Operating Status

PPE Policy Update: Mask Usage

Dear Colleagues,

We are facing an unprecedented challenge as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while working to manage a critical shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Please know that we are making every effort to alleviate this shortage by conserving our existing supplies through extended-use and re-use protocols while also exhausting opportunities to increase the delivery of new supplies.

Effective today, March 23, we are introducing the following new guidance to keep our health care providers as safe as possible and to make sure that the proper PPE is available to care for patients:

  • All clinical providers and staff members who perform hospital and/or outpatient direct patient care or direct patient interactions in Rutgers clinical facilities will be offered the option to wear a surgical mask for direct patient interaction.
  • All staff members who have direct contact with patients in Rutgers clinical settings but are not working in designated COVID areas, will be provided a single surgical face mask for daily use. Distribution will be controlled through managers and department heads.
  • This policy is in alignment with new guidance issued by RWJBarnabas Health and is subject to modification based on the availability of PPE for all providers of direct patient care.
  • This does not change current guidance for high risk transmission: N95 mask, gown, gloves, eye protection
     - Performing testing on suspected COVID-19 patients (nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabbing)
     - Intubation of suspected or known COVID-19 patients
     - Performing aerosolizing procedures (sputum induction, suctioning)

These steps are necessary as we adapt to address this rapidly evolving public health crisis.

Thank you for your understanding, and continued support and commitment as we face these challenging times together.

Wishing you good health.

Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University