The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others.
Per CDC guidance, masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be used by health care providers, patients, or visitors. If a patient or visitor presents with one of these masks they need to wear an isolation mask over the valve/vented mask or replace their mask with an isolation mask.
N95 Mask Practices
Guidelines and Best Practices for N95s:
• One (1) mask per caregiver per day unless replacement is needed due to visible contamination or mask becomes moist.
• Once you place on the mask, it can be worn in multiple patient rooms.
• Not everyone is able to wear an N95 due to medical conditions that may be made worse when breathing through a respirator. Please contact employee health if have health condition that would limit your ability to wear an N95.
• A fit seal check should be performed before each use
- Video on how to self-check a N95 respirator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnXN1OD6VRw
• Remove during eating/drinking
- Doff your mask by the straps, grasp mask on inside, fold in half with inside of mask facing outward, place in brown paper bag or envelope when not in use, see video: https://youtu.be/k7b_nhTtN4M
End of Shift N95 Collection
• Environmental Services will collect all N95 respirator masks from soiled utility areas minimally twice per day, at approximately 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
• If soiled utility area is overflowing with N95 masks before regularly scheduled pick-up time, please contact Environmental Services for additional pick-up.
• All N95 respirator masks are to be placed in a container with the N95 collection signage affixed to it.
• These containers are for the collection of N95 respirator masks only.
• Preferred placement for these containers is inside soiled utility areas.
• All N95 collections outside of soiled utility areas must be moved inside soiled utility areas for Environmental Services pickup.
• Goggles are to be used for the duration of the shift.
• Goggles are reusable, and not be to discarded unless damaged.
• Goggles will be returned at the end of shift for reuse.
• Clean your goggles using Oxivir Tb wipes or hospital-approved disinfectant spray
• OR, return your goggles to HUC or designated team member for cleaning.
• Clean goggles will be placed in specified bin and ready for reuse
• Clean your hands before and after touching your goggles.
• Clean your goggles at the beginning of every shift, and anytime you put on your goggles.
• Handle goggles by touching the ear pieces.
• Eyeglasses do not replace goggles. Goggles should be worn over regular eyeglasses for added protection.