WHA has been monitoring the evolving situation with coronavirus (COVID-19). The February 25, 2020 CDC update noted that although the risk to the U.S. population is still currently assessed as low (the Wisconsin Department of Health Services notes the same for Wisconsin citizens), CDC’s update also said “it’s important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic.”
At the state level, Wisconsin’s DHS is airing a special webinar Friday morning (tomorrow) at 7 a.m. for the latest information on COVID-19. Interested parties can join the webinar at this link: https://livestream.com/accounts/14059632/events/9016549. A recording of the webinar will be available afterward at the same link.
DHS has also asked WHA for assistance in publicizing an upcoming launch of a special email subscription service that clinicians can join to receive the latest COVID-19 information. Stay tuned to future WHA communications for details on how to sign up once that service is launched.
This new CDC assessment has brought a heightened awareness not just to prevention efforts, like obtaining a timely and accurate travel and exposure history, but a new and intense focus on preparedness. WHA remains in contact with Wisconsin’s DHS and WHA members about coronavirus and is aware of concerns arising about personal protective equipment (PPE) supply shortages – in particular N95 respirator masks and procedural masks. WHA is currently surveying members to gauge the severity of the concern and will share this information with DHS and others.
The FDA, CDC and DHS are aware of the challenges hospitals and health systems face and are offering guidance for health care providers. DHS and CDC provide a multitude of resources at the DHS Outbreaks webpage and in the CDC Weekly Report. The WisconsinEye media service also recently released an informational Flu and Coronavirus in Wisconsin interview with two DHS medical professionals: Tom Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist and DHS CMO Ryan Westergaard, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Resources specific to PPE can be found at:
Wisconsin hospitals and health systems stand ready to protect our patients, our workforce and our communities, and WHA is committed to working with our members and public health leaders to support their efforts.
WHA will remain in close contact with DHS and provide updates when new or important information becomes available. Contact WHA Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk if you have questions, suggestions or feedback.