[CDC Update] “Interim Infection Prevention & Control Recommendations for HCP During the Coronavirus Disease 2019″
July 14, 2020

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On July 9, 2020 the Centers for Disease Control updated their
“Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic” web page with new guidance regarding protective eyewear. 

The update clarified the recommendations for universal use of eye protection (in addition to a facemask) for Healthcare Personal (HCP) working in facilities located in communities with moderate to sustained SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The recommendation is intended to ensure HCP eyes, nose, and mouth are all protected during patient care encounters.

Specifically, the following section outlines the recommendation.

Implement Universal Use of Personal Protective Equipment

HCP working in facilities located in areas with moderate to substantial community transmission are more likely to encounter asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. If SARS-CoV-2 infection is not suspected in a patient presenting for care (based on symptom and exposure history), HCP should follow Standard Precautions (and Transmission-Based Precautions if required based on the suspected diagnosis).

They should also:

  • Wear eye protection in addition to their facemask to ensure the eyes, nose, and mouth are all protected from exposure to respiratory secretions during patient care encounters.
  • Wear an N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator, instead of a facemask, for: Aerosol generating procedures (refer to Which procedures are considered aerosol generating procedures in healthcare settings FAQ) and surgical procedures that might pose higher risk for transmission if the patient has COVID-19 (e.g., that generate potentially infectious aerosols or involving anatomic regions where viral loads might be higher, such as the nose and throat, oropharynx, respiratory tract) (refer to Surgical FAQ).
  • Respirators with exhalation valves are not recommended for source control and should not be used during surgical procedures as unfiltered exhaled breath would compromise the sterile field.

For HCP working in areas with minimal to no community transmission, HCP should continue to adhere to Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions, including use of eye protection and/or an N95 or equivalent or higher-level respirator based on anticipated exposures and suspected or confirmed diagnoses. Universal use of a facemask for source control is recommended for HCP.