Their southern California hospital has reinstalled them and is now providing N95 masks to nurses working with infected patients.
Last week, the Associated Press reported that nurses at the Providence Saint John Health Center in Santa Monica were on administrative leave after telling their managers that they would not enter the rooms of COVID-19 patients without masks.
The N95 mask filters 95% of all airborne particles, including those too small to be blocked by ordinary masks. But hospital administrators said they were not needed and did not provide them, the nurses said.
Last week, Providence said in a statement that it has implemented a mask disinfection and reprocessing system, which is in high demand in a context of global shortage.
The hospital was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.