Putting a Covid-19 control plan into action
Your health care facility can help suppress and control Covid-19 by taking these steps that help limit exposure.
- Use alternatives to face-to-face triage, when possible.
- Consider limiting entry points to your facility.
- Provide visual alerts and supplies to ensure that all patients with respiratory infection symptoms adhere to respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
- Install barriers in reception areas to reduce contact between triage staff and potentially infectious patients.
- Consider setting up a screening area outside of the facility to screen patients before they enter, and equip the area with hand hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment.
- Ensure that patients with respiratory symptoms receive priority during triage.
- Ask all patients about the presence of respiratory symptoms, and recent travel to areas experiencing Covid-19 transmission or exposure to anyone with suspected Covid-19.
- Adhere to Standard and Transmission-based Precautions.
- Isolate the patient suspected of Covid-19 in an exam room or single-person room with the door closed. Reserve airborne infection isolation rooms for those who require aerosol-generating procedures.
- Limit visitors to patients with known or suspected Covid-19 by encouraging video call applications on electronic devices. If visitors must visit, instruct them about hand hygiene, avoiding touch surfaces, and using personal protective equipment while in the patient’s room.
- Limit visitors to vulnerable patient populations and screen them for symptoms before entry to the unit.
- Postpone elective visits and procedures.
- Cancel group health care activities.
By putting these strategies into practice, your facility can be proactive against Covid-19, and help contribute to the best outcome, a pandemic that resolves quickly with few casualties.
Since information surrounding the Covid-19 virus continues to evolve, keep informed by checking the CDC’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) webpage.
Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). (2020). ‘Infectious Disease Disasters: Bioterrorism, Emerging Infections, and Pandemic’ in APIC Text Online, Arlington, VA: APIC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Healthcare Settings.
World Health Organization. (2020). Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
World Health Organization. (2020). WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on Covid-19. 11 March 2020.
About the author
Collette Bishop Hendler, RN, MS, MA, CIC, Editor-in-Chief, Lippincott Solutions, Point-of-Care, is certified by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. as an Infection Preventionist.