Ensure facility policies and practices are in place to minimize exposures to respiratory pathogens, including COVID-19. Measures should be implemented before patient arrival, upon arrival, and throughout the affected patient's presence in the healthcare setting.
Instruct patients and persons who accompany them to call ahead or inform HCP upon arrival if they have symptoms of any respiratory infection (e.g., cough, runny nose, fever) and to take appropriate preventive actions (e.g., wear a facemask upon entry to contain cough, follow triage procedures) (CDC, 2020d).
Provide supplies for respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, including 60%-95% ABHS, tissues, no-touch receptacles for disposal, and facemasks at healthcare facility entrances, waiting rooms, patient check-ins, etc. (CDC, 2020d) Consider posting visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) at the entrance and in strategic places (e.g., waiting areas, elevators, cafeterias) to provide patients and HCP with instructions (in appropriate languages) about hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette. Instructions should include using facemasks or tissues to cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues and contaminated items in waste receptacles, and how and when to perform hand hygiene.
Ensure that patients with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) are not allowed to wait among other patients seeking care. Identify a separate, well-ventilated space that allows waiting patients to be separated by six or more feet, with easy access to respiratory hygiene supplies (CDC, 2020d).
Ensure rapid triage and isolation of patients with suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) (CDC, 2020d). Implement respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette (i.e., placing a facemask over the patient's nose and mouth if that has not already been done) and isolate a PUI for COVID-19 in an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR), if available.
Inform infection prevention and control services, local and state public health authorities, and other healthcare facility staff as appropriate about the presence of a person under investigation for COVID-19.