David D. Thiel, MD, chair, discusses the measures that are being taken to protect patients and providers from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
David D. Thiel, MD, chair, Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, discusses the measures that are being taken to protect patients and providers from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
It is important to protect all providers from COVID-19 exposure, particularly anesthesiologists who perform aerosolizing procedures such as intubation, says Thiel. Moreover, by separating COVID-19—positive patients from COVID-19–negative patients in the hospital, health care systems can reduce the risk of patient exposure to the virus.
Testing is a critical component of ensuring that COVID-19—positive patients can be distanced from COVID-19–negative patients. At Mayo Clinic, every patient who is scheduled for surgery receives a nasal swab to ensure that they don’t have the virus, says Thiel. These measures are particularly important for patients with cancer who are already immunocompromised but need to come into the clinic for treatment. Telehealth visits have helped reduce the volume of patients who come into the cancer center, but it is not appropriate for everyone.
Despite containment efforts, the virus is not likely to disappear, meaning that communities will have to learn to modify their behaviors to reduce the risk of further spread, concludes Thiel.