CSHBC has received many questions about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). CSHBC does not regulate the use of PPE and directs registrants to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) for relevant information and recommendations on the use of PPE. See the BCCDC page on personal protective equipment.
What is PPE?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) generally refers to clothing or equipment designed to protect workers from physical hazards in their place of work. PPE recommended for droplet protection consists of four elements:
- a disposable surgical/procedure mask;
- a full-length, long-sleeved gown;
- disposable gloves; and
- eye protection (which can include a face shield or goggles).
For some aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMP), an N95 respirator and face shield/goggles are required, and it is recommended to perform AGMPs in a negative pressure setting if possible. See instructions on how to properly put on and take off PPE on the BCCDC website.
COVID-19 and PPE
COVID-19 primarily spreads from person-to-person by respiratory droplets produced while coughing or sneezing. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within 2 meters/6 feet) or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has SARS-CoV-2 virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
BCCDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Public Health Agency of Canada recommend that health care workers in close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 follow contact and droplet precautions to protect themselves against infection, which includes the selection and use of PPE.
CSHBC Registrants and PPE
CSHBC registrants who are employed in public health clinics, hospitals, health agencies, long-term care facilities, school districts, and other public sector settings are expected to follow the direction on the use of PPE given by their employer, in addition to direction from BCCDC.
Registrants who are employed in private practice are expected to follow direction from BCCDC on the use of PPE, in addition to Provincial Health Officer and CSHBC direction on which type of care is permitted at this time. If a registrant determines that PPE is required, the capacity to obtain and wear appropriate PPE must be assessed before treatment can be initiated. If appropriate PPE cannot be obtained and worn, the care must be postponed or referred to an appropriate provider.
Routine precautions reminder
Registrants are reminded that routine precautions, including handwashing, physical distancing, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces should be in place at all times. BCCDC recommends that all health care workers practice fastidious hand hygiene and cough etiquette, in addition to instructing and assisting patients to do the same.
For more information, please contact CSHBC at [email protected].