Estimated number of N95 respirators needed for healthcare workers in acute care hospitals during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

Patrick T Wedlock, Kelly J. O'Shea, Madellena Conte, Sarah M. Bartsch, Samuel L. Randall, Marie Ferguson, Sarah N. Cox, Sheryl Siegmund, Sarah Kulkarni, Denis Nash, Michael Y. Lin, Bruce Y. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Due to shortages of N95 respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to estimate the number of N95s required for healthcare workers (HCW) to inform manufacturing targets and resource allocation. Methods: We developed a model to determine the number of N95 respirators needed for HCWs both in a single acute care hospital and the United States. Results: For an acute care hospital with 400 all-cause monthly admissions, the number of N95 respirators needed to manage COVID-19 patients admitted during a month ranges from 113 (95% IPR: 50-229) if 0.5% of admissions are COVID-19 patients to 22,101 (95% IPR: 5,904-25,881) if 100% of admissions are COVID-19 patients (assuming single use per respirator, and 10 encounters between HCWs and each COVID-19 patient per day). The number of N95s needed decreases (22 [95% IPR: 10-43]-4,445 [95% IPR: 1,975-8,684]) if each N95 is used for five patient encounters. Varying monthly all-cause admissions to 2,000 requires 6,645-13,404 respirators with a 60% COVID-19 admission prevalence, 10 HCW-patient encounters, and reusing N95s 5-10 times. Nationally, the number of N95 respirators needed over the course of the pandemic ranges from 86 million (95% IPR: 37.1-200.6 million) to 1.6 billion (95% IPR: 0.7-3.6 billion) as 5-90% of the population is exposed (single-use), and 17.4 million (95% IPR: 7.3-41 million) to 312.3 million (95% IPR: 131.5-737.3 million) using each respirator for five encounters. Conclusions: Our study quantifies the number of N95 respirators needed for a given acute care hospital and nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic under varying conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInfection control and hospital epidemiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Healthcare Workers
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Respirators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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