UW Health works to maximize medical supply use

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 4:23 PM CDT
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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers face a global shortage of personal protective equipment, from gloves to respiratory masks.

In an effort to fill the void, UW Health has started N-95 respirator mask "fit tests." The tests make sure the masks fit appropriately to protect a person's face.

Experts say wearing the wrong size mask is both dangerous and a waste of medical supplies. "Fit tests" are meant to avoid both, maximizing on what medical supplies are already in stock.

"If you wear one that you're not fit tested for, or if you wear one that maybe you had been fit-tested for a certain size but you pick a different size, you cannot be reassured that the one is fitting correctly and adequately filtering airborne diseases," says Heather Angell, a registered nurse with UW Health.

So far, UW Health has performed about 1,200 "fit-tests." Experts say they conduct about 200 tests per day.