Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of May 17
Posted on May 21, 2021
As of May 20, the Michigan Vacc to Normal Tracker indicated more than 57% of Michiganders ages 16 and over had been given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.
MHA Board of Trustees Holds Special Meeting on COVID-19
At a special meeting on COVID-19 issues held May 18, the MHA Board of Trustees received updates on and discussed COVID-19 case data and trends, vaccine progress, return-to-work policies, state budget matters and health equity commitments. Board members confirmed the need for the MHA to continue advocating for clear and consistent public health rules related to mask wearing and vaccine status, especially for healthcare facilities, and remain heavily engaged in the promotion of COVID-19 vaccines.
On the issue of return to work, the MHA is in communication with both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) about the need for prompt guidance that considers health facilities as it relates to gathering sizes, mask wearing and more. The MIOSHA has stated it is working on updated emergency rules to reflect new federal mask-wearing guidance, but said until then, “MIOSHA will consider compliance with the MDHHS order as good faith to comply when responding to employee complaints or conducting investigations related to COVID-19.” The MHA will keep members informed of progress on the return-to-work rules.
The next MHA Board of Trustees meeting will occur June 23, the day prior to the 2021 MHA Annual Membership Meeting. Members with questions about the Annual Meeting may contact Erin Steward at the MHA.
State to Reopen Faster than Original “Vacc to Normal” Plan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer May 20 announced modifications to the recently implemented Vacc to Normal campaign that ties reopening measures to the state’s vaccination rate, providing specific dates for increasing capacity limits. Starting June 1, capacity limits will be lifted completely for outdoor gatherings and indoor capacity limits will be increased to 50%. As of July 1, the state’s broad indoor masking requirement will expire. The announcements did not specifically address healthcare; the MHA continues to advocate strongly for healthcare settings involved in patient care to be given special consideration in the crafting of the MIOSHA rules. MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel is expected to sign the order May 24.
The MHA will notify members know as soon as the MIOSHA issues new guidance. Members with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Vaccine Orders Must Comply with Shipping Timelines; No Memorial Day Shipments
The MDHHS immunizations team recently reminded healthcare providers to observe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s stated shipping hours when ordering first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). Beginning May 24, the MDHHS will reject any orders with noncompliant shipping hours. Questions on this requirement may be addressed to the immunizations team.
The MDHHS announced there will be no vaccines shipped May 31 due to the Memorial Day holiday. Healthcare providers should take the following schedule into consideration for their vaccination planning efforts.
- Pfizer Vaccine: No vaccine deliveries will occur Monday, May 31.
- Moderna Vaccine: No vaccine deliveries will occur Monday, May 31, or Tuesday, June 1. (Ancillary kits may arrive June 1 for vaccine orders arriving Wednesday, June 2.)
- Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccine: No vaccine deliveries will occur Monday, May 31, or Tuesday, June 1. (Ancillary kits may arrive Tuesday, June 1, for vaccine orders arriving Wednesday, June 2.)
Providers needing to place vaccine orders for clinics scheduled during the holiday weekend must ensure the orders are entered into the MCIR, approved by the local health department and approved/processed by the MDHHS by Tuesday, May 25, for the Pfizer vaccine and by Wednesday, May 26, for the Moderna or J&J vaccines. Questions about these ordering requirements should be directed to the MDHHS immunizations team.
Members with additional vaccine questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.
FDA Updates Certain COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibody Authorizations
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated its emergency use authorizations for two intravenous infusion therapies for outpatients at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 disease. Included were updates on the patient selection criteria and safety summary for the monoclonal antibodies bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together and the patient selection criteria for the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab with imdevimab (REGEN-CON) administered together.
For details on the changes, see the FDA fact sheets for bamlanivimab and etesevimab and REGEN-COV.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).
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