The Illinois Department of Public Health is recommending all hospitals and EMS providers MUST immediately elevate their conservation and contingency strategies as it relates to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Please use this guidance to conserve PPE wherever allows, while ensuring the safety of healthcare personnel. Receiving hospitals remain the responsible party for allowing EMS to restock their equipment or supplies after transporting patients.
The CDC has provided guidance for conservation and contingency measures which may change daily practices but may not have a significant impact on the care delivered to the patient or the safety of the healthcare provider. The following measures may be considered in the setting of potential shortages of N95 respirators, surgical or procedures mask, gowns, and goggles. Hospital and EMS providers should make decisions on a case by case basis taking in to account the local conditions.
EMS and Hospital considerations MUST be made for:
- Expediting discharges for patients who can safely be discharged home- applies to hospitals
- Maximizing use by preserving masks in a paper bag, or breathable container
- Use of N95 masks beyond the expiration date
- Extended use of masks and reuse per the CDC guidance
- Facemasks as an acceptable alternative until the supply chain is restored.
- Respirators should be prioritized for procedures that are likely to generate respiratory aerosols, which would pose the highest exposure risk to HCP.
- Eye protection, gown, and gloves continue to be recommended.
- If there are shortages of gowns -
- prioritize for aerosol-generating procedures,
- care activities where splashes and sprays are anticipated, and
- high-contact patient care activities that provide opportunities for transfer of pathogens to the hands and clothing of HCP.
- When the supply chain is restored, fit-tested clinicians should return to use of respirators for patients with known or suspected COVID-19.