Personal Protective Equipment

How effective is PPE?

  • In a meta-analysis study evaluating the impact of PPE and social distancing on the spread of betacoronaviruses (SARS, MERS, COVID) person-to-person, the protective effect was significant.

  • For a physical separation of 1 meter (3 feet) or more, the risk of becoming infected was reduced by 82%.

  • When wearing a mask in a healthcare setting, the risk of becoming infected was reduced by 70%.

  • When wearing eye protection, the risk of becoming infected was reduced by 78%.

  • What is my risk of developing COVID-19 if I wore a medical mask, and the patient ended up having COVID-19?

  • Studies show that medical masks have similar efficacy to an N95 mask for prevention. Even without a mask, you need to have prolonged contact to develop COVID-19 (i.e. more than 15 minutes within 6 feet).

What PPE needs to be worn for patients with our without suspected COVID-19?

Does a patient have cough, fever, or other symptoms of COVID-19?

Yes: gown, gloves, N95 mask, face shield

No: medical mask, face shield


There are so many types of gowns. How do I know to use them correctly?

Disposable gowns

  • Hand hygiene

  • “Break” waist belt

  • Remove gown by grasping shoulders

  • Carefully roll gown inside out into a bundle

  • Remove gloves with gown removal

  • Place gown and gloves in trash

  • Hand hygiene

Reusable gowns

  • Hand hygiene

  • Unfasten waist tie

  • Remove gown by grasping shoulders

  • Carefully roll gown inside out into a bundle

  • Place in proper laundry receptacle

  • Remove gloves

  • Hand hygiene


How long can I wear a surgical or N95 mask before it should be changed?

  • A mask should be worn for one day or less is soiled, damaged, or otherwise doesn’t fit the face anymore. In some circumstances, a mask can be worn longer if you didn’t wear it much during the day, it still fits, and it remains in good condition (i.e. wore a N95 mask for one patient visit the whole day and changed to a surgical mask for the rest of the day).

Can I use an N95 mask for sick patients and a medical mask for healthy patients?

  • Yes, this can be done. Please perform hand hygiene before and after handling your mask to prevent self-inoculation.

Can my mask transmit COVID-19 from one patient to another?

  • In general, no. However, one way the mask could transfer the virus from one person to the other is by touching your mask then touching a patient or a patient’s surrounding without performing hand hygiene. There are many ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from one person to the other includes following the WHO 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene, wearing a face shield to provide a barrier to your mask, and encouraging patients to wear a mask correctly whenever possible.

Face Shields

Do I have to wear a face shield?

  • Eye protection is now required for anyone who has direct contact with patients. This requirement is for clinical and non-clinical staff.

  • Face shields are preferred to goggles because they not only protect your eyes but also protect your mask from droplet contamination

How do I clean my face shield?

  • Use a purple top wipe on your face shield every time you remove it. Wipe both sides of the face shield each time, starting with the inside. Always wipe your face shield when it is visibly contaminated.

How can I prevent my face shield from getting cloudy?

  • Residue from purple top wipes may make the plastic cloudy. Rinse with soap and water and pat dry.

What if my face shield isn’t comfortable? Can I wear goggles instead?

  • Goggles do not protect the wearer from all splashes or droplets

  • Goggles offer less protection and do not protect your mask

  • If wearing a face shield disrupts your ability to properly function in your daily job, talk to your manager and call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847). In such instance, staff may be approved to wear goggles from home. Eye glasses are not considered a substitute for goggles or a face shield.


Can I double glove?

  • Single pair of gloves is the correct protocol, following CDC guidelines

  • Double-gloving does not provide any greater protection and has been shown to decrease hand hygiene

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) five moments of hand hygiene is required in all patient interactions

  • Gloves are to be maintained in all patient care rooms

  • Gloves in room allows for proper hand hygiene and switching to new gloves for patient care

  • Keep supplies in rooms to a minimum

Hand Hygiene

When do I need to perform hand hygiene?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) five moments of hand hygiene is required in all patient interactions.

  • Perform hand hygiene before and after handling mask or N95

  • Perform hand hygiene between steps if hands become contaminated and immediately after removing all PPE

  • Always perform hand hygiene before eating or drinking

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided by Denver Health

  • All employees and contractors who have direct patient contact must follow the Hand Hygiene Policy

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