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Personal Protective Equipment Update
Here are some important facts about COVID-19 and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Rush’s COVID-19 command center.
What do caregivers wear for potential or confirmed COVID-19 patients?
Caregivers wear a facemask, goggles or a face shield, a yellow gown and gloves unless you are in the room doing aerosol-generating procedures like intubation. Only aerosol-generating procedures require N-95 respirator masks and CAPRs.
Do we have enough PPE?
Yes, we are in a good position now with our PPE supply, but we need to be vigilant to preserve it. Rush has an emergency stockpile in preparation for emergencies, as does the city and state. We want to preserve our PPE supply for a potential surge in patients in the weeks and months ahead. We need to conserve when possible now so that we have enough for the long-term.
What can we do as an organization to preserve our PPE supply?
We cannot waste PPE and that is the responsibility of every Rush employee. What we have learned from parts of the country that are ahead of us in the surge of patients is that the only way for us to ensure that we continue to have the supplies we need is to be wise with our PPE usage now. We can all be part of this solution by minimizing the utilization of PPE now.
How can I help conserve PPE?
Please keep your facemask on until it is contaminated, wet or damaged. Please keep your goggles or face shield on and clean them when they are visibly soiled. We need to reduce the number used each day to conserve these critical items. This will allow us to ensure we all have these supplies as we continue to see increases in patients. Please do not hoard or take PPE home for personal use. Doing so puts Rush’s readiness at risk.
How are we making the decisions to make any changes in our protocols?
Initially it was unclear (even a few weeks ago) how COVID-19 was transmitted, so we implemented a higher level of precautions than what was needed. We are using the science of what is now known about COVID-19 to make these decisions. These are guided by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health (for details, see CDPH’s Updated Guidelines released March 18, 2020 regarding PPE; we are following these guidelines, as are other Chicago area academic centers).
Why is it not necessary to use N-95 masks anymore with most patients?
N-95 masks are not necessary because the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through close contact and large droplets.
Why is the use of negative pressure not needed anymore?
Negative pressure rooms were used initially because it was unclear (even a few weeks ago) how COVID-19 was transmitted. We now know that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through close contact and large droplets so negative pressure rooms are not necessary for these patients.
Do these same rules apply at RUMG outpatient clinics?
Yes. The RUMG clinics that are open have sufficient PPE supplies. For potential COVID-19 patients ONLY, staff should wear a facemask, goggles or a face shield, a yellow gown and gloves. For patients who are COVID-19 screen negative, there is no need for this PPE.
Why are some departments talking about different guidelines?
It is important to review the most recent messages from the Rush COVID-19 command center so you keep up to date on the most accurate recommendations. The most up to date guidelines are maintained on the Rush COVID-19 page. Leaders are asked to please share all COVID-19 recommendations with your staff members so we are all following the same guidelines.
Why do the guidelines at Rush keep changing?
As cases continue to grow throughout the world, more is understood about the disease. We are making decisions based on guideline changes from WHO, CDC and IDPH. In addition, we are adjusting our plans as we consider the national concerns about PPE shortages in other cities.