For 74 years, the CDC has been the nation’s most trusted health promotion and disease prevention agency. Healthcare professionals around the world have depended on the CDC to track, research, and publish guidance on how to best prevent and manage diseases.
After a confusing couple of days with conflicting messages from the CDC, the medical community is now left to come to its own conclusion about how COVID-19 is spread and decide what we need to do to protect ourselves and others.
Here’s what happened:
- On Sept. 20, 2020, the CDC updated its guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19 to include evidence confirming that COVID-19 is, in fact, an airborne virus. Previously, the CDC recommended using only contact and droplet precautions. The new evidence suggests that healthcare workers should now use contact, droplet, and airborne precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- On Sept. 21, 2020, the CDC removed the guidance about airborne transmission saying it was posted in error.
The CDC’s reluctance to admit that COVID-19 is airborne does not change the fact that mounting evidence shows it most certainly can be spread by airborne transmission.
Let’s err on the side of caution!
We’ve updated our coronavirus course to include an explanation of the difference between droplet and airborne precautions. Under normal circumstances, responding to a disease identified as airborne requires:
- A fit-tested NIOSH-approved N95 or higher level respirator for healthcare personnel.
- A mask on the patient.
- An airborne infection isolation room (AIIR)
- In the absence of an AIIR, masking the patient and placing the patient in a private room with the door closed will reduce transmission.
Since there is no official guidance on taking these steps, it’s left up to each of us to decide if we’d rather take the extra precautions and possibly be wrong, or NOT take the extra precautions and risk being wrong.
How can you access the updated course?
Current ITK eLearning subscribers should log in to your portal HERE. Search your catalog for “Understanding Coronavirus.” Assign the topic to your entire team.
Not an ITK e-learning subscriber yet? Fill out the form on HERE to view the free courses.