HAI Happenings Quarterly Newsletter: Q1 2024

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Prevention Program

HAI Happenings: 2024 Quarter One Newsletter

This message is being sent to local public health department officers, nurses, and staff; Tribal health directors; infection preventionists; and key DPH staff.

HAI Happenings highlights new and noteworthy topics for all things related to healthcare-associated infections (HAI), including infection prevention and control (IPC), antimicrobial stewardship (AS), antibiotic resistance (AR), surveillance, and more. You will also be able to find links to helpful guidance and resources and learn more about current Wisconsin HAI Prevention Program activities.

Knowledge check

Test your knowledge. See the end of the newsletter for the answer.  

True or false: In general, asymptomatic health care personnel who have had a higher-risk exposure do not require work restrictions, regardless of vaccination status, if they do not develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2.


What's new with the HAI Prevention Program?

  • The HAI Prevention Program welcomes Kimberly Goffard as the new HAI and TB section manager. Kimberly joined the HAI Prevention Program as the surveillance and education unit supervisor in May 2023 and continues to serve as an invaluable resource to the program in her new role. Congratulations, Kimberly!  
  • Handy Hygiene Tips, a statewide IPC media campaign launched by the HAI Prevention Program in August 2023, came to a close at the end of January 2024. The campaign mascot, Wally, and other health expert guests encouraged health care professionals and the general public to practice basic IPC best practices, whether on the job or at home. The campaign was recently recognized at a national advertising excellence award ceremony where it received the highest honor of a Gold Medal for creative excellence. Way to go, Wally!   
  • The HAI Prevention Program recently released a new fact sheet on signs and symptoms of infection for dialysis access sites. Health care and dialysis providers are encouraged to download the fact sheet and add their own contact information before printing and sharing with dialysis patients. The fact sheet is currently available in English, but will soon be translated into Spanish and Hmong.
  • The HAI Prevention Program relaunched the Infection Preventionist (IP) Bootcamp, a training held annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IP Bootcamp prepares new IPs for their role and promotes networking among IPs working in Wisconsin health care facilities. Spots for the IP Bootcamp are full and registration is now closed. However, we encourage you to email DHSWIHAIPreventionProgram@dhs.wisconsin.gov if you are interested in future rounds of the IP Bootcamp. 
  • This month, the HAI Prevention Program wrapped up its second round of the Local and Tribal Health Department HAI/IPC Training Program. Seven participants from around the state completed the six-month program where the gained IPC knowledge and experiences in order to strengthen local capacity to respond to infection prevention questions and concerns from health care facilities in their communities. Congratulations to those who participated!

In the news

  • Amid increasing cases of measles nationwide, DHS issued a reminder outlining measles reporting and infection prevention recommendations. The message urges health care providers to consider measles in individuals who are unvaccinated and may have traveled recently, and to review infection prevention and control best practices related to measles. 
  • DHS issued Wisconsin DHS Health Alert #58: Increasing Cases of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Wisconsin on February 8, 2024. The health alert describes recent Wisconsin case activity as well as recommendations for health care providers on the prevention and control of Candida auris and other multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). 
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded their Safety Communication to include additional recalls of certain saline and sterile water medical products manufactured by Nurse Assist, LLC, sold under various brands.  

HAI data snapshot


Earlier this month, the HAI Prevention Program released its 2022 annual data report. The report includes state-level National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data for Wisconsin acute care and critical access hospitals. 

The report monitors trends and patterns in order to support evaluation of HAI prevention and control efforts among Wisconsin acute care and critical access hospitals.

This report includes data on six HAI types:  

  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs)  
  • Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs)  
  • Ventilator-associated events (VAEs) 
  • Surgical site infections (SSIs) 
  • MRSA bacteremia (MRSA in the bloodstream) 
  • Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) 

Read the report.

Best practice and guidance updates

ALF guide
  • The HAI Prevention Program launched a new webpage outlining infection prevention best practices in dialysis settings. The webpage highlights infection risks specific to dialysis as well as resources for health care providers and patients and their families. 

Project Firstline spotlight

The Wisconsin HAI Prevention Program is a CDC Project Firstline partner. Project Firstline provides innovative and accessible IPC education for frontline health care workers, including nurses, certified nursing assistants, environmental services staff, and allied health professionals. Educational resources offered through Project Firstline are available in a variety of formats to meet the diverse learning needs of the health care workforce.  


Project Firstline’s micro-learns are short, adaptable training resources you can use to provide education on a variety of IPC topics. Incorporate these in-person trainings into your next team meeting or huddle.  

HAI Prevention Program highlights

In February, the HAI Prevention Program hosted an infection prevention-themed escape room at the 2024 Wisconsin Director of Nursing Council Symposium. Over 35 symposium attendees “escaped” the training with enhanced IPC knowledge and ideas for implementing their own unique trainings for health care staff.

The escape room training challenges participants to complete four stations – each themed around their own IPC topic. At each station, participants look for clues and work through puzzles that put their IPC knowledge and skills to the test. Once they solve the puzzle, they advance to the next station, eventually “escaping” the training. During the activity, participants learn about and engage in IPC practices such as hand hygiene, source control, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and disinfection.  

Interested in offering the escape room training to your staff?  

The HAI Prevention Program is available at a limited, first-come, first-serve capacity to offer the training, free of charge. Contact us at DHSWIHAIPreventionProgram@dhs.wisconsin.gov for more information.  

Knowledge check

True. According to the CDC Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2, work restriction is not necessary for most asymptomatic health care providers following a higher-risk exposure, regardless of vaccination status. Read the CDC guidance for examples of when work restrictions may be considered.