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Coronavirus Illness 2019 (COVID-19)

1. Background

This doc outlines methods for implementation of an infection prevention and management (IPC) steerage for non-U.S. outpatient care settings in response to group unfold of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Clinics and services that present outpatient companies play an necessary function in a healthcare system’s response to COVID-19 and are important to offer continued important well being companies. This data enhances out there IPC steerageexterior icon for COVID-19.

2. Goal Viewers

These operational concerns are supposed for use by healthcare services and public well being authorities in non-U.S. healthcare settings. Outpatient services can embody group well being facilities, hospital-based outpatient clinics, non-hospital-based clinics, doctor places of work, alternate care websites, and others.

3. Goals

The aim of IPC in outpatient settings in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is to: 1) decrease illness transmission to sufferers and well being staff (HWs), 2) determine individuals with indicators and signs of suspected COVID-19 for fast isolation and triage, and three) preserve important well being companies.

4.  Accountable Personnel to Implement IPC in Outpatient Settings

IPC actions in outpatient settings must be deliberate, applied, and overseen by designated employees with expertise in IPC.  In lots of settings, these devoted employees might seek the advice of different stakeholders reminiscent of facility management, occupational well being, nursing, environmental companies, engineering, or different related employees within the type of an IPC committee.

Designated IPC employees (or an IPC point of interest) at services must also seek the advice of and coordinate actions with native and nationwide IPC public well being authorities primarily based within the Ministry of Well being or different related establishment. In lots of settings, these district or national-level IPC focal factors may help to offer supportive supervision of ongoing actions to help facility employees in efficient implementation.

5.  Key Concerns for Outpatient Amenities

There are 4 operational steps to think about when planning outpatient service continuation within the context of COVID-19:

  1. Modify service supply by way of IPC administrative and engineering controls to maximise affected person and HW security
  2. Put together employees and services to obtain sufferers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  3. Implement controls to quickly determine and isolate sufferers with suspected COVID-19
  4. Implement IPC for alternate care websites and non-facility-based care

A. Modify service supply by way of IPC administrative and engineering controls to maximise affected person and HW security

Modifications to outpatient operations (e.g., IPC administrative controls) and modifications to the bodily structure of a facility (e.g., IPC engineering controls) are necessary methods to scale back crowding and mixing of doubtless infectious and non-infectious sufferers at services, stopping transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the course of.  Coordination with native public well being authorities is useful to increase methods out there to a person facility (e.g., figuring out alternate care websites for important well being companies).  Moreover, in communities with widespread group transmissionexterior icon of COVID-19, implementing supply management of all sufferers, guests, and HWs at clinics by way of carrying of non-medical masks may also scale back transmission of SARS-CoV-2.  Whereas non-medical masks are really useful for the final inhabitants, medical masksexterior icon must be prioritized for HWs or weak populations, together with individuals aged ≥60 years or individuals with underlying co-morbidities, reminiscent of heart problems, diabetes, persistent lung illness, most cancers, cerebrovascular illness, or individuals with immunosuppression.

Methods to scale back threat of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in outpatient services for important and non-essential well being companies and for modifications for sufferers who’re acutely ailing or have respiratory signs are described under:

Modifications to outpatient operations for important well being companies to scale back threat of SARS-CoV-2 transmission

  • Detailed concerns for modifying service supply of important well being companies, together with disease-specific concerns, may be discovered right here. Minimal IPC necessities to preserve important well being companiesexterior icon have additionally been described. Examples of such methods embody:
    • Contemplate dedicating sure days/occasions for companies (e.g., vaccinations on Mondays, obstetric sufferers on Thursdays, and so forth.).
    • Dispense extra doses of medicines for sufferers with secure, persistent illness to scale back variety of occasions a affected person wants to go to the pharmacy.
    • Establish separate areas (e.g., faculties, church buildings, and so forth.) for holding properly visits for kids.
    • Contemplate non-facility-based settings (e.g., outreach or cell companies) for supply of companies primarily based on the native context and skill to make sure IPC practices and security of HWs and the group. 

Modifications to outpatient operations for non-essential well being companies throughout COVID-19

  • Establish non-essential well being companies that may be delayed or canceled in accordance with any native or nationwide steerage. Suspending non-essential well being companies permits HWs to be out there to offer COVID-19 care and reduces crowding in ready rooms.
    • Examples of such companies embody routine imaginative and prescient or dental check-ups and annual bodily exams.
  • Discover options to in-person encounters (see part under).

