Precautions to prevent the spread the COVID-19 in health facilities
Health Centers and Hospitals:
▪ When receiving and registering patients, be sure to ask them if they feel any symptoms in the respiratory system and know if they have traveled to places affected by the outbreak of new COVID-19 or if they have traveled through airports in general or if they have been in contact with people who might be infected with it .
▪ Ask them additional questions about any symptoms of a respiratory infection to generally assess the daily conditions of patients in the medical center, and pay attention if there is a new fever or respiratory disease onset among these patients and assess patients who have unexplained fever.
▪ Emphasis must be placed on following the general precautions including: cleaning hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least twenty seconds; maintaining at least 2 meter (6 feet) distance for anyone who is coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; making sure to cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, then disposing the used tissue immediately; and avoid handshaking and kissing.
▪ Ensure to clean all surfaces in the health centers, using appropriate cleaning supplies after reading the instructions for use and having them approved by the cleaning crew.
▪ Stop group health interventions (such as therapy groups).
▪ Postpone optional processes and procedures, and non-urgent patient visits.
▪ Properly clean and sterilize surfaces in the surgery.
▪ Take action to ensure that all patients who display symptoms of infection with the new COVID-19 or other symptoms of the respiratory system follow etiquette for coughs, hands sterilization, and proper isolation precautions throughout their stay in the health facility.
▪ Issue and place brochures on entrances and strategic locations (such as waiting areas, elevators, and cafeterias) to provide patients and healthcare providers with important guidelines on hand sanitizing, cough etiquette, and these guidelines should include methods for using tissues to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, ways of disposing the used tissue, and how to sterilize hands and appropriate times for sterilization.
▪ Provide appropriate equipment for patients for coughing, such as hand sanitizer containing 60-95% alcohol, tissues, and rubbish bins that open without touching them by hands at the entrances to health care facilities, in waiting areas, and in patient registration areas.
▪ Install partitions (of glass or plastic) in reception areas to reduce direct contact between staff and potentially infected people.
▪ Attempt to establish isolated checkpoints outside the health care facility to test concerned people before entering the facility.
▪ Prioritize isolation of patients with respiratory symptoms.
▪ Ensure rapid isolation of patients with symptoms of respiratory infection, suspected of having the new COVID-19.
▪ Provide patients with respiratory symptoms with face masks and tissues upon entering and registering them. Using masks covering face and nose can greatly reduce the risk of virus infection and its spread.
▪ Isolate the infected patient in the examination room and keep the door closed, and in case there is no available examination room, ensure that the patient does not remain with the rest of patients.
▪ If the patient must come and be examined, the health care providers must be informed of his condition that he suffers from symptoms of respiratory infection so that the employees can take the necessary preventive measures (such as isolating the patient from the rest of the patients, wearing a mask, and if the patient cannot wear mask, he must use tissues at least).
▪ If the patient is transported through ambulances, the staff of the ambulances must take the necessary precautions, then contact the ambulance department or health care facility, and follow certain rules agreed upon previously, which allows the health care facility to prepare to receive the patient.
▪ Provide separate, well-ventilated areas that allow patients waiting away separate by one meter or more, while ensuring that they can easily access sterilization equipment.
▪ In some cases, patients may choose to wait outside the health care facility or in their personal vehicle, and they will be contacted by phone when it is their turn.
▪ Ensure that policies and practices that reduce patient harm are applied, and precautions and equipment must be taken before the patient arrives, when she/he arrives, and during her/his stay in the health facility and cleanses and sterilizes the room where the patient is located.
▪ Health care facilities must ensure that hand sanitizer equipment is ready and available to all staff in all areas.
▪ Inform healthcare personnel of persons infected with or suspected to be infected with the COVID-19 before being transferred to other departments within the facility such as the radiology department, or to other health care facilities.
▪ Care must be taken to choose appropriate personal medical safety equipment, and provide it to healthcare providers. Healthcare Providers:
▪ Healthcare Providers must be trained to understand the times necessary to use personal safety equipment, choose the appropriate safety equipment and methods of proper use, as well as know the times of sterilization of this equipment and the time of disposal.
▪ Healthcare providers must sterilize their hands before and after direct contact with patients, and deal with potentially infectious substances, and before and after wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), including gloves. It is also important to sterilize hands after removing PPE to dispose of any viruses that may be transmitted to hands during the process of removing PPE.
▪ Healthcare providers must sterilize their hands with a hand sanitizer containing 60-95% alcohol, or rub hands or wash them with soap and water for at least twenty second, and if the hands are visibly dirty, the hands are washed with soap and water before sterilizing the hands with sterilizing liquid with alcohol-based.
▪ Healthcare providers should wear N95 mask or breathable masks that provide better protection, eye protection, gloves and insulated garments.
▪ Minimize the number of healthcare providers in the room with patients and keep the most important ones in patient health and care.