National COVID-19 guidelines to safeguard healthcare workers

Griffith University researchers have helped develop national guidelines to minimise healthcare workers’ risk of acquiring and spreading infection while examining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with respiratory symptoms.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a rapidly-changing health policy environment. These new guidelines aim to provide resources and support healthcare teams in prevention and management of COVID-19,’’ said Associate Professor Jing Sun from the School of Medicine who led the project.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher prevalence of respiratory conditions, many of which share symptoms with COVID-19.

“Health care workers examining a patient with respiratory symptoms are at risk of spreading infection between patients with the highest risk of transmission likely during throat and nose examination including when a swab is being collected.”

While the guidelines were designed specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities Associate Professor Jing Sun said they could also be applied to other communities.

“As we continue to analyse the evidence from the international organisations and countries and Australian governments, we will be able to implement similar guidelines for others.”

The guidelines were funded by the Lowitja Institute and designed in collaboration with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Australian National University.