Modifications to outpatient operations for sufferers who’re acutely ailing or have signs in keeping with COVID-19exterior icon

  • Outpatient services, along side nationwide authorities, might think about options to in-person triage in addition to visits utilizing telemedicine (e.g., phone consultations or cellphone videoconference) to offer scientific assist with out direct contact with the affected person.
    • Set up a hotline that:
      • Sufferers can name or textual content notifying the power that they’re in search of care attributable to respiratory signs or different acute diseases.
      • Can be utilized as phone session for sufferers to find out if they should go to a healthcare facility.
      • Can inform sufferers of preventive measures to take as they arrive to the power (e.g., carrying masks or having tissues to cowl coughs or sneezes).
    • Present data to most people by way of native mass media reminiscent of radio, tv, newspapers, and social media platforms about availability of a hotline, indicators and signs of COVID-19, and when to hunt care.
  • If a affected person with signs in keeping with COVID-19 may be managed by phone and suggested to remain house:
    • Assess the affected person’s means to interact in house monitoring, their means to securely isolate at house, and the chance of them transmitting the virus to others of their house atmosphere.
    • Present clear directions to caregivers and sick individuals relating to house care (WHO house care steerageexterior icon) and when and tips on how to entry the healthcare system for face-to-face care or pressing/emergent situations.
    • If doable, determine HWs who can monitor these sufferers at house with each day “check-ins” utilizing phone calls, textual content, or different means.

B. Put together employees and services to obtain sufferers with suspected COVID-19

Regardless of modifications to outpatient operations to scale back the chance of SARS-CoV-2 transmission at services, sufferers with doable COVID-19 will nonetheless be seen.  Optimizing preparedness of services to obtain sufferers with signs in keeping with COVID-19 may help restrict the chance of COVID-19 publicity to sufferers and employees.  Facility management and the IPC point of interest ought to evaluation WHO IPC steerage throughout well being care when COVID-19 is suspectedexterior icon and observe nationwide IPC steerage to start making ready services to securely triage and handle sufferers with respiratory sickness, together with COVID-19.  Contemplate the next measures:

An infection management infrastructure and healthcare workforce

  • In step with WHO tips on an infection prevention and management packagesexterior icon, nationwide IPC packages ought to coordinate and facilitate implementation of IPC actions, together with COVID-19 prevention actions, throughout all vertical packages inside the Ministry of Well being and thru multimodal methods on the sub-national stage. Such methods embody guaranteeing availability of applicable infrastructure and provides to assist good IPC practices, supporting training and coaching of the healthcare workforce, and offering knowledge suggestions on outcomes.  This function for the nationwide IPC program stays particularly related in the course of the COVID-19 response.
  • Designate a employees member (IPC point of interest) to be answerable for implementation of COVID-19 prevention measures on the facility. The IPC point of interest, in collaboration with different related individuals, ought to coordinate and implement numerous actions within the facility:
    • Facilitate implementation of engineering controls or structural adjustments to the power that scale back transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (e.g., designating a separate ready space for sufferers with signs in keeping with COVID-19 or putting in bodily limitations like glass or plastic screens at screening and triage stations).
    • Coordinate and talk with native public well being authorities to grasp protocols for reporting suspected or confirmed COVID-19 sufferers and mechanisms to request extra provides or different assist.
    • Evaluation sick go away insurance policies for HWs and be sure that they don’t seem to be punishing however are versatile and in keeping with public well being steerage to permit ailing HWs to remain house.
    • Develop a system to display HWs for signs of COVID-19exterior icon previous to constructing entry, which can embody self-reporting of signs (e.g., cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, myalgias, fatigue, diarrhea), goal checks for fever (temperature >38oC) or a mixture of each.
      • For instance, staff may very well be suggested to report back to their supervisor (or ship a textual content message to their supervisor) earlier than starting their workday to substantiate they don’t have any signs which are in keeping with COVID-19 (utilizing a normal record of doable signs).
      • In collaboration with native public well being authorities, a normal textual content message is also despatched to staff every morning to ask if they’ve any signs in keeping with COVID-19.
    • Assess provides for hand hygiene, PPE, and cleansing and disinfection
      • Assess availability and accessibility of provides wanted to carry out frequent hand hygiene utilizing both an alcohol-based hand rub or cleaning soap and water.
      • Assess provides of PPE wanted for HWs to implement contact and droplet precautions for all sufferers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. These provides embody medical masks,[1] eye safety (face shields or goggles), gloves, and robes.
        1. Monitor the usage of these provides, which may be inserted right into a PPE burn price calculator to estimate projected want for PPE.
        2. Even when PPE shortages don’t at present exist on the facility, given disruptions within the international provide chain for PPE, plan to optimize your facility’s provide of PPEpdf icon. Contemplate implementing methods for rational use of PPEpdf icon and prolonged use or reuse of PPE following applicable decontamination/sterilization procedures.
      • Assess provides wanted to scrub and disinfect medical tools (e.g., stethoscopes) and often touched surfaces (e.g., chairs and door handles) and to carry out terminal cleansing on the facility no less than as soon as a day.
    • Coordinate and guarantee coaching for related employees on the next:
      • Normal and transmission-based precautionsexterior icon
      • Applicable use of PPEexterior icon, together with:
        1. when to make use of PPE
        2. what PPE is critical
        3. tips on how to correctly placed on (don), use, and take off (doff) PPE in a way to forestall self-contamination
        4. tips on how to correctly eliminate or disinfect and preserve PPE
      • Cleansing and disinfectionexterior icon practices, together with:
        1. what PPE to put on whereas performing such cleansing
        2. tips on how to appropriately placed on (don), use, and take off (doff) all really useful PPE to forestall self-contamination
        3. Kind of disinfectant and contact timeexterior icon
      • Given the urgency for coaching and the necessity for widespread dissemination of really useful PPE, cleansing and disinfection practices, distant coaching choices may very well be thought-about, together with use of on-line programs which have already been developedexterior icon or establishing routine convention calls to offer fundamental directions and reply questions instantly from facility IPC focal individuals.
    • Help with worker well being insurance policies together with insurance policies and procedures for HWs who develop any signs or indicators in keeping with COVID-19:
      • Develop procedures for managing ailing HWs. For instance:
        1. If a HW turns into symptomatic whereas at work, he/she must be instructed to inform the supervisor and go house.
        2. The focal IPC level on the facility or supervisor ought to facilitate acquiring a COVID-19 take a look at for the HW, as a result of a constructive take a look at can information how lengthy the HW will should be excluded from work in accordance with nationwide or sub-national tips. In settings with restricted testing availability, HWs suspected of getting COVID-19 who will not be examined must also be excluded from work for a interval decided by nationwide or sub-national tips.
      • Put together for HW shortages brought on by worker sickness or sickness in staff’ relations that may require them to remain house.
        1. Planning for elevated absenteeism might embody extending hours, cross-training present staff, and hiring momentary staff.
        2. Develop a roster of people that can surge in for all classes of employees.

