A Message from Paolo Lanzetta ~
Today, it is more and more evident that both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients may be a widespread source of infection. Hospitals are becoming loci of infections for both attending patients and health care personnel. In Italy, about 10% of infections are within this category with severe implications such as more sources of infections and loss of personnel for curing patients.
With increasing measures of social confinement, there is an emerging need for remotely assisting and monitoring patients who are confined at home.
Major issues that require immediate action:
Triage should be available at entrance of clinics. Patients should also receive some rapid education on the disease and how they should behave at home and with relatives (hygiene, social confinement).
Preventing infection within ophthalmology clinics.
Obviously, this includes reducing the risks of exposure. Most physicians have limited procedures except for the urgent ones. Vast guidelines are available and most everyone agree on these. Intravitreal therapies are usually considered as non-deferrable procedures. Some peculiarities may be present in different scenarios and countries. Remote contact/telemedicine should be organized when possible.
All spaces should be reorganized so that any presence of patients is “diluted” over time.
Personal protection devices should be adopted for health care personnel and patients. Slit lamps and other equipment should be modified with protection devices (i.e. shields)
Hygiene measures and environmental control:
Personnel education through virtual meetings and virtual courses is extremely important. Also, continuous virtual contact with personnel is extremely important to morally support everyone in this critical situation.
Open issues: who should be tested with swab?
Wishing you all health and safety!