Earlier this week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided recommendations for the decontamination and reuse of filtering facepiece respirators (FFR).  The guidance states that a study found the coronavirus is able to survive for up to 72 hours on plastic, stainless steel, and cardboard.  The CDC provides that “decontamination and subsequent reuse of FFRs should only be practiced as a crisis capacity strategy.”  To date, the FDA has issued a single emergency use authorization (EUA) permitting the Battelle Decontamination System to be used in decontaminating compatible respirators.  Further, “only respirator manufacturers can reliably provide guidance on how to decontaminate their specific models of FFR.”   The CDC states they do not recommend that FFRs be decontaminated and reused as standard care, but that “this option may need to be considered when FFR shortages exist.” Additional EUAs issued by the FDA may be found here.

On March 3, 2020, President Trump issued two executive orders under the Defense Production Act:

Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding the Purchase of Ventilators.  This Executive Order requires the Secretary of HHS to facilitate the supply of materials “for the production of ventilators” to the appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of General Electric Company; Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc.; Medtronic Public Limited Company, ResMed Inc.; Royal Philips N.V.; and Vyaire Medical, Inc.

Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company.  This Executive Order requires the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to “acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators” deemed appropriate.

As providers in New York battle this ongoing public health crisis and hospital resources are taxed, The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City, Inc. released new guidance to paramedics, advising that cardiac arrest patients that are found without a pulse should not be transported to a hospital.  The guidance provides:

The Cardiac Arrest procedure has been changed so that victims of cardiac arrest, who do not respond to CPR and other standard treatments according to existing treatment guidelines, will be pronounced on the scene. Due to the tremendous volume of patients in our Emergency Departments, patients who are pronounced on the scene will not be transported to an emergency department. Furthermore, CPR is a significantly high-risk procedure and would further jeopardize EMS providers. Emergency Departments are severely overcrowded and transporting patients pronounced on the scene only increases ED workload and potentially exposes ED staff and patients to COVID19.

Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys will continue to follow on a daily basis COVID-19-related developments pertinent to health care providers and publish regular updates in the Health Law Pulse.