CDC Guide to Optimizing Supply of PPE and Other Equipment during Shortages

United States
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Resource Updated:
Jul. 16, 2020
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About this Resource

Strategies for optimizing Personal Protective Equipment (N95s, PAPRs, elastomeric respirators, facemasks, isolation gowns, eye protection, gloves), depending on the severity of the shortage a healthcare facility may be experiencing.


Healthcare professionals (HCP) and healthcare facilities—along with their healthcare coalitions, local and state health departments, and local and state partners.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider having strategies in place for day to day operations to optimize PPE utilization, such as: physical barriers and engineering controls and reusable PPE when appropriate (reusable isolation gowns can offer additional protection and reusable eye protection reduces waste).
  • Understand the facility’s PPE utilization rates, under day to day operations to better project needs during a potential PPE shortage.
  • During a shortage, consider the following strategies: cancelling elective and non-urgent procedures, limiting the number of HCWs needed for a patient interaction,  identifying opportunities to decrease length of stay, temporarily suspend N95 fit testing and teach staff to perform a seal check, consider cohorting patients and consider N95 and facemask extended use and/or limited reuse.
  • In addition to what is outlined in this resource, review local and state public health and occupational safety guidance.  Also consider rotating any stockpiled PPE/equipment  through normal day to day operations and replenishing the stockpile so that it does not expire.