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COVID-19 Update | December 30, 2020
Important Highlights
SUMMARY: Key Provisions of the FY 2021 and Coronavirus Funding Bill 
On December 27, President Trump signed into law a sweeping federal funding package. The bills provide funding for the federal government for the remainder of FY2021 as well as emergency supplemental funding for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Below is a high-level summary of key provisions in the bill. SHEA will develop a more detailed analysis to be provided to members at a later date. 
 
Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Provisions 
  • NIH. $42.9 billion, an increase of $1.25 billion over the 2020 level. 
  • CDC. $7.9 billion, an increase of $125 million, including an $856 million transfer from the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. 
  • AHRQ. $338 million, the same as fiscal year 2020.
Health Care Items in the COVID Package (The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act)  
  • Provider Relief Fund. $3 billion (much lower than initially designated) along with direction to CMS to allocate at least 85% of funds that have already been appropriated but not distributed using an application-based portal for financial losses incurred in 2020. 
  • Vaccine Development and Approval. $55 million to the FDA.  
  • Public Health Agency Vaccination Efforts. $8.75 billion to the CDC. 
  • Vaccine Procurement. $23 billion for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). 
  • Testing and Contact Tracing. $22.4 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. 
  • Research and Clinical Trials re Long-Term Effects of COVID. $1.25 billion to the NIH. 
  • Mental Health. $4.25 billion to SAMHSA. 
  • Early Childhood Programs and Child Care Providers. $10.25 billion to the Administration for Children and Families.
Public Health Provisions  
  • Authorization of a national campaign to increase awareness of the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. 
  • Reauthorizes the School-Based Health Centers program through 2026. 
Medicare Policies 
  • Increase in quality measures for skilled nursing facilities 
Technical Guidance, Standards and Resources
Vaccines
 
MMWRs
 
Testing and Cases 
*UPDATE* Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for COVID-19 (CDC) 
Clarification on the use of sterile swabs for upper respiratory specimen collection to preserve patient safety and specimen integrity. 
 
New Variant of Virus that Causes COVID-19 Detected (CDC) 
 
PPE
 
Research
Research and Resources Development Funding Opportunities
Request for Proposals: Safe Healthcare, Epidemiology, and Prevention Research Development (SHEPheRD)
This solicitation is open and in effect from December 23, 2020 through March 3, 2021 @ 2:00PM EST.
Information for Patients, Visitors, and the General Public
Event Announcements
COVID-19 Vaccines: Update on Allergic Reactions, Contraindications, and Precautions (CDC COCA) 
Wed., Dec. 30, 2 PM – 3 PM ET
Clinicians will give an overview of recommendations for use of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations. Clinicians will learn more about the recent reports of anaphylaxis following vaccination, as well as CDC’s updated clinical considerations around contraindications and precautions to vaccination. 
 
Johns Hopkins launches two free courses on COVID-19 best practices for assisted living and senior housing communities 
The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Training Initiative has released two free courses designed for assisted living and senior housing communities on COVID-19 response strategies. These courses provide a central platform for assisted living administrators and senior housing owners and managers to learn how to develop and implement a comprehensive health emergency response. The self-paced courses consist of lectures, guest interviews, reading resources, and assignments for learners to acquire immediate takeaways to actively change their community's policies and implement lessons from the assignments to keep residents and staff safe. Courses are available on Coursera.org:  
Strategies for Assisted Living Communities during COVID-19   
Strategies for Senior Housing Communities during COVID-19 
Trade Press, Journal Articles and White Papers
SHEA Education and Events
Converse & Convene: Navigating the Multitude of Guidelines for Key Activities 
Join us on Friday, January 8th from 11 am-12 pm ET for a moderated discussion with Marci Drees and David Weber. Participants will gain greater insights from both small and large group discussions. This event is not recorded so attendees are able to speak freely and candidly on the topic. This event is restricted to SHEA members only. Register today!
 
SHEA Podcast Series: We’re All in this Together: COVID-19 Allies in Infection Prevention  
This series focuses on the collaborative efforts and opportunities for different disciplines to address and confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Access the full podcast series on LearningCE.
 
SHEA Rapid Response Podcast: COVID-19 Update: What We Know Now 
Each episode provides COVID-19 news and guidance updates, relevant medical literature, and a discussion around a specific COVID-19 topic. Access the full podcast series on LearningCE. Tune in to the newest episodes on SoundCloud:  
SHEA Rapid Response Webinars  
Access on LearningCE  
  • Implementation of Electronic Case Reporting (eCR) for COVID-19 
  • Healthcare Facility Outbreak Preparedness  
  • SHEA COVID-19 Town Halls 1-35 
  • SHEA COVID-19 Town Hall, Round 36: Sunday, January 3 | 3:00 pm ET
    REGISTER HERE
Tools and resources include a quick implementation guide that includes a 7-worksheet Excel file with self-populating worksheets to apply implementation concepts and approaches by SHEA members to individual circumstances, and more. 
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