MHA Creates COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit for Hospitals

As hospitals and health systems across Michigan continue communication efforts around COVID-19 and the importance of getting vaccinated this winter season, the MHA has developed a downloadable social media toolkit with posts and graphics for healthcare organizations to share across digital platforms. The toolkit includes content focused on the following topics:

  • COVID-19 Hospital Capacity.
  • COVID-19 Holiday Safety.
  • COVID-19 Testing Protocol.
  • COVID-19 Public Safety Protocol.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Messaging.

The toolkit is also accessible through the resources for healthcare professionals section of the MHA COVID-19 landing page. Those with questions may contact Lucy Ciaramitaro at the MHA.

Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Weeks of May 24 and 31

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA COVID-19 UpdateWith approximately 8.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in the state, more than 59% of Michiganders ages 16 and over have received at least one dose. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 890,000 cases of the disease had been confirmed as of June 3. 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.

MIOSHA Releases New Emergency Rules for Employers, MDHHS Updates Masking Order

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer May 24 announced updates to the COVID-19 emergency rules from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to guide employers as they allow employees to return to in-person work. She also announced an updated Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, effective June 1.

The updated MIOSHA COVID-19 emergency rules took effect May 24 and are set to expire Oct. 14, in accordance with the MI Vacc to Normal plan and recent health guidelines and orders. Because Michigan has vaccinated more than 55% of adults, the MIOSHA removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” The agency has also rescinded the draft permanent COVID-19 rules and canceled the public hearing that was scheduled for May 26.

The MIOSHA has updated other aspects of the emergency rules to reflect the recent order from the MDHHS and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rules include:

  • Excessive requirements for personal protective equipment use in the healthcare setting have been removed, along with all industry-specific references.
  • Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure unvaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.
  • Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules.
  • Of note for hospitals, the emergency rules state that “fully vaccinated persons must continue to wear face coverings when in the healthcare setting where patients may be present and when using airplane or public transportation if required by the latest CDC guidance.”
  • Employers must still screen all employees and contractors daily. However, the rules state that a record of health screenings must only be maintained for unvaccinated employees.
  • Employees must maintain six feet of separation only if unvaccinated.

The MHA has identified several areas of confusion with the new rule set and is seeking a frequently asked questions document from the MIOSHA for clarification. For example, although the rules require screening all employees regardless of vaccination status, they only require record-keeping for unvaccinated employees and contractors. The MHA will apprise members of any clarifications from the administration. Members with questions on the new rules may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

The updated MDHHS COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order eliminates outdoor capacity limits entirely and increases capacity for indoor social gatherings to 50%. Under the new order, which will be in effect from June 1 through July 1, masks will continue to be required indoors for individuals who are not yet vaccinated. MHA members are reminded that the MDHHS order regarding hospital visitation policies remains in effect. That order requires health screenings for visitors entering healthcare facilities, among other things.

MDHHS Cautions Providers Regarding False COVID-19 Vaccine Cards

The MDHHS distributed an alert May 27 urging healthcare providers to watch for false vaccine cards/records. The department has received reports of individuals selling false COVID-19 vaccination record cards that may be presented at provider offices, local health departments and other vaccination locations. It has also received reports of blank copies of the CDC COVID-19 Immunization Record cards in circulation, which provides opportunities for entering false information.

These activities make it even more important that providers verify an individual’s immunization status in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) prior to vaccine administration. Accessing the MCIR record ensures the correct immunization status is available and allows providers to verify whether the person has received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Out-of-state COVID-19 vaccination record cards should be reviewed for completeness and to ensure that the doses are accurate before entering the information into the MCIR.

Some important points to keep in mind while reviewing the COVID-19 vaccination record card include:

  • Review the record in the MCIR to compare immunization data.
  • Look for completeness of COVID-19 vaccine information.
  • Review vaccinator information.
  • Look for any abnormalities such as alterations to the text or documentation on the card.
  • If the vaccination location is listed on the vaccine record card, verify with the facility that the vaccine was administered there. The facility may wish to follow up with its legal counsel if it is determined to be a false record.
  • If given the opportunity, attempt to learn where the person obtained the card. Any false information found should be reported to local law enforcement.
  • If given the opportunity, make a copy of the card. When the COVID-19 vaccination record is handed to a COVID-19 vaccine provider, it becomes part of the medical appointment and, thus, part of the appointment documentation, including the potential falsification of immunization documentation.

All COVID-19 vaccine providers and medical professionals must report any false medical information as soon as possible. An FBI Public Service Announcement was issued in March alerting the public that selling false COVID-19 vaccination record cards is illegal.

The MDHHS also has related resources available in the MCIR:

Pfizer Vaccine Now Available in 450-Dose Minimum Orders

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now available in shipments of 450 doses, while the 1,170-dose shipment will continue to be available. Both options were expected to be available for Michigan COVID-19 vaccine providers to order through the MCIR by May 28.

Healthcare providers are encouraged to review the following information regarding the new 450-dose shipment quantities:

  • The new 450-dose packs include three trays of 25 vials each (75 vials total).
  • Vials will be shipped in the same thermal shipping container as the 1,170-dose orders and will include the same Controlant temperature monitor.
  • There will be no dry ice replenishment (shipped 24 hours after receipt) for the 450-dose pack.
  • The newly extended refrigerator storage temperatures should decrease the need for dry ice. Therefore, Pfizer asks that the thermal shipping containers and Controlant monitors be returned within 10 days. For storage and handling guidance, including the updated refrigerator storage timeframe, see the CDC’s Pfizer-BioNTech Storage & Handling Summary.
  • The Product Information Guide has been updated with this configuration, National Drug Code information, dimensions and more.

New ancillary kits have been created to support the 450-dose minimum order size. A complete list of the items in the kits is available on page 12 of the Product Information Guide.

Questions about these ordering guidelines and ancillary kits should be directed to the MDHHS immunizations team. Members with other vaccine questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

June 14 COVID-19 Summit to Review Mi-COVID19 Data Registry Findings

In continued partnership with the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium, the MHA and the Michigan Chapter of the Society for Critical Care Medicine will host a virtual COVID-19 Summit following up on the Mi-COVID19 webinar series. The COVID-19 Summit will be held virtually from 9 to 11 a.m. June 14.

This summit will share key findings and crucial lessons learned from the Mi-COVID19 data registry and review the current state of COVID-19 in Michigan. The MHA will lead a session dedicated to public policy in pandemics. More information is available in the event’s agenda.

Anyone involved with caring for patients with COVID-19 is welcome to attend. Registration for the COVID-19 Summit is available at no cost to MHA members. Questions about the event should be directed to Josh Suire at the MHA.

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).