August 11, 2020 — 2:30 p.m.
For the latest COVID-19 numbers, go to the DHEC website. SCHA continues to host calls with DHEC to address the concerns of the state’s hospitals and health systems. The next COVID-19 update call with DHEC is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4 at 1:00 p.m. If you are an SCHA member and would like to be added to the call or email update, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SC hospitals have now been transitioned to a new HHS TeleTracking platform to provide their COVID-19 data to the state and federal governments. SCHA recently hosted an educational webinar with representatives from TeleTracking and DHEC to answer your questions and provide the latest updates on hospital bed reporting. If you were unable to attend, access the recorded webinar here.
Importantly, when reporting information about staffed beds into TeleTracking, the data should represent beds that are currently staffed. The bed utilization rate that is reported to state and federal partners is calculated by dividing your “total inpatient occupied” beds by your “total inpatient” beds. If your hospital is reporting more staffed beds than are currently staffed, the hospital is inaccurately portrayed as having more availability than it actually has.
Additionally, beds that are part of your surge workflow may also be included if they are currently staffed. If beds such as psych, L&D, rehab, and bassinets are not a part of your surge workflow, they should not be included. As a reminder, hospitals are required to report daily, including weekends.
Bed Surge Planning
SCHA has been working closely with DHEC, the Emergency Management Division (EMD) and the National Guard to develop a surge plan for South Carolina. Learn more here.
DHEC has launched a testing site map that easily and clearly identifies COVID-19 testing sites around the state. Clicking on a testing site icon provides the facility name, address, hours of operation, contact phone number and additional details. Testing sites are also listed under the map for easy viewing. View the updated map at scdhec.gov/covid19testing.
In addition, DHEC continues to update its list of mobile testing clinics as these events occur across the state. Mobile testing clinics are available at scdhec.gov/covid19mobileclinics.
Accessing SC’s Supply of Remdesivir
South Carolina has received a limited supply of remdesivir, an antiviral drug that recently received FDA approval for emergency use after it was shown to improve recovery times for COVID-19 patients. Licensed practitioners (MD, DO, NP, PA, PharmD) are eligible to request a 5-day treatment course of remdesivir through REDCap—a secure, HIPAA compliant software managed at MUSC. Learn more about the process for healthcare providers to request remdesivir in SC.
Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System for N95 Masks
The Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System is now up and running. This system is free of charge to any SC healthcare provider and uses vapor phase hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate compatible N95 masks. For contacts and information on how to utilize this valuable service, please review the process here.
Lab Developed Tests
Hospitals wanting to conduct their own Lab Developed Test for COVID-19 may do so after submitting the appropriate paperwork, including five negatives and five positives, to the FDA. DHEC can assist with sample validation, and approval from the FDA is not required to begin testing. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Atwell Coleman, Director of DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory at email@example.com.
Hospitals and health systems across South Carolina are adjusting their visitor’s policies to adapt to COVID-19. Many facilities are implementing a “no visitors” policy that would limit visitors to end of life situations.
COVID-19 Emergency Declaration
The federal government is taking aggressive actions and exercising regulatory flexibilities to help healthcare providers combat and contain the spread of COVID-19. CMS is empowered to take proactive steps through 1135 waivers and rapidly expand the Administration’s aggressive efforts against COVID-19. As a result, these blanket waivers have been made available to healthcare providers. The waivers are retroactively effective as of March 1, 2020; the use of this waiver authority does not require any notice to CMS.
Guidance for Alternate Care Sites
CMS has provided updated guidance on EMTALA requirements related to COVID-19 that provide for the establishment of alternate care sites on hospital campuses, or through off-campus, hospital-controlled sites. All hospitals should contact DHEC to confirm the placement of their alternate care site. CMS has announced that they will suspend all field work other than emergency only at this time and continue to host weekly calls with hospitals every Monday at 12 p.m.
The CDC has determined that medical waste generated in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and patients under investigation be managed in accordance with routine procedures. There are no additional packaging or transportation requirements from the Department of Transportation for regulated medical waste or sharps. Stericycle has updated coronavirus-related packaging guidelines for regulated medical waste and sharps.
Stay connected to Stericycle’s Coronavirus Knowledge Center at https://stericycle.com/coronavirus
- Packaging Guidance
- Service Safety Measures
- Business Continuity
- Hospital Waste Procedures
- Patient Communication
- Webinar Replay
- External Resources
- Ask Us
The CDC also has a Q&A section dedicated to coronavirus waste management in a healthcare setting.
Aya Healthcare, in partnership with Qualivis, has enacted an emergency preparedness and rapid response staffing unit to assist facilities in planning and caring for increased patient census and/or low core staff availability due to COVID-19. While this is a significant resource for hospitals for covering shifts, know that the rapid response service is available at a premium rate. Because the assignments require quick start dates, are short in duration, and include working in a potentially high-risk environment, hourly rates are higher than typical temporary staffing assignments. If you need additional staffing resources and are a current Qualivis customer, reach out to your account specialist. If you are not currently a Qualivis client, contact Sherry Kolb at 803.609.6862.
SCHA has been coordinating with DHEC to inventory and potentially deploy members of the Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC) to assist hospitals with temporary staffing needs to support the COVID response. The PHRC is a volunteer group of health professionals coordinated by DHEC to help serve the state’s public health needs. The volunteers consist of registered nurses, advanced practice providers, EMT/paramedics, respiratory therapists, etc. If your hospital could benefit from the temporary resource of this group of volunteers, please contact your DHEC regional coordination center and/or the DHEC Regional PHRC volunteer Coordinator. More information is available here.
SCHA, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, and South Carolina Medical Association have launched an effort to persuade the public to limit potential exposure to COVID-19. As coronavirus cases continue to rise in South Carolina, we are also seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations and want the public to understand the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The “Slow the Spread” public service campaign will begin airing on TV and on social media in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend. In addition, a website, slowthespreadsc.com, will be updated regularly with useful information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As your facility responds to COVID-19, use your website and social media to educate the public. Tell your story and update your community on any changes in operations at your facility.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC Coronavirus 2019 Situation Summary
- CDC Coronavirus 2019 Information for Healthcare Professionals
- CDC Coronavirus 2019 Travel Information
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
If you would like to be added to DHEC’s email distribution list for updates on COVID-19, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or concerns related to your facility’s ability to respond to COVID-19, please send an email to the SCHA Disaster Team at email@example.com.
- COVID-19 Updates
- Bed Surge Planning
- BART Reminders & Definitions
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Recruiting Available Staffing
- Public Health Reserve Corps Available for Temporary Staffing
- Keeping Your Health Insurance During COVID-19
- Protect Your Workforce and Work Environment from COVID-19
- Giving Back to Healthcare Workers