CDC updates recommendations for healthcare supply of PPE

Feb. 12, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to monitor 2019-nCoV in the U.S. and around the world. The CDC is preparing for the possibility that the virus could become more serious. They are taking steps to make sure there are enough supplies and appropriate guidance to prevent spread of the 2019-nCOV, especially among healthcare personnel caring for patients with the virus.

The CDC has issued guidance recommending the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible 2019-nCoV infection. Employers and healthcare personnel are reminded that PPE is only one aspect of safe care of patients with 2019-nCoV. For the general public, CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks or respirators. The CDC guidance is based on what we know about 2019-nCoV and what we know about similar coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS.

The CDC also understands the importance of providing guidance that healthcare facilities can implement, given supplies of PPE available. The CDC communicates regularly with healthcare industry partners, as well as PPE manufacturers and distributors, to assess availability of PPE. At this time, some partners are reporting higher than usual demand for select N95 respirators and facemasks. If information about market availability changes, updates will be posted on this page.

Based on the current 2019-nCoV situation and availability of PPE, CDC has specific recommendations, summarized below:

Who needs PPE:

·        Patients with confirmed or possible 2019-nCoV infection should wear a facemask when being evaluated medically.

·         Healthcare personnel should adhere to Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield) when caring for patients with 2019-nCoV infection. These precautions include the use of PPE, including NIOSH-approved N95 respirators, gowns, gloves, face shield/eye protection, etc. This includes, but is not limited to, surgical N95 respirators.

Who does not need PPE:

·         The CDC does NOT currently recommend the general public use facemasks. Instead, the CDC recommends following everyday preventive actions, such as washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when you are sick.

·         Manufacturers and Distributors:

Cases of 2019-nCoV are being reported in China as well as other countries. Given decreases in exports from select countries (e.g., China, India, Taiwan) and increases in demand due to the outbreak, manufacturers of select types of PPE are reporting increased volume of orders and challenges in meeting order demands. Plans to surge manufacturing globally are underway.

The CDC offers strategies for healthcare settings on how to optimize supplies of N95 respirators in the face of decreasing supply. These strategies are organized using the occupational health and safety hierarchy of controls approach.

CDC has the statement.