Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness | 2021

Fit Testing Retrofitted Full-Face Snorkel Masks as a Form of Novel Personal Protective Equipment During the COVID-19 Pandemic



Objective: Bottlenecks in the personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain have contributed to shortages of PPE during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, resulting in fractures in the functionality of health-care systems. This study was conducted with the aim of determining the effectiveness of retrofitted commercial snorkel masks as an alternative respirator for health-care workers during infectious disease outbreaks. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed, analyzing qualitative and quantitative fit test results of the retrofitted Aria Ocean Reef® full-face snorkeling mask on health-care workers at the McGill University Health Centre between April and June 2020. Historical fit test results, using medical-grade respirators, for health-care workers, were also analyzed. Results: During the study period, 71 participants volunteered for fit testing, 60.6% of which were nurses. The overall fit test passing rate using the snorkel mask was 83.1%. Of the participants who did not previously pass fit testing with medical-grade respirators, 80% achieved a passing fit test with the snorkel respirator. Conclusions: The results suggest that this novel respirator may be an effective and feasible alternative solution to address PPE shortages, while still providing health-care workers with ample protection. Additional robust testing will be required to ensure that respirator fit is maintained, after numerous rounds of disinfection.

Volume None
Pages 1 - 5
DOI 10.1017/dmp.2021.133
Language English
Journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness

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