Contact/Droplet Precautions in Place in Response to Norovirus

There is an increased incidence of norovirus cases in our community, and Children’s is caring for more patients with this contagious gastrointestinal illness. Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to limit spread, all inpatient areas, with the exception of NICU, are required to implement contact/droplet precautions. The following precautions and actions are required, effective immediately:

  • GOWN & GLOVE: All staff members must wear a gown and gloves when entering a patient room. Gowns should be discarded and not reused in rooms.
  • MASKS: Change ear loop masks when you leave the room.
  • HANDWASHING: All staff members must wash their hands with soap and water when entering a room and when leaving a room. This is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.
  • SANITIZER DOES NOT KILL VIRUS: Do not use hand sanitizer (which does not kill the virus) before entering rooms and after leaving rooms. Hand sanitizer can be used by staff once they are in the room before in-room clinical activities, such as suctioning.
  • CLEANING: High-touch surfaces in the patient room must be wiped down with increased frequency using bleach wipes. Clean all common areas and patient care areas on the unit with bleach wipes (e.g. nursing stations, keyboards and mice, playrooms, break rooms).
  • MOVEMENT: Restrict off-unit therapies and testing as much as possible. Limit movement outside the room to what is medically necessary.

Norovirus Overview

Norovirus brings an abrupt onset of vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea. Acute diarrhea without vomiting may also occur. Symptoms last from 24 to 60 hours. Elderly, young and hospitalized patients may have an extended course of illness. Transmission may occur via fecal-oral-vomitus routes. Viral shedding starts before the onset of symptoms and peaks several days after exposure. Incubation is 12 to 48 hours.

Self-Monitor for Symptoms

Please continue to monitor for symptoms prior to coming to work just as we have for the last year with COVID-19. Pay close attention to symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you have any symptoms, please do not come to work! Please let your supervisor know if you have gastrointestinal symptoms. Please do not return to work until your symptoms have been completely gone for 48 hours.

Thank you for your caution and vigilance in preventing the spread of gastrointestinal illness and keeping our patients, families and team healthy. Please page Infection Prevention through the hospital operator with any questions.

Take Precautions to Address Current Norovirus Outbreak

Norovirus is currently prevalent in our community. Children’s is seeing several admissions related to this gastrointestinal illness. Infection Prevention is investigating a cluster of hospital-acquired norovirus infections.

Norovirus is an abrupt onset of vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea. Acute diarrhea without vomiting may also occur. Symptoms last from 24 to 60 hours. Elderly, young and hospitalized patients may have an extended course of illness. Transmission may occur via fecal-oral-vomitus routes. Viral shedding starts before the onset of symptoms and peaks several days after exposure. Incubation is 12 to 48 hours. Contact/droplet isolation is required. Do NOT discontinue isolation without verification from Infection Prevention. Hand wash with soap and water when exiting a patient’s room. Do NOT use hand sanitizer.

Read and follow these steps to prevent the spread to staff and patients

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine on Pause

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced it is temporarily suspending its administration of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision follows the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to pause on providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine nationwide until more investigation can be completed into six adverse events. The move comes after a Nebraska resident experienced a severe type of blood clot two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Approximately 6.8 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the U.S. While only six instances of this severe clotting event have been identified, the pause will allow a thorough review and investigation.

Children’s did not administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; however, providers should watch for symptoms, including severe headache, backache, new neurologic symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, petechiae (tiny red spots on the skin), or new or easy bruising. Providers should obtain platelet counts and screen for evidence of immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia and report any adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Recording System (VAERS). This condition is treatable, but doctors must know how to recognize it, how to report it and how to treat it.

View the official FDA-CDC release
Read Nebraska DHHS release
Read more

Children’s is First in Nebraska to Offer Low-Dose Radiation with 3D Imaging Technology

Children’s is the first and only hospital in Nebraska to offer low-dose radiation technology with 3D modeling capability with the EOS imaging system. EOS imaging provides precise 2D and 3D images using 50 to 85 percent less radiation than a standard X-Ray.

“At Children’s, we’re dedicated to safety and to serving our community,” said Brian Hasley, M.D., Pediatric Orthopedics. “Investing in innovative technology allows us to put the long-term interest of our patients first. EOS imaging offers many benefits to our patients, including substantially less radiation than existing X-ray equipment and better images of the entire spine and limbs in a standing position. The exam takes seconds and allows me to study the spine in 3D, so I can better classify and treat complex spine and skeletal issues and provide our patients with better outcomes.”

Developed based on Nobel Prize-winning research, EOS technology allows patients to receive a radiation dose that is up to 95 percent less than a standard CT scan. Reducing radiation is particularly beneficial for children who may require frequent imaging, to mitigate long-term cancer risks. Meanwhile, 3D models aid in educating patients and families, so they can make informed choices about their treatment options. 3D modeling also provides precise anatomical measurements, so Children’s pediatric orthopedic specialists are better able to diagnose, treat and monitor growing pediatric patients. For more information about imaging with the EOS system, please visit ChildrensOmaha.org/Orthopedics or EOS Imaging.

Q & A with Kody Moffatt, M.D.

In 2021, we are featuring content on physician-leaders to help the entire medical staff learn more about these colleagues.

  • Chief, Division of Pediatric Sports Medicine
  • Professor, Pediatrics & Orthopedics, University of Nebraska Medical Center

“If I can help keep young people active and on the right track, hopefully we can impact young lives in a positive way.”

