Health Professionals

Welcome to the Health Professionals Page

Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH)’s up-to-date resources relevant for health professionals and their response to COVID-19 in Virginia. This page includes clinician’s letters, information on infection prevention, testing, specialty care, and other COVID-19 topics.

Thank you for your continued work to protect the health and well-being of all Virginians.

 

COVID-19 Hot Topics for Health Professionals

Hot Topics: January 2022

VDH COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Emergency Departments 
1/14/2022 - The current surge in COVID-19 infections has led to emergency department overcrowding and staff shortages that threaten patient safety. VDH developed a summary of infection prevention and control best practices for emergency departments.

Governor Northam declares Limited State of Emergency and Issues Executive Order 84
1/10/2022 - Governor Northam declared that a limited state of emergency exists in the Commonwealth of Virginia because of COVID-19 and issued Executive Order 84 to provide relief for hospitals and healthcare workers.

CDC Updates and Clarifies its Guidance on Shortened Isolation and Quarantine Periods
1/9/2022 - CDC updated guidance on isolation and quarantine for the general public. You can review these recommendations at the CDC Quarantine and Isolation web page or on VDH’s If You are Sick or Infected and If You Have Been Exposed web pages. You can also view the CDC media statement from 12/27/2021.

FDA authorizes and CDC recommends shortening the interval from completing the primary series of Moderna to administering a booster dose from 6 months to 5 months
1/7/2022: FDA authorized and CDC recommended that the interval between completing the primary series of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and administering a booster dose be shortened from at least six months to at least five months for all individuals aged 18 years or older.

FDA authorizes and CDC recommends booster doses for everyone 12 years or older. Everyone should stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. 
1/5/2022 - Following FDA’s revised emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on January 3, CDC updated recommendations for Pfizer booster doses.  Eligibility for a booster dose was extended to people aged 12 years or older. The interval from completing the Pfizer primary series and getting a booster dose was shortened to 5 months. An additional dose of Pfizer as part of the primary series is now recommended for moderately and severely immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years.

Previous Hot Topics: December 2021

DHHS Allocations of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments bamlanivimab and etesevimab together, etesevimab alone, and REGEN-COV Are Continuing for Use in Patients with Delta Variant Infections 
12/30/2021 - According to a recent DHHS announcement, “If the Delta variant of concern (VOC) still represents a significant proportion of infections in a region and other options are not available or are contraindicated, eligible patients can be offered bamlanivimab plus etesevimab or casirivimab plus imdevimab, with the understanding that these treatments would be ineffective if the patients are infected with the Omicron VOC. This concern can be mitigated if virus-specific diagnostic testing in a given patient indicates infection with the Omicron VOC is unlikely.”

CDC Describes Options to Address Omicron-Related Healthcare Provider Shortages
12/24/2021 - In preparation for potential surges of COVID-19 patients infected by the Omicron variant, CDC issued a new Health Advisory message and an updated guidance document describing options that would allow healthcare institutions to cope with staffing shortages due to COVID-19 exposures and infections among healthcare providers. Options include reducing quarantine periods for fully vaccinated and boosted staff and, in true crisis situations, allowing vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections to continue working in certain settings.

FDA Authorizes Additional Oral Antiviral to Treat COVID-19
12/23/21 - FDA authorized molnupiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate documented COVID-19 in adults who are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19 and for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. Molnupiravir is not authorized for use in patients younger than 18 years of age because it may affect bone and cartilage growth. Molnupiravir is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

FDA Authorizes the First Oral Antiviral to Treat COVID-19
12/22/2021 - FDA authorized the use of oral Paxlovid, a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets, to treat mild to moderate documented COVID-19 in adults and pediatric outpatients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg [88 pounds]) who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.

CDC Prefers mRNA COVID-19 vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
12/17/2021 - On December 16, CDC recommended mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for both primary and booster vaccination of those 18 years of age and older. On December 17, CDC updated its Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States to reflect this preference.

Recent Updates on the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2
12/14/2021 - The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has now been identified in multiple U.S. states, including Virginia. To learn more, please see CDC’s Omicron Variant: What You Need to KnowScience Brief: Omicron, and the December 10 MMWR on Omicron

Pfizer-BioNTech boosters authorized and recommended for 16 and 17 year olds 
12/9/2021 - FDA authorized and CDC recommended the use of a single booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 16 and 17 year olds at least six months after completion of their primary series. 

FDA authorizes AstraZeneca’s Evusheld for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis of COVID-19
12/8/2021 - FDA authorized AstraZeneca’s Evusheld monoclonal antibody combination of tixagevimab and cilgavimab for pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention) of COVID-19 in certain immunocompromised but uninfected adults and children (12 years or older weighing at least 40 kg [about 88 lbs]). This product can also be used for people who for some reason (e.g., allergy to a vaccine component) are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.   

CDC Science Brief on benefits of masking
12/6/2021 - A CDC Science Brief updated the data and discussion about the community-level benefits of masking to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Resources

Page Last Updated: January 14, 2022