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DC Health Releases New Guidance on Healthcare Workplace and Patients September 16, 2020

Written by MSDC Staff

On Tuesday, DC Health released two new COVID-19 guidance documents aimed at healthcare facilities.

The first guidance document, which you can read in its entirety here, focuses on employers of healthcare personnel (HCP) and all healthcare settings. Some of the updated guidance in the document includes:

  • HCPs who meet COVID exposure criteria or community exposure EVEN if asymptomatic should be restricted from in-person work.
  • All facilities must implement universal use of eye protection by HCPs in any area where patient care services are provided AND where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained within the facility.
  • Safety glasses are not considered appropriate eye protection.
  • All HCPs should be screened at the beginning of their shift. If a COVID-19 positive occurs in the facility, staff should be screened at the beginning, middle, and end of their shift. These tests should be documented.
  • The guidance includes a chart on how facilities must respond if an HCP is exposed to COVID-19, either at work or through community spread. 
  • Strategies for mitigating exposure shift to symptom-based and away, generally, from testing-based.

The second set of guidance focuses on "recommendations and requirements for the discontinuation of COVID-19 transmission-based precautions for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases in a healthcare setting". Similar to the previous guidance, DC Health recommends moving to a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy for most patients. You can read the entire new guidance here.

Importantly, DC Health says the following: "If a patient is on quarantine and has a negative COVID-19 test result during their quarantine period, the patient must still complete the 14-day quarantine".

MSDC will update this space with more information as it becomes available.