Even in outpatient and inpatient wards, doctors are not allowed to wear masks on a continuous basis – they can wear protective equipment for a coughing, spitting patient.
A circular to the news portal testifies to this, in which the director general of the institute, Csaba Polgár chief physician, informs the staff of the institute about the correct use of protective masks. According to the portal, the situation is similar in many hospitals outside the epidemic front line, but only the national institute is specifically mentioned.
According to the information in this page, the management of the OOI has strict rules on the use of both FFP2 and FFP3 masks and surgical masks.
For example in outpatient care or in inpatient wards
as a rule, neither doctor nor patient can wear a mask at all times.
A surgical mask should only be worn by a patient who has chest symptoms or is suspected of having COVID, says the circular. And health workers should wear a mask only when they are treating patients with chest symptoms (cough, expectoration), or interventions where they may come into contact with secretions. In case of suspected coronavirus infection, they need to wear an FFP2-3 mask.
The institute's operating rooms also have strict mask management. Only the chief operating nurse and her deputy have access to a sealed set of surgical masks used during surgery. They distribute the masks every morning, which workers are forbidden to “drop off” between two surgeries, and can only be replaced if the mask is dirty and torn.
Masks used in on-call duty must also be accounted for in detail, and the removal of masks from the institution's territory is strictly prohibited.
The Director-General's instructions justify the restrictions in two ways:
- Expert recommendations recommend that the mask be worn only if someone has a chest symptom at the time of the outbreak, or if a health care provider is treating a patient with a chest symptom, a suspected coronavirus, or an infected patient.
- Outside use “unnecessarily reduces inventory”, which will be greatly needed if the epidemic worsens.
These two shipments of China also contained 82,000 + 3 million “medical masks.” It is not known how many of these, however, are surgical masks that provide less protection against the virus, and how many special masks.