Introduction The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a global pandemic, and the United States and European authorities established criteria for the release of COVID-19 patients from isolation in October 2020. However, a huge discrepancy exists between the hospital-discharge protocol for COVID-19 patients and the release of patients from in-hospital isolation. Our initially proposed criteria for in-hospital release from isolation was not adhered to by healthcare workers (HCWs) due to prevailing concerns regarding disease infectivity. Herein, we report difficulties encountered in attempting to establish a common understanding of the management of emerging infections. Methods We performed a Google Form-based questionnaire survey targeting HCWs from Okayama University Hospital, Japan, via e-mail on January 21–28, 2021. The anonymous investigation required respondents to provide information regarding their background as well as perceptions regarding the requirement, level of understanding, and readiness for developing release criteria. Results We obtained 150 eligible responses, including 57 (38.0%) from medical doctors and 53 (35.3%) from nurses. Most HCWs managing COVID-19 patients advocated for the implementation of the criteria, whereas those not working in that capacity did not (p<0.001). Over half of the HCWs indicated discomfort at seeing COVID-19 patients transitioning to general management even after meeting the criteria. Conclusions It was challenging to establish a common understanding regarding the ideal criteria for in-hospital release of COVID-19 patients from isolation in our hospital. The dissemination of our experiences and multifaceted discussions with HCWs would be of great value as a countermeasure against the emergent pandemic.
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