N95 respirators (or PAPRs) continue to be required for direct care of patients on Airborne (e.g., tuberculosis, measles) or Special Airborne Contact (e.g., suspected or confirmed COVID infection) precautions. Additionally, CDC has updated their guidelines and now recommends healthcare workers in areas where there is moderate to substantial community transmission of COVID-19 use N95 respirators when performing procedures that are high-risk for generating aerosols, since healthcare workers in facilities with moderate to substantial community transmission are more likely to encounter asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients who may be COVID-19 positive. This can include patients who tested negative during their pre-procedure test, but then develop symptoms in subsequent days. To accommodate these recommendations, Duke has implemented changes in recommended PPE for staff in perioperative and procedural areas where high-risk aerosol-generating procedures are performed.
Additionally, to ensure availability of N95 respirators when needed, DUHS has deployed new models of N95s to certain care areas. Staff may notice that DUHS now supplies N95 respirators that have a valve. Staff should use the N95 respirator model that is available at their location and per instructions of their local leadership. In this document, we have answered several frequently asked questions and highlighted key features of the different types of N95 respirators in the table below. Uploaded 09.22.20