PPE guidance

Fit testing requirement exemption for N95/P2 particulate respirators

Updated 31 August 2021

The Ministry of Health will make an exemption to the fit testing requirements nationwide for general practice and urgent care clinics, and community based assessment centres for access to Ministry of Health centralised supply of N95/P2 particulate respirators until 14 September 2021.

Particulate respirators will be available to those general practice and urgent care clinics that are undertaking swabbing and assessing patients in close contact with anyone with symptoms and meets the HIS criteria during an evolving community outbreak or Alert Level 3 or 4. This  acknowledges the change status of COVID-19 with an identified community case. Please refer to the COVID-19 Primary Care site for more information. 

This exemption notes the risk the Ministry of Health can not predict the protection an ill fitted N95/P2 will afford. A particulate respirator itself does not have a high filtration efficiency, unless a tight seal is achieved.

The Ministry of Health has made N95/P2 particulate respirators available under exemption.

The exemption period may be extended pending decisions on Alert Level status and how things progress.

We will not be undertaking a push order. General practice and urgent care who hold an account for PPE with Onelink or HCL can order directly. We will review orders twice daily and expedite the distribution of PPE. 

3M 9320A+ Aura Particulate Respirators and 3M 1870+ particulate respirators will be available to general practice and urgent care clinics.

Fit checking is a minimum requirement under this exemption. To fit check the particulate respirator users can either perform a positive-pressure or negative-pressure seal check:

  • A positive-pressure check means covering the respirator surface on a filtering facepiece, usually by using your clean hands, and trying to breathe out. If slight pressure builds up, that means air isn’t leaking around the edges of the respirator.
  • A negative-pressure check involves covering the respirator surface on a filtering facepiece, typically using your clean hands and trying to breathe in. If no air enters, the seal is tight.

Please do not hesitate in contacting the COVID Health Supply team via Covid.healthsupplychain@health.govt.nz 

How can I access PPE?

Reviewed 23 June 2021

The Ministry of Health has put out guidance on the PPE supply chain.

What PPE do I need to wear when swabbing a patient for COVID-19?

Reviewed 23 June 2021