Preparing Your Hospital for Coronavirus

Preparing Your Hospital for Coronavirus

Healthcare organizations are rapidly preparing for the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As of early March 2020, increased testing is now underway in the United States, and the number of confirmed cases is expected to rise.

As widespread transmission of COVID-19 is anticipated, planning for large numbers of people needing and accessing medical care is an immediate concern that hospitals may not be prepared to address. There is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it at this time.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as those listed below, would be the most important response strategies to educate and reinforce in the hospital and community as appropriate.

Hospital Preparedness

  1. Implement a travel screen at all points of entry with the goal of early patient identification and isolation.
  2. Review your organization’s pandemic preparedness plans and ensure they are updated and ready for implementation as appropriate.
  3. Ensure adherence to Infection Prevention and Control practices:
  • Engineering controls – Use Airborne Infection Isolation rooms (AII)
  • Administrative controls – Just-in-time Fit Testing, and excluding visitors
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – N95 respirators

The CDC recommends that healthcare personnel adhere to standardcontact, and airborne precautions, including the use of eye protection (e.g. goggles or a face shield) when caring for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. This includes NIOSH-approved N95 respirators, gowns, gloves, and face shield/eye protection.


CMS CoPs & The Joint Commission Standards

Review these specific CMS CoPs and Joint Commission Standard regulations in response to a coronavirus outbreak:


  1. §482.15 TAG: E-0001 Emergency Preparedness
  2. §482.41(a) TAG: A-0701 Physical Environment
  3. §482.42 TAG: A-0749 Infection Control

The Joint Commission Standards:

  1. Emergency Management (EM) Chapter, Emergency Operations Plan (EM 01.01.01)  – review all EM Standards/EPs
  2. Infection Prevention and Control Chapter
  • Allocated Resources (IC.01.02.01)
  • IC Risk Assessment/Plan (IC.01.03.01, IC.01.05.01,02.01.01)
  • Influx of potentially infectious patients (IC.01.06.01)
  • Standard and Transmission-based Precautions (IC.02.01.01)
  • Medical Equipment, Devices, Supplies (IC.02.02.01)
  • Prevention of infectious disease exposure to patients, licensed- independent practitioners (LIPs), and staff (IC.02.03.01)
  • Evaluate the plan effectiveness (IC.03.01.01)

3. National Patient Safety Goals Hand Hygiene – National Patient Safety Goal 7

4.  Human Resources Chapter Staff competency (HR.01.06.01 EP1)


Staying Informed

What is currently known about COVID-19, first detected in China, is that it is spread by close person-to-person contact (approximately 6 feet from another person) from droplets of a cough or sneeze, which can get into your mouth, nose, or lungs. This information is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses and will be subject to change as this rapidly evolving global public health emergency becomes pandemic.

As COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, refer to the CDC and/or your state or local Department of Health for guidance, as information is updated and made available.

CDC Resources: 

Need Immediate Assistance?

TiER1 Healthcare can provide focused assessments and coaching for your infection prevention and control processes. We can also help you close any leadership gaps during this high-pressure time by placing quality interim leaders within your organization. Contact us at 513-241-0142, or

Read More by Lisa Waldowski, DNP, APRN, CIC


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