Medical gas manufacturing and distribution have been deemed ‘essential’ in treating coronavirus (Covid-19) by the federal government of the US.

Portable oxygen cylinder for medical purposes

The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) said in a statement that federal, state and local governments should ensure medical gas manufacturing and distribution continues to patients without interruption.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 64% of the critically ill patients treated for Covid-19 have received high-flow oxygen therapy and up to 71% of patients received mechanical ventilation.

One of the top recommendations that the CDC gives to families and caregivers of populations at risk to Covid-19 is to monitor medical supplies, such as oxygen, and create a back-up plan to ensure you have enough supply.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued guidance on ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers’ on March 19. The DHS list of ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers’ is intended ‘to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.’

The CGA, the safety standard setting body of the medical, industrial, and food gases industry, said in a statement, “In its guidance to state and local officials, DHS defines the following workers as ‘essential’: ‘Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of … medical gases’. Therefore, any state or local quarantine or shelter in place declarations should include medical gas workers as “essential” to the response to Covid-19.

“In its Emergency Declaration, DOT identifies as ‘essential’ the transportation of ‘medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of Covid-19’. Therefore, any state or local quarantine or shelter in place declarations should include medical gas transportation ’essential’ to the treatment of Covid-19.

“State and local officials should ensure that the medical gas manufacturing and distribution model continues without interruption to safely and efficiently reach patients in the response to Covid-19.”