Infection Prevention Control for COVID-19 is crucial in a health care setting.
The aims of Infection Prevention Control are to promptly identify and treat any suspect or confirmed cases while protecting staff and patients in the rest of the facility. If a health facility become compromised during an outbreak this can both fuel the wider outbreak and impact broader health services.
Preparation for outbreaks involves many activities from assessing preparedness to supply of consumables and managing the infrastructure and layout.
Heightened surveillance is critical as early detection and isolation of cases will minimise risk of transmission.
Screening on admission is common and all clinical staff should have awareness of the case definition for suspect cases and know how to identify and report cases.
Once suspected cases are identified the facility needs a designated area for treatment to minimise risk of transmission. Individual isolation rooms are gold standard.
Facilities need to consider the flow and transfer of patients including isolation rooms and wards and consider the need for intensive care level treatment.
The World Health Organization recommends standard droplet and contact precautions are employed for all COVID-19 cases. Patients should be isolated and wear a mask if they have to transit through shared areas. Staff should wear gloves, gown, eye protection and a medical mask within 1m of the patient as a minimum.
Airborne precautions include isolating the patient in a naturally well ventilated room or with negative pressure ventilation. Health care workers should wear a fit tested respirator.
While transmission is incompletely understood it is difficult to prioritise which infection control measures to focus on, especially in areas with limited resources. In overcrowded health facilities it is difficult to maintain social distancing in shared waiting areas and find a space to dedicate for isolation of suspect and confirmed cases.
In such a rapidly evolving outbreak it is critical for local facilities to keep up to date with national and international recommendations.