How healthcare workers can reduce their coronavirus infection risks

A prominent infectious disease society issued infection prevention and control guidelines April 27 for healthcare workers providing care to patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or those suspected of having the disease.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America society formed a panel that included front-line clinicians, infectious disease specialists, experts in infection control and guideline methodologists and issued several recommendations, including what to do when there is a lack of personal protective equipment or stock is running low.

Healthcare workers should use N95 respirators instead of surgical masks when performing procedures on suspected or known COVID-19 patients where fine airborne particles are generated, according to the society's guidelines.

And when there are respirator shortages, healthcare personnel involved with procedures on COVID-19 patients where fine airborne particles (or aerosols) are generated should use a reprocessed N95 respirator instead of surgical masks, the guidelines say. Workers also are advised to add a face shield or surgical mask on top of the N95 respirator when there are shortages to extend the amount of time the respirator can be used.

Read the full list of guidelines here.

More articles on infection control:
Shortage of protective gear leads hospitals to buy and keep faulty N95 masks
Policies at Pennsylvania hospitals endangered patients, staff, whistleblowers say
Extended use of N95s is safer than reuse, ECRI suggests

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