Modes of viral transmission and justification for PPE recommendations

Friday 15 May 2020

The RCR statement on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which was published on 1 May 2020 endorses individual and organisational risk assessments when deciding what protective equipment is appropriate for individual clinicians and procedures.

As COVID-19 is a new disease, assessing the risk of transmission can be difficult. In particular there are many sources of formal and informal information on virus transmission and effectiveness of PPE which can be confusing.

We would like to highlight the following guidance from Public Health Ontario, Canada, which is clear and reasoned:

  • Synopsis on routes of transmission (April 28). This explains the evidence for different sources of viral transmission which in turn underpins PPE guidance.
  • Summary of aerosol transmission (April 10). This explains the difference between aerosols and airborne transmission. It includes a list of procedures that are not aerosol generating.
  • Technical brief on PPE (May 3). This provides a rationale for the use of different types of PPE in different clinical situations and aligns with UK PHE guidance.

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