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Frontline health care workers are at high risk of contracting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).1 Personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirators (N95s), is essential for prevention of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that health care workers dispose of N95s after a single patient encounter. However, it recommends N95 extended use (wearing the same N95 for multiple patient encounters) and limited reuse (storing an N95 between encounters for use over multiple encounters) during critical PPE shortages.2,3 There are limited data regarding N95 reuse and extended use. Existing studies were conducted in laboratories, not clinical environments.4,5 Inadequate supplies of N95s have forced many emergency departments to implement various N95 reuse and extended use policies but without empirical evidence of their effectiveness. We examined the prevalence of N95 fit test failure while reusing 2 common types of N95 masks.
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Corresponding Author: Nida F. Degesys, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, L126, San Francisco, CA 94143-0208 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for Publication: May 20, 2020.
Published Online: June 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9843
Author Contributions: Drs Degesys and Wang had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: All authors.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Degesys, Wang, Kwan, Fahimi, Noble.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Statistical analysis: Wang, Fahimi.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Degesys, Kwan, Noble.
Supervision: Degesys, Wang, Noble, Raven.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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