Both CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend respirator use for the following workers only:

  • health care workers entering the room of a patient with SARS
  • medical transport workers transporting patients with suspected SARS

Respirators are not routinely needed (by staff or visitors) in other parts of hospitals or other health care facilities where there is no direct contact with patients. Outside the health care and medical transport settings, CDC does not recommend the routine use of respirators. 

Surgical masks are recommended only as a last resort for health care and medical transport workers exposed to SARS patients when no NIOSH-approved respirator equivalent to or greater than the N-95 is available.