When is an N95 mask required?
The public health advice states that N95 masks are only required for Aerosol-Generating Medical Procedures, or AGMPs, such as intubation or bronchoscopy. There is a concise outline from Shared Health on AGMP’s in acute and sub-acute settings. Shared Health has prepared a poster on procedure/surgical masks vs N95s.
You should be fit tested for an N95 mask if you anticipating needing to wear one. Shared Health has outlined fit testing priorities.
New guidelines (effective January 6, 2021) now suggest that within the context of high community transmission of COVID-19, ongoing discussions with Manitoba’s health care unions have identified settings and situations where employers are required to provide an N95 respirator to health care workers.
These settings include: providing direct patient care in:
- Red or orange zones (confirmed or suspect COVID patients);
- Labour and delivery, emergency departments and urgent care centres, except for areas designated as green zones or with patients confirmed with a negative test result;
- Direct care of undifferentiated patients (could include a confirmed or suspect patient); or
- Providing nasopharyngeal swabs in COVID testing locations.
Health providers may decide to wear a procedure mask instead of an N95 respirator in the above situations based on their professional assessment.
N95 masks are now recommended, regardless of zone, for all aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMPs).
You can review the specific PPE recommendations for your care setting for green, orange and red zones.