Data company says current rate of COVID-19 N95 usage is ‘unsustainable’

The company recommended the use of surgical masks for lower risk calls in order to preserve the supply of respirators


By Laura French

AUSTIN, Texas – ESO, a data and software company serving EMS, fire departments and hospitals, has been monitoring its dataset in relation to PPE – specifically N95 respirators – in use by EMS providers and responders during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The current use shows ESO customers are using N95 respirators at the rate of more than 9,000 a day on approximately 25,000 daily 911 calls, putting customers on pace to use more than one million N95 respirators in the next three months, the company reported on Monday.

Data company ESO said that, based on data from its fire and EMS customers, the current rate of N95 usage during the COVID-19 pandemic is
Data company ESO said that, based on data from its fire and EMS customers, the current rate of N95 usage during the COVID-19 pandemic is "unsustainable." (Photo/Wikimedia Commons)

“The current trend of using N95 respirators indicates an unsustainable trajectory,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “We encourage organizations to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines in relation to the use of surgical masks versus N95 respirators unless performing invasive, aerosol- generating procedures or participating in other high-risk situations.”

ESO recently launched a COVID-19 Resource Center with key data elements updated on a daily basis to help keep the industry informed, including:

  • 911 records with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions by response type
  • Documented PPE use among all 911 records
  • Disposition of 911 patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions
  • Age distribution of 911 patients with COVID-19 EMS impressions
  • Airway interventions among 911 patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions
  • Medications by category among 911 Patients with COVID-19 EMS provider impressions

The data for the Resource Center comes from the ESO database consisting of more than 2,600 EMS agencies across the United States.  

“We will continue to analyze these data daily and monitor trends associated with the use of PPE to do our small part to help our customers and the industry hopefully stay ahead of the curve,” added Myers. “At this time, we feel it is necessary to share as much data and information as we can to identify trends that will help EMS and fire departments manage the outbreak in their communities.”

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