HHS renews public health emergency 

The Department of Health and Human Services formally renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration in late July. The 90-day extension helps hospitals and health systems combat COVID-19 in their communities. The formal extension also means an extension of public health emergency determination to support emergency use authorizations and Section 1135 waivers. In a statement applauding the renewal, the American Hospital Association stated, “The declaration of a public health emergency has given hospitals and health systems and our caregivers the ability to respond in an innovative, timely and decisive manner to the virus. It has been an invaluable tool in the battle against COVID-19.”

FGI public commenting period closing soon 

The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) invites users of the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction to comment on revisions and additions featured in its draft 2022 documents. Input from Guidelines users is a crucial step in revising the documents, which provide minimum standards for design and construction of hospitals; outpatient facilities; and residential health, care and support facilities. They are used by many states to regulate design and construction of these facilities. The public comment period opened July 1 and will close on Sept. 30. At this point in the revision cycle, only recommendations to change language that has already been added, revised or deleted will be considered. 

FDA monitors hand sanitizer safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to monitor and update its guidance on hand sanitizers that should not be used. The FDA has issued warnings on products that do not meet safety and efficacy standards, such as products that contain methanol or 1-propanol, contain microbial contamination, have been recalled by the manufacturer or distributors, are subpotent or are made at a facility where products that contain methanol or 1-propanol are also manufactured. The administration has created a searchable table from which users can identify specific products that should not be used or purchased.

ASPR updates COVID-19 resources

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response continues to post new and updated COVID-19 resources at its Technical Resources, Assistance Center and Information Exchange. Some of its newest resources include a recorded webinar on using telemedicine at alternate care sites and a Q&A from urgent care center leaders on lessons learned from the pandemic. It also has updated its COVID-19 Hospital Resource Compilation. The document lists key COVID-19 guidance and resources for hospital administrators, hospital emergency planners, infection control practitioners and other health care system preparedness professionals in the following topical areas: hospital surge, crisis standards of care, staffing surge and resilience, workforce protection, regulatory relief, equipment supply surge, health care recovery and resumption of services during COVID-19, and telemedicine.