Montebello hospital asks for donations of supplies to help protect staff treating COVID-19 patients

MONTEBELLO, Calif. (KABC) -- Many hospitals across the United States say they're running out of supplies to protect medical staff who treat patients, including in Southern California.

Beverly Hospital in Montebello is making an urgent public plea to the public, asking for donations of protective gear, which is desperately needed as doctors and nurses test and treat coronavirus patients.

Hospital officials say they are prioritizing the health and safety of their medical staff, but the facility is running low on personal protective equipment and have even had to ration them.

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Dr. Joseph Chan, the medical director for the emergency room, says they've had to resort to cleaning and reusing N-95 masks, which is not advised. Gowns and goggles are only being used for the most dangerous procedures.

"Patients are getting sicker. We know that we're only 10-12 days behind Italy in patients flocking to the ER, very sick, needing to be put in the ICU," Dr. Chan said. "When that time comes, we're going to burn through all our PPE equipment very, very quickly."

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The hospital says patients experiencing fever, coughing and shortness of breath are being separated from the rest of the facility population. The hospital does not have COVID-19 testing on site.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would invoke the Defense Production Act to order business across the nation to manufacture and send supplies, including testing kits, ventilators and masks to hospitals most overwhelmed by a wