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Background: On March 30, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state is temporarily rescinding RCW 70.41.430, which mandates that hospitals perform MRSA surveillance of high-risk groups and implement appropriate infection control precautions.

Rationale: Several studies have supported the use of standard precautions as appropriate protection in the care of colonized patients with MRSA and VRE. Moving to standard precautions for these patients also supports our PPE conservation strategies.

Effective today, UW Medicine will implement the following changes to current MRSA and VRE Infection Precaution Policy:

  • Routine sampling of surveillance cultures for MRSA and VRE inpatients will stop.
  • Patients with a history of MRSA or VRE and no sign of current infection will be cleared from isolation precautions by Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
  • Patients with wounds or active infections will be reviewed by Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and be considered for discontinuation of precautions.
  • OR patients will continue to be screened pre-operatively for prophylaxis antibiotic selection. Post-operatively, patients will be subject to same criteria as above.

The following policies will not change:

  • Verbal screening for MRSA on admit will continue.
  • Patients with a history of MRSA and an existing wound should remain in isolation and will be reviewed by infection prevention during daytime hours.
  • Isolation precautions for multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), C. difficile, and other illnesses will continue without change.