News & Views

2nd April 2020

Interim Recommendations for the use of PPE during interactions with people with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has endorsed the following interim recommendations for the use of PPE during hospital care for people with possible COVID-19.

Note that these interim recommendations are based on current evidence and may be subject to change as more information becomes available.

These recommendations are suitable for trade based employees who may come into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or self-isolating patient awaiting a test result.

 

General principles
Standard precautions, including hand hygiene, no touch, social distancing observing cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene all apply.

 

Contact and droplet precautions for use in routine engagement
The following PPE is safe and appropriate and should be put on before entering the premisis:

  • Long-sleeved gown
  • Surgical mask
  • Face shield or goggles.
  • Disposable non-sterile gloves when in contact (use hand santiser before putting on and removing gloves)

 

Employees with facial hair should consider a P2/N95 respirator. 

  • Unless used correctly (i.e. with fit-checking), a P2/N95 respirator is unlikely to protect against airborne pathogen spread.
  • An air tight seal may be difficult to achieve for people with facial hair.
  • A range of P2/N95 respirators must be fit-checked to assess the most suitable one to achieve a protective seal.

If an employee is required to remain in the area continuously for a long period (e.g. more than one hour) because of the need to perform work, the use of a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) may be considered for additional comfort and visibility 

A number of different types of relatively lightweight, comfortable PAPRs are now available and should be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Only PPE marked as reusable should be reused, following reprocessing according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All other PPE must be disposed of after use.

All employees should be trained in the correct use of PPE, including by an infection control professional. This also applies to the use of PAPRs, if required.

Particular care should be taken on removal of PAPR, which is associated with a risk of contamination.

 

Employees
A log for each employee entry should be maintained, to allow monitoring of potential breaches of infection control and allow follow-up of contacts, if necessary.

 

Disposal of PPE and other waste
All waste is disposed of into general waste.

 

Environmental cleaning of areas
Frequently touched surfaces (such as door handles, tabletops, light switches,) in the room should be cleaned before any work commences.

 

Where can I get more information?
For the latest advice, information and resources go to www.health.gov.au