Personal protective equipment (PPE) in direct care areas

The Ministry of Health now requires that all staff, medical staff and contracted staff who have direct contact with patients, clients and residents wear surgical/procedural masks, eye protection and gloves when providing direct care to patients, clients and residents across Vancouver Coastal Health.

Over the next couple of days, we will allocate masks and gloves and prioritize eye protection to highest risk areas. More supplies will be arriving – additional information will be provided at tomorrow’s scheduled all-staff, virtual town hall.


  • All staff, medical staff and contracted staff with direct contact with patients, clients and residents in acute care, critical care, long-term care and community care.
  • This guidance does not apply to staff who are not providing direct care to patients, clients and residents.


Your safety and that of our patients, clients and residents is the highest priority for Vancouver Coastal Health. From an abundance of caution, we require all health-care workers with direct contact with patients, clients and residents to now wear surgical/procedural masks, eye protection and gloves when providing direct care to patients, clients and residents

  • Surgical/procedural masks
    • Please don (put on) your mask at the beginning of your shift.   
    • You do not need to change your mask between patients. 
    • Change your mask if it is visibly soiled, damp, damaged for safe use and immediately perform hand hygiene.
    • Avoid touching your mask unnecessarily. If you must touch or adjust your mask/eye protection, perform hand hygiene If you see a colleague touch or adjust their mask/eye protection, remind them to perform hand hygiene.
    • Change your mask during breaks and when leaving the patient care area.
    • N95 respirators must be used for aerosol-generating medical procedures only. 
  • Eye protection
    • Face shields/goggles to be used throughout the shift with appropriate cleaning protocols at shift end.
    • If face shields or goggles are unavailable, safety glasses can be used with the same cleaning protocols in place. 
    • IPAC information on cleaning and disinfection of eye protection is available on the IPAC site.
  • Gloves
    • Gloves must be changed between patients. Gloves do not substitute for hand hygiene – perform hand hygiene both before putting gloves on and immediately after removing the gloves.
  • Additional guidance
    • Follow additional infection prevention control precautions as appropriate for the clinical scenario. Additional recommendations are available at  and our staff intranet.
    • All health care workers and staff who have direct contact with patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 must engage in routine droplet and contact precautions, which includes a gown.
    • For Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs), staff should observe airborne, droplet and contact precautions
    • Remember the key goal is to protect patients and yourself is good hand hygiene at all times.


The reason for the change in protocols at this time is that the nature of the COVID-19 outbreak has changed:

  • Previous cases had identifiable risk factors, including travel outside of Canada
  • As COVID-19 has spread in the community, some cases no longer have identifiable risk factors
  • All patients with respiratory illness are now at risk of having COVID-19


If you have any questions, we encourage you to participate in our all-staff, virtual town hall taking place on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 10 a.m. 
To join the virtual town hall, please click on the link below:


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