Saturday, May 21, 2022

Horizon will provide KN95 masks to the public as mask guidelines have been amended in the province. CBC News

Horizon Health Network Hospitals will now provide KN95 masks to members of the public who wish to receive one upon admission.

In addition, if patients and visitors wear their own N95 or KN95 mask, they will not need to change it.

Until now, people were expected to remove whatever mask they were wearing and replace it with a non-medical mask issued by a hospital.

Margaret Melanson, Horizon’s vice president of quality and patient-centered care, confirmed the changes Tuesday to CBC News.

They come as the COVID-19 omicron version continues to rage in New Brunswick, with record-high hospitalizations and new cases including hundreds of health care workers.

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N95 and KN95 masks are respirators and are considered the highest level of mask protection. They filter out more particles and provide a better fit with fewer gaps for smaller airborne particles, or aerosols, to get through.

“We will note – as it pertains to PPE [personal protective equipment] We provide our employees – KN95s are not suitable for medical care,” Melanson said.

“Horizon employees have access to fit-tested N95s in their units and departments. They are asked to perform a point of care risk assessment and if it is determined that an N95 is needed, they may wear a can.”

This is part of the revised COVID-19 enhanced precautionary guidance for the use of all personal protective equipment, issued by the province on January 11.

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KN95 and N95 masks are respirators and filter out excess particles that can carry the virus that causes COVID-19. (CBC)

Department of Health spokesman Bruce MacFarlane said the updated guidance was “as an option for clinical and non-clinical staff in the health system, as well as for visitors, patients and designated support persons, including the N95 and/or or introduces the use of a KN95 respirator.”

He said regional health authorities and other health partners are in the process of implementing this new guidance and ensuring the availability of these new masks in all appropriate settings.

Vitalité Health Network officials were too busy to respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Although N95s and KN95s are hard to come by in stores, Macfarlane said there are no “significant concerns” about the province’s PPE inventory.

The department, in collaboration with partners, will continue to monitor available PPE and “replenish pandemic stockpiles as needed to respond to the new guidance,” he said.

Designated support persons for all outpatients, patients and visitors must wear either a well-fitting medical-grade face mask or a KN95 respirator approved and authorized by the Public Health Agency of Canada or an equivalent alternative mask upon entry into a health care facility. Revised guidelines obtained by CBC News.

Fit-tested, seal-checked N95 respirators are now “strongly recommended” for all clinical and non-clinical health care workers when caring for a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient. that there is a significant risk of transmission when all elements of control have been addressed as best as possible.”

According to a January 11 memorandum signed by Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer of Health, “care” is broadly defined and includes entering or being within two meters of a patient’s room or bed space. .

The revised guidance also applies to other employees within “health care settings” who provide services in the community, acute care and long-term care sectors.

These health care settings include, among others, long-term care facilities, home care services, temporary shelters, family doctors’ offices, and specialist practices.

Horizon will provide KN95 masks to the public as mask guidelines have been amended in the province. CBC News
Health Department spokesman Bruce McFarlane said the province has “no major supply concerns” at this time about stockpiling of respirators such as N95s and KN95s, or medical/surgical masks. (Niagara Regional Police Service)

The province updated its December 23 guidance on the same day it released estimates showing that approximately 5,500 New Brunswickers could test positive for COVID-19 daily by the end of January and if current trends are maintained. And if no changes are made, the number of hospitalizations could reach around 220.

Last Friday, the province moved to Level 3 of the COVID-19 Winter Plan to help slow the spread and give more people time to get vaccinated and their booster shots.

On Tuesday, Public Health announced three more COVID-related deaths and 113 people hospitalized with the virus, including 15 in intensive care. Of these, four are on ventilators.

A total of 347 health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in isolation.

330 new COVID cases were confirmed through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, taking the active caseload to 4,568. An additional 1,623 people tested positive in rapid tests and recorded their results online.

[revised] Masking recommendations should be followed unless otherwise indicated.– Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer of Health

“A well-fitted medical grade face mask is an appropriate level of PPE for the care of a suspected/confirmed COVID-19 patient,” the memo said.

“However, as a precaution, [revised] Masking recommendations should be followed unless otherwise indicated.”

A fit-tested seal-checked N95 respirator is required for all healthcare workers who are entering the room of a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient while performing an aerosol-generating medical procedure Or they should enter.

When the supply of N95 is “interrupted”, equivalent respirators approved under standards used in other countries, such as the medical KN95 respirator and FFP2 respirator, are also acceptable, as long as they are medical devices under an interim order from Health Canada. are authorized to import and sell. , according to the memorandum.

“This is an interim measure until all health care workers who provide direct patient care or support services in a patient/resident/client-care environment have had an opportunity to be fit-tested,” it notes. .

Horizon will provide KN95 masks to the public as mask guidelines have been amended in the province. CBC News
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell issued revised mask guidance on January 11, the same day the province released its latest COVID-19 estimates. (Govt of New Brunswick)

Earlier this month, the government posted mask guidance to the public on social media.

“Wearing a well-fitted mask is an important additional layer of protection. Think about your risk when choosing what kind of mask to wear.”

The tweet described non-medical masks, including three-layer cloth masks, two-layer cloth masks with filters and disposable masks, as “good”.

Medical masks, including surgical masks, KN95s and N95s, are the “best”.

“Make sure your mask fits snugly with no gaps and is worn properly over your nose and mouth.”

Asked at a recent COVID-19 news conference whether N95 or KN95 masks should be made available to the general public free of charge to help prevent the spread of the virus, or whether it should be mandated that public- Employees in facing jobs, such as the grocery store, be provided to them by their employers, Russell answered, “Great question.”

“We can only recommend what we know in terms of evidence-based information, and we are not saying that a person in particular who is not in the health care system should wear an N95.”

“And then, there are different types of N95s. So there are fitted ones, which again are particularly used in health care settings where there is risk. Then there is the unfitted N95, which is very similar to KN95.

“And if you look at the data on that, it’s actually the equivalent of a Surgical Level 1 mask. … so they’re interchangeable with the KN95 if it’s fitted properly.

“And if someone wants to continue to wear a fabric mask, they can put a filter in that if they want. … So it’s about having choices and it’s about having the right protection based on risk.”

He did not comment on whether the province would provide expensive masks for free, especially for those who cannot afford them, or whether it would mandate employers.

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