Health Ministry issues additional guidelines on rational use of PPEs in non-COVID-19 hospitals

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NEW DELHI: The Health Ministry on Friday issued additional guidelines on rational use of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare functionaries working in non-COVID-19 hospitals.

The guidelines differentiated various areas in the hospital like in-patient ward and out-patient wards into low, moderate, mild and high-risk categories.

The Help desk or registration counter, doctors’ chamber used for clinical management of patients, sanitary staff and pharmacy counters among others have been marked in the mild-risk category.

The ministry has recommended the use of triple-layer medical mask and latex examination gloves, besides following social distancing guidelines and frequent use of hand sanitiser over gloves in the mild risk category areas.

Chambers of dental or ENT doctors or ophthalmology doctors and pre-anesthetic check-up clinics have been categorised as moderate-risk areas where the usage of N-95 mask, goggles, latex examination gloves and face shield have been advised.

As far as in-patients departments in non-COVID-19 hospitals are concerned, the ministry has designated ward or individual rooms used for clinical management activity as mild-risk areas, while the ICU or critical care, labour room and operation theatres have been categorised as moderate-risk areas.

It has recommended the use of triple-layer medical mask, face shield (wherever feasible), sterile latex gloves and goggles.

Patients should also wear masks in labor rooms, the guidelines stated.

The ministry has recommended wearing of triple-layer medical mask and latex examination gloves inwards.

According to the guidelines, areas where emergency cases are attended, come in the mild risk category and areas in the emergency department, where severely ill patients are being attended to while performing aerosol-generating procedures, have been marked in the high risk category.

Besides, laboratories which are used for sample collection, transportation and testing of routine (non-respiratory) samples come under the mild-risk category, while labs where respiratory samples are collected and tested fall in the moderate-risk category, according to the guidelines.

Radiodiagnosis and blood bank among others fall in the mild-risk category, while kitchen areas have been marked in the low-risk category.

Ambulances transporting patients not on any assisted ventilation and driving areas come under the low-risk category, while emergency vehicles carrying patients with severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) come under the high-risk category.

The guidelines said standard precaution has to be followed at all times.

It also advised people to always follow the laid down protocol for disposing off PPEs as detailed in infection prevention and control guidelines available on the website of the Union Health Ministry.

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