New Pennsylvania health mandates issued Tuesday will require hospitals to provide better notification of COVID-19 exposure, ensure the use of federally approved personal protective equipment, and make testing more accessible for health-care workers.

“I have heard from nurses and staff, and this order responds directly to many of their safety concerns,” the state’s health secretary, Rachel Levine, said in a written statement Tuesday. “It ensures that the necessary steps are in place to deliver a safer environment so these workers can continue providing high-quality care during these extraordinary times.”

Levine’s department issued the order.

One of the unions representing nurses and health-care workers statewide, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), said the order was months in the making and addressed major concerns about how well protected health-care workers are from the coronavirus.

“The new rules will protect health-care workers now and ensure that hospitals are not caught flat-footed with unsafe practices and insufficient PPE in the event of a predicted ‘second wave’ of COVID-19,” Maureen May, the organization’s president, said in a statement.

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More than 5,000 health-care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, said Maureen May, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals

The order requires hospitals take four major initiatives:

  • Notify workers that they had been exposed to a person with COVID-19 within 24 hours.

  • Test workers who have received notice of exposure for COVID-19 regardless of whether they’re showing symptoms.

  • Give all workers nationally certified respirators upon request if the mask they’re using is damaged, soiled, or not working properly.

  • Require anyone over age 2 within a hospital to wear a mask unless that interferes with their health.

Hospitals must comply by June 15. Any hospitals that can’t meet the protective equipment standards by that deadline due to the volume of COVID-19 cases they’re treating can work with the state health department to obtain equipment, a department spokesperson said.

PASNAP officials believe the order addresses concerns from Temple University Hospital staff about masks imported from China that workers have said are prone to breaking. Those masks were found in a CDC inspection to be effective at blocking viral particles but were not as likely to fit properly because they were secured with ear loops, not a head strap. The brand of mask, Trust Loyalty & Glory Epoch, was not included on a Food and Drug Administration list of authorized respirators as of June 8.

» READ MORE: Temple hospital workers say Chinese masks meant to protect against COVID-19 are falling apart

Temple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

Anyone concerned that a hospital is not following the new requirements can file an anonymous complaint with the state Department of Health.