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Answering the Call - May 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Environmental contamination is an important mode of transmission for COVID-19. This means residual contamination of environmental surfaces can lead to infection. Contaminated surfaces are touched by hands, followed by touching of the eyes and nasal or oral pharynx. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus that is highly susceptible to isopropyl alcohol, chlorhexidine, and low concentrations of povidone iodine; the virus is inactivated with brief exposure to these agents. Timely use of these agents, based on our knowledge of the epidemiology of transmission of other infectious organisms like S. aureus, creates an evidence-based defense strategy against COVID-19. Improvements in hygiene practices, such as patient decolonization, will help combat the spread of COVID-19. When exposure to COVID-19 occurs, it puts your providers and subsequent patients at increased risk of infection because of the transmissibility of the virus. You must consider not just the patient undergoing surgery, but patients who will receive care in the same ORs. Nasal decolonization is currently applied to a subset of patients — primarily those undergoing joint replacements — but the evidence for surgical site infection prevention suggests its use should be more widespread. COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call. We need to pay attention to limiting transmission by universally applying evidence-based meas- ures, including nasal decolonization. It's through that approach that we'll control the spread of bacteria and viruses, reduce infections and dramatically improve patient outcomes. OSM Dr. Loftus (randy-loftus@uiowa.edu) is a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. M A Y 2 0 2 0 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y. N E T • 9 9

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