N95 mask use updates for practices.
In the event of a local outbreak or Alert Level 3 / 4 then N95 masks are recommended for clinicians to use when taking swabs, or when seeing patients with respiratory symptoms or HIS criteria.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a science advisory acknowledging the airborne spread via aerosol of COVID-19. This has implications for PPE.
Pinnacle is asking the science advisory group to consider if there are implications for 'stand down' periods for a room that is used for swabbing. At the moment there is no change to the current advice – there is no need for a stand down period between patients.
It makes sense to consider the space where you assess and swab people (with/without high index of suspicion criteria) and to make sure this space is well ventilated – this may mean having an open window and a floor fan.
The WHO recommend “a pedestal fan facing towards the window (ie. facing outside) serves to pull the room and exhaust air to the outside; a fan facing towards the interior of the room (ie. facing inside) serves to pull in the outdoor air and push it inside the room.”
The interim guidance on N95 masks published last month (see resources below) acknowledges this, stating clinicians need to assess the level of risk in their setting, and to use an N95 mask in the event of dealing with someone who is not fully immunised who has symptoms and a high index of suspicion, if in a poorly ventilated room, for > 15 minutes.
We continue to work on getting our practices set up to do fit testing of their staff, with much thanks to our own project manager Helen Terlesk, Liz Stockley at GPNZ and 3M.
View the below related resources below for:
A message on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Health has put processes in place to verify that general practices and urgent care clinics have met the requirement for fit testing P2/N95 particulate respirators, prior to being able to use these masks in general practice and urgent care clinic settings.
A declaration form has been developed so clinics can receive P2/N95 particulate respirators from the Ministry’s PPE Central Supply.
The declaration form needs to be authorised by the either an owner, director, manager or clinical lead on behalf of the organisation and only needs to be completed once.
The form asks each general practice and urgent care clinic to declare that:
If you have any questions about PPE contingency stock or about your PPE requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact: COVID.HealthSupplyChain@health.govt.nz.
Pinnacle can also provide information regarding the options for fit testing. Please get in touch via your practice development facilitator.
Pinnacle is asking for expressions of interest nominating one person from Waikato and Taranaki practices that are yet to have someone complete all four steps of fit tester training. Please complete this expression of interest by 4pm, Thursday 24 June.
N95 mask tester training will be organised for all localities. Pinnacle is also working with the DHBs in Lakes and Tairāwhiti. Information regarding each location will be made available as soon as we have these details.
Helen Terlesk, Project manager
027 260 2373