Reducing the Transmission of COVID-19
Posted Thursday, April 2, 2020
- If admitted, place a patient with symptoms or confirmed positive COVID-19 in a single-person room with the door closed. The patient should have a dedicated bathroom.
- Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs) should be reserved for patients who will be undergoing aerosol-generating procedures
- As a measure to limit HCP (Health care personnel) exposure and conserve PPE, facilities could consider designating entire units within the facility, with dedicated HCP, to care for known or suspected COVID-19 patients. Dedicated means that HCP are assigned to care only for these patients during their shift.
- Determine how staffing needs will be met as the number of patients with known or suspected COVID-19 increases and HCP become ill and are excluded from work.
- It might not be possible to distinguish patients who have COVID-19 from patients with other respiratory viruses. As such, patients with different respiratory pathogens will likely be housed on the same unit. However, only patients with the same respiratory pathogen may be housed in the same room. For example, a patient with COVID-19 should not be housed in the same room as a patient with an undiagnosed respiratory infection.
- During times of limited access to respirators or facemasks, facilities could consider having HCP remove only gloves and gowns (if used) and perform hand hygiene between patients with the same diagnosis (e.g., confirmed COVID-19) while continuing to wear the same eye protection and respirator or facemask (i.e., extended use). Risk of transmission from eye protection and facemasks during extended use is expected to be very low.
- HCP must take care not to touch their eye protection and respirator or facemask
- Eye protection and the respirator or facemask should be removed, and hand hygiene performed if they become damaged or soiled and when leaving the unit.
- Limit transport and movement of the patient outside of the room to medically essential purposes.
- Consider providing portable x-ray equipment in patient cohort areas to reduce the need for patient transport.
- To the extent possible, patients with known or suspected COVID-19 should be housed in the same room for the duration of their stay in the facility (e.g., minimize room transfers).
- Patients should wear a facemask to contain secretions during transport. If patients cannot tolerate a facemask or one is not available, they should use tissues to cover their mouth and nose.
- Personnel entering the room should use PPE as described above.
- Whenever possible, perform procedures/tests in the patient’s room.
- Once the patient has been discharged or transferred, HCP, including environmental services personnel, should refrain from entering the vacated room until sufficient time has elapsed for enough air changes to remove potentially infectious particles (more information on clearance rates under differing ventilation conditions is available). After this time has elapsed, the room should undergo appropriate cleaning and surface disinfection before it is returned to routine use.