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Bay Area health care workers dealing with coronavirus short of crucial face masks

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    “All supplies of personal protective equipment are in short supply,” said Brent Andrew, spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital, referring to masks, eye protection, gowns, gloves and other protective gear. “At the same time that we’re needing to draw on our resources we’re having fewer resources to draw upon. ... We’re contingency planning, I think everybody is, it would be irresponsible not to.”

    The worry is that hospitals will completely run out of N-95 masks if the disease spreads as fast as projected over the next few weeks, leaving medical staff exposed to the virus and liable to become sick themselves.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded to the crisis by updating its guidelines and allowing health care workers to use bandanas, scarves or “homemade masks” to cover their faces “as a last resort” while treating COVID-19 patients.


    On Thursday afternoon about 30 registered nurses protested outside the Kaiser Permanente hospital on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco, demanding that their employer raise what they say are dangerously relaxed standards. The nurses say they have been forced to reuse masks and goggles and expect to run out of fresh gloves within days.


    Kaiser isn’t alone. The UCSF medical center is down to a two-week supply of masks, goggles and other protective equipment available for doctors and nurses taking care of COVID-19 patients. Workers there said they are also reusing masks designated for one-time use.

    It’s also happening at Sutter Health hospitals.

    “We are really trying to minimize any re-use of any protective equipment, but there are things like masks that you can use for more than one patient visit,” said Dr. Robert Nordgren, the area CEO for Sutter Bay Medical Foundation in the Peninsula and San Francisco region.

    “That’s where these respiratory clinics come in,” Nordgren said, referring to the outdoor clinics Palo Alto Medical Foundation has set up at several locations where it accepts drive-by visits from patients with respiratory symptoms.


    Not all hospitals accept donated supplies, but the GNC retail store in San Francisco’s Marina District is accepting supplies for Kaiser doctors, and San Francisco General Hospital is accepting supplies for its staff.