PA To Face Possible Shortage Of Medical Supplies
April 6, 2020
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals across the country are facing unprecedented shortages of lifesaving medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators, eye protection, facemasks, and gowns. Sadly, Pennsylvania is now joining the ranks of other states that are running low on these critical items. The PA Department of Health (DOH) is reaching out to the mining industry in a bid for more facemasks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are advising healthcare workers to make their own protective gear with scarves or bandanas if standard PPE is unavailable to them.
Nearly 13 million residents live in Pennsylvania and according to the DOH, the state houses approximately 37,000 hospital beds. 3,400 of these are intensive care unit, or ICU beds. According to the DOH, almost 80% of the state’s 3,400 intensive care unit beds are already in use. While some hospitals have a sufficient amount of medical supplies at the time being, many fear future shortages and being forced to make difficult decisions regarding treatment and patients. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. In most cases, people experience mild symptoms like a fever, shortness of breath, and cough, but some immunocompromised individuals or those with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes may require hospitalization and intensive medical treatment in order to recover.
Critical Medical Supplies
Several hospitals across the state are taking to social media and news outlets to ask for donations from large and small companies and even households. In Philadelphia, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) issued a statement that it is accepting PPE donations to aid local healthcare providers. Some of the most commonly accepted donation items – and ones that can help save people’s lives – are:
- Eye shields/eye protection/protective goggles,
- Surgical gowns (disposable and washable),
- Disposable surgical masks,
- N95 respirator masks,
- Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), and:
- Bleach and/or disinfecting wipes,
Nurses and doctors say they not only fear for their own health and safety, but also for the health and safety of the people they live with and risk infecting at home. Many have decided to isolate from their families and loved ones when they are not at work in order to decrease the chances of viral transmission. The coronavirus pandemic has put an emotional and psychological strain on medical providers, and now more than ever they need our support. Healthcare workers have always faced an array of on-the-job hazards, but now their jobs are exponentially more dangerous. To find out if a hospital near you is in need of or accepting donations, you can visit their website(s). Generally speaking most providers are not accepting homemade medical supplies at this time, but this may vary.
We will continue to update our readers as this story as it develops.
To stay up to date with important health and safety updates for residents in the state of Pennsylvania, please visit: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx.
For nationwide updates on COVID-19 provided by the CDC, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
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