COVID-19 Update | August 21, 2020
Important Highlights
Removal of Position Statement: Preventing Nosocomial COVID-19 Infections as Organizations Resume Regular Care Delivery
The Joint Commission has posted a statement on their web site announcing the removal of the Position Statement, "Preventing Nosocomial COVID-19 Infections as Organizations Resume Regular Care Delivery." You can read the full statement here.
Fate of COVID-19 hospital data reporting is causing confusion
Multiple news reports over the last week have cited statements made by Dr. Deborah Birx suggesting HHS’ intent to shift oversight of COVID-19 hospital data reporting back to CDC and away from HHS Protect. In those reports, Dr. Birx is quoted as saying that HHS is working on building a “new revolutionary system” and that the switch to HHS Protect in July was intended to be an interim solution.
However, according to a tweet posted by Politico’s Dan Diamond and reporting from several local affiliate news stations owned by TEGNA, Inc., HHS Spokesperson Michael Caputo issued a statement saying the news stories about making a switch back to CDC were false. According to Diamond, three different HHS sources verified that there were no plans to switch COVID-19 reporting back to CDC. The “new revolutionary system” under development at HHS is part of a separate initiative to modernize public health IT systems. It appears that this new initiative also involves adding some automated functionality to HHS Protect which is intended to make reporting of COVID-19 data easier for hospitals because the new functionality will require less manual input by hospitals.
Prior to the confusing news reports, SHEA had been working very closely with several other public health professional societies and interest groups concerned about the burden and lack of confidence in COVID-19 data integrity caused by the abrupt switch to HHS Protect. We have been engaged in discussions with committees in both the House and Senate that interested learning more about the disruptions caused by the switch. We also know that several SHEA members have given press interviews on the matter, and several past and present HICPAC members sent a letter to HHS outlining their concerns. SHEA has heard from several members expressing their frustration with not having full access to data in HHS Protect once it's been entered and not receiving regular CDC reports based on HHS Protect data.  We also do now know how the data are being validated and analyzed and by whom at HHS.
SHEA will continue to pursue this matter. In the meantime, members are invited to send questions or share concerns by sending an email to
Technical Guidance, Standards and Resources
Infection Prevention and Control
Special Settings and Populations
Testing and Cases
Research and Resources Development Funding Opportunities 
Event Announcements
CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Homes: New Format
Starting Aug. 20, CMS will offer training in a new way:
Ethical Dilemmas in Rural Health (Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University)
Fri., Sept. 11, 1 pm – 5 pm ET
The goal of the 2020 Public Health Ethics Forum is to examine ethical considerations relating to place-based public health approaches in rural areas and populations.
Trade Press, Journal Articles, and White Papers
Absence of nosocomial influenza and respiratory syncytial virus infection in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era: Implication of universal masking in hospitals.  Wong, S., Lam, G., AuYeung, C., Chan, V., Wong, N., So, S., . . . Cheng, V. (2020). Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 1-14. doi:10.1017/ice.2020.425.
Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses.  Yonker, Lael M., et al. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2020, doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.08.037.  
Severe Staffing And Personal Protective Equipment Shortages Faced By Nursing Homes During The COVID-19 Pandemic. Mcgarry, Brian E., et al. Health Affairs, 2020, doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01269.
News Highlights
Featured Social Media
@ddiamond: “HHS is flatly denying the WSJ report that the administration is reversing course on how it collects hospital coronavirus data. There are no plans to have the CDC “take over again,” three sources tell me.”
Federal Policy Updates
Senate Republicans Share COVID-19 “Skinny Bill” 
Senate Republicans unexpectedly released on Aug. 17 a "skinny" coronavirus relief proposal, the "Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act." Below is a short overview of the bill's major provisions. It includes: 
  • $29 billion for vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostic development, and vaccine distribution;
  • $16 billion for testing, contact tracing, mitigation and surveillance of COVID-19, of which $15 billion goes to states and $500 million to the Indian Health Service;
  • $105 billion in education funding to assist efforts to reopen schools;
  • A $300 per week federal addition for pandemic unemployment insurance until December 27, 2020;
  • Additional funding for PPP loans;
  • Liability protections for non-profits, hospitals, churches, schools, and businesses from opportunistic litigation;
  • The conversion of a $10 billion CARES loan to the USPS to a grant. 
While it does not sound like votes will happen quickly on this bill, we are hearing that the goal might be to attach it to a late-September fiscal year 2021 continuing resolution to keep the government funded. There are also reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is open to exploring a slimmed down stimulus bill with the promise of a more complete package after the election
SHEA Education and Events
SHEA Podcast: We’re All in this Together: COVID-19 Allies in Infection Prevention
This series focuses on the collaborative efforts and opportunities for different disciplines to address and confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week's episode will include discussion around what different organizations are doing to address COVID-19, what have been the biggest challenges, what changes have been made, and what opportunities there are to work together to handle the pandemic. Access the full podcast series on LearningCE.
SHEA Rapid Response Podcast: COVID-19 Update: What We Know Now
This series highlights changes in the COVID-19 outbreak and updates in the medical literature. Each week's episode will include a summary of important news, a brief summary of medical literature and guidelines on infection prevention that have been published related to COVID-19, and discussion around the latest and most important questions surrounding the outbreak. Access the full podcast series on LearningCE.   
Tune in to the latest episode: John’s Hopkins COVID-19 Map
SHEA Podcasts - Are we meeting the needs of our members? Please fill out the short PODCAST FEEDBACK FORM
  • A "Quick Implementation Guide" 7-worksheet Excel file (xls download) with self-populating worksheets to apply implementation concepts and approaches by SHEA members to individual circumstances.
  • List of guidelines and statements from other organizations for insight into stakeholders’ points-of-view. Not comprehensive; not vetted or endorsed by SHEA.  
SHEA Rapid Response Webinars 
  • Healthcare Facility Outbreak Preparedness
  • SHEA COVID-19 Town Hall 1-19
  • SHEA COVID-19 Town Hall 20 | August 23 at 3:00pm ET
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