COVID-19: Breaking the Chain of Infection

Here, we’ll outline how we can curtail the risk of transmission of infection on the ward between patients, staff or from staff to patient and vice versa. Whereas these outlined principles can be used in other disease scenarios, please keep COVID-19 in mind while you read;

  • Universal masking; the wearing of mask is not restricted to only clinical staffs but patients’ visitors and all persons at the facility. 
  • Triaging and Isolation; kindly take note that in the absence of the Isolation units, all staffs are to isolate clients with respiratory symptom – at the distance place in the unit whiles awaiting test results. Nurse clients with same respiratory symptoms at distance area and avoid combining them with the total patients on the wards. 
  • Terminal cleaning; ensure that any area used for suspected cases is cleaned and decontaminated using the hypochlorite solutions and the recommended PPEs. 
  • Regular Hand washing is the single most effective way of breaking the chain of infection and it is highly recommended before any procedure, after contact with patients and surroundings, before any aseptic procedure, after contact with blood, respiratory secretions, other body fluids or objects contaminated with respiratory secretions.
    • Alcohol Hand Rub is helpful in breaking the chain of infection but should not be a substitute for hand washing in situations where hands come into contact with blood and body fluids. Let's practice Hand washing most frequently at the workplaces and beyond.
  • Risk assessments; kindly assess the risk of the procedures you will be performing and use the recommended PPEs. For example, during nebulization and other procedures where aerosol generations are highly possible, make good use of the eye googles, face shield and the respiratory mask N95. 
    • Ensure clients make good use of the facemasks, practice handwashing and observe all other IPC protocols.
  • Cohort areas; an area within the ward with 2 beds can be designated for suspected cases whiles awaiting test results for the SARS COV-2 virus. 
 
  • Staff Cohorting; kindly assign one staff to care for a particular patient with respiratory symptoms and avoid generalized staff nursing care to reduce the risk of infections among health workers. 
    • All staffs should observe the standard precautions when necessary and let's avoid cluster of staffs at the nurses’ station.
    •  If you are having respiratory symptoms depicting SARS COV-2 virus, kindly isolate and get tested at the facility and avoid spreading to other staffs at the facility. 
    • Observe all the standard precautions after exiting the facilities to your home. 
    • Refrain from touching the eyes, nose and mouth with contaminated gloves or bare hands. 
    • If equipment such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs are to be shared among patients, kindly clean and disinfect with 70% ethyl alcohol. 
    • Medical mask should not be touched or adjusted and if displaced from the face, in such instances replacement is recommended and hand hygiene should be performed. 
    • Medical masks must be changed when wet, soiled and damaged or after removal when eating or caring for a suspected case. 
    • Properly segregate and dispose off waste as infectious or general waste. 
    • Large spills of blood and body fluids of volume more than 10mls, a concentration of 0.5% hypochlorite solutions should be used after as a disinfectant. 
    • Early detection and screening of suspected cases and prompt isolation of confirmed cases at the treatment centers.

 

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