the recommendation. Pursuant to President Biden’s January 21, 2021, Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, the agency is already considering whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, are necessary.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a press statement urging CDC and OSHA to take steps to address aerosol transmission of COVID-19. Members of the committee sent a letter to senior administrative officials and cited a similar letter from a group of subject matter experts, among them Dr. Michael Olsterholm of CIDRAP.  
Final Stretch: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 
The Senate is expected to pass the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 along party lines after debate and a vote likely to take place over the weekend. The House has adjourned for the week and will take up the package next week. Congress is on track to pass and send the revised COVID-19 relief package to President Joe Biden for his signature ahead of the March 14 expiration of federal unemployment benefits.  
With respect to the health-related provisions, the Senate maintains most of the legislative language approved by the House in their substitute amendment. The changes consist of revisions to funding levels, reallocation of funding to specified programs, and the exclusion of certain provisions approved by the House. Notably, the Senate amendment does not replenish the Provider Relief Fund. Some of the key provisions include: 
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund (Sec. 9901) – The Senate maintains House-approved levels of funding to states ($195.3 billion), territories ($4.5 billion), and Tribal governments ($20 billion) but reduces the House-approved levels of direct funding to localities ($120.2 billion) to provide $10 billion for the new Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. The Senate also establishes new guardrails regarding the distribution and use of funds.  
  • Funding for COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Mitigation Activities (Sec. 2401) – The Senate provides $47.8 billion, an increase of $1.8 billion compared to the House-approved bill, (available until expended) for activities to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor COVID-19.  
SHEA Education and Events
New this week:
  1. Podcast: UK Perspective on Variants with Dr. Sharon Peacock, Director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium
  2. Town Hall Round 43 (Long-Term Care focus) 
    Special COVID-19 Israeli perspective presentation by Dr. Mitchell Schwaber
    Sunday, March 14, 2021 | 3:00 pm ET 
    REGISTER HERE or watch live on Facebook
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