RACP statement on use of PPE

August 21, 2020

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) recommends that in areas in Australia under Stage 3/4 restrictions and other hotspots as they are determined by jurisdictions, cloth or surgical masks be worn in any public place where physical distancing is not possible.

In those areas, even in situations where physical distancing is possible, the RACP recommends that all persons should carry a mask in the event that physical distancing becomes impossible.

The RACP notes and supports the additional requirements in relation to the wearing of masks in Victoria.

Health including Aged Care Workers

The College also notes that healthcare workers are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and should use surgical masks when at work, or N95/P2 masks when in contact with high risk patients or performing high risk (aerosol generating) procedures, together with other appropriate PPE as outlined by the most recent available advice from the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG).

It is strongly recommended that all those subject to this advice refresh their training in the use of PPE.

Furthermore, a structured risk assessment with mitigation strategies utilising a hierarchy of controls is important at the local level in order to optimise the safety of staff and the public.

In addition to wearing masks as indicated above, all those in affected areas need to:

  • Stay at home if unwell and get tested for COVID-19
  • Practise good hand and respiratory hygiene, especially frequent hand hygiene
  • Practise physical distancing, including at work
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowded indoor spaces
  • Understand how to self-isolate in the event that you need to do so.
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