C. Quickly determine and separate sufferers with suspected COVID-19

As really useful by WHOexterior icon, all sufferers arriving at outpatient services require screening to quickly determine and separate sufferers with suspected COVID-19.  The IPC point of interest on the facility, beneath authority from facility management, ought to oversee implementation of screening to forestall unfold of SARS-CoV-2 at these services.  Screening and triage may be operationalized within the following methods:

  • Place visible alerts reminiscent of indicators and posters at entrances and in strategic locations offering instruction (in native languages) readily available hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and sustaining bodily distance of no less than 2 meters from different sufferers and employees.
  • Set up a separate registration desk for sufferers coming in with signs in keeping with COVID-19, and place indicators on the entrance directing sufferers to the designated registration desk.
    • Contemplate putting in bodily limitations (e.g., glass or plastic screens) for registration desk/reception space to restrict direct contact between registration desk personnel and probably infectious sufferers.
  • At registration, each affected person must be requested if they’ve a normal set of signs in keeping with COVID-19exterior icon primarily based on native or nationwide steerage. Sufferers with any certainly one of these signs meet standards for suspected COVID-19 and must be:
    • Given a medical masks (or no less than paper tissues to cowl their nostril and mouth when within the presence of others, if masks are unavailable) for supply management;
    • Separated from sufferers with none of those signs in a unique ready space, ideally outside, if climate permits; and
    • Quick-tracked for scientific evaluation.
  • Registration/triage desks must be stocked with provides of medical masks and paper tissues, and entry to close by hand hygiene stations (cleaning soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub) must be made out there.
    • If screening personnel are unable to take care of bodily distance of ≥2 meters from sufferers, they need to put on a medical masks and eye safety (e.g., goggles or face protect) and have quick access hand hygiene stations.

After screening, sufferers with suspected COVID-19 must be fast-tracked for scientific evaluation, which might ideally happen in a single-person room.  Throughout scientific evaluation, be sure that home windows, if current within the room, are opened as absolutely as doable to optimize air flow and shut doorways that result in hallways.  Previous to getting into the room, carry out hand hygiene (utilizing a station that must be positioned close to the surface of the room) and put on all really useful PPE.

