Managing the coronavirus outbreak — 3 CDC guidelines for outpatient facilities to know

The CDC has advised all healthcare facilities to stay abreast of local and state public health recommendations to prepare for and manage outbreaks of COVID-19.

Surgery centers should know the following CDC guidelines:

1. Preparations for all facilities before an outbreak: Meet with staff to educate them on COVID-19, consider alternatives to face-to-face triages and visits, maintain a supply of personal protective equipment, and prepare to safely triage and manage patients with respiratory illness.

2. Actions for all facilities during an outbreak: Along with consulting public health organizations, healthcare coalitions and other local partners to determine the scope of any local outbreak, facilities should select staff members to take charge of caring for potential or confirmed COVID-19 patients, monitor the health of healthcare workers and communicate sick leave policies, and manage mildly ill COVID-19 patients at home when possible.

3. Outpatient-specific considerations:

  • Reschedule non-urgent outpatient visits as appropriate.
  • Contact patients who could face a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 to ensure that they have adequate medication refills and that they know what to do if they become ill.
  • Accelerate high-priority screening and interventions to prepare for a future influx of COVID-19 patients.
  • Ask symptomatic patients to call before they leave home so staff can be prepared for their arrival with appropriate practices and protective equipment.
  • Don't penalize patients for canceling or missing appointments due to respiratory illness.

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