The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a request for information regarding the use of “elastomeric half-mask respirators” healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR) is a an air-purifying respirator that “provide[s] at least the same level of protection as single-use N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs).” The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) plans to purchase and deploy EHMRs to healthcare organizations to “ease the demand for single-use N95 FFRs in healthcare settings experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 patients.”
NIOSH is seeking information for two related initiatives:
EHMR Deployment from the SNS
- A Statement of Interest (SOI) from healthcare organizations to participate in the deployment of EHMRs from the SNS. Participating organizations will receive a fixed quantity of EHMRs and the EHMR Best Practice Guidelines/Hospital Implementation Guide, and participants will be required to submit a detailed reports on their experience using the EHMRs. Participation of the following organizations is encouraged (but not limited to): hospital systems, hospitals, hospital intensive care units (ICUs), hospital general wards, hospital emergency departments, outpatient care settings, nursing homes, dental organizations, and first responders; and
- Information and ideas to develop a national strategy for the purchase, deployment, and use of reusable EHMRs in healthcare settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes strategic parameters of the distribution program (e.g., considerations about fit testing, training, cleaning/disinfection) and potential criteria to guide the distribution of purchase devices (e.g., technical approach of the use of the EHMRs).
Future NIOSH EHMR Demonstration Projects
- An SOI from health organizations to participate in future EHMR demonstration project activities; and
- Information to help refine future EHMR demonstration project activities, including strategic parameters and potential distribution criteria.
The comment deadline is October 14, 2020 (i.e., 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register).