CDC updates COVID-19 infection control guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sept. 13 updated its guidance for health care personnel on preventing and controlling infections during the COVID-19 pandemic; managing health care personnel with SARS-CoV-2 infection or exposure; and preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread in nursing homes. The agency said the updates generally do not substantially change recommended practices but aim to clarify and simplify the guidance on respirator and facemask use, SARS-CoV-2 testing, and quarantine for fully vaccinated patients and nursing home residents. 

ASHE weighs in on ventilation standards 

While ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2021, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities, is noted as the industry standard for the design of health care ventilation, the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) says this has led to confusion in the industry because Standard 170 is a design standard and not meant for operational use. To address this issue, the ASHE Regulatory Affairs Committee developed recommendations for existing health care facility ventilation systems and submitted these to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 99 Technical Committee on Mechanical Systems. 

FDA updates ventilator recall notice

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently updated an alert for people who use Philips Respironics ventilators, BiPAP and CPAP machines and their health care providers. The update includes an FAQ on Philips Respironics, which recalled certain devices due to potential health risks. The polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam, which is used to reduce sound and vibration in these affected devices, may break down and potentially enter the device’s air pathway. If this occurs, black debris from the foam or certain chemicals released into the device’s air pathway may be inhaled or swallowed by the person using the device. 

The Joint Commission issues vaccine mandate

The Joint Commission has announced that it will require all employees who travel to health care organizations for surveys, reviews and other on-site activities to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. This action will help protect Joint Commission staff, as well as front-line health care workers, staff and patients in the health care organizations that its staff visits. With the arrival and rapid spread of the delta variant in the United States, the pandemic took yet another deadly turn. The Joint Commission says it has committed to ensuring that all staff who interact on-site with accredited organizations are vaccinated, and strongly encourages vaccination for all health care workers.