COVID-19 Guidelines

The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) has updated the previously released Guidelines on the Management of Critically Ill Adults with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The release of this first update is 1/29/2021.

Guideline Access

Additional Resources  2021 Congress Session Recording: Surviving Sepsis Campaign COVID-19 Guidelines Therapeutics Update


In the newly released first evidence-based update of the SSC COVID-19 guidelines, the panel issued nine statements related to ICU patients with severe or critical COVID-19. Several of the original recommendations remain current. Amongst the nine updates for treating severe or critical COVID-19 patients, the panel strongly recommends using systemic corticosteroids and venous thromboprophylaxis, and strongly recommends against using hydroxychloroquine. In addition, the panel suggests using dexamethasone (compared with other corticosteroids) and suggests against using convalescent plasma outside clinical trials. The SSC COVID-19 panel suggests using remdesivir in nonventilated patients with severe COVID-19 and suggests against starting remdesivir in patients with critical COVID-19 outside clinical trials. Because of insufficient evidence, the panel was not able to issue recommendations on the use of awake prone positioning or empiric therapeutic anticoagulation. The original guidelines can be viewed as published in June, 2020 in the journals Critical Care Medicine or Intensive Care Medicine contain relevant and important guidance for clinician consideration.

This guideline is updated regularly as new evidence becomes available. Updated: 1/29/2021

Guidelines and Resources ‚ÄčAdditional Resources
SCCM Emergency Response: COVID-19

The SSC COVID-19 subcommittee panel (36 experts from 12 countries) issued 53 statements based on the available evidence, four of which are best practices based on high-quality evidence:

  • Healthcare workers performing aerosol-generating procedures (e.g. intubation, bronchoscopy, open suctioning, etc.) on patients with COVID-19 should wear fitted respirator masks, such as N-95, FFP2 or equivalent – instead of surgical masks – in addition to other personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gown and eye protection.   
  • Aerosol-generating procedures should be performed on ICU patients with COVID-19 in a negative pressure room, if available. Negative pressure rooms are engineered to prevent the spread of contagious pathogens from room to room. 
  • Endotracheal intubation of patients with COVID-19 should be performed by healthcare workers with experience in airway management to minimize the number of attempts and risk of transmission. 
  • Adults with COVID-19 who are being treated with non-invasive positive pressure ventilation or a high flow nasal canula should be closely monitored for worsening respiratory status and intubated if necessary.