HEALTH

Health care workers dealing with shortage of personal protective equipment

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases soaring and only expected to go higher, a chorus of public officials and health care workers are sounding an alarm over a shortage of surgical gowns, gloves and face shields and masks used during the treatment of the sick.

Late Sunday night, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the treatment center at the heart of New Jersey’s outbreak, reached out on Twitter looking for donations to help buy supplies. The hospital says it was completely out of disposable gowns and down to just a four-day reserve of specialized N95 mask designed to remove microbes from the air health care workers breathe.

During their daily briefing on the emerging COVID-19 crisis, state officials also hit the theme of shortages in personal protective equipment, known as PPE.

Gov. Phil Murphy said that, in addition to state efforts to acquire more PPE, he had reiterated his call for Washington to help in the effort to restock the shelves during a Monday morning phone call with President Donald Trump. He said he had not gotten a specific commitment from the president.

Murphy also said the state had created a specific email address for businesses or people who have the equipment and want to donate it: ppedonations@njsp.org. “God knows, we need it,” he said.

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan Murphy also said that 150,000-plus masks, hand sanitizers and gloves that Prudential Financial, based in Newark, had donated to the state had been delivered and were making their way to hospitals Monday. University Hospital in Newark received a portion of the donation.

Watch the full video for Senior Correspondent David Cruz’s report on what’s contributing to the shortage, and what you can do to help.