December 9 – 15, 2019




1. Regional Coalition Meeting

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition will hold its monthly meeting Thursday December 12 beginning at 10:30 am. The agenda, the November meeting minutes, and the conference dial-in information will be sent to the routine attendees on the Tuesday prior to the meeting. The meeting will be held via our Ring Central conference call line.

2. Save the Dates

Upcoming training and conferences:

The Coalition will host a Basic Disaster Life Support course December 10, 2019 in Harrisonburg, VA. Please contact our Exercise and Training Coordinator Matt Cronin to register.

Questions regarding upcoming training, please contact our Exercise and Training Coordinator, Matt Cronin. 

3. Clinical Advisor

The Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition is seeking a part-time physician to serve as a clinical advisor. The job announcement can be found here. We ask healthcare organizational staff to please assist us by spreading the word about this open position. As part of our grant funding requirement, we must hire a physician before the next grant period begins.

4. Memorandum of Understanding

We are pleased to announce that the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition continues to receive requests to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the coalition and non-hospital facilities. The MOU is designed for healthcare facilities that are not classified as an Acute Care or Critical Access hospital, and it is good for five (5) years before it will need to be renewed. If your organization resides within the Northwest Region and you have not signed the MOU, you can contact either the Regional Coordinator or the Medically Vulnerable Populations Coordinator to find out more details.

We are expanding our outreach to healthcare agencies within the region as a way of offering assistance to you and your organization. We ask for everyone’s help to spread the word by talking with your colleagues about the Northwest Region Healthcare Coalition. You can contact us by clicking the Contact Us tab on our website.

Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Credit:

Virginia Department of Health

Virginia Department of Health Weekly Influenza Activity Report

The Virginia Department of Health monitors the level of activity of influenza-like illness (ILI) each week from October through May. Those are the months when influenza (“flu”) is most likely to occur in Virginia, and that time period is referred to as the “flu season”.

Data Sources:
The Virginia Department of Health uses a number of different data sources to determine the level of flu activity that is occurring each week during flu season. The main data sources that are used to make the weekly flu activity level determination are:

  • laboratory reports
  • outbreak reports, and
  • data on visits to hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers for flu-like illness.

Flu Activity Levels:
Flu surveillance is not designed to count every person who has the disease. That would be nearly impossible because not all people with the disease are diagnosed by a physician and even fewer have their illness confirmed by a laboratory test.

Instead, VDH monitors changes in flu activity from week to week in each of the five health planning regions to look for increases compared to a baseline period. Activity is based on illness complaints that lead people to seek care in a hospital emergency department or urgent care center. Flu-like illness is defined as a fever along with a cough and/or a sore throat.

To view the weekly report, click here.


Health & Human Services

 Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response


Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resource,                                                                                                           Assistance Center, and Information Exchange

Hospital Preparedness Program




The Healthcare and Public Health Sector Highlights

The HPH Sector Highlights – Preparedness, Resilience, and Response Edition is a weekly email produced by the HHS ASPR Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) on behalf of the HPH Sector Partnership. It provides updates on healthcare and public health critical infrastructure resources, tools and events related to preparedness, resilience, and response.

Cybersecurity Edition Week of December 6, 2019

  • Ransomware Resources for Home Health and Hospice Organizations
  • Upcoming HC3 Webinar on Supply Chain Risk Management
  • NIST Seeking Input on Updates to NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework
  • NIST Special Publication
  • Caller Poses as CISA Rep in Extortion Scam
  • ISC Releases Security Advisory for BIND

Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Update: Demographic, Product, and Substance-Use Characteristics of Hospitalized Patient in a Nationwide Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injuries-United States, December 2019

This report updates the characteristics of hospitalized EVALI patients, as well as those who died, and provides the first national data on the number and diversity of THC-containing products used. Among hospitalized EVALI patients as of December 3, 2019, the age, sex, and race distributions were similar to those reported previously (13), with a predominance of patients being young adults, male, and white. The persistent decline in number of cases reported each week since mid-September, coupled with the declining percentage of recent cases reported, suggest that the outbreak may have peaked around September 15. However, states continue to report new cases, including deaths, to CDC on a weekly basis. Therefore, this investigation remains ongoing, and it is important for states to remain vigilant with EVALI case finding and reporting.

Based on findings to date, CDC recommends that persons not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, especially those acquired from informal sources like friends, family members, or in-person or online dealers. In addition, persons should not add any other substances to products not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments. Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarette, or vaping, products. However, although it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI, many substances and product sources are being investigated, and there might be more than one cause.

Read More »

Source: Lozier MJ, Wallace B, Anderson K, et al. Update: Demographic, Product, and Substance-Use Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients in a Nationwide Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use–Associated Lung Injuries — United States, December 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 6 December 2019. DOI:

Credit: U.S. Food & Drug


Credit: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


         U.S. Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agency


Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Course Offerings

L954 All Hazards Position Specific Safety Officer course is scheduled for December 16-19, 2019. Please see the flyer for additional details.

L954 Course Announcement Manassas Park

G0205 Recovery from Disaster: The Local Community Role course is scheduled for February 10-11, 2020. Please see the flyer for additional details.

