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CDC: What nurses & doctors need to know about COVID-19

The new coronavirus was recently officially labeled a pandemic. As the number of confirmed cases throughout the country continues to grow, the odds health care professionals will come into contact with COVID-19 become more likely.

As such, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a publication that provides information on the new coronavirus. The main goal of the publication is to help better ensure patients receive the proper treatment without jeopardizing the health of medical professionals.

Two important take-aways from the post include:

Recommendation #1: Know how the virus spreads

Although we are still learning the details about this new form of coronavirus, the agency reports the spread is likely through person-to-person exposure via respiratory droplets. Health care professionals are at an increased risk when in close contact with a patient who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. The agency defines close contact as within approximately 6 feet of a patient with a confirmed case for a prolonged period of time or having contact with infectious secretions including sputum and blood.

The CDC recommends reducing the risk by wearing all recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). In these instances, appropriate PPE includes respirators or face masks, eye protection, gowns and gloves.

Recommendation #2: Know how to protect yourself

The agency further recommends doctors, nurses and others in the health care industry take action to protect themselves. This includes triage of patients suspected of COVID-19 and use of alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact and before putting on PPE.

The CDC also stated facilities should use EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens products recommended for use against SARS-CoV-2 to clean and disinfect the area.