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Ever since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, regional and nationwide PPE shortages have become regular occurrences, especially in the medical field. In particular, N95 respirator masks and COVID-19 testing supplies have repeatedly run low. We’ve assembled a summary of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on how to optimize PPE supplies during shortages, along with our own tips and resources.

You can ensure that your community, family or workplace is prepared and in compliance by stocking up on NIOSH-certified respirators from MediDent Supplies.

Learn more about how the delta variant has strained supply chains in 2021 here.

Quick guide to CDC guidelines

New CDC guidelines for optimizing PPE during shortages were created in 2020 to help overwhelmed institutions use their PPE supply to the fullest extent. The guidelines describe tactics that can be used when supplies such as respirators, masks, gowns, and gloves are in short supply, or have completely run out, in the form of a quick reference table.

The CDC identified three surge status levels: conventional capacity, contingency, and crisis. Conventional capacity status protocols are rules that should be followed at all times as part of a larger infection prevention plan.

A contingency capacity status level describes a predicted PPE shortage. During contingency scenarios, the CDC recommends:

Crisis capacity occurs when a facility does not have enough supplies to meet their need, or when supply has completely run out. When in crisis status, the CDC recommends:

In situations when PPE becomes totally unavailable, the CDC recommends:

For the full list of recommendations, please visit Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE during Shortages.

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N95 respirators

In an explanation on proper use of PPE, the CDC states that N95 respirator masks provide the best protection because they “[…] reduce the wearer’s exposure to airborne particles, from small particle aerosols to large droplets. N95 respirators are tight-fitting respirators that filter out at least 95% of particles in the air, including large and small particles.”

When N95 respirators are in short supply or unavailable, facilities can optimize PPE using the following strategies:

Identifying PPE capacity

It is vital that health care facilities fully understand their current PPE inventory, supply chain, and utilization rate. Following a checklist throughout the week can help ensure staff is aware of current PPE capacity. Checklist items might include:

  1. The inventory at the beginning of the week.
  2. Whether additional PPE supplies are received and how many.
  3. The inventory at the end of the week.
  4. Whether there is enough supply to allow staff to continue to dispose of single-use PPE.

If you need additional help, the NIOSH PPE Tracker app is a helpful tool that can help track PPE inventory.

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Be prepared by having respirators on hand. Companies and healthcare providers nationwide trust MediDent Supplies for their face covering and COVID testing supplies. Browse MediDent’s thorough selection of PPE and sanitization supplies today and ensure your workplace is safe and prepared for the new standards.

Purchasing in bulk? Contact our experienced team for wholesale orders.