CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina has received $1.14 million dollars in federal funds aimed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in healthcare facilities.
The funds come from a new CDC program called “Project Firstline” which aims to strengthen the safety of patients and workers at healthcare settings.
DHEC officials say the initiative will bring infection control training to frontline staff in South Carolina across all disciplines (nurses, housekeepers, doctors, physical therapists, etc.) and types of healthcare facilities (acute care hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient settings, ambulatory surgery centers, etc).
The program entails new training for staff in hospitals, outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
“This will greatly increase our capacity across the state to respond to COVID-19 and other infections in healthcare settings,” said Dr. Abdoulaye Diedhiou, director of DHEC’s Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology.
According to state health officials, the supplemental funding will support infection prevention and control training which will allow DHEC to get additional infection control capacity across the state to address the growing demand, particularly from long-term care facilities.
In announcing the new program, the CDC said that “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed gaps in infection prevention and control knowledge and practice in healthcare settings nationwide.”
The federal agency also said that with the arrival of flu season it is critical that every healthcare worker “has the knowledge and the resources necessary to confidently apply the infection control principles and protocols needed to protect themselves, their facility, and their communities.”