During the pandemic, emergency care teams were the first health care workers to identify patients with COVID-19, when doing so was especially challenging. Based on the CDC’s guidance to use droplet precautions, ACEP recommends that health care workers in the emergency department and EMS use fitted N95 masks when caring for patients with COVID-19 or any other contagious respiratory infection. To preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), health care workers should consider wearing the same mask for their entire shift. However, soiled masks should be replaced.
Global penetrance of COVID-19 placed significant stress on PPE production and supply for health care workers. Physicians resorted to buying their own PPE or using donated PPE from other industries to reduce their risk of COVID-19. ACEP urges hospitals and other health care facilities to allow physicians to use donated or self-purchased PPE when in short supply.
For more information, review the full policy “COVID-19: Use of Donated or Self-Purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).”
In addition, review the “Joint Commission Statement on Use of Face Masks Brought From Home” and the CDC’s “Personal Protective Equipment Burn Rate Calculator.”