COVID 19: New and Updated Information and Resources
NJAASC has curated authoritative information and a list of resources for our Membership’s reference. We will continue to update this as more information becomes available.
 
PAST COVID E-BLAST HAVE BEEN ARCHIVED DUE TO SPACE RESTRAINTS AND TO KEEP THINGS CURRENT.
 
TO VIEW PREVIOUS E-BLASTS, CLICK HERE


TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW! – 7/23/20
 
Governor and Commissioner acknowledged that there is a problem with turnaround times on COVID test results.
The Governor flatly stated: ‘the turn around sucks’
 
 
As you know NJAASC sent a letter to the Commissioner the other week about this very problem. 
The Department and Governor’s office are working on it and are using one of our suggestions for a solution as the basis for a revised ASC testing ED.
 
You can expect a revised ED about testing in the very near future.
 

Q&A FROM THE DEPARTMENT - 7/23/20
Again, maybe I'm confused but the ED is the ED!
 
1) There is no requirement to retest someone who has had a positive test in the last 6 weeks.
 
2) The ED doesn't require a prolonged turn over time unless the patients COVID status is unknown. 
 
3) Answered in previous email: The ED doesn’t require anything specific for Endo or General. But remember that existing regulations still apply.
 
I suggest referring this question back to their LSC and IC consultant. 
The ED requires appropriate air exchanges when a time sensitive case is completed on a patient with unknown COVID status.  
I could be misunderstanding the question. Air exchanges previously required by regulation have not been waived.
 
Stefanie Mozgai
Asst. Commissioner New Jersey Department of Health
Health Facility Survey and Field Operations

First:
Q:   I reviewed The revised ED and the ASC News from yesterday, Reviewing the memo and the CDC Guidelines referenced, it seems confusing, If we do not retest after a quarantine or self-isolation and depend on the word of the patient as directed are we then to do a case without evidence of a Negative PCR.
 If we do not have a negative PCR as directed by the governors ED , then we might be doing surgery on a COVID Patient.
We are then not complying with the mandate to do surgery on only non-Covid patients with a documented negative test.
 
 
 
Second:
Q:  Can you tell me if there is a DOH mandate regarding increased, or specified turnover time in OR r/t COVID (20 minutes)
I have read lots about this on ASCA website but nothing stating a requirement
 
 
 
Third:
Q: We were advised by our life safety & IC consultants that if doing a general anesthesia or an endo case that the air exchange grid must be followed, eg like if we have 20 air exchanges we must leave room vacant for 21 minutes after the case. We are hearing other facilities do not follow this process as per their consultants. Is there any word from DOH about this? Kindly advise.

MAKE SURE YOUR DOCTORS AND PATIENTS KNOW WHAT TYPE OF TEST FOR PRE-OP TESTING – 7/23/20
 
Please make certain that your patients and doctors know what TYPE of test needs to be performed for their pre-op COVID test.
Doctors cannot just send patients ‘for a test’, they must specify exactly what kind-per the ED.
And make sure they understand that they are to use the ASC ED, not the Hospital ED!
Indeed yesterday, I got a call from the director of a lab stating: ‘DOH says we can pre op test using Antigen test per guidelines’
Of course they sent along a copy of the HOSPITAL ED, and did not know that there was a separate one for ASCs!
 
So to avoid even more un necessary delays, you might want to consider sending your doctors a form outlining what can and cannot be used for pre-op testing, and also have them or you get that to patients.
 
‘Any specimen collection method (e.g. swab or saliva) is acceptable. The test performed by the laboratory should be for viral detection, with a preference for nucleic acid amplification test (such as PCR).’
 
‘Antibody tests, which determine whether or not antibodies (IgG, IgA, IgM etc) to COVID-19 are present MAY NOT be used to fulfill the requirements of the Directive.’
 
Antigen tests are NOT acceptable per the Directive. This has been stated in numerous COVID e-blasts from NJAASC, including the picture of the test! 
In addition, the Department opined on the reason for not allowing this test (also in a COVID e-blast from NJAASC 6/30/20):
‘The antigen test tends to have a higher false negative rate than the molecular (NAAT) test which makes it less optimal for testing asymptomatic individuals.’

Questions? Contact Jeff Shanton at  jshanton@jssurgctr.com