A prominent infectious disease society issued infection prevention and control guidelines April 27 for healthcare workers providing care to patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or those suspected of having the disease.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America society formed a panel that included front-line clinicians, infectious disease specialists, experts in infection control, and guideline methodologists and issued several recommendations, including what to do when there is a lack of personal protective equipment or stock is running low.
Healthcare workers should use N95 respirators instead of surgical masks when performing procedures on suspected or known COVID-19 patients where fine airborne particles are generated, according to the society’s guidelines.
And when there are respirator shortages, healthcare personnel involved with procedures on COVID-19 patients where fine airborne particles (or aerosols) are generated should use a reprocessed N95 respirator instead of surgical masks, the guidelines say. Workers also are advised to add a face shield or surgical mask on top of the N95 respirator when there are shortages to extend the amount of time the respirator can be used.