LAC DPH Health Alert: Preserving Critical Supplies and Resources; New COVID-19 Mortality Reporting March 25, 2020 COVID-19, LA County, Medical Supplies, PPE, Public Health 53 This message is intended for all healthcare providers practicing in Los Angeles County. Please distribute as appropriate. Key Messages Preserve critical supplies and resources • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) is asking all health care providers and facilities to implement measures to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies now. National and local shortages of PPE are being reported as are constraints on laboratory tests and resources. This health alert outlines important actions to preserve critical supplies including reducing non-essential COVID-19 testing; discontinuing nonessential appointments, procedures, and clinics; and following CDC contingency strategies for optimizing PPE. • Providers should continue to follow the focused testing recommendations outlined in the March 19 LAHAN. In particular, healthcare providers are urged to refrain from testing patients with mild symptoms who can be managed at home. Asymptomatic patients should not be tested. Hospitals experiencing significant delays in COVID-19 test results may request testing through the DPH Public Health Lab (PHL) for patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) (see below). • Facemasks are no longer required for the remainder of the 2019-2020 influenza season (for unvaccinated healthcare personnel), as sentinel influenza surveillance data indicates that the current season has ended (defined as <5% of respiratory specimens are testing positive for influenza). (See DPH Rescission of the Health Office Order for Annual Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Personnel or Masking During the Influenza Season). • Refer patients to hospital emergency departments (EDs) if there is a clinical indication to do so. Patients with mild illness suggestive of COVID-19 who could otherwise be managed outside of an ED should not be sent to EDs for the sole purpose of specimen collection. Skilled nursing facilities and long term care facilities should develop procedures for collecting and sending specimens for COVID-19 testing, see revised Guidance for Managing COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities (3-23-20). New healthcare provider reporting • Provider reporting requirements have been revised to include COVID-19 associated deaths which must be reported by hospitals immediately. All other cases must be reported within a day of positive laboratory results. (see Reporting below). Read report pages 2-5 here.