ABSTRACT • Background: The rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic was associated with significant nosocomial transmissions and poses a risk to healthcare workers and hospitalized patients. We assessed intensive care units (ICU) resources, COVID-19 preparedness and the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ICU practitioners in Lebanon.
Methods: Between March 23 and 31, 2020, 250 ICU physicians working in Lebanon were surveyed on COVID-19 preparedness at their local hospitals, the availability of ICU resources, and adequate PPE. The survey was developed and administered by the Lebanese Society of Critical Care Medicine in collaboration with the Lebanese Pulmonary Society and the Lebanese Society of Anesthesiologists.
Results: Eighty-nine ICU physicians working at 51 hospitals in all Lebanese regions completed the survey. The recommended PPE for ICU physicians (N95 masks, face shields and impermeable body-gowns) and the needed fitting and doning/doffing training were available to 34% of respondents. Dedicated wards and ICU for COVID-19 patients, negative pressure ICU rooms, video-laryngoscopes and COVID-19 testing were available on-site at 17% of respondents’ hospitals.
Conclusions: At the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic in Lebanon, the availability of recommended PPE to the surveyed ICU physicians in Lebanon and the available ICU resources and COVID-19 preparedness at their hospitals were limited.
Keywords: COVID-19; nosocomial transmission; personal protective equipment