Precautions for COVID-19


Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.

Reduce facility risk. Cancel elective procedures, use telemedicine when possible, limit points of entry and manage visitors, screen everyone entering the facility for COVID-19 symptoms, implement source control for everyone entering the facility, regardless of symptoms.

Isolate symptomatic patients as soon as possible. Set up separate, well-ventilated triage areas, place patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in private rooms with the door closed and with private bathrooms (as possible). Reserve AIIRs for patients with COVID-19 undergoing aerosol generating procedures and for care of patients with pathogens transmitted by the airborne route (e.g., tuberculosis, measles, varicella).

Protect healthcare personnel. Emphasize hand hygiene, install barriers to limit contact with patients at triage, cohort patients with COVID-19, limit the numbers of staff providing their care, prioritize respirators for aerosol generating procedures.

Minimize Chance for Exposures:

Ensure facility policies and practices are in place to minimize exposures to respiratory pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Measures should be implemented before patient arrival, upon arrival, throughout the duration of the patient’s visit, and until the patient’s room is cleaned and disinfected. It is particularly important to protect individuals at increased risk for adverse outcomes from COVID-19 (e.g., older individuals with comorbid conditions), including HCP who are in a recognized risk category.

Universal Source Control:

Continued community transmission has increased the number of individuals potentially exposed to and infectious with SARS-CoV-2. Fever and symptom screening have proven to be relatively ineffective in identifying all infected individuals, including HCP. Symptom screening also will not identify individuals who are infected but otherwise asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic; additional interventions are needed to limit the unrecognized introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into healthcare settings by these individuals. As part of aggressive source control measures, healthcare facilities should consider implementing policies requiring everyone entering the facility to wear a cloth face covering (if tolerated) while in the building, regardless of symptoms. This approach is consistent with a recommendation to the general public advising them to wear a cloth face covering whenever they must leave their home.

Patient and Visitors:

Patients and visitors should, ideally, be wearing their own cloth face covering upon arrival to the facility. If not, they should be offered a facemask or cloth face covering as supplies allow, which should be worn while they are in the facility (if tolerated). They should also be instructed that if they must touch or adjust their cloth face covering they should perform hand hygiene immediately before and after. Facemasks and cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Patients may remove their cloth face covering when in their rooms but should put them back on when leaving their room or when others (e.g., HCP, visitors) enter the room. Screening for symptoms and appropriate triage, evaluation, and isolation of individuals who report symptoms should still occur.

Healthcare Personnel:

As part of source control efforts, HCP should wear a facemask at all times while they are in the healthcare facility. When available, facemasks are generally preferred over cloth face coverings for HCP as facemasks offer both source control and protection for the wearer against exposure to splashes and sprays of infectious material from others. If there are anticipated shortages of facemasks, facemasks should be prioritized for HCP and then for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 (as supply allows). Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn instead of a respirator or facemask if more than source control is required.

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