Healthcare workers have been told that they must wear surgical masks when treating patients from now on.
The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre has issued new guidelines this morning in light of the covid-19 pandemic.
The new guidance says:
- Surgical masks should be worn by healthcare workers when providing care to patients within 2m of a patient, regardless of the COVID-19 status of the patient.
- Surgical masks should be worn by all healthcare workers for all encounters, of 15 minutes or more, with other healthcare workers in the workplace where a distance of 2m cannot be maintained.
In a statement, the HPSC says they must now wear masks to reduce the risk of droplet transmission of infection to the wearer, and to others.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has welcomed the decision:
National advice was formally updated this morning. It calls for facemasks for healthworkers who:
- provide care within 2m of patients
- spend 15 mins or more within 2m of health worker colleagues.
We reckon that's nearly all frontline healthcare workers. (8/10)
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) April 22, 2020
However, the INMO says the next step is to ensure sufficient supplies are available for all health workers, and continuous PPE training where needed.