The Trouble with Triage
Do asymptomatic COVID-19 patients pose a risk to ophthalmologists during elective examinations?
Phoebe Harkin | | Quick Read
In light of COVID-19’s threat to healthcare professionals, it is now common for clinics to screen patients before they enter the clinic – but how effective is triage when many carry the virus asymptomatically? Researchers at the İzmir Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, Turkey, decided to find out by studying an examination room visited by patients who had passed triage.
Samples were taken from five circular zones within a one-meter diameter of the patient – including slit lamp breath shield, phoropter surfaces, tonometer and door handles – and analyzed for viral material. The bad news? SARS-CoV-2 was found in two of seven post-examination samples. The (potentially) good news? The study could only detect viral material – not infectivity, virulence, viability, or viral load. Further research is needed to assess the potential infection risk of asymptomatic patients during routine eye exams.
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