HAI High Sign Newsletter July/August 2022

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July/August · Volume 13, Issue 92

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:

News in Virginia

New VDH HAI/AR Program Members: VDH recently welcomed three new Regional Infection Preventionists to the team: Kayleigh Rehkopf, MS and Holly Spindle, RN, BSN (Northwest Region) and Sheri Ives, RN, BSN, MBA (Southwest Region). 

The VDH HAI/AR program also welcomed Allison O’Rourke, MPH as the Multidrug-Resistant Organisms Prevention Epidemiologist.

VDH Infection Prevention & Control Assessments: Did you know the VDH infection prevention (IP) team supports healthcare facilities in Virginia through onsite proactive infection prevention and control (IPC) assessments? The non-regulatory assessments can be requested by any healthcare facility and are designed to assist in identifying IPC program strengths and areas for opportunity. Other benefits:

  • Enhance IPC capacity in the healthcare facility
  • Receive free resources and recommendations to address IPC areas identified for improvement
  • Strengthen the collaborative relationship between your healthcare facility and VDH
  • Prepare a healthcare facility for future visits by licensing, accreditation, or other regulatory organizations (NOTE:  a proactive infection control assessment and response (ICAR) visit is not regulatory and the recommendations will not be shared with the facility’s licensure or certification organization)

Testimonials from Southwest Virginia on the benefits of partnering with VDH IP teams: 

"[Bedford County Nursing Home] appreciates the collaborating experiences with the SWVA (Southwest Virginia) Regional Infection Prevention Team. As we have navigated throughout the pandemic, there have been several times we have benefited from their support. Each time they displayed a professional approach with assisting with our situation as well as professional respect shown to our entire team. SWVA Regional Infection Prevention Team was willing and did perform on-site education to our staff regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.”

-Paul B. Poff, Administrator of Bedford County Nursing Home

"Partnering with the SWVA Infection Prevention Team has proved to be a valuable resource for us at the Regional Healthcare Coalition. Our typical day-to-day efforts include helping to assist our healthcare partners with their emergency preparedness and planning efforts. However, this partnership has allowed us to further support those partners by finding innovative ways to assist the Health Department on their infection prevention site visits. These visits tend to be more informal which has allowed for more of an open dialogue to address specific needs, wants, and/or questions organizations may have all while building and fostering relationships at the same time."

-Mary Kathryn Alley, Near SW Preparedness Alliance

Learn more about proactive ICARs here

Interested in a VDH IP proactive visit at your healthcare facility? Contact us today.

VDH Tuberculosis (TB) Program. Did you know that there were a total of 161 verified cases of Tuberculosis in Virginia last year? Check out the new fact sheet on Tuberculosis in Virginia in 2021.

Unusual Seasonal Influenza Patterns: Typically, influenza (flu) season lasts from October to May in the Northern Hemisphere and from April to September in the Southern Hemisphere. While the official flu season may have ended in the Northern Hemisphere, seasonal flu viruses continue to circulate, and activity is increasing in many parts of the country. An increase in flu clinical labs are being observed in the U.S, as reported by the CDC. For MMWR Week 23 ending June 11, 2022, the CDC reported a 3.4% increase in positive clinical labs for flu. The majority of viruses detected are flu A(H3N2). Countries in the Southern Hemisphere such as Australia, have also reported an increase in flu levels. Flu A appears to be the dominant strain, with the 2009 H1N1 being more common in children and the H3N2 affecting adults. This is important to note, as the Northern Hemisphere flu season and vaccine recommendations are driven by what we observe in the Southern Hemisphere. To assess the viruses and their subtypes circulating in Virginia, the Influenza Sentinel Surveillance program will be conducting year round surveillance for influenza and other respiratory viruses starting from the 2022-23 influenza season.

Monkeypox Updates: 

COVID-19 Updates: 

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Continued Increases in HAI Incidence During the Second Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic. (New Publication) A comparison between 2019 and 2021 national standardized infection ratios (SIRs) for CLABSI, CAUTI, VAE, SSI, MRSA bacteremia LabID, and CDI LabID from acute care hospitals. For most HAIs, national SIRs in 2021 remain significantly higher than SIRs from the pre-pandemic time period. This paper is available on the NHSN Reports webpage.

Reminder! Data for CMS Quality Reporting Programs: Quarter 1 data for 2022 must be entered into NHSN by August 15, 2022, for facilities that participate in certain CMS quality reporting programs.

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Training & Education

Project Firstline (PFL). The CDC’s Project Firstline has launched new educational materials. Visit the Project Firstline webpage to learn about infection control in healthcare. Sign up for their newsletters at the bottom of the home page to receive PFL updates from CDC. Additionally, self-paced Continuing Education (CE) is Available on CDC TRAIN: To earn CE credits, follow this link to begin viewing Inside Infection Control episodes and earning credit for each group of videos completed. Below you will find links to the corresponding episode bundles:


  • Looking to broaden your knowledge of infection prevention? Want to refine your infection prevention and control program? The Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center is pleased to announce a FREE Intermediate Level Course in Infection Prevention. In-person and virtual options are available. Registration is limited.Register for VIPTC Intermediate Course in Infection Prevention on September 22-23, 2022
  • Audience: Infection prevention professionals who have participated in and gained considerable knowledge through specialized infection and control training and have minimal to moderate practice or fieldwork experience with infection prevention and control concepts 
  • Featuring both local and nationally-recognized content experts, this course will cover:
    • Basic and advanced principles of infection prevention and control
    • The role of infection prevention in meeting best practice standards and regulatory requirements
    • The relationship between public health and healthcare
    • How to develop, implement, and optimize a Champions of Infection Prevention program
  • This is a two-day course with optional on-demand content. Please visit our website for links to course description and agenda.
  • Thanks to funding from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), this course is free. CE credits offered, click here for details.

