Here are the 10 things hospitals are being told to do to prepare for the coronavirus

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Here are the 10 things hospitals are being told to do to prepare for the coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Employees dressed in scrubs talk with each other at Providence Regional Medical Center after a spokesman from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a traveler from China has been the first person in the United States to be diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus, in Everett, Washington, U.S. January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Are you a healthcare professional? If you want to share your experience in the healthcare industry as the coronavirus spreads, please reach out to Business Insider reporter Bryan Pietsch at bpietsch@businessinsider.com.

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Train healthcare personnel

Train healthcare personnel
  • The CDC says hospital leadership like the chief medical officer, quality officers, epidemiologists, and department heads should review the CDC's COVID-19 guidance, which is available here.
  • Trainings should include how to identify infection, how to safely collect a specimen, and how to report cases of COVID-19.

How to quickly identify and isolate patients who are confirmed or suspected to have the virus

How to quickly identify and isolate patients who are confirmed or suspected to have the virus
  • Post signs at entrances instructing people experiencing symptoms of respiratory infection to put on a mask and keep it on while at the hospital, cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and wash their hands frequently.
  • Provide face masks to patients and people displaying symptoms.
  • Put alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all entrances and common areas.
  • Facilities should have a separate, well-ventilated space for waiting patients that separates them by at least six feet.
  • Have a process to notify local or state health officials if a case of the coronavirus is suspected after that person arrives.
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How to place patients

How to place patients
  • Confirm the number and location of Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs) in the facility.
  • Make sure that AIIRs have been tested and are effective. (AIIRs should have sufficient air flow, negative pressure and exhaust handling.)
  • Plan to minimize the amount of healthcare professionals entering the room. The CDC advises that only "essential" personnel should enter the AIIR.
  • Log who enters and exits the patient rooms.

Transmission precautions

Transmission precautions
  • Protective equipment and other supplies for workers and patients should be supplied at a sufficient level throughout all steps from the patient's arrival to assessment.
  • Have a respiratory protection program, and make sure employees are cleared and trained to use a respirator.
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Patients moving within the hospital

Patients moving within the hospital
  • Patients moving outside of the AIIRs should be limited to only medically-essential situations.
  • If the patient is being moved out of the AIIR, employees in the receiving area need to be notified in advance.
  • Patients being transported out of the AIIR should wear a mask and be covered with a clean sheet.

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene
  • Hand hygiene supplies should include alcohol-based hand sanitizer and be accessible in patient care areas, including places where employees are removing protective equipment.
  • Oversee and audit adherence to CDC recommendations for hand hygiene.
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Cleaning of the hospital environment

Cleaning of the hospital environment
  • Have a plan to disinfect surfaces and equipment in patients' rooms effectively.
  • People cleaning equipment and surfaces should be trained and tested.
  • Use an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant with approved to sanitize for "emerging viral pathogens."

Monitor and manage personnel

Monitor and manage personnel
  • Follow local and state policies for monitoring personnel for potential exposure.
  • Make sure workers have access to medical consultation.
  • Track exposures and conduct active or self-monitoring of personnel.
  • Have a process to check symptoms and temperatures of personnel before they start their shift.
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Visitor access

Visitor access
  • Ensure plans for visitor access have been reviewed and updated.
  • Visitors should be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness before entering the hospital.
  • Plan to restrict visitation to patient rooms with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
  • If visitors are allowed to visit those patients, hospitals should plan what type of protective equipment visitors should wear, give instructions to those visitors on proper hygiene protocol, maintain a record of visitors, and limit visitors' movement within the hospital.

Regularly monitor the situation with the CDC

Regularly monitor the situation with the CDC
  • Check the CDC's page on the coronavirus situation at www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
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