The two entities requiring routine TB screening of Health Care Personnel in California are Licensing and Certification and CalOSHA. Both have temporarily relaxed routine TB testing requirements to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 during the extended response. Our Health Care Personnel TB Screening resource page, located under “Guidance” on ctca.org, describes these posted changes. Though temporary, we are hopeful that at the end of the emergency response, we will come into agreement with national guidance.
Dr. Jennifer Flood, Chief of the California Department of Public Health TB Control Branch presented the 2019 California TB data, highlighting epidemiologic changes and recommending areas of focus to address the disparate impact of TB in the year ahead. And Dr. Jacek Skarbinski of Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, presented his Kaiser TB care cascade study and plan to increase IGRA testing and treatment of latent TB infection (LTBI) to prevent TB disease in their patient subpopulations at risk for developing TB disease.
TB Patient Peer Support Navigator, Jackie (she/her), will pilot a peer support outreach effort for CTCA in partnership with the San Diego County Tuberculosis Control and Refugee Health Program. An expert in her own experience with TB and fluent in Spanish and English, Jackie is eager to offer support to TB patients.
The CTCA Executive Committee made it their top priority to bring the California TB community together to focus on TB and connect with one another, during this extended emergency COVID-19 response.
While we focus on the new threat, an old one may be gaining strength. With medical providers focusing on COVID-19 and patients delaying care, infectious disease experts in California are concerned that TB is going undiagnosed. Concerns are growing that TB could be spreading among those with COVID-19, undetected. When HIV/AIDS emerged in the U.S., TB surged in those communities heavily impacted.