Many healthcare organizations are reusing PPE

Many infection preventionists working at hospitals and other healthcare organizations claim frontline workers are reusing personal protective equipment as surges of COVID-19 occur across the U.S.

A survey released Thursday by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology found of the 1,083 infection preventionists who responded, 68.7% reported extended use or reuse was being applied to surgical masks while 73% said the policy was used for respirators. Additionally, 43.8% said isolation gowns and 10% said gloves were being worn more than once or for an extended time period.

The reuse of respirators, surgical masks, gloves and isolation gowns is concerning because they were intended to be used only one time, said Terri Rebmann, a member of APIC’s COVID-19 task force and professor of epidemiology at St. Louis University College.

“We don’t have a lot of data (about the safety of reusing PPE) and that is where it’s a

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America’s outbreak enters worst phase

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The first vaccines are only weeks away but the winter is looking bleak for the United States, where the coronavirus outbreak is worse than ever and 150,000 more people could perish by February.

The death rate is back to where it was in springtime, far exceeding 2,000 a day and bringing the total to more than 273,000, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Despite medical advances that have allowed doctors to treat the disease better and meant more patients can stay at home, there are far more people in hospital than during earlier peaks.

The figure is currently 100,000 people, according to the COVID Tracking Project, compared to 60,000 in April and July.

And unlike when the virus first entered the US and was confined to certain hotspots, it’s now everywhere.

Dashboards that track infections show almost the entire map of the United

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Vaccinating long-term care residents, staff for COVID-19 comes with challenges

Although healthcare workers and nursing home residents are at the top of the list for COVID-19 vaccinations, there are still many steps needed to guarantee a smooth rollout.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice recommended that the two groups should be in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination, but the decision will lie with state officials.

“I wish it were as simple as saying we’re going to vaccinate residents and staff,” said David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. Instead, he predicts some challenges on adoption and education.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the U.S, said the industry is calling on governors from every state to prioritize long-term staff and residents in vaccine distribution “to save

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Less COVID-19 transmission seen in countries with more intense testing

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Lacking vaccines, countries have relied on multiple non-pharmaceutical interventions to control COVID-19 transmission. Despite the urging of the World Health Organization (WHO) in March to “test, test, and test,” policy makers disagree on on how much testing is optimal.

A new study, by Ravindra Prasan Rannan-Eliya and coauthors from the Institute for Health Policy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, uses data from multiple online sources to quantify testing impact on COVID-19 transmissibility in 173 countries and territories (accounting for 99 percent of the world’s cases) between March and June 2020.

The authors found that among interventions, testing intensity had the greatest influence: a tenfold increase in the ratio of tests to new cases reported reduced average COVID-19 transmission by 9 percent.

The authors note that this helps explain why countries such as China, Australia, and New Zealand achieved near elimination of COVID-19 and why lockdowns and other

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