Dr. Kody Moffatt brought his love of pediatrics and sports medicine together in 2013 when he helped launch Children’s Sports Medicine Program, a multidisciplinary service that has positioned Children’s as a regional leader in diagnosing and managing post-concussion recovery for children and teens.

What inspired you to pursue a career in sports medicine?
“Even as a kid, I was drawn to sports medicine. I found a role in high school as a student athletic trainer. I learned some skills, had some fun with it, made friends and was involved in sports. Then, I was a college student athletic trainer at UNL. I got to work with the track, baseball and football teams and really enjoyed it. After graduate school, I was an athletic trainer for eight or nine years.”

What led to the decision to attend medical school after those years working as an athletic trainer?
“I had worked in pro hockey for years and loved it, but I met my wife along the way and got married. There’s an old joke that the NHL stands for ‘no home life,’ and it was true. So, I had to rethink my life priorities, and I became a 30-year-old freshman in medical school.”

In 2013, after 10 years as a general pediatrician, you helped build Children’s Sports Medicine Program from the ground up. How did it feel being part of that process?
“It’s been challenging, but it’s also been fun putting together a multi-disciplinary team of people who have the same goal – helping children and adolescents obtain their dreams and goals. If those young people get sick or hurt along the way, it’s a matter of us treating them and trying to prevent future injury so they can accomplish their goals.”

What do you want Omaha area parents – and the community in general – to know about you?
“When it comes to my professional life and sports medicine, I see real value in young people participating in athletics. In addition to staying physically fit and physically active, which are important, athletes tend to get better grades and make better decisions when it comes to dating, alcohol and drugs compared to non-athletes. They’re also learning skills of teamwork, sportsmanship and how to win and lose with grace – those are important life lessons. If I can help keep young people active and on the right track, hopefully we can impact young lives in a positive way.” 

What can children and parents expect when they turn to the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s for treatment?
“Expect us to try to find a way to get their child competing again in their sport safely and as quickly as we can. A lot of young people are afraid to come to the doctor because they think we’re going to tell them to quit doing their sports. It’s really, really rare that we have to do that. What’s a lot more common is that we modify things either with rehab, bracing or taking a step back and looking at their mechanics – do they have some unusual movement pattern that’s setting them up to get hurt? We change those things and make them feel better. By doing that, we usually make them better at their sport, too. Our mindset is trying to keep people in their sport, and it’s very individualized.”

When you’re not at Children’s, what do you enjoy doing in your off-time?
“My wife and I both enjoy cooking, traveling (Ireland is a favorite destination) and socializing with friends and family. (The Moffatts have two children – a daughter, 24, and a son, 21.) We look forward to getting to travel and socialize again.

Technically Speaking: Email Forwarding to UNMC

Many of you have already noticed that since the Office 365 upgrade, email forwarding from Children’s to UNMC no longer works the way it used to—at least that’s what the HelpDesk tells me! Unfortunately, this is because UNMC has decided to stop accepting forwarded emails, even when those emails originate from Children’s. But if you know me, you know that I probably wouldn’t be bringing this up in a TechSpeak column if there wasn’t a fix.  So let’s get to it:

  1. Open your web browser of choice (I recommend Google Chrome).
  2. Navigate to https://www.office.com/.
  3. Select the orange “sign in” button and enter your Children’s email address (this should be the same as your Children’s network login, with @childrensomaha.org added to the end).
  4. Select the Outlook icon on the left side of the screen.
  5. Follow the instructions on the tip sheet.

If you follow this process and are still not receiving redirected Children’s emails in your UNMC inbox, please contact me, stdolter@ChildrensOmaha.org or the Children’s HelpDesk. Thanks for all you do!

Second Quarter Town Halls Next Week

Children’s second quarter Town Hall sessions are scheduled for next week. Everyone is invited and encouraged to send in questions to be addressed at the meetings. Please email your questions by Friday, April 16, to MyChildrens@Childrensomaha.org.

These quarterly sessions are a great way to hear from Children’s senior executives regarding the organization’s strategic initiatives and stay up-to-date on what’s happening throughout the organization. PLEASE NOTE: Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, these town hall meetings will be held remotely. Zoom meeting information is posted below. Do not go to the Glow Auditorium.

The second quarter Town Halls will be held at the following times:
Monday, April 19
8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Tuesday, April 20
6:15 – 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday, April 21
10 – 10:30 a.m.
Noon – 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 22
8 – 8:30 a.m.
3 – 3:30 p.m.
Friday, April 23
10:30 – 11 a.m.
12:30 – 1 p.m.
All town halls will use the same Zoom number, regardless of day/time:
https://childrensomaha.zoom.us/s/97778000393
Meeting ID: 977 7800 0393
Passcode: 799094

Pager System Antenna Upgrade

American Messaging Services (AMS), our pager vendor, recently completed a site survey of the hospital campus to ascertain whether construction of the Hubbard Tower has created any coverage gaps in our pager network. The signal strength within the hospital was measured at 90 percent of full strength. In order to improve coverage, AMS will be upgrading the antenna on the hospital roof.

The antenna upgrade will take place on April 16 between 10 and 10:30 a.m. During this 30-minute maintenance window, there will be a period of five minutes when the antenna is not broadcasting. Because pagers will continue to receive signals from surrounding transmitters, we do not anticipate a pager communication blackout.

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