Shortages Looming for Respirators, Masks, Gowns

They’re also planning to use hydrogen peroxide mist to disinfect respirators, Steed said.

These shortages also include many sanitizers and cleaning products upon which facilities rely to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Hand sanitizer is in short supply at more than one in four facilities. About 3% are out and 26% are nearly out, while another 43% are running low, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, about 17% of facilities are critically low or out of cleaning and disinfection products, and 39% are running low.

In every community, people are scouring store rooms to find PPE that can be forwarded to hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

On Thursday, Oregon State University said it had collected more than 12 pallets of PPE, including nearly 200,000 pairs of gloves and more than 8,000 face masks, and would be donating the lot to health care workers.

And Washington National Cathedral found boxes containing more than 5,000 surgical masks tucked away in its crypts, purchased in 2006 during an earlier health scare, officials told the Washington Post on Thursday. The masks were split between Georgetown University Hospital and Children’s National Hospital, both in Washington, D.C.

Fanatics, the company that manufactures Major League Baseball uniforms, has redirected its Pennsylvania factory to make protective masks and gowns with the same polyester mesh used for team jerseys, the Post reported Friday. Its goal is to produce 1 million masks and gowns within the next couple of months.

Hospitals are gladly accepting donations of homemade masks, but these likely will be used to protect families visiting sick relatives or newly released patients headed home, said APIC President-elect Ann Marie Pettis, director of infection prevention for University of Rochester Medicine in Rochester, N.Y.

New York is the center of the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic; nearly half of all confirmed cases are in that state.

“Cases and deaths are rising by the day, and honestly it really feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel,” Pettis said. “Given how rapidly this virus is spreading, other states and cities will in all probability soon face the same situation.”

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: Katrina Crist, M.B.A., chief executive officer, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology; Connie Steed, M.S.N., R.N., director, infection prevention and control, Prisma Health-Upstate, Greenville, S.C.; Ann Marie Pettis, R.N., B.S.N., director, infection prevention, University of Rochester Medicine, Rochester, N.Y.; West Virginia University, news release, March 26, 2020;Washington Post

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