Frequently asked questions about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Public Health — Seattle & King County and King County Office of Emergency Management supports local government agencies; medical and care facilities; and other organizations within King County by procuring supplies, facilities, and personnel.
Please see below for resources for PPE use and more information on how King County prioritizes requests for PPE.
Organizations that fit into the state's three prioritization tiers can order supplies from the King County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) if they are unable to procure through commercial vendors and can implement conservation strategies to reduce their consumption of PPE.
The county can provide PPE to healthcare providers, long term care facilities, public safety agencies, congregate settings, testing sites, home health, childcare providers, and other King County organizations.
PPE supplies are allocated according to guidelines established by the Washington State Department of Public Health.
- Orders can be submitted at any time through King County's COVID-19 Emergency Resources Requests site for PPE requests: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/emergency-management/covid-requests/ppe-form.aspx
- Orders are batched and processed at 12pm on Wednesdays. Orders submitted after 12pm Wednesday will be batched and processed the following week. If King County was unable to fill some or all of your order, you will need to place a new order for the items the following week. King County does not carry forward partially filled or unfilled orders to future weeks.
- Washington State Department of Health outlines priorities that health departments should adhere to in making local decisions about allocating PPE. This includes the following considerations:
- Protecting health care providers treating urgent and emergent patients with known or suspected COVID-19
- Likelihood of performing aerosol generating procedures
- Degree of contact between staff and patients, ability to implement engineering controls and social distancing, and the likelihood that patients are infected with COVID-19
- Controlling the spread of the disease particularly among vulnerable populations living in congregate settings
- PPE required as a protective measure to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease for populations where spread of the disease will place an increased burden on the health care system
- Need for PPE in testing and containment operations
- Sufficient and appropriate PPE for facilities that are providing vaccinations
- Protecting those that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
- Organizations having limited ability to access PPE through normal supply chains.
- King County follows Washington State guidance in making local allocation decisions.
King County updates its internal PPE allocation processes when any of the following occur:
- Changes of the DOH's Tiering system
- Changes in the availability of PPE through commercial distributors
- Changes in statewide or local social distancing measures
- Changes in the usage pattern by eligible sectors, such as facilities reopening to non-critical services
- New epidemiological information emerges which impacts King County containment and mitigation strategies, such as data on higher rates of illness and death among communities of color
- When significant changes are needed in local PPE allocation policies, Public Health will facilitate a data driven process engaging stakeholders to reach consensus on modifications to the local strategy.
- Consistently operate using PPE conservation strategies
- For facilities conducting testing, use self-collection of specimens to the greatest extent possible to minimize PPE needs.
- Attempt to procure needed items through commercial vendors and attest that items will not arrive before supplies on hand are exhausted
- Attempt to source needed items from within the organization's larger system or via existing mutual aid agreements
- For facilities conducting non-urgent medical procedures, abide by the WA Governor's proclamation to use PPE in a way that maintains surge capacity in our health care system
The following resources provide guidance on how to preserve PPE:
- Conserving PPE, CDC
- Conserving PPE, FDA
- Guidance for PPE Conservation, Public Health – Seattle & King County
- Considerations for reusing facemasks & respirators for health care workers, Washington Department of Labor and Industries
No, but we can direct you to some online resources
- PPE competency checklist, NC SPICE
- Using PPE, CDC
- Training resources:
- OSHA PPE training video
- CDC donning (putting on) PPE training video
- CDC doffing (taking off) PPE training video
- Washington State Department of Health PPE donning and doffing poster for worksites
- "Fit Testing 101 for Adult Family Homes" A guide to important and legally-required preparations for respirator use
- Industrial hygienists can be hired to conduct PPE fit testing