CDC: Here’s how to keep you, your staff and your patients safe

Editor’s note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings. Though some of the recommendations are pointed toward the inpatient setting, physician practices should adhere to others. Here are CDC’s PPE recommendations for the care of patients with known or suspected COVID-19.

  • Based on local and regional situational analysis of PPE supplies, facemasks are an acceptable alternative when the supply chain of respirators cannot meet the demand. During this time, available respirators should be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to healthcare personnel (HCP).
  • Facemasks protect the wearer from splashes and sprays.
  • Respirators, which filter inspired air, offer respiratory protection.
  • When the supply chain is restored, facilities with a respiratory protection program should return to use of respirators for patients with known or suspected COVID-19. Facilities that do not currently have a respiratory protection program, but care for patients infected with pathogens for which a respirator is recommended, should implement a respiratory protection program.
  • Eye protection, gown, and gloves continue to be recommended.
  • If there are shortages of gowns, they should be prioritized for aerosol-generating procedures, care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, and high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of HCP.
  • Included are considerations for designating entire units within the facility, with dedicated HCP, to care for known or suspected COVID-19 patients and options for extended use of respirators, facemasks, and eye protection on such units. Updated recommendations regarding need for an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR).
  • Patients with known or suspected COVID-19 should be cared for in a single-person room with the door closed. Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs) should be reserved for patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures.
  • Updated information in the background is based on currently available information about COVID-19 and the current situation in the United States, which includes reports of cases of community transmission, infections identified in healthcare personnel (HCP), and shortages of facemasks, N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) (commonly known as N95 respirators), and gowns.
  • Increased emphasis on early identification and implementation of source control (i.e., putting a facemask on patients presenting with symptoms of respiratory infection).