Eyewear no longer required for Ohio and Nevada caregivers in all clinical settings
In July 2020, we implemented Universal Pandemic Precautions (UPP) to protect the health and safety of caregivers as COVID-19 quickly spread in our communities.
Since then, the COVID-19 vaccine has become widely available, which has led to increased vaccination rates and a significant, sustained decrease for CDC indicators and thresholds. Our Ohio and Nevada communities are considered to have sustained low transmission based on these metrics, including a seven-day average of less than 10 cases per 100,000 people and a less than 5% positivity rate.
As a result, effective immediately (Thursday, July 15, 2021), we have retired UPP at Cleveland Clinic locations in Ohio and Nevada. This means eyewear (e.g., face shield or goggles) will no longer be required for all caregivers in clinical areas.
Instead, eyewear is now required only in the following circumstances:
- When caring for patients who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19.
- As part of standard precautions, which are explained here.
- When entering a Contact/Droplet + Eyewear isolation room.
- When performing a procedure or surgery as part of standard precautions.
Note: Cleveland Clinic locations in Florida will continue to follow UPP at this time based on COVID-19 case counts and positive testing in their communities. We will monitor their communities’ transmission levels to help determine when to discontinue UPP at Florida locations.
All caregivers — regardless of vaccination status — must continue to wear masks in all settings, including clinical and administrative locations.
Additionally, as of July 6, all caregivers participating in the care of patients who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in any setting must wear a respirator mask (e.g., N95 or PAPR), in addition to a gown, gloves and eyewear (e.g., face shield or goggles).
If you have not had the opportunity to receive a vaccine, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for caregivers at Occupational Health locations in Ohio. No appointment is necessary. Walk-ins are welcome up to 2 p.m. during normal Occupational Health clinic operating hours.
We continue to follow level orange visitation guidelines — including these updates — across all locations in Ohio and Florida.
Thank you for adhering to our UPP guidelines as they have evolved. We will continue to monitor sustained community transmission levels, including COVID-19 case counts and positive testing.
We appreciate your continued dedication to keeping our patients, communities and one another safe.
View our COVID-19 OSHA Exposure Control Plan and provide feedback
This article was updated at 5 p.m. on July 15, 2021.
All U.S. healthcare organizations are required to comply with new COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The recent OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard details the use of personal protective equipment for care of patients confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. The standard is effective on July 6, 2021.
Someone suspected to have COVID-19 refers to a patient with symptoms and signs of disease, as well as a COVID-19 test ordered/pending that has not yet produced results.
Changes to our PPE guidelines
Until now, only caregivers performing an aerosol generating procedure had to wear a respirator.
Starting July 6, all caregivers participating in the care of patients who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in any setting must wear a respirator mask (e.g. N95 or PAPR), in addition to a gown, gloves and eyewear (e.g. face shield or goggles). This could include caregivers who:
- Work in a COVID-19 cohort unit
- Collect COVID-19 test swabs from symptomatic patients
- Care for a patient confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 who is in isolation (Contact/Droplet + Eyewear Precautions for isolation will change to include a respirator mask instead of an ear loop procedure mask.)
- Care for patients confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in emergency departments, Express Care, Urgent Care or other outpatient office settings
In addition, our extended use and re-use guidance for N95 masks will change as follows:
- Caregivers outside of COVID-19 cohort units will discard their N95 mask after each use (i.e., after caring for each patient confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19).
- Caregivers who work on COVID-19 cohort units can continue to practice extended use while seeing multiple consecutive patients who have COVID-19. However, they will discard their N95 mask when they take it off for whichever reason.
- Caregivers will no longer need paper bags to store their N95 mask between uses.
What this means
- If caring for a patient confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, you must swap your ear loop procedure mask for an N95 or PAPR. As soon as it is determined the patient is suspected to have COVID-19, change into an N95 or PAPR.
- You may need to be fit tested for an N95 or PAPR. Anyone who may need to care for or interact with a patient confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 and has not been fit tested for an N95 or PAPR since July 1, 2020, should receive a fit test from any Occupational Health clinic. Walk-ins are welcome. To view the hours of operation and contact information for each location, click here. Caregivers should complete their OSHA Respirator Survey in ReadySet ahead of time. For any questions, Ohio and Nevada caregivers can call 216.445.2615, and Florida caregivers can call 954.689.5029.
- Please use the type of respirator mask for which you are fit tested. If additional masks are needed, managers can order via [email protected].
- If caring for a patient with a pending asymptomatic COVID-19 test, you do not need to wear an N95 or PAPR.
View the Exposure Control Plan and provide feedback
The purpose of the Exposure Control Plan is to eliminate or minimize the exposures of workers to COVID-19 and to comply with OSHA's ETS.
As part of our OSHA ETS compliance, we are seeking feedback from caregivers on our Exposure Control Plan. To provide feedback, message [email protected].
Refer to the PPE page in the COVID-19 toolkit for resources and additional information.
As always, we are focused on patient and caregiver safety. We appreciate caregivers’ flexibility and their efforts to continue to properly follow our PPE guidance as it evolves during the pandemic.