                Virginia Infection Prevention Training Center

New Statewide Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Training Program. A new comprehensive statewide Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training program through a partnership between VDSS and VCU Gerontology CCE is now available for licensed adult providers and all roles within assisted living facilities and adult day care centers. FREE registration available!

  • Monthly IPC webinars with infection preventionists and subject matter experts on topics specific to your role
  • Weekly email updates with useful tools, infographics, videos, audio updates, and quick tips to expand your IPC knowledge
  • Onsite workshop packages and supervisor lunch-and-learns also available
  • Opportunity to receive certificates of attendance and contact credits for ALL learning modules
  • Recognition for module completion!

Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology (SPICE). Register for the Control of Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms in Congregate Care Settings webinar, presented by Angela Warren, RN, BSN, MS, CIC. Webinar will be conducted on Thursday, July 21, 2022, 12:00 - 1:00 PM. Visit the SPICE website to learn more.  

SHEA Compendium 2022 Update: Strategies for Healthcare-associated Infection Prevention: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the ability of healthcare systems to maintain their HAI prevention efforts and led to substantial increases in some HAIs. Recently, the SHEA/IDSA/APIC Compendium of Strategies to Prevent HAIs in Acute Care Hospitals, also known as the Compendium, published updated recommendations for preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), as well as ventilator-associated pneumonia, ventilator-associated events (VAEs), and non-ventilator healthcare-associated pneumonia (NV-HAP). CDC highlights the Compendium and its first two guidance documents for preventing HAIs in this Safe Healthcare Blog entry.

NACCHO Living Learning Network: The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has developed a Living Learning Network (LLN) to support  local health departments  and their partners in building infection prevention and control expertise and increasing coordination across state and local public health and healthcare. Sign up for the NACCHO LLN to be the first to hear about upcoming training opportunities. 

MDRO Containment Webinar Series: VDH has partnered with CDC to offer critical education to help slow the spread of MDROs in healthcare facilities. All webinars have been recorded and are available on the VDH MDRO Containment Series Website. Free CE is available for select webinars. Past topics include hand hygiene, enhanced barrier precautions, environmental cleaning and disinfection, and colonization screening. More webinars are planned for August and September. Check the website for more information.  

HQI Antimicrobial Stewardship Summer Camp: This 3-part Antimicrobial Stewardship series is a summer camp you will not want to miss. All hospitals have an Antimicrobial Stewardship program in place, but how effective are they? How can we improve on the basic program and evaluate a successful program? This series will focus on the CDC Core Elements that are intended to be an adaptable framework hospitals can use to guide efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing.  At the end of this series “campers” will be able to:

  • Identify the 7 CDC Core Elements of antimicrobial stewardship
  • Assess their current program for areas of improvement
  • Implement interventions to improve their stewardship programs
  • Include data collection, tracking and trending in their programs to build sustainable change

Dates and Times:

  • Building an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program Using the CDC Core Elements | Thursday, June 30 from 1:00-2:00 PM ET
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship Program: Using Data | Friday, July 29 from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
  • Reducing Hospital Onset CDI Through Diagnostic Stewardship: The University of Virginia Experience | Wednesday, August 31 from 12:00- 1:00 PM ET  

Registration Link

Research Corner

Louisiana Team Approach Prevents Harmful Infection from Spreading Among Vulnerable Patients: A Louisiana State Health Department's quick action to mobilize an inter-facility response to protect ventilator-dependent residents of a skilled nursing facility from a superbug outbreak in the middle of the pandemic was highlighted at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s (APIC) 49th Annual Conference. Read the full article at Medical Xpress and the poster presentation at APIC Conference.  

WHO Global Survey on Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Facilities: The WHO core components for infection prevention and control (IPC) are important building blocks for effective IPC programmes. To their knowledge, they conducted the first WHO global survey to assess implementation of these programmes in health-care facilities. Read the full article in the Lancet journal.

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Awareness Events
World Hepatitis Day- July 28, 2022: World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes place every year on July 28th and brings the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. This year’s theme is “I Can’t Wait.” WHD is one of just four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHD unites patient organizations, governments, medical professionals, civil society, industry, and the general public to boost the global profile of viral hepatitis. Every 30 Seconds someone loses their life to hepatitis B or C. Don't wait! Get Tested at a health facility near you.
National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)- August 2022: This annual observance month provides an opportunity to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels to protect patients of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination. Visit the CDC and National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) to learn more.  You have the power to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases


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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