Infectious Diseases Society of America Guidelines on Infection Prevention for Healthcare Personnel Caring for Patients With Suspected or Known COVID-19 (November 2021) Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Since its emergence in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to pose a risk to healthcare personnel (HCP) and patients in healthcare settings. Although all clinical interactions likely carry some risk of transmission, human actions, such as coughing, and care activities, such as aerosol-generating procedures, likely have a higher risk of transmission. The rapid emergence and global spread of SARS-CoV-2 continues to create significant challenges in healthcare facilities, particularly with shortages of the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by HCP. Evidence-based recommendations for what PPE to use in conventional, contingency, and crisis standards of care continue to be needed. Where evidence is lacking, the development of specific research questions can help direct funders and investigators. The purpose of the current study was to develop evidence-based rapid guidelines intended to support HCP in their decisions about infection prevention when caring for patients with suspected or known coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) formed a multidisciplinary guideline panel including frontline clinicians, infectious disease specialists, experts in infection control, and guideline methodologists, with representation from the disciplines of public health, medical microbiology, pediatrics, critical care medicine and gastroenterology. The process followed a rapid recommendation checklist. The panel prioritized questions and outcomes. Then a systematic review of the peer-reviewed and gray literature was conducted. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to assess the certainty of evidence and make recommendations. Results The IDSA guideline panel agreed on 8 recommendations, including 2 updated recommendations and 1 new recommendation added since the first version of the guideline. Narrative summaries of other interventions undergoing evaluations are also included. Conclusions Using a combination of direct and indirect evidence, the panel was able to provide recommendations for 8 specific questions on the use of PPE by HCP providing care for patients with suspected or known COVID-19. Where evidence was lacking, attempts were made to provide potential avenues for investigation. There remain significant gaps in the understanding of the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, and PPE recommendations may need to be modified in response to new evidence. These recommendations should serve as a minimum for PPE use in healthcare facilities and do not preclude decisions based on local risk assessments or requirements of local health jurisdictions or other regulatory bodies.


  • Lynch, John B
  • Davitkov, Perica
  • Anderson, Deverick J
  • Bhimraj, Adarsh
  • Cheng, Vincent Chi-Chung
  • Guzman-Cottrill, Judith
  • Dhindsa, Jasmine
  • Duggal, Abhijit
  • Jain, Mamta K
  • Lee, Grace M
  • Liang, Stephen Y
  • McGeer, Allison
  • Varghese, Jamie
  • Lavergne, Valery
  • Hassan Murad, M
  • Mustafa, Reem Adel
  • Sultan, Shahnaz
  • Falck-Ytter, Yngve
  • Morgan, Rebecca

publication date

  • June 27, 2024