Welcome to the WBD News Flash, your weekly highlight of HR benefits and healthcare news. Weekly, we will provide you with the top trending industry news stories in healthcare, human resources, legislation, benefits technology and administration, and more. Make the WBD News Flash your go to reference for current events!

“Game Changer” COVID-19 Saliva Test Approved

Over the weekend, the FDA authorized the emergency use of a new COVID-19 test developed by Yale School of Public Health, SalivaDirect. With rapid results and a less invasive process than the common nasal swab, the saliva test is yielding similar results. In fact, according to Yale, the test has detected mild infections when the nasal swab failed to catch it.

The speed, ease, and apparent reliability of this test has experts hopeful a major corner may be turned in the US’s fight against COVID-19. “This could be one of the first major game changers in fighting the pandemic,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, who was acting administrator of the CMS during the Obama administration.

PPE Shortages Could Persist Through 2022

As some workplaces start to use medical-grade PPE to get their businesses back to work, experts are warning that PPE shortages for medical professionals could last for several years. Carmela Coyle, CEP of the California Hospital Association, told the Guardian they’re seeing shortages of items which are now used in the public sector, like isolation gowns and face shields. “Any one piece that’s in shortage or not available creates risk for patients and for health care workers,” Coyle said.

With supply chains broken by the pandemic, factories may not be able to reach demand until mid-2021. The approach of flu season, upcoming vaccine efforts, and the demand for medical equipment in schools, restaurants, and other industries are all contributing to the ongoing shortage of medical supplies and PPE. “There’s going to be lots of other shortages we haven’t even thought about,” warns Cindy Juhas, chief strategy officer of health care product distributor CME.

CDC: No Immunity to Reinfection by COVID-19

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued updated guidance on a statement made earlier this month. On August 3rd, the CDC updated isolation guidance to suggest people can continue to test positive for as long as three months after a diagnosis, even after recovery, but not be infectious to others.

On Friday, the CDC issued a follow-up press release stating: “Contrary to media reporting today, this science does not imply a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the 3 months following infection.” Rather, the guidance simply states they will likely continue to test positive even if they are not infectious. The CDC maintains that the infectious period for most people with COVID-19 is no longer than ten days after symptoms begin in most people.

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