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Health Ministry Issues Guidelines For Use Of PPEs In Non-COVID Hospitals; Details Here

The Union Health Ministry issued additional guidelines on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare personnel working in non-COVID hospitals

Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry on Friday issued additional guidelines on rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare personnel working in non-COVID hospitals. The ministry guides on the type of personal protective equipment to be used in mild, moderate, low and high-risk areas. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a combination of protective gears designed to safeguard the health of workers by minimising the exposure to a biological agent. Components of PPE are goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall/gowns (with or without aprons), headcover, and shoe cover.

The key points of the guidelines are as follows:

  • Help desk/ registration counter, doctors' chamber used for clinical management of patients and pharmacy counters among others have been marked in the mild-risk category and the ministry has recommended the use of triple-layer medical mask and latex examination gloves, besides following social distancing guidelines and frequent use of hand sanitiser over gloves.

  • Chambers of dental/ENT doctors/ophthalmology doctors and pre-anesthetic check-up clinics have been categorized as moderate-risk areas where the usage of N-95 masks, goggles, latex examination gloves has been advised.

  • All hospitals should identify a separate triage and holding area for patients with influenza-like illness so that COVID-19 suspect cases are triaged and managed away from the main out-patient department.

  • As far as in-patients departments in non-COVID hospitals are concerned, the ministry has designated ward/individual rooms used for clinical management activity as mild-risk areas, while the ICU/critical care, labor room, operation theatres have been categorized as moderate-risk areas.

  • It has recommended the use of triple-layer medical mask, face shield (- wherever feasible), sterile latex gloves, and goggles. Patients should also wear masks in labor rooms, the guidelines stated.

  • The ministry has recommended wearing of triple-layer medical mask and latex examination gloves while handling a body inwards or ICU.

  • According to the guidelines, areas where emergency cases are attended come in the mild risk category.

  • Areas in the Emergency department where severely ill patients are being attended to while performing the aerosol-generating procedures have been marked in the high-risk category.

  • The ministry has recommended usage of all the components of PPE in high-risk areas.

  • Besides, laboratories that are used for sample collection and transportation and testing of routine (non-respiratory) samples come under the mild-risk category, while labs where respiratory samples are collected and tested fall in themoderate-risk category, according to the guidelines.

  • Radiodiagnosis and blood bank, etc. fall in the mild-risk category, while kitchen areas have been marked in the low-risk category.

  • Ambulances transporting patients not on any assisted ventilation come under the low-risk category, while emergency vehicles carrying patients with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) come under the high-risk category.

  • The guidelines stated that standard precautions should be followed at all times and PPEs are not alternative to basic preventive public health measures which must be followed regularly.

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