Reusable Half-Face Respirator Implementation
- Allina is implementing reusable half-face respirators to individual staff members who have been issued N95 respirators as part of the 1-5-7 respirator rotation. Exception: CDC does not recommend half-face respirators during surgical procedures.
- Facts about half-face respirators:
- Included in CDC recommendations for conventional and surge demand situations.
- Provide the same level of protection as N95 respirators, and are generally believed to be more comfortable than N95 respirators.
- Able to be cleaned and are equipped with replaceable filter cartridges.
- All staff who have been issued N95 respirators as part of the 1-5-7 respirator rotation should plan to be fit tested specifically for the new half-face respirators with the exception of roles or units to remain on N95 roles as outlined in the attached document. This list is subject to change pending Allina system office clarification.
- Fit testing is available 6/1- 6/5 and 6/8 – 6/12 on W6316. Safety is working on offering expanded hours and will communicate updates when able.
- If employees are waiting to be FIT tested to the half-face respirator, they should continue to use their first distribution of N95 respirators as they remain usable, in a rotation and should not receive a second distribution of N95 respirators.
- This change follows CDC guidance. The CDC does not provide an “upper limit” to the number of days a respirator can be worn for use during the COVID pandemic, as long as five days elapse between each day of use. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/decontamination-reuse-respirators.html)
- If respirator needs to be replaced, a one to one exchange at the masking station is recommended as a bridge to the half-face respirator transition.
- Once an employee is fitted to a half face respirator they should still hold on to their current N95 respirators and await further instruction.
- For more information:
o LMS module for half-face respirator training should be completed prior to fit testing (this will take approx. 12 minutes to complete). Title: COVID-19: Half Face Reusable Respirator. Course ID: ALCOVIDHFRR. Class ID: 0000566646
o Updated PPE FAQ, which has a number of new questions and answers around half-face respirators.