• Alex Lipovtsev

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

CHCANYS is working closely with local, State, and Federal agencies to support community health center needs during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. CHCANYS also continues to update its COVID-19 website to provide access to important resources and guidance. Below is a compilation of the most recent updates.

HHS Expands Pool of Eligible Vaccinators On March 11, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the seventh amended declaration to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which provides civil immunity from losses related to the use or administration of a covered countermeasure. The amendment increases the pool of authorized vaccinators by expanding the categories of “qualified persons” entitled to PREP Act protection. Specifically, the amendment adds certain health care professionals, including midwives, paramedics, and physician assistants, to the categories of “qualified persons.” “Qualified persons” also now include certain health care professionals who retired within the past five years and students in health professional training programs. Whether an individual is a “qualified person” under this amendment depends on whether the individual meets certain requirements, such as completion of a vaccination training program. New York City Guidance DOHMH Health Advisory #4 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued updated guidance for use of respirators by health care personnel (HCP) caring for patients with and without COVID-19 in health care settings. The guidance updates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for HCP During the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic and includes information on choosing, obtaining, and using the appropriate respirator or facemask and other personal protective equipment in New York City. Resources New Project Firstline Resources The CDC continues to closely track SARS-CoV-2 variants. A US government interagency group developed a variant classification scheme that defines three classes of SARS-CoV-2 variants: variant of interest, variant of concern, and variant of high consequence. The B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427, and B.1.429 variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. For more information, please visit the CDC information page. New Project Firstline Resources The CDC recently updated its Project Firstline Facilitator Toolkit, which includes infection control training resources that cover the basic science of viruses, how respiratory droplets spread COVID-19, how viruses spread from surfaces to people, and how COVID-19 spreads. The toolkit is designed to help those who are not experts in infection control lead an effective and engaging training.

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