D . Implement IPC for alternate care websites and non-facility-based care

To reduce the chance of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, the usage of alternate care websites or non-facility-based fashions of healthcare supply could also be thought-about to separate wholesome sufferers in want of important well being companies from sufferers in search of look after acute sickness.  Alternate care websites embody community-based areas, reminiscent of faculties or church buildings, that is perhaps quickly out-of-use attributable to native mitigation measures.  Such websites supply the advantage of house to permit applicable bodily distancing of employees and sufferers.  Nonetheless, since these websites will not be primarily supposed for the supply of healthcare, their construction may not be appropriate for outpatient companies that require bodily exams and are greatest used to ship single-purpose care, e.g., drug pick-ups, immunizationspdf icon, or well-child visits.  Equally, non-facility-based care, which incorporates outreach companies to folks’s properties or cell companies, assist decrease crowding at healthcare services whereas sustaining important well being companies.

IPC is all the time wanted wherever healthcare is delivered, together with in alternate care websites and non-facility-based care.  At a minimal, HWs delivering care in these settings require training and coaching in good IPC practices, together with normal and transmission-based precautions.  Sufferers and employees ought to preserve bodily separation of no less than 2 meters from others always.  Extra IPC concerns for particular conditions are under:

  • Alternate care websites
    • Set up a system of screening and triage for sufferers arriving at alternate care websites as described in part C
  • Outreach to sufferers’ properties
    • Apply frequent hand hygiene earlier than and after every affected person encounter utilizing moveable alcohol-based hand rub.
    • On condition that HWs may encounter individuals or households with respiratory signs, think about prolonged use of medical masks and eye safety (e.g., face shields or goggles) for every shift.
    • For healthcare companies that require gloves or robes, particular concerns are wanted for applicable donning, doffing, and disposal of this PPE attributable to variable availability of house to don/doff PPE and restricted entry to waste receptacles for disposal of PPE.
  • Cell medical items
    • Be certain that the car is well-ventilated by opening all home windows.
    • Inventory car with enough provides of alcohol-based hand rub for frequent hand hygiene and all really useful PPE.
    • Convey visible alerts or indicators to encourage sufferers to take applicable IPC precautions whereas ready in queues, together with sustaining bodily distance of no less than 2 meters from others and training hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette.


[1]If they don’t seem to be close to aerosol-generating procedures, WHO recommendsexterior icon that well being staff offering direct care to COVID-19 sufferers ought to put on a medical masks (along with different PPE which are a part of droplet and get in touch with precautions).


  1. An infection prevention and management throughout well being care when novel coronavirus (nCoV) an infection is suspected. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at icon
  2. World surveillance of COVID-19 brought on by human an infection with COVID-19 virus. Accessed June 4, 2020 at icon
  3. COVID-19: Operational steerage for sustaining important well being companies throughout an outbreak. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at icon
  4. Sustaining important well being companies: operational steerage for the COVID-19 context. Accessed June 3, 2020 at icon
  5. House look after sufferers with COVID-19 presenting with delicate signs and administration of their contacts. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at icon
  6. Tips on Core Parts of An infection Prevention and Management Programmes on the Nationwide and Acute Well being Care Facility Degree. Accessed on Might 13, 2020 at with/10665/251730/9789241549929-eng.pdf?sequence=1pdf icon
  1. Operational Concerns for the Identification of Healthcare Staff and Inpatients with Suspected COVID-19 in non-US Healthcare Settings. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at
  2. Private Protecting Tools (PPE) Burn Price Calculator. Accessed Might 15, 2020 at
  1. Rational use of non-public protecting tools for coronavirus illness (COVID-19) and concerns throughout extreme shortages. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at with/10665/331695/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_PPE_use-2020.3-eng.pdfpdf icon
  2. Operational Concerns for Private Protecting Tools within the Context of World Provide Shortages for Coronavirus Illness 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: non-US Healthcare Settings. Accessed on Might 15, 2020 at
  3. Cleansing and disinfection of environmental surfaces within the context of COVID-19. Accessed on June 3, 2020 at icon
  4. COVID-19: Find out how to placed on and take away private protecting tools (PPE). Accessed on Might 15, 2020 at icon
  5. Interim Operational Concerns for Public Well being Administration of Healthcare Staff Uncovered to or Contaminated with COVID-19: non-US Healthcare Settings. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at
  6. Normal Working Process (SOP) for Triage of Suspected COVID-19 Sufferers in non-US Healthcare Settings: Early Identification and Prevention of Transmission throughout Triage. Accessed on April 27, 2020 at
  7. Guiding ideas for immunization actions in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessed on Might 15, 2020 at with/10665/331590/WHO-2019-nCoV-immunization_services-2020.1-eng.pdfpdf icon
  8. Medical administration of COVID-19. Accessed June 9, 2020 at icon

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