HAI High Sign Newsletter MAY/JUNE 2022

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May/June · Volume 13, Issue 91

Antimicrobial Resistance (AR)   Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI)
Virginia Department of Health (VDH)   United States (U.S.)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

In this Newsletter:
  • Spotlight on Regional Infection Preventionists
  • Tuberculosis Program Updates
  • NHSN Updates
  • Training & Education
    • Project Firstline 
    • Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center (VIPTC) 
    • Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI)
    • APIC- Between a Rock and a Hard Place 
    • (NEW) CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Website
    • Regional Containment Webinar Series
  • Research
    • Projecting COVID-19 Mortality as States Relax Nonpharmacologic Intervenions
    • Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Testing Piloted in Emergency Departments
  • Awareness Events
    • World Hand Hygiene Day - May 5, 2022
    • National Nurses Week - May 6-12, 2022
    • National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSCW) - May 8-14, 2022
    • National Nursing Assistants Week - June 16-22, 2022

News in Virginia

Spotlight on Regional Infection Preventionists: Central Region

One of the key roles of the VDH regional infection preventionists (IPs) is to provide infection prevention education to help increase capacity in local health departments and healthcare facilities. Recently, Central Region IP Wendy Fariss coordinated an infection prevention fair at a nursing home in Henrico health district. VDH partners involved included Richmond City/Henrico County HAI Epidemiologist Nuhame Mulugeta and Eastern Regional IP Dee Winston. The fair provided hands-on education regarding multiple infection prevention strategies including donning and doffing personal protective equipment, hand hygiene, and cleaning/disinfection of multi-use medical equipment. Demonstration of each process was provided with a return demonstration by the staff members. Glo-Germ and a luminometer (used to measure ATP) were also used to determine if proper cleaning and disinfection techniques were employed. A total of 133 staff members attended the educational sessions, which spanned 8.5 hours. The program is now offered to Central Region facilities and the original facility has asked VDH to return again for further training.  regional IP retreat image

VDH Tuberculosis (TB) Program. The VDH TB Program welcomes new TB Program Manager, Marshall Vogt, MPH, CIC

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Upcoming CMS HAI Reporting Deadline. The deadline to enter 2021 Q4 data into NHSN for the CMS Quality Reporting Programs for participating acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and cancer hospitals is May 15, 2022. To ensure your data have been correctly entered into NHSN, please verify that: 1) your monthly reporting plans are complete, 2) you have entered appropriate summary and event data or checked the appropriate no events boxes, and 3) you have cleared all alerts from your NHSN facility homepage. Hospitals that have conferred rights to VDH will be receiving a quality assurance report in May, so please be sure to check your email and acknowledge receipt and review. Please remember to update the VDH HAI/AR Program with any IP contact changes. For additional guidance on ensuring your data are accurately sent to CMS for Quality Reporting purposes, please visit the NHSN website and navigate to the appropriate section(s) for your facility type. 

Update - HHS Point of Care (POC) Test Results Reporting Requirements. CMS-certified nursing homes may use NHSN or the VDH Portal to report COVID-19 POC positive test results (negative test results no longer required to be reported). Facilities will only need to report to one system, as results from NHSN will be sent directly to the state and local health departments. If facilities choose to report to NHSN, they must first upgrade their SAMS access to Level 3. Facilities should report individual COVID-19 POC test results (positive) within 24 hours regardless of the system that is utilized. Information on reporting in NHSN, including POC Testing Reporting Tool FAQs, can be found on the NHSN LTCF website.

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Training & Education

Project Firstline (PFL). The VDH HAI/AR Program is hosting PFL watch parties! Participate in a livestream of PFL training content and discuss topics within a watch party group. These basic training sessions can empower all frontline staff! Visit the VDH Project Firstline webpage for more information or check below to register for the last three sessions:

Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Basics, Thursday May 5, 2022 from 1:00-1:30 PM EST, Register here

Project Firstline Watch Party Session 5

Ventilation, Source Control, and Hand Hygiene, Thursday, May 12, 2022, from 1:00 - 1:30 PM EST, Register here

Session 6

How COVID-19 Spreads, Thursday May 19, 2022, from 1:00 - 1:30 PM EST, Register here

Project Firstline Watch Party Session 7

VIPTC Advanced Course

Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center (VIPTC). Did you miss the deadline for registering for the next VIPTC Infection Prevention course?  Don't worry, more courses will be held in Fall 2022. Visit the VIPTC website for more information on upcoming training opportunities.

Strategies to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in acute-care hospitals: 2022 Update. Updated CLABSI prevention guidance was published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (ICHE) on April 19, 2022. 

