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Health professionals and first responders plead for more personal protective equipment

Posted at 2:33 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 14:38:42-04

Health professionals across the country are speaking out, asking for more personal protective equipment.

The message is being amplified on social media through the Twitter hashtag "#GetMePPE".

This doctor in Ann Arbor tweeted she is reusing the same protective mask.

This medical professional says she received the last N95 face mask in the ICU where she works.

Here in Northeast Ohio, we've heard similar concerns from healthcare workers who were concerned about their jobs and contacted News 5 anonymously.

One care provider told us there weren't enough masks available at the hospital where he worked. He went on to say workers are being screened in the Emergency Department before entering, but the screeners themselves aren't wearing masks.

Last week, nurses shared their concernof hoarding and theft of protective gear at local hospitals.

Governor DeWine announced that the state had received its personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, and goggles, from the National Strategic Reserve last Thursday evening. He asked all health care providers and others that use PPE to conserve their supplies.

DeWine requested that dentists and veterinarians postpone elective surgeries. These measures will open up critical treatment beds while preserving the state's limited supply of PPE.

Cleveland EMS

We've also heard concern from Cleveland EMS workers that no longer have the fitted N95 masks that provide greater protection from the coronavirus. An EMS employee also said the ambulances are not equipped with thermometers to screen patients for a fever.

EMS Commander Christopher Chapin says Cleveland EMS has no shortage of PPE’s.

A longtime firefighter in a large Northeast Ohio suburb said his department is currently equipped with enough N95 masks.

He also said his department currently has “plenty” of gowns and protective eye gear.

However, he fears they will run out of supplies as the pandemic continues to worsen across the state.

“We are protected right now with the equipment we have,” he said. “But the longer this goes on, if we go on a rash of patients over the next week or two, our supplies will be shut down.”

To protect themselves and the public, he told News 5 that members of his department wear N95 masks when they respond to 911 calls where they suspect a patient could have coronavirus.

To conserve supplies, they use regular surgical masks when they come into contact with patients who do not report coronavirus symptoms and re-use masks that have not come into contact with the public.

“I think we’re being smart with our equipment right now,” he said.

The firefighter also said his department is also asking patients to meet them outside their homes, if they are able, when they respond to 911 calls.

“We’re doing the right thing,” he said. “We need the public to do the right thing to protect us.”

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