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New guidelines may hamper the medical sector's efforts to obtain personal protective equipment



Updated US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that the public may take certain medical grade masks as protection against COVID-19 could further complicate deficiencies in personal protective equipment required by frontline medical personnel. last Thursday stated that N95 respiratory protection – the gold standard in medical society and a requirement under the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration's respiratory standard – "should not be used outside care settings as it should be reserved for healthcare professionals." [19659002] Nevertheless, the same guidelines, which require double masking, contain some details for the public use of "KN95" masks, which are also used in healthcare settings and are approved, in certain circumstances as the pandemic shortage continues, as a replacement when N95 masks are not available.

The issue in health care is that as a lack of N95 masks ̵

1; which filter out 95% of batch cles – continue to be a problem, some facilities have relied on the less protective KN95 masks for workers in medical settings who do not work directly with COVID-19 patients, says Dr. Ernest Grant, president of the American Nurses Association in Silver Springs, Maryland.

"The new standard that indicates that the public wears KN95 may disrupt the available range of healthcare," he said.

Bill Schwacke, Philadelphia-based care manager for technology company Origami Risk LLC, says the pressure for more medical masks is usually "exacerbating" hospital system supply chain problems.

The new CDC guidelines have "a direct impact on their supply chain", he said. "This is something that is at the heart of risk management staff on a daily basis."

On October 2, 2020, months into a well-documented shortage of N95 masks, OSHA announced that medical facilities, which are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, may use "discretion" in what they provide to workers. For many, this meant issuing KN95 masks, which are approved in other countries.

To the media explanations is added the confusion urging everyone to wear the more protective N95 masks, according to Get Us PPE, a non-profit organization in Washington that advocates for more supplies to emergency medical workers in the midst of the pandemic.

"Recently … some writers and public health professionals have advised the public to buy N95s," a spokeswoman for Get Us PPE wrote in an email. "We do not agree with this advice – like the CDC – because there is a serious and worsening shortage of the N95s, and we must save them for healthcare professionals."

"If 350 million people run out and get N95 masks, there are 350 million fewer masks for the care professions when they treat COVID patients," says Schwacke, adding that the demand for N95 masks has also created problems with counterfeit masks on the market.

Reuse of masks is another dilemma. Normally, according to the OSHA standard, N95 masks should be worn once and discarded. Since the pandemic began, most workers have reused them, says Dr. Grant.

"They ask healthcare professionals to reuse the mask for three, four or five days and then sterilize them again, "he said." We are in a crisis and there is a shortage, and this process is allowed, but the first guidelines are that they should be used once and discarded. It's still a concern we have, says Dr. Grant.

Another problem, according to those helping healthcare facilities deal with legal risks, concerns OSHA, which has cited hundreds of medical facilities over the past 11 months for bridge. tt against its

"Our customers have reported a lack of masks and difficulty in obtaining respiratory protection since the pandemic began," said Adam Young, a Chicago-based partner in workplace safety and environmental practice at Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He said the company is aware of OSHA citing medical facilities for COVID-19 violations, which often claim breaches of respiratory protection regulations, despite the documented shortcoming.

Andrew Brought, a lawyer in OSHA practice at Spencer Fane LLP in Kansas City Missouri, said that the problems of buying N95 masks will continue, and that any call for the public to wear such masks "poses a dilemma and a challenge for healthcare professionals and their employers because they are the ones most at risk. "

"Everything is the same, given the variants (of COVID-19) that are coming out now, double masking and the N95 make sense, but we are not at the point where all things are equal," he said. "PPE should be targeted at all employers in the high-risk groups."

Mr. Brought said health care systems facing OSHA citations should "show that they have taken various steps" to achieve adequate levels of personal protective equipment. "I think these entities (which are quoted) have a pretty strong basis for being able to push back against the quotes that have been issued."

More insurance and work compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here ].


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