It’s more stressful than normal nowadays to be working as a health care professional.
We understand the pressure you’re under to keep yourselves, your families, and your patients safe, and we thank you for your dedication to providing care to your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your health and well-being are important to us, and we want you to continue staying safe while you provide much-needed work. Below we’ve listed preventive measures that you can take in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for yourself, your residents, your colleagues, and your family members.
How You Can Protect Yourself
The small actions you take every day during your shifts can make a big impact on protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. Here are general reminders on infection control procedures that can help protect against COVID-19 in general situations:
- Regularly perform appropriate hand hygiene, especially after every contact with a patient or their surrounding environment.
- Know when you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer versus soap and water.
- Practice how to properly put on and take off personal protective equipment (PPE), so you don’t contaminate yourself or other surfaces.
- Wear a mask correctly when you’re interacting with people outside of your household.
- Encourage the use of physical distancing and keep at least six feet between people both at work and when you’re not at work.
For any health care professionals caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19, follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for infection prevention and control:
- Follow your facility’s procedure to screen and triage everyone who enters the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- For patients showing symptoms upon screening, follow your facility’s procedures for positive patients, which may include isolating the patient in specific rooms.
- Use Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions.
- If you need to perform aerosol-generating procedures, such as the collection of diagnostic respiratory specimens, do so in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR) if available.
Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection
The virus SARS-CoV-2 has been proven to be able to survive on surfaces for a while. Even though we’re not entirely sure yet how extensively this contributes to the spread of infection, it’s vital that you follow routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
This is especially important if you work in a patient-care area where aerosol-generating procedures are performed.
Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are the best to use. Your facility should have established cleaning policies in place. We understand that this adds extra time and work to already busy shifts, but it’s necessary that you follow them as closely as possible to keep everyone safe.
Management of laundry, food service utensils and medical waste should also be performed in accordance with routine procedures.
Testing & Reporting
The CDC offers suggested guidelines of when you should get tested after an exposure and what counts as an exposure.
If you have had any prolonged, close contact with anyone who has confirmed COVID-19, and you weren’t wearing suitable PPE, then you should avoid work for 14 days after the most recent exposure and monitor yourself for symptoms.
At the present, the CDC considers prolonged, close exposure as being within six feet of someone for 15 minutes or longer or being in direct contact with any secretions or excretions from someone who’s positive for COVID-19.
However, if you weren’t wearing proper PPE and were around a COVID-19-positive patient for any duration during an aerosol-generating procedure, then the CDC considers that exposure and you at risk.
As we learn more about this disease and settle into a new normal, we encourage you to continue to treat the threat of this disease seriously and adhere to the best practices for infection control.
If you’re a Clipboard Health employee and have any questions or concerns for us about COVID-19, we are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Call us anytime at 408-837-0116.