Infection Prevention & Control for Surgical Procedures

Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Protocol for Surgical Procedures During COVID-19 Adult BC (Centre of Disease Control | BC Ministry of Health):

Through effective public health measures the COVID-19 pandemic curve has reached its peak and is on the downward slope. As a result, B.C. is now in a position to ease restrictions on surgical services. This is to ensure that we avoid the unintended consequences of prolonged delay of access to surgical services. Likewise, other health care services will gradually be reintroduced.

The protection of health care workers will continue to be foremost as B.C. moves forward, and is in keeping with the ethical guidelines established for the management of the pandemic. Health care facilities should continue to ensure that they meet all public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) pandemic recommendations. This applies to all staff, patients, relatives, and visitors.

Based on the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in B.C., people who are scheduled for surgery and do not have risk factors for or symptoms of COVID-19 should not be considered suspect cases. This is based on the advice of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the Office of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Provincial Infection Control Network of BC (PICNet), and is key to easing restrictions on surgical services. BCCDC, PHO, and PICNet review the epidemiology on a regular basis and will amend or update this advice as required.

As such, the decision to proceed with surgical procedures and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used should be based on an individual COVID-19 patient risk assessment which includes: assessing risk factors, screening for symptoms, and COVID-19 testing if clinically indicated. In most cases, patients who do not have risk factors for, or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do not require a COVID-19 test.

The guidance provided here includes a patient screening tool and classification of patients based on a Patient Risk Categorization into green, yellow, and red categories. The entire surgical team including anesthesist, surgeon, assistant, nurses, etc., is responsible for deciding the Patient Risk Category together. It then provides appropriate direction for PPE for those providing care, those providing aftercare, and those responsible for cleaning and preparing the operating room (OR). Guidance is also included for different anesthesia approaches and for surgeries with risk of aerosolization.

Given this guidance and the current low incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 in B.C, the risk of infection or transmission to health care workers when protocols are followed is extremely low.



This page last updated Nov 26, 2020 5:49pm PST