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Infection prevention: coordinating the community response to COVID-19

23 September 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 17


Sue Rees, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Community Infection Prevention, Hywel Dda University Health Board (, was runner up in the Infection Prevention Nurse of the Year category at the BJN Awards 2021

The global alert on 24 January 2020, that Wuhan, China, had an escalating outbreak of respiratory infections, caused by a novel coronavirus subsequently named SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), was a signal to infection prevention specialists that this was to be a global pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on 11 March 2020, with confirmed cases in 114 countries, increasing fatalities and thousands of patients critical in hospitals with fulminant pneumonia and requiring intensive respiratory support (WHO, 2020).

As an advanced nurse practitioner for community infection prevention in Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB), West Wales, I was suitably experienced and placed to operationalise the community COVID-19 response. I anticipated that the community COVID-19 response and journey to mitigate transmission was to move us as specialists beyond existing competencies and boundaries. This pandemic was also to present inimitable challenges in terms of the epidemiology, changing guidance and the complexities of behavioural and human factors.

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