Healthcare personnel can protect themselves when caring for patients by adhering to infection prevention and control practices, which includes the appropriate use of engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE). CDC has issued guidance recommending the use of PPE for healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible SARS-CoV-2 infection. Employers and healthcare personnel are reminded that PPE is only one aspect of safe care of patients with COVID-19. For the general public, CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks or respirators. CDC guidance is based on what we know about SARS-CoV-2 and what we know about similar coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS.
CDC also understands the importance of providing guidance that healthcare facilities can implement, given supplies of PPE available. CDC communicates regularly with healthcare industry partners, as well as PPE manufacturers and distributors, to assess availability of PPE. At this time, some partners are reporting higher than usual demand for select N95 respirators and facemasks. If information about market availability changes, updates will be posted on this page.
Based on the current COVID-19 situation and availability of PPE, CDC has specific recommendations, summarized below. As we learn more about COVID-19 and as the needs of the response or availability of PPE within U.S. healthcare facilities changes, we will update our guidance.
Who needs PPE:
Patients with confirmed or possible SARS-CoV-2 infection should wear a facemask when being evaluated medically.
Healthcare personnel should adhere to Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield) when caring for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. These precautions include the use of PPE, including NIOSH-approved N95 respirators, gowns, gloves, face shield/eye protection, etc. This includes, but is not limited to, surgical N95 respirators.
Who does not need PPE:
CDC does NOT currently recommend the general public use facemasks. Instead, CDC recommends following everyday preventive actions, such as washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when you are sick.