The interim guidelines, available at, are intended for use in clinical practice and cancer treatment only in the event of PPE shortages from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses caring for patients with COVID-19 positive infections should follow infection prevention and PPE use recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.4

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In addition, the 95,000 critical care beds currently available in US hospitals is not enough; conservative estimates suggest that more than twice that number are needed.5 Options hospitals can consider to meet that need include the conversion of single rooms to double rooms, expediting discharges, and slowing admission rates.5 Catheterization laboratories, lobbies, postop care units, and waiting rooms are areas that may be converted into patient care spaces. Despite some limitations, geographically separating patients with COVID-19 can help conserve medical supplies and reduce exposure to the virus, as well as protect vulnerable populations such as patients who are immunocompromised and those with cancer.5


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1. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Cases in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated March 27, 2020. Accessed March 27, 2020.

2. Klompas M. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): protecting hospitals from the invisible [published online March 11, 2020]. Ann Intern Med. doi: 10.7326/M20-0751

3. AAO-HNS: anosmia, hyposmia, and dysgeusia symptoms of coronavirus disease. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. March 22, 2020. Accessed March 27, 2020.

4. How to manage PPE supply shortages related to COVID-19 . ONS Voice; March 4, 2020. Last updated March 24, 2020. Accessed March 26, 2020.

5. Chopra V, Toner E, Waldhorn R, Washer L. How should U.S. hospitals prepare for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? [published online March 11, 2020]. Ann Intern Med. doi: 10.7326/M20-0907