APIC- Between a Rock and a Hard Place (March 2022): The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) infection preventionist members have always played a pivotal role in maintaining the health of patients, employees, and visitors to healthcare facilities, and communities at large. However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, their prominence and importance within healthcare organizations grew. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Recommendations for Balancing Patient Safety and Pandemic Response explores the lessons infection preventionists have learned during their fight against COVID-19. 

The specific recommendations from the report include:

  • Develop next-generation universal PPE for a one-size-fits-all device to protect healthcare workers
  • Normalize the use of masks by the public during outbreaks of infectious diseases, building trust among the American people of their effectiveness
  • Address supply chain failures to ensure greater diversity in production locations and expanded ease of access
  • Require that health facilities include personnel with IPC expertise on emergency response teams to ensure the safety of response practices
  • Protect nursing home residents ensuring that each nursing home has at least one dedicated infection prevention expert on staff
  • Build and implement IPC surge capacity to ensure the continuity of safe patient care during a pandemic
  • Increase capacity for testing and contact tracing to control disease spread during a pandemic
  • Ensure rapid healthcare data collection and sharing to optimize strategies to prevent disease transmission
  • Build vaccine confidence to combat misinformation and dissuade hesitancy
  • Fund pandemic preparedness workforce capacity and training with incentives for universities to create a pathway to the infection prevention profession

CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Website: CDC is excited to introduce you to their updated antibiotic resistance website, refreshed to better engage and share information on antibiotic resistance (AR) in the United States and around the world. We all have a role to play—from travelers, animal owners, and caregivers to patients and healthcare providers—to fight this deadly threat and now you can quickly access CDC’s latest resources. Check out CDC’s Refreshed Website, Restructured by Audience

U.S. Antibiotic Resistance

Regional Containment Webinar Series: The next Regional Containment Webinar: The Role of Hand Hygiene in Limiting the Spread of MDROs will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 from 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST. Register now for Hand Hygiene webinar. Free CE Available.

Research Corner

Projecting COVID-19 Mortality as States Relax Nonpharmacologic Interventions (NPI): A study was conducted using simulation modeling to project COVID-19 deaths in each of the 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico assuming different timing of the lifting of NPIs. The study used the high transmissibility of Delta and Omicron in their projections and predicts that high mortality rates will be linked to the emergence of these highly transmitted variants. Read the full article at JAMA Network.  

Drug-resistant Gonorrhea Testing Piloted in Emergency Departments: It is important to remember that drug-resistant gonorrhea is an urgent public health threat. Gonorrhea has quickly developed resistance to all but one class of antibiotics, and half of all infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic—leading to more than an estimated half a million drug-resistant gonorrhea infections in the United States each year. To increase access to resistance testing, CDC partnered with health departments in North Carolina and Indiana to pilot drug-resistant gonorrhea surveillance beyond traditional sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics and into emergency departments, where more people are seeking STI care. Find out what they accomplished and learned together in only a year’s time. Read the full article on CDC’s website.

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Awareness Events
World Hand Hygiene Day, May 5, 2022: Patients and healthcare workers feel protected and cared for when a facility's quality and safety climate or culture values hand hygiene and infection prevention and control (IPC). This year's theme is a health care "quality and safety climate or culture” that values hand hygiene and infection prevention and control. WHO’s objective is to recognize that people of all levels should work together to influence the culture/climate through clean hands knowledge and behavior, to meet the common goal of safety and quality in the healthcare organization. Click here to learn from WHO.  World Hand Hygiene Day

National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2022: From assisting with life-threatening ER crises to delivering babies and caring for the elderly in their last moments, nurses perform some of the most difficult and heartbreaking tasks in the medical world. As workers who perform the most essential healthcare tasks, nurses serve as the first point of contact for most patients. National Nurses Week honors their contributions and sacrifices and reminds us to thank the medical professionals who keep us healthy. Join us in thanking our nurses. 

National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSCW), May 8-14, 2022: Happy @National Skilled Nursing Care Week!  We are honored to celebrate our remarkable nurses, residents and their families. #NSNCW 

National Skilled Nursing Care Week

U.S. Antibiotic Resistance

National Nursing Assistants Week, June 16-22, 2022: Nursing Assistants have had an incredibly positive impact on older adults and those who work in and manage nursing homes, assisted living communities, and in home care. The National Association of Health Care Assistants  (NAHCA) theme for the National Nursing Assistants Week  is “I’m Still Standing.” Join us in celebrating, recognizing, and paying our respects to the incredible work that the nearly 1 million-strong contingent of frontline heroes do everyday for elders and people with disabilities. Click here to learn more from NAHCA. 


We would like to thank all facilities across Virginia for their continued efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance.  We know there are programs across Virginia doing great work to reduce antimicrobial resistance and we want to hear about it! If you would like to have your facility spotlighted in a future edition of the HAI High Sign, please email hai@vdh.virginia.gov.
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