Brandon Lawrence, MD 3/10/21 2:16 PM 5 min read

How COVID19 Changes The Way We Look at Infectious Disease Protocols

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, hospitals have stringent infectious disease protocols to take precautions against the different ways through which COVID-19 can be transmitted. 

COVID-19 is most commonly spread through droplets when individuals maintain close contact with a COVID-positive person who sneezes, coughs, or talks [1]. The virus can also be spread when someone with COVID expels droplets onto a surface and another person touches the same surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Current WHO guidance for healthcare workers caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients recommends the use of contact and droplet precautions like frequent handwashing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), requiring safe injection practices, and sterilizing hospital rooms between patients. Most infectious disease protocol also includes ensuring adequate ventilation in hospital rooms, using disposable patient care equipment, and minimizing patient transport unless absolutely necessary [1].

However, while this guidance is helpful for the most common ways that COVID is spread, it does not include updated recommendations for protocol to stop airborne transmission of COVID-19. 

Earlier this year, the CDC announced that COVID-19 can be spread through airborne transmission when infectious respiratory droplets remain suspended in the air over long periods of time [2]. Since these droplets can arise when an individual does anything from coughing, sneezing, talking, or even breathing, and they can linger for hours after a COVID positive individual has left an area, sterilizing hospital rooms and washing hands is not enough to keep healthcare workers safe from the coronavirus.

Healthcare workers are at high risk for contracting COVID-19 because they cannot social distance while caring for patients and they often have to perform aerosol-generating procedures, like intubations, that disperse countless droplets and particles into the air.

In order to maintain compliance for airborne transmission, many hospitals have tried to ensure appropriate patient placement in an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR). While these rooms are effective and successfully able to prevent the spread of virus-containing droplets, they are not an adequate solution to the growing COVID problem that hospitals are facing.

AIIRs are expensive to retrofit during ordinary circumstances, not to mention during a pandemic when many hospitals are strapped for cash due to canceled elective surgeries and procedures. Furthermore, with COVID cases continuing to increase in many states across the nation, hospitals simply do not have enough AIIRs to care for all of the COVID patients and patients under investigation that are in their care. 

Hospitals are in need of other, more cost-effective, accessible options for infection isolation outside of AIIRs. This is where a medical device like the SCONE can help.

 

USING THE SCONE FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE ISOLATION

The SCONE™ is a single-use, disposable option for hospitals that need to step up their infectious disease protocols. 

This cost-effective medical device is like a portable AIIR. It uses negative pressure technology to serve as an active barrier of protection for healthcare workers who need to perform aerosol-generating procedures or otherwise care for patients. LIke AIIRs, the SCONE clears infectious aerosols and prevents them from spreading throughout the hospital. However, unlike AIIRs, the SCONE is easy to use, accessible, and inexpensive, and it is able to clear these infectious aerosols and droplets in less than five minutes.

Because the SCONE is portable and requires zero-assembly, hospitals can use this device quickly and with ease, drastically improving throughput while maximizing safety.

COVID IS AIRBORNE. Hospitals need new solutions like the SCONE™ that will help them prevent airborne transmission and keep healthcare workers safe.

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Brandon Lawrence, MD

Dr. Lawrence is an Emergency Medicine Physician born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, currently working in the west valley. From the start of the pandemic, he has been passionate about being on the forefront for care of his patients and protection for his fellow healthcare professionals. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, exercise and podcasting. He graduated from University of Arizona with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and Michigan State University for his Medical Degree.

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