8 April 2020 – Recommendation for hospitals
A global increased demand of personal protection face FFP masks threaten worldwide to become a bottleneck in hospitals in their response to the COVID-19 crisis. The National COVID-19 Science Task Force (NCS-TF) recommends that, for the duration of the crisis, used personal protection masks should be stored by healthcare facilities for an eventual future sterilization in the event of a complete shortage. Recommandations for the implementation of a coordinated, state of the art procedure, are required.
The National COVID-19 Science Task Force (NCS-TF) recommends the authorities (FOPH) to ask healthcare facilites keeping their used FFP (Filtering Facepiece Particles) facemasks meeting the criteria of the norm EN 149 (e.g. FFP1, FFP2, FFP3, N95) and apply the following recommendations for storage before an eventual sterilization in the event of a complete shortage, making way for reusing them.
In short, we recommend to collect FFP1-3 masks or equivalent individually. To do so, the mask is placed in a sterilization pouch closed with a scotch tape in the ward where the mask was used. Moisture accumulated in the mask during its use by healthcare professionals can lead to a proliferation of bacteria and moulds. Therefore the mask should be dried before final storage in a closed bag or container. To allow drying, masks should be placed in a metal wire basket or acontainer with holes and air gaps allowing air drying. Masks should not be compressed. Collection containers should then be transported safely to a closed and dry room, containing a dehumidifier (recommended). After drying, the sterilization pouches are sealed and stored either in air tight bags or larger sealed boxes containing silica gel.
When: immediately until the end of the COVID-19 emergency situation
Who: Concern the FOPH and all healthcare facilities using FFP or equivalent masks in Switzerland