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Infection prevention and control and preparedness for COVID-19 in healthcare settings, ECDC (Fifth Update - 6th October 2020)

Source
European Centre for Disease Control
Year of publication
2020
Abstract
Key messages 

Healthcare facilities, including long-term care facilities (LTCFs), should apply several types of measures to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. 

The mainstays of infection prevention and control (IPC) in all healthcare facilities are administrative measures, physical distancing, hand hygiene and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Administrative measures decrease the opportunities for transmission within healthcare facilities and diminish the risk of outbreaks. 

In areas with community transmission of COVID-19, staff, visitors and patients should apply physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene, and wear face masks when physical distancing is not possible. 

Healthcare facilities should ensure that PPE is available and appropriately used to safeguard those providing patient and resident care. 

In areas with community transmission of COVID-19, frontline healthcare workers should wear medical face masks when caring for patients or residents during all routine activities. 

Gloves and gowns are recommended when there is a risk of exposure to body fluids and in settings in which contamination is presumed to be high, such as where aerosol-generating procedures are performed. When used, gloves and gowns should always be changed after each patient contact. 

COVID-19 cases can be released from isolation after consideration of the time from onset of symptoms, the severity of the disease, possible deficiencies of the immune system, and SARS-CoV-2 test results. 

Due to the large impact of COVID-19 in LTCFs, it is essential that national measures are prioritised in these facilities to shield residents and prevent outbreaks. 

In the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), LTCFs are often the responsibility of various national and sub-national competent authorities, usually dependent on the type of facility. Therefore, this guidance recommends activities for the most central competent public health authority. This authority should provide guidance and support for all facilities that provide long-term care for the prevention, identification and management of COVD-19 outbreaks. 

The competent health authorities should also, in collaboration with LTCFs, ensure continuity of care including maintained access to hospital healthcare; and address physical and mental wellbeing needs. 

LTCFs should designate lead persons or teams to ensure accountability, resources and procedures to address: (1) IPC measures, supplies of PPE and training; (2) COVID-19 surveillance; (3) testing for SARS-CoV-2 for the timely identification and control of outbreaks; (4) access to medical and psychosocial care; and (5) visitors

Date added
09/10/2020
Created by
Sarah Stones
Published by
Current Awareness Service for Health