Laura & others- MGC Diagnostics hosted a webinar recently on reopening your pulmonary lab. The recording is available here: https://mgcdiagnostics.com/events/webinar-restarting-your-lab/
. ERS released a brief resource which is available here: https://ers.app.box.com/s/zs1uu88wy51monr0ewd990itoz4tsn2h
I suggest working with your infection control team to sort out how they want to categorize the work you do in your lab and the status of COVID in your area. The CDC does not recognize PFTs or exercise testing as aerosol-generating procedures (AGP). I understand that this does not make sense to many, but I believe it is partly due to the variability in defining aerosol vs. droplets. Some infection control teams have decided that exercise testing is an AGP and others have agreed with the CDC. Your procedures and the level of PPE will be determined based on this.
At Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where we perform ~600 CPETs annually in Cardiology, our lab has been shut down for the past 2+ months. The current plan is to reopen May 18 with the highest priority patients first (e.g., LVAD/transplant evaluations). After an onsite evaluation of our lab by our infection control, they determined that CPET is not an AGP. Therefore, employees and the patient will be wearing a surgical mask. A face shield has been discussed internally, but not recommended by infection control. We will be screening patients at multiple points to avoid patients that are suspected of COVID infection. We plan try to use a filter during exercise, although prior to COVID this was not recommended due to the increased work of breathing. Initial data from our QA testing showed similar numbers with vs. without a filter in an apparently healthy individual. Additional time will be scheduled between tests to clean the room.