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April 9, 2020

State Orders 84 Million PPE, Issues New Conservation and Prioritization Guidance

Updated April 13, 2020

The Washington State Department of Health ordered 84 million items of personal protective equipment and provides a new webpage itemizing PPE on order as well as tracking and distribution information. Additionally, DOH issued updated guidance on PPE conservation strategies and prioritization for allocation.

Tracking and distribution of PPE in Washington state

State Secretary of Health John Weisman announced in a Tuesday media briefing that the state has ordered 84 million items of PPE, including N95 and surgical masks, though he noted that the state is facing challenges obtaining gowns, gloves, and, according to the state's COVID-19 response website, PAPR filters/hoods. The state Department of Enterprise Services provides an overview of the state's PPE procurement, with updated numbers detailing how much PPE equipment and supplies the state has ordered and secured and how it prioritized distribution. Visit the personal protective equipment section of the Washington State Coronavirus Response website for details.

PPE conservation strategies

The key update from previous DOH guidance reflects recent recommendations to move to universal masking. It removes the following language: "Do not require asymptomatic HCPs to wear masks at all times in the facility unless HCPs are wearing the mask continuously as a PPE conservation strategy or your facility is reprocessing the masks." Download Washington State PPE Conservation Strategies. (April 3, 2020)

Prioritization guidelines for allocation of PPE

NEW: The DOH posted updated prioritization guidance on April 10. Changes include:

  • In Tier 1, the definition of EMS was clarified.
  • Outpatient clinics/facilities were moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 and combined with COVID-19 testing sites.
  • Behavioral health residential facilities with confirmed/suspected COVID-19 patients and designated crisis responders were added to tier 2.
  • Quarantine facilities were moved from tier 4 to tier 3.

A note was also added stating that the tiers may not capture all facilities or individuals that request PPE and that emergency management agencies need to use their best judgement around how to prioritize other facilities and individuals not listed.

Download Washington State Prioritization Guidelines for Allocation of PPE. (April 10, 2020)

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