COVID-19 PPE ALERT: Eye protection now recommended for procedures
In addition to face masks, DHHS now advises all Victorian health care workers wear eye protection in direct patient treatment:
Eye protection (includes safety glasses, goggles or face shields) should be worn whenever there is the risk of splash or splattering of blood or body fluids, secretions or excretions.
PSA considers this to apply to the following:
- Point-of-care tests including blood pressure, blood glucose monitoring
- CPAP services (e.g. mask-fitting)
- Provision of first aid
- Wound care
- Some consultation services
- Any other service where there is a risk of contact with body fluids
You may also wish to wear eye protection in other situations where you consider contact with body fluids is a risk. For example, PSA are aware some hospital pharmacy departments are requiring staff in outpatient pharmacy services to wear eye protection.
DHHS has provided PSA advice that pharmacists should minimise risk by erring on the side of caution; citing that if staff are directly interacting with the public and there is no screen, or a screen is not practical, eye protection is required.
Notes for using eye protection
- Some face shields are single-use only, while others can be reused
- Reusable googles and face shields must be removed, cleaned and disinfected between use according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Eye protection is additional to the requirement for use of face masks and other infection control measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home if sick.
PSA recommends all pharmacists immediately adopt this advice. These recommendations reflect DHHS’s PPE guidance for Tier 1 – Area of higher clinical risk requirements. Higher levels of precaution are needed where there is contact with a person who is known or suspected to have COVID-19.