Two RI doctors on worldwide panel penning healthcare guidelines for COVID-19

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two Rhode Island doctors are part of a worldwide panel that has created specific guidelines to protect both healthcare workers and patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

The panel, which consists of 36 medical experts from 12 countries, meets annually to discuss healthcare guidelines for preventing sepsis, but with COVID-19 front and center this year, they’ve shifted their focus.

Drs. Mitchell Levy and Leonard Mermel from Rhode Island Hospital are part of that panel, which recently came up with 53 recommendations for healthcare workers caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The guidelines were released Tuesday, Levy said, and suggest healthcare workers wear maximal personal protective equipment at all times when caring for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“That consists of an N95 respirator, a disposable face shield, a disposable gown and one pair of gloves,” Levy said.

Levy said the virus can live on surfaces for up to nine days, meaning all equipment and protective gear must be sanitized regularly.

In addition, Levy said reducing visitation and limiting the number of people inside hospitals is crucial in preventing the virus from spreading.

“It’s a stressful time,” Levy said. “People have families, people are concerned for their families, so there’s a lot of reasons why people are stressed out by this.”

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