June 4, 2020

Joint Commission: Preventing nosocomial COVID-19 infections as healthcare organizations resume routine care

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

The Joint Commission on June 3 announced that it supports the following positions for healthcare organizations to prevent nosocomial COVID-19 infections as they resume routine patient care.

  • Organizations should continue to follow CDC recommendations for universal masking of staff, patients, and visitors.
  • Personnel should wear filtering facepiece (N95) or higher-level respirators for all aerosol generating procedures or surgical procedures that might pose higher risk for transmission.
  • Organizations should no longer be operating under crisis standards of care or following contingency strategies for use of gowns, eye protection, or facemasks when they resume elective procedures and ambulatory care.
  • It is acceptable for healthcare organizations to use contingency conservation strategies for filtering facepiece (N95) respirators to ensure an adequate supply for aerosol-generating procedures.
  • Patients having elective surgeries or other aerosol-generating procedures should be tested for COVID-19 shortly before their procedures.
  • Patients having elective surgeries or other aerosol-generating procedures whose preoperative COVID-19 tests are negative should still be treated with universal respiratory precautions because of the risk of false-negative test results.
  • Organizations should check with state and local health departments for more specific requirements, such as those with requirements for preoperative COVID-19 testing.

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