Background: COVID-19 has placed unprecedented demands on infection control professionals (ICPs) and infectious disease (ID) physicians. This study examined their knowledge, preparedness, and experiences managing COVID-19 in the Australian healthcare settings.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of ICPs and ID physician members of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) and the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) was conducted using an online survey. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise and report data.
Results: A total of 103 survey responses were included in the analysis for ICPs and 45 for ID physicians. A majority of ICPs (78.7%) and ID physicians (77.8%) indicated having 'very good' or 'good' level of knowledge of COVID-19. Almost all ICPs (94.2%) relied on state or territory's department of health websites to source up-to-date information While most ID physicians (84.4%) used scientific literature and journals. A majority of ICPs (96%) and ID physicians (73.3%) reported feeling 'moderately prepared' or 'extremely prepared' for managing COVID-19. Most respondents had received specific training about COVID-19 within their workplace (ICPs: 75%; ID physicians: 66.7%), particularly training/certification in PPE use, which made them feel 'mostly or entirely confident' in using it. Most ICPs (84.5%) and ID physicians (76.2%) reported having 'considerably' or 'moderately more' work added to their daily duties. Their biggest concerns included the uncertainties under a rapidly changing landscape, PPE availability, and the community's compliance.
Conclusion: Harmonised information, specific COVID-19 training and education, and adequate support for front-line workers are key to successfully managing COVID-19 and other future outbreaks.
Keywords: Attitudes; COVID-19; Health knowledge; Infection control; Outbreaks; Practice.
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