40 or so extra standard #surgicalmasks to donate to ER or clinic. #PPE #coronavirus #COVID19. #coronavirus #surgicalmasks #ppe

Art Levine <artslevine@...>

I ordered early in March some standard surgical masks not knowing they wouldn't be too protective of me given COVID19 virus properties, and would be only useful if I became sick and had symptons and had to go out, which we're not supposed to do now. (I'm not ill and I don't have symptoms of any kind.) I'd like to put them in a postal service priority mail for health care workers in ER or clinic, untouched by my skin because i"d be using disposable gloves to pack and mail them. I tried to contact Washington Hospital Center via emails to PR and nursing staff, but got no reply. FYI, Dr. Gawande in New Yorker has new article about keeping the coronavirus from health care workers. I'm not providing any links because that could be blocked as spam -- and it indicates that standard surgical masks can be helpful to doctors in health care settings based on his reporting and review of documents from  successful Asian countries, focusing on Hong Kong and Singapore, indicates that in most cases of interaction with standard surgical masks are sufficient -- especially since N95 protection masks are non-existent in most health care settings in the US.

I can be reached at artslevine [at] yahoo.com if someone needs information and we can talk. I'm not making my tiny supply available to individuals who aren't health professionals seeing potential COVID19 patients.

It's worth reading Gawande's key take-ways about health-care workers protective actions in Singapore and Hong Kong, and might provide useful insights for those of us who aren't health care professionals (I'm a medical journalist who wrote the book Mental Health, Inc.),:
Here are their key tactics, drawn from official documents and discussions I’ve had with health-care leaders in each place. All health-care workers are expected to wear regular surgical masks for all patient interactions, to use gloves and proper hand hygiene, and to disinfect all surfaces in between patient consults. Patients with suspicious symptoms (a low-grade fever coupled with a cough, respiratory complaints, fatigue, or muscle aches) or exposures (travel to places with viral spread or contact with someone who tested positive) are separated from the rest of the patient population, and treated—wherever possible—in separate respiratory wards and clinics, in separate locations, with separate teams. Social distancing is practiced within clinics and hospitals: waiting-room chairs are placed six feet apart; direct interactions among staff members are conducted at a distance; doctors and patients stay six feet apart except during examinations.    

What’s equally interesting is what they don’t do. The use of N95 masks, face-protectors, goggles, and gowns are reserved for procedures where respiratory secretions can be aerosolized (for example, intubating a patient for anesthesia) and for known or suspected cases of covid-19. Their quarantine policies are more nuanced, too. What happens when someone unexpectedly tests positive—say, a hospital co-worker or a patient in a primary-care office or an emergency room? In Hong Kong and Singapore, they don’t shut the place down or put everyone under home quarantine. They do their best to trace every contact and then quarantine only those who had close contact with the infected person. In Hong Kong, “close contact” means fifteen minutes at a distance of less than six feet and without the use of a surgical mask; in Singapore, thirty minutes. If the exposure is shorter than the prescribed limit but within six feet for more than two minutes, workers can stay on the job if they wear a surgical mask and have twice-daily temperature checks. People who have had brief, incidental contact are just asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.
Art Levine

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