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Research Return to VCUHS

Please see the following information regarding infection prevention, PPE and cleaning/disinfecting protocols for VCUHS return to research. For more information, please visit the VCUHS Intranet COVID19 Home Page.

Patient Screening:
All research patients must be screened prior to their visit or signs/symptoms. If they are symptomatic, then their visit is postponed until they are feeling better & they are referred to their primary care provider for further evaluation.  All research patients that require an overnight stay are required to test NEGATIVE for COVID19 within 2 days of their planned overnight stay (see attached guidelines for COVID testing & procedures).

PPE Requirements:
If you are providing direct, clinical care to patients within VCUHS facilities, you must wear a medical grade mask & full face shield.  Cloth masks are not an acceptable alternative in patient care areas, but acceptable in non-patient care areas, such as offices.  The full face shield is to protect your mask so that it can extend the life of the mask, not infection prevention measures.  Since we are reprocessing masks due to expected shortage, no make-up or lip products should be worn with masks.  Any mask that has make-up or lip product residue on it cannot be reprocessed & must be discarded. 

The medical grade mask should be used for 1 full day, then replaced with another mask at the mask desk on Main 1.  However, if your mask becomes wet or visibly soiled, then you can ask for a replacement at the mask desk on Main 1. The full face shield should be cleaned in between patients. 

Please note that additional PPE requirements may be warranted based on type of visit & potential risks for coughing, sneezing or any other aerosolization of fluids.  Please check with North 8 team, if you have questions about the appropriate PPE for your study visit.

We ask that you do your part to protect, reuse & conserve the PPE.

Where can I obtain a medical grade mask & full face shield?
Masks:  If you need to get a medical grade mask & placard to receive daily replacement masks, please send an email to:

We will then submit your name to the health system central supply team so that they can produce & provide you with a badge placard for replacements.

Full Face Shields: North 8 has a limited supply of full face shields that can be obtained when you present for your first clinical return visit on North 8 if you have not yet received your PPE through the VCUHS central supply team.  North 8 will issue 1 shield only, replacement shields will need to be obtain through the normal VCUHS central supply pathway. 

Cleaning Requirements:
You are expected to follow the cleaning standards for each clinical area where you see your study patients.  Please seek guidance from the clinical leaders in each area to ensure you & your team are following the correct process for cleaning.

Cleaning processes specific to North 8 space:
North 8 will provide the appropriate disinfecting/cleaning products for your PPE, exam room’s & equipment.  If you are unclear what product to use, please ask one of the North 8 nurses for guidance.  We are happy to assist you.

Exam Room:
The responsibility of cleaning exam rooms in between patients remains with the research team, but the disinfecting/cleaning process has changed due to COVID.  As always, the exam rooms must be disinfected/cleaned in between each patient visit.  Not only do we wipe down the exam table, chairs, and equipment, now research teams must wipe down all high touch surfaces as well (see attached Ambulatory Cleaning Guidelines) i.e., all countertops, computer keyboards, cabinet door handles & around handles, sink handles, door knobs, door frames where hands might touch when opening & closing the door as well as any other surface that the research team and/or patient may have touched during the visit.  Please note that each disinfecting/cleaning product as a “wet” time for proper disinfection.  This means that the surface must remain “wet” with cleaner for that length of time & allowed to air dry to ensure disinfection.  For example, the purple sani-wipes require 2 minutes of “wet” time for disinfection.  Please refer to posted disinfecting/cleaning product info sheets.

Exam room Equipment:
To reduce the possible infection transmission, North 8 has removed all portable equipment from all of the exam rooms, i.e.: vital signs monitor or oto/ophth scopes.  If you need these items as part of your exam, then please ask a North 8 nurse to provide. 

Provider Workroom:
EVS wipes down all high touch surfaces every evening.  However, to add an additional layer of infection prevention, the North 8 team will wipe down all surfaces when the clinic opens in the morning.  Each research team member is expected to wipe down their work surface at the end of their work day so that it is ready for the next person to begin. 

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Joni Greer (joan.greer@vcuhealth.org) or Mary Harmon (mary.harmon@VCUhealth.org) to discuss. 

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