- When providing direct care to patients with COVID-19 confirmed or patients with respiratory symptoms: medical mask, eye protection (goggles or face shield), gown and gloves.
- Examination of patients without respiratory symptoms: personal protective equipment (PPE) according to standard precautions and risk assessment. (2)
- Aerosol-generating procedures: respirators (N95 mask), eye protection, glove and gowns (if not fluid resistant, waterproof aprons must be worn) (1)
- Triage: First screening (for example, temperature measurement) with no direct contact: no PPE required. Keep 1 meter distance from patient.
Second screening (i.e. interview patients with fever and clinical symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and travel history): medical mask and gloves. (2)
- Registration desk at the ER or pharmacy: physical barriers (i.e. glass or plastic windows). (2)
- Ambulance when transporting suspected cases: medical mask, eye protection, gowns and gloves. (2)
- Restrict number of health care workers from entering the rooms and number of entries in rooms by gathering the activities as much as possible. A team of workers should be designated to provide cares exclusively to COVID-19 patients and suspected cases to reduce transmission risks. (2) Keep a record of people entering rooms of COVID-19 patients. (1)
- Use telemedicine if possible to evaluate suspected cases of COVID-19. (2)
- The same respirator can be worn for multiple patients who have the same diagnosis. Nonetheless, using one over 4 hours could lead to discomfort and should be avoided. (2)
- Duration of precautions: until patient is asymptomatic. More information about the mode of transmission is needed to decide if additional precautions are needed. (1)
This summarizes the guidelines from the WHO on infection prevention and control during health care and the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19. They were intended for health care workers, health care managers, those distributing and managing PPE, public health authorities, etc. The infection prevention and control strategies are similar to those presented for MERS based on the current knowledge and will be updated when new information is available.
- WHO (March 19, 2020) Infection prevention and control during health care when COVID-19 is suspected. World Health Organization.
- WHO (March 19, 2020) Rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331498/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPCPPE_use-2020.2-eng.pdf