MASK UTILIZATION AND PHYSICAL DISTANCING PRACTICES AS A PREVENTIVE RESPONSE TO COVID-19 AT A TERTIARY HOSPITAL, ETHIOPIA
Introduction: The impact of COVID-19 has influenced every society in the globe since it was declared as public health emergency of international concern. The recommendation to prevent the transmission includes proper hand hygiene, proper physical distancing and face mask utilization in public places.
Objective: To assess the practice of face mask utilization and proper physical distancing in patients and attendants visiting Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital Out-patient waiting areas.
Methods: Institution-based cross-sectional survey was conducted. All patients and attendants visiting the out-patient waiting areas of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital were the source population. Anonymous non-participatory observation data collection using a pretested checklist was used. Excel and SPSS softwares were used for data management and analysis. Descriptive analysis was used to present data.
Result: A total of 3816 individuals were observed in the study. Among them 53.2% were female. Proper face mask utilization was practiced almost universally, 93.4%. Proper physical distancing was practiced in 48.3% of them. The presence of individual enforcement, the daily patient load and the capacity of the waiting areas were influencing the practice of proper physical distancing.
Conclusion: Proper mask utilization among individuals visiting out-patient waiting areas of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital is close to universal relative to physical distancing. Overcrowding and lack of sustainable enforcement of good practices lead to low practice of proper physical distancing.
Key words: COVID-19, mask utilization, physical distancing, Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital
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