Issue: PPE

Question: Supplies of face masks are depleted/will soon be depleted. Can we use cloth/homemade face masks?

Answer: (Summarized from information provided by Mary McGoldrick, MS, RN, CRNI®, home care infection control expert.) The CDC’s website does include cloth face masks/scarfs as examples of what to use when no face masks are available, but please consider the information below:

  • On January 29, 2020, the World Health Organization released a publication called Advice on The Use of Masks in the Community, during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. In the document, in the last line it states, “Cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance.”
  • Face masks reduce aerosol exposure by a combination of the filtering action of the fabric and the seal it makes between the face and the mask. Although any material may provide a physical barrier, if as a mask it does not fit well around the nose and mouth, or the cloth allows infectious aerosols to pass through it, it will be of no benefit and only offer a false sense of security.

Question: Can we re-use PPE/how can we conserve PPE?

Answer: Please reference the CDC’s guidance on optimization of PPE