- Updated WHO technical guidance focuses on managing severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in patients with suspected COVID-19.
Why this matters
- All clinicians should consult the technical guidance.
- Screen, isolate all patients with suspected COVID-19 at first point of contact with the health care system.
- Initiate infection prevention and control (IPC) at point of hospital/facility entry: mask/isolate suspected cases, maintain >1 m between patients.
- Conduct point-of-care risk assessment at every patient contact to determine need for additional precautions (e.g., droplet, contact, airborne).
- Adhere to specimen collection, processing, laboratory testing , and biosafety procedure guidance; consider prioritizing testing of symptomatic pregnant women to enable specialized care.
- Treat pregnant, recently pregnant women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 with supportive and management therapies, accounting for immunologic, physiologic adaptations during/after pregnancy.
- Data in children remain scarce, and relatively few cases have been reported in infants; both populations appear to experience less severe to mild symptoms.
- Infections with non-COVID-19 pathogens does not rule out COVID-19.
- Severe cases (SARI, respiratory distress, hypoxemia, shock): provide immediate airway management, oxygen therapy (target SpO 2 >94%).
- Initiate supportive care interventions in patients with clinical deterioration.
- Tailor treatment to comorbidities.
- Avoid aggressive fluid management in SARI patients with evidence of shock.
- Consult guidance for additional measures.