Local hospitals worry protective gear supplies may dry up before a COVID-19 surge

There's a shortage of protective gear for medical staff nationwide, and it's impacting SoCal hospitals. 

Methodist Hospital in Arcadia is in need of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and are asking for donations, or companies with reasonable prices to come forward. 

"In the event that the surge [in coronavirus cases] does occur that everyone's projecting, we will be challenged for having enough supplies for PPE," said Cliff Daniels, the Chief Content Officer at the hospital. 

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Daniels said if they see a rise in patients, it won't be long before they are close to running out of equipment. 

"Without being able to re-supply ourselves, there's probably 20 to 30 days tops of supplies on hand with those key items," said Daniels. 

The necessary items are gloves, N95 masks, and hand sanitizer. Daniels said the prices to obtain those items have soared. 

"The supply chains have started to dry up as hospitals and government entities have competed for some of those supplies so we're all scrambling looking for suppliers," said Daniels.

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Daniels said they have received some small donations from the community, but are in need of more. 

"We are looking for anybody who's supplying at reasonable prices and trying to stock up in preparation for the surge [in coronavirus cases]," said Daniels. 

Teresita Costales, an ICU nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, said the masks are being rationed, and only nurses directly working with COVID-19 patients are able to get them.

"We really lack equipment. It's not readily available for nurses which is really problematic. It really makes us, the front line workers, very susceptible and really highly at risk in caring for not just for the COVID-19 patients, but every patient," said Costales. 

Local hospitals worry protective gear supplies may dry up before a COVID-19 surge

Costales said she also had concerns about testing for nurses and making sure nurses are being properly protected from coronavirus. She said nurses are asking the hospital to set up an area where they can shower before returning to their homes. 

Costales said nurses are banding together at the hospital about their concerns. 

"We are just waiting for responses from them [Kaiser Permanente] for the next step that they will do to fix the deficiencies and concerns," said Costales. 

Kaiser Permanente sent the following statement: 

"While we currently have the personal protective equipment needed to serve our patients and protect our staff, we are prudently managing our resources and aggressively pursuing additional supplies, including masks and ventilators, to respond to the expected rise in demand for our health care services. The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority." 

Methodist Hospital set up an email address, donateppe@methodisthospital.org, to help streamline donations.