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Not All Masks Are Created Equal. What To Know About Masks Approved for Staff UsePublished: Oct. 5, 2021
Methodist Infection Prevention and Control leaders have recently received several questions about the appropriate types of face masks that should be used in patient care areas.
In June, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for health care facilities.
The OSHA ETS provides a specific definition for the types of masks that can be used where direct care is provided (including inpatient and outpatient settings): "Face mask" means a surgical, medical procedure, dental or isolation mask that is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), authorized by an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) or offered or distributed as described in an FDA enforcement policy. Face masks may also be referred to as ‘‘medical procedure masks.’’
Methodist's purchasing and logistics teams have worked hard throughout the pandemic to make sure that there are enough face masks that are FDA-approved for staff. There are multiple masks that are available for staff use:
- PacDent iMask
- Hubei Haixin Group nonwoven face mask
- Halyard procedure mask
Is This Mask FDA-Approved?
There are countless masks that are available commercially. Not all of these are created equal, and most are not FDA-approved. While some are FDA-approved, it can be difficult to identify that by the mask alone. Staff members working in hospital, Methodist Physicians Clinic or hospital-based clinic settings should be using one of the procedure masks provided by Methodist Health System.
Cloth masks should not be worn in hospital and clinic settings.