G205 Course Announcement Stafford 2020

1. Why Licenses at risk for nursing homes without emergency generators, official proclaims for Florida [sic]

Long-term care facilities in Florida that have yet to install permanent or temporary generators under new emergency preparedness requirements could lose their licenses, according to the head of the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. 

Florida providers are now required to have emergency generators and access to backup power under new emergency power plan regulations following 2017’s Hurricane Irma and the death of 12 residents. In September, Mayhew urged providers to get in compliance with the new law and stated that she would be “reluctant” to approve any variances beyond 2019. 

Most in compliance

The Florida Health Care Association noted that “the overwhelming majority” — or more than 82% — of the state’s nursing homes are in compliance with the generator requirements. 

Read More »

Source: Danielle Brown of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

2. The Effects of Ransomware Don’t End with the Ransom (Free Webinar)

The AHA Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. ET will host a webinar on which John Riggi, AHA senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk, will share an overview of cybersecurity. In addition, Erich Kron, security awareness advocate for KnowBe4, a security awareness training platform, will cover some of the emerging trends in ransomware. Learn about the recent highly targeted attack vectors and what you can do to prepare before an attack. View more information and register 

Source: American Hospital Association

3. National healthcare workplace violence legislation moves forward

Workplace violence against healthcare workers is an issue that’s getting well-deserved attention.

The reports 50% of workplace assault victims Occupational Safety and Health Administration are employed in the healthcare industry, and between 2002 to 2013 serious workplace violence incidents were four times more likely to occur to a healthcare worker compared to all other workers in the United States.

Now the safety of healthcare workers is being addressed through legislation. On Nov. 11, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Act of 2019. The bill, which passed by a 251-158 vote, ensures that healthcare and social service employers, including hospitals, take specific steps to prevent workplace violence and ensure the safety of patients and workers. H.R. 1309 directs the Secretary of Labor to require these employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans that are worker-driven and comprehensive.

The Emergency Nurses Association backed the bill.

Read More »

Source: Jennifer Thew of Hospital Safety Insider

4. Joint Commission clarifies ligature risk requirements

In a new blog post, The Joint Commission (TJC) clarified its new ligature risk requirements regarding common patient room items and fixtures.

In the blog post, TJC explained that it does not require the:

  • Removal of bathroom doors
  • Use of paper gowns
  • Removal of all artwork from walls
  • Removal of televisions or remote controls
  • Specific types of sheets, comforters or blankets that can or cannot be used
  • Above-door sensors/alarms

While TJC asks facilities to create their own policies on searching patient belongings, the accreditor doesn’t specify a list of items that can or can’t be brought into a unit—that’s up to the facility. Nor does it say what items need to be searched when brought into a medical unit.

Read More »

Source: Hospital Safety Insider

5. Worldwide measles deaths surge, reversing years of progress

More than 140,000 people around the world died of measles last year, most of them children under the age of 5, according to a report published by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday.

This year is shaping up to be even worse, as deadly outbreaks continued to sweep the globe in 2019. As of mid-November, the number of measles cases countries reported to WHO was three times higher than the number of cases reported at this time last year.

Read More »

Source: Erin Schumaker of ABCNEWS

6. Half of EDs aren’t fully equipped to treat emergency pediatric patients – 6 steps to enhance emergency care for children

When it comes to medical care, children are not just “little adults.” The field of Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) requires specialized knowledge, training and experience to effectively care for infants, children and adolescents.

In a study published from the US News & World Report in August 2019, researchers found critically ill children to be more than three times as likely to die if they are taken to a hospital poorly equipped to provide emergency pediatric care than if they visit an emergency department well-prepared for resuscitation of pediatric patients.

This whitepaper explores how PEM differs from adult emergency medicine and offers tips for hospital leaders to build, grow or strengthen their PEM service.

Read More »

Source: Erin Schumaker of ABCNEWS

7. Flu season arrives early, driven by an unexpected virus

The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years.

An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there’s a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.

The last flu season to rev up this early was in 2003-2004 — a bad one. Some experts think the early start may mean a lot of suffering is in store, but others say it’s too early to tell.

“It really depends on what viruses are circulating. There’s not a predictable trend as far as if it’s early it’s going to be more severe, or later, less severe,” said Scott Epperson, who tracks flu-like illnesses for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read More »

Source: CNBC Health and Science

8. Opioid overdoes in Northern Shenandoah Valley spike

Six opioid overdoses have been reported by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force since Tuesday – one of them fatal.

This after no overdoses were reported between November 22 and December 2. A spike such as this in overdoses indicates that the
heroin being sold and used in the community is highly potent and more likely to cause an overdose.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition (NSVSAC) is urging family and friends of people who use opioids to carry naloxone and to know the signs of an overdose.

On Tuesday, a female overdosed in Frederick County and died a day later. On Wednesday, a non-fatal overdose was reported in Winchester and on Thursday, non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick and Clarke Counties.

On Saturday, two non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick County. This latest overdose increase brings the total number of lives lost to an opioid overdose in 2019 to 27 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley (City of Winchester and Counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Page, and Warren).

Read More »

Source: WHSV Newsroom