Last-Minute Lowdown: COVID-19 Resources from CDC, CMS, and Quality Insights

Welcome to the Last-Minute Lowdown! This weekly e-bulletin provides a summary of the week’s news and resources specific to immunizations, long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, a recording of our weekly webinar offering and any questions addressed during our weekly office hours.

Register and Attend Our Upcoming Webinar and Office Hours Next Week
Weekly Topic: Updates to COVID-19 Guidelines for Nursing Home Visitation & Testing. Ask your questions during open office hours and learn more during our weekly webinar.

Office Hours (now using a new live-chat platform instead of Zoom):


CDC Resources 

CDC campaign aims to raise awareness of TB amid COVID-19

Preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week show that reported tuberculosis (TB) disease diagnoses fell in 2020 and 2021. The CDC said the decline may be due to missed TB diagnoses amid the pandemic, and is campaigning to raise awareness of TB.

The CDC’s preliminary data show TB diagnoses fell 20% in 2020 and remained 13% lower in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels. The CDC said the decline may be due to the following: 

  • efforts to prevent COVID-19, such as wearing masks, may have also reduced the spread of TB
  • disruptions to health care services during the pandemic may have delayed TB diagnoses and/or strained public health services from focusing on prevention and control of TB
  • similarities in symptoms between COVID-19 and TB may have led to missed TB diagnoses

The CDC has renewed efforts to raise awareness of tuberculosis with the Think. Test. Treat TB campaign. The website serves as a one-stop hub with resources to help inform and guide conversations between patients and providers, as well as additional materials to communicate latent TB infection information.

  • Click here to read the full CDC news release.
  • Click here to download patient and health care provider education materials on TB.

 ACIP updates vaccine recommendations and guidelines
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has made updates to its General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization.

In the Timing and Spacing of Immunobiologics section, a new table has been added highlighting categories of vaccines. There are four categories: live; live-attenuated; non-live; and non-replicating. The guidance says to check renumbering if you’ve exported stand-alone documents.Click here to download the updated section. Click here to go straight to the revised page.In the Contraindications and Precautions section, information has been added specifying that the dengue vaccine should be used only in persons in endemic areas who have evidence of prior infection with dengue virus. Additionally, “Lack of laboratory evidence of previous dengue infection” has been added as a contraindication to dengue vaccine. Click here to download the updated section. Click here to go straight to the revised page.  AAP issues report on trends of vaccinations for US children
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a report drawing on data recently released by the CDC.

The CDC studied children and adolescents ages 5 to 15 who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Its report found the vaccinations resulted in a reduced risk of Omicron infection. 

The AAP used the data obtained by the CDC to issue its own report on the trends of COVID-19 vaccinations for U.S. children.Click here to read the full report. Click here to read the AAP’s key findings from the report.
CMS Resources
CMS makes updates to QSO guidelines
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made updates to its QSO-20-38-NH and QSO-20-39-NH guidelines. Revisions include: adoption of “up-to-date” vaccination languageclarified preference for antigen test if health care personnel/residents are tested within 90 days of prior infection (in general, testing is not necessary if asymptomatic)clarified that visitors should meet the same requirements as residents for ending quarantine/isolation before entering the facility (facilities should screen all who enter for these visitation exclusions)Download the revised guidelines by clicking the links below. Updates are colored red:QSO-20-38-NHQSO-20-39-NH

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