Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Information and Resources

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Use of PPE: Public Health Ontario Guidance

Healthcare providers should refer to Public Health Ontario’s latest guidance on IPAC and use of PPE, as the guidance is evolving based on latest evidence. Public Health Ontario has issued the following guidance regarding the use of PPE:

  • A point-of-care risk assessment (PCRA) must be performed by every health care worker before every patient interaction. 

  • At a minimum, contact and droplet precautions must be used by workers for all interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Contact and droplet precautions includes gloves, face shields or goggles, gowns, and surgical/procedure masks. 

  • All workers who are within two metres of suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients shall have access to appropriate PPE. This will include access to surgical/procedure masks, fit tested NIOSH-approved N-95 respirators or approved equivalent or better protection, gloves, face shields with side protection (or goggles), impermeable or, at least, fluid resistant gowns.

  • Airborne precautions which include a N95 respirator or approved equivalent or better are to be used when aerosol generating medical procedures (AGMPs) are planned or anticipated to be performed on patients with suspected or confirmed COVID- 19, based on a point of care risk assessment and clinical and professional judgement. 

The use of PPE is one of many measures recommended to prevent transmission. The use of PPE (and which specific PPE to use) is based on the risk of transmission for the type of activity. If the situation suggests the use of PPE, you are supposed to use it.

Note that The Public Health Agency of Canada has asked Canadians not to dispose of their used PPE but to save it for potential reuse. While the Ministry is waiting on the evidence and guidance for reuse, Ontario Health is asking hospitals to store used PPE securely and is distributing a survey to understand hospital capacity for reprocessing, based on promising technologies to safely reuse PPE. This is being done pre-emptively to ensure readiness for all possible scenarios.

Updates from the Ministry:

On April 15, the Ministry of Health released a directive that indicates that long-term care homes and retirement homes should immediately require that all staff wear surgical/procedure masks at all times. This directive applies to all long-term care homes and retirement homes, including those in outbreak and those not in outbreak. Read the full directive:

Other updates:

Resources: 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Patient Screening for COVID-19 and the Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Do I need to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

  • What if I am supposed to use PPE but it is not available?

  • Can I reuse personal protective equipment (PPE)?

  • Who can I contact if we are short PPE?

  • Will I get into trouble with the College if I decide not to provide care without the appropriate PPE?

  • I understand that I need to wear PPE if my patient has COVID-19, but what does it mean if they are suspected of having COVID-19?

  • Are there specific rules for primary care providers in a community setting?

  • Are there specific rules for hospitals? (March 30, 2020)

  • Are there specific rules for Long-Term Care Facilities?

  • Who can go into a long-term care home (March 30, 2020) ​

  • Are there additional resources?