J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2020 Aug 10:10.1002/emp2.12210. doi: 10.1002/emp2.12210. Online ahead of print.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with its public health implications, high case fatality rate, and strain on hospital resources, will continue to challenge clinicians and researchers alike for months to come. Accurate triage of patients during the pandemic will assign patients to the appropriate level of care, provide the best care for the maximum number of patients, rationally limit personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and mitigate nosocomial exposures. The authors describe an adapted COVID-19 pandemic triage algorithm for emergency departments (EDs) guided by the best available evidence and responses to prior pandemics, with recommendations for clinician PPE use for each level of encounter in the setting of an ongoing PPE shortage. Our algorithm adheres to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and supports discharge of patients with mild symptoms coupled with explicit and strict return precautions and infection control education.