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Revised Mask Guidance in Public Health Order 20-29

September 9, 2020
By: Colorado Dental Association

Late last week, the CDA retained legal counsel to engage the Governor’s office regarding the latest PHO 20-29 interpretation by DORA and CDPHE, specifically pertaining to N-95 respirators.

A revised interpretation was released today by DORA that acknowledges supply chain shortages and removes language that would have mandated N-95 or higher respirators starting September 21, 2020.

Read the latest DORA Guidance
Read the fifth amended PHO 20-29

The areas that were modified regarding masks are as follows:

“While the CDC currently recommends the use of N-95 or higher grade respirator during aerosol-generating procedures in areas with moderate to high community transmission rates, there is still a limited supply of these respirators. A level 3 or the highest level of available surgical mask, along with a face shield, may be used if N-95 masks or higher grade respirators are not available and if other CDC-recommended engineering and administrative controls are put into place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Question: Will I be required to use N95 masks or a higher level respirator for aerosol generating procedure in the future?
Answer: The CDC recommends N95 or higher level respirators for aerosol generating procedures. However, as of September 3, 2020 due to a limited supply of N95 masks, we have revised our guidance and will not require these respirators for Colorado dental offices with the next update to this Order.

Question: Are KN95 and other equivalent respirators acceptable if N95s are not available?
Answer: The FDA has approved the use of certain N95-equivalent respirators (via Emergency Use Authorization or EUA) for healthcare providers including many models of KN95s. These include models similar to N95s manufactured both in China and elsewhere. Approved models have filtration characteristics equivalent to or better than N95 standards. Of note, several models have been found to be counterfeit and/or have inadequate filtration properties. Providers should evaluate the specific models they have acquired before use, be fit tested with each unique model of respirator they intend to use, and perform a user seal check before use.” 

The current PHO 20-29 will expire on September 20, 2020. MDDS and the CDA will continue to advocate for members and keep you posted on future guidelines.