On the importance of protecting healthcare professionals during the fight against COVID19

This thread was written by Hadi Khachab (@hadito13) on March 13, 2020.

Protection of healthcare professionals should be a priority in the fight against COVID19, why and how can we protect them? A thread. #healthNERDS #Lebanon #Covid_19

In the big chinese epidemiological study including more than 72k patients of COVID19, healthcare professionals (HCP) paid a big burden as around 4% of the cases were among HCP of which 15% were serious or critical. Many cases and deaths were also reported in Italy and France. This not only is psychologically difficult, but it also undermines the efforts to fight the disease because of the lack of professionals. But how can we protect HCP?

1. Training, it is essential for hospitals and authorities to give clear information to HCP on the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), their indications and the way to do in case of shortage.

2. It is the role of authorities to provide HCP with the necessary equipment

3. Hospitals must organize special routes for COVID19 patients to minimize contact with HCP, those also must be isolated in single rooms with doors closed.

4. HCP must use ABHR (alcohol-based hand rub), before and after entering the room of a COVID19 patient.

5. In regards to PPE, it is recommended that a COVID19 patient wears a surgical mask all the time if that is well tolerated, also each HCP entering his room, needs to wear a surgical mask, a gown, a head cover, and an eye cover. Non-Sterile gloves are essential if there is direct contact with biological fluids, those do not exempt from hand washing and the use of ABHR.

6. If an invasive or an aerosol generating procedure is necessary , then limit presence of HCP to essential ones, the use of respirators (N95 or FFP2 masks) is necessary, those should be reserved to these procedures rather than other contacts because of current shortage.

In Lebanon, the situation might be critical in terms of equipment & training, cases of community transmission inside hospitals have already been reported. This thread is also a tribute to HCPs who fought the disease and passed away from it, to those fighting it now and in the future.

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