What are the first steps for patients presenting with suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Updated: Jun 16, 2020
  • Author: Medscape Drugs & Diseases; more...
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Standard Precautions assume that every person is potentially infected or colonized with a pathogen that could be transmitted in the healthcare setting. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Ensure rapid, safe triage and isolation of patients with symptoms of suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) or other respiratory infection (eg, fever, cough). Prioritize triage of patients with respiratory symptoms.

Triage personnel should have facemasks and tissues for patients with symptoms of respiratory infection. These should be provided at check-in. Put a facemask over the mouth and nose of a symptomatic patient to help prevent transmission.

At patient check-in, all patients should be asked about symptoms of respiratory infection and history of travel to areas with COVID-19 or contact with COVID-19 patients.

Isolate the patient in an examination room with the door closed. If a room is not available, ensure that the patient is not allowed to wait with other patients.

Find a separate, well-ventilated space where waiting patients can be separated by 6 ft or more.

Monitor for and evaluate fevers and respiratory illnesses. Place any patient with unexplained fever or respiratory symptoms on appropriate Transmission-Based Precautions and evaluate. The full description is provided in the Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings.

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