CDC representatives provide information on distribution of PPE, testing criteria and availability, and guidelines for practicing physicians.
On March 26, the AOA hosted a webinar featuring an update from CDC representatives Elliot Raizes, MD, and Susanna Visser, MS, DrPH, regarding the current status of COVID-19. The update, linked below, includes information on:
View slides for this webinar, and read highlights below.
Clinicians with COVID-19 questions can call the CDC COVID-19 clinician call center at 770-488-7100. The helpline is staffed by clinicians 24/7.
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) manages the strategic national stockpile of PPE, and they are currently working to distribute as much PPE as they have, said Susanna Visser, MS, DrPH, CDC associate director for policy in the division of vector-borne diseases.
They are experiencing a shortage in equipment currently, but they are working every supply chain avenue available to them to obtain more PPE and distribute it to states, where it will then be distributed to hospitals and state and local public health authorities and others, she noted.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stepped in last week to help with PPE distribution, a development that will help the government distribute PPE more quickly, Dr. Visser noted. FEMA also has a coordinated donation mailbox and sales website for those who have PPE and are trying to contribute it.
The CDC has detailed strategies for optimizing a limited supply of PPE.
The U.S. currently does not have enough tests to allow for on-demand testing, said Elliot Raizes, MD, CDC medical officer.
“The decision has been made at the national level to prioritize testing people with moderate and severe symptoms as well as health care workers and people at higher risk for adverse outcomes, such as people with comorbidities and those over 65,” Dr. Raizes said.
However, some areas have a greater availability of tests and different guidelines for testing, so physicians should familiarize themselves with the local guidelines in their area, he notes.
For physicians with ambulatory practices, the CDC is recommending the following to reduce community spread of the disease and reduce the risk of health care professionals contracting the disease.
Although a research group has hypothesized that ACE inhibitors, such as those used for high blood pressure, may increase the severity of COVID-19 infection or the risk of contracting it, there is currently no data demonstrating adverse outcomes in patients that can be attributed to ACE inhibitors, said Dr. Raizes.
The medical community has also raised concerns about nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs potentially causing more severe disease in COVID-19 patients. “At this time, there is no evidence to support changing the use of NSAIDs due to risk of COVID-19,” Dr. Raizes said, noting that goverment agencies around the world are continuing to monitor the situation for new information.
As far as treatment is concerned, while numerous clinical trials are underway, as of now there is no proven treatment for COVID-19 nor proven pharmaceutical interventions for prevention of COVID-19, Dr. Raizes said.