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Infectious Disease Update – Novel Community-acquired Human Coronavirus: CDC Guidelines for Providers
Posted By: Susanne J. Phillips, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
February 07, 2020
As we know, there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first reported from Wuhan, China. CDC screening recommendations include obtaining a detailed travel history for patients presenting with flu-like symptoms: fever and cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Risk for 2019-nCoV is increased in those who have a history of travel from Wuhan up to 14 days prior to symptom onset, or have had close contact with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV while they were ill. Patients meeting these criteria should be evaluated as a "Patient Under Investigation (PUI) for 2019-nCoV." The CDC has published recommendations, as well as a downloadable investigation form, for reporting, testing, and specimen collection. If you are not aware of these processes, contact your infection control department (if in a large facility), or establish the protocol yourself. The CDC's webpage will guide you in the development and implementation of the necessary processes.
As with suspected influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), patients should be asked to wear a surgical mask and be placed in a private room—ideally one with airborne infection isolation—if available. Once a patient has been identified, notify the infection control department (if available) and the local health department while the patient is assessed—utilizing universal, contact, and airborne precautions, including eye protection. The World Health Organization's interim guidance for infection prevention and control when 2019-nCoV is suspected can be downloaded as an additional resource.
If home management is suitable (ie, no hospitalization needed, patient is capable of adhering to respiratory and hand hygiene), notify the local or state health department of their status. Information on patient education, prevention tips for caregivers and household members, and prevention steps for close contacts can be found on the CDC's website. If hospitalization is required, the CDC has also published guidelines for isolation precautions.
Hopefully these "just-in-time" resources will provide active clinicians with the right information at the right time.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim guidance for healthcare professionals. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/clinical-criteria.html. Accessed January 24, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim guidance for preventing 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from spreading to others in homes and communities. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/guidance-prevent-spread.html. Accessed January 24, 2020.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Isolation precautions. www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/isolation/index.html. Accessed January 24, 2020.
- World Health Organization. Infection prevention and control during healthcare when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected. www.who.int/publications-detail/infection-prevention-and-control-during-health-care-when-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)-infection-is-suspected. Accessed January 24, 2020.