A KHN News article says that nursing homes, small physician offices, and rural clinics are being left behind in the rush for N95 masks and other protective gear, exposing some of the country’s most vulnerable populations and their caregivers to COVID-19 while larger, wealthier health care facilities build equipment stockpiles.
More than eight months into the pandemic, health care leaders are again calling for a coordinated national strategy to distribute personal protective equipment to protect health care workers and their patients as a new wave of disease wells up across most of the country. The demand for such gear, especially in hot spots, can be more than 10 times the pre-pandemic levels. While supply chains have adjusted and the availability of PPE has improved dramatically since the mayhem of the spring, limited factories and quantities of raw materials still constrain supply amid the ongoing high demand.
The fight for PPE is becoming even more challenging as states, such as California, passing a bill that was signed into law in September requiring stockpiling 3 months’ worth of PPE. Remember our conversation back in the summer? We talked about using the PPE burn rate calculator, track your usage, order what is needed, and report your supply numbers to the NHSN. Remember? We also talked about no forgiveness in the “second wave” as we are now on notice. However, if other states are stockpiling months of supplies where does that leave us? Please take the time to re-evaluate your PPE supplies, make sure you are able to provide care safely and consistently. Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, stay safe, mask up, and stay tuned!