With the uprising of the Pandemic, every healthcare provider is at risk. Since the ENT surgical procedures are associated with very high transmission risk of COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said coronavirus infected patients should be operated in designated operation theatres only in emergency cases. Stating that ENT is a high-risk specialty, the guidelines aim at minimizing the spread of COVID-19 infection among ENT doctors, nursing staff, support staff, patients, and their attendants, says the ministry. Highlighting that teleconsultation will be preferable, the ministry said all patients entering ENT OPD should be screened and should undergo thermal screening. Patients with symptoms should be seen in a separate “COVID-19 screening clinic” and not in OPD’s. The guidelines state that the OPD room should be well ventilated and doctors should wear level 1 PPE kit in the chamber. ENT surgical procedures are associated with very high transmission risk of COVID-19 as the upper aerodigestive tract is the port of entry, nidus, and exit route for the novel coronavirus and there is high aerosol generation during surgeries in the upper aerodigestive tract. To escalate the preparedness towards reinstating operation theatre (OT) practices for ENT surgeries in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic the ministry stated that no positive patient for the virus to be operated in OT’s designated to non-positive patients. Such surgeries are to be postponed for 14 days or to be performed in emergencies only.
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