Healthcare personnel (HCP) are on the front lines of caring for patients with confirmed or possible infection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and therefore have an increased risk of exposure to this virus. HCPs can minimize their risk of exposure when caring for confirmed or possible COVID-19 patients by following CDC infection prevention and control guidelines, including the use of recommended personal protective equipment (PPE).
How COVID-19 Spreads
There is much to learn about the newly emerged COVID-19, including how and how easily it spreads. Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, the spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts.
Close contact can occur while caring for a patient, including:
being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a patient with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time.
having direct contact with infectious secretions from a patient with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets.
If close contact occurs while not wearing all recommended PPE, healthcare personnel may be at risk of infection.