Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

Angie SzumlinskiHealth

The spread of COVID-19- Person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. Transmission also might occur through contact with contaminated surfaces followed by self-delivery to the eyes, nose, or mouth. The use of a facemask and hand washing is essential in keeping staff, residents and essential visitors safe.

Source Control

As part of source control efforts, all staff and essential visitors should wear a facemask at all times while they are in the healthcare facility. Facemasks offer both source control and protection for the wearer against exposure to splashes and sprays of infectious material from others; again, hand washing plays a key role in decreasing the spread of COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces.  Remember, a person may test positive for COVID-19 and have no signs and symptoms.

Hand Hygiene

You should perform hand hygiene before and after all resident contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after removing PPE, including gloves. Hand hygiene after removing PPE is particularly important to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.

  • ABHR-Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water
  • Soap and Water-Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when visibly soiled, before eating, and after using the restroom

Droplet/Contact Precautions:  Residents who test positive for COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19 are placed on droplet/contact precautions.  This requires all persons entering the room to wear a mask, gloves, gown and eye protection.  Your hands must be washed before entering the room and upon leaving the room.  Please review the Droplet Precautions, Contact Precautions and Donning and Removing PPE postings.

The importance of social distancing, the universal use of a face mask, hand washing and applying and removing PPE correctly when caring for residents with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cannot be stressed enough in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19