Resource from CDC Describes Strategies for PPE Shortages
A new quick-reference table published by CDC is intended to help healthcare facilities optimize their supply of personal protective equipment during shortages. The table describes strategies that facilities can use when PPE supplies such as N95 respirators, facemasks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves are running low or absent. The strategies apply to different levels of surge capacity corresponding to healthcare facilities’ ability to manage a sudden increase in patient volume.  The three levels are conventional capacity, contingency capacity, and crisis capacity. Conventional capacity strategies are those that should already be in place as part of general infection prevention and control plans in healthcare settings. A contingency capacity scenario describes a period of anticipated PPE shortages. And healthcare facilities operating at crisis capacity do not have enough supplies to meet their current or anticipated PPE utilization rate. CDC urges healthcare facilities to consider each option in the table and implement them sequentially: conventional, contingency, then crisis capacity strategies. Facilities should also understand their current PPE inventory, supply chain, and utilization rate. As PPE availability returns to normal, CDC states that healthcare facilities must “promptly resume standard practices.”