Coronavirus precautions for healthcare professionals

coronavirus concerns

As COVID-19 fears ease slightly in the U.S., conditions remain unstable in Wuhan where more than 1700 healthcare workers have been infected.

As coronavirus concerns, now officially COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization, seem to have lessened in the United States in the wake of a serious flu season, things are no better in Wuhan, China, where a hospital director succumbed to the disease after spending the past several weeks dedicating himself to its eradication. 

Liu Zimhing, 51, passed away Tuesday morning after “all-out rescue efforts failed,” to save him, state broadcaster CCTV reported. The director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, is at least the seventh of the more than 1,700 infected health workers to die of the disease, officially known as COVID-19, The Associated Press reports. 

As of Tuesday morning, the disease had killed at least 1,874 people, all but five of them in mainland China. Health workers in China have been one of the hardest-hit groups, working long hours and often without enough assistance.

The city of Wuhan remains in near-total lockdown as protective gear for medical personnel reaches shorter and shorter supply. Meanwhile, the CDC has set up five laboratories through the United States where people with flu-like symptoms can be tested for the virus if their results (for the flu) are negative. Meanwhile, scientists are doubling down on efforts to create a vaccine.

It is recommended that healthcare personnel caring for patients that have been diagnosed with, exposed to or who are at high risk for contracting COVID-19 should follow CDC guidelines for infection prevention and control (IPC):

CDC recommendations are as follows:

  • Assess and triage patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the patient and isolating them in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available
  • Use Standard PrecautionsContact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions and eye protection when caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19
  • Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of PPE, including gloves. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled
  • Practice how to properly don, use, and doff PPEpdf icon in a manner to prevent self-contamination
  • Perform aerosol-generating procedures, including the collection of diagnostic respiratory specimens, in an AIIR, while following appropriate IPC practices, including use of appropriate PPE

Below are additional CDC resource links regarding the care and prevention of COVID-19. Be sure to check with the CDC for new information frequently. More is learned about the virus almost daily and guidelines will likely continue to evolve.

More about the virus: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

For additional recommendations regarding infection control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html

For CDC resources including checklists: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/preparedness-checklists.html

For emergency medical service guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-for-ems.html

For guidance on patient management: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html

SOURCE: CBS News, CDC

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