All staff in residential care centres who come into contact with residents will have to wear a surgical mask if there is sufficient supply, according to an adapted guideline about the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Flemish Agency for Care and Health adapted its guidelines on this subject after the Research and Public Health Institute Sciensano issued a new advice, confirmed the agency’s spokesperson Joris Moonens to the Belga news agency.
Up until now, only personnel who came into contact with (suspected) infected patients, as well as staff returning to work after being sick had to wear a mask.
The previous directive was partly motivated by the scarcity of masks at the time, the Care and Health agency said, after criticism from trade union ACV claiming that, even in institutions with sufficient protective material, staff members were not sufficiently protected.
“The advice now is to have all personnel in contact with residents wear a surgical mask, if there is sufficient supply. Not only personnel who come into contact with residents who are suspected of being infected,” said Moonens. “If there are not enough, fabric masks are recommended,” he added.
This adaptation does not only apply to care personnel, but also covers everyone else coming into contact with the residents, such as cleaning staff, but it does not include administrative staff who have no contact with the residents.
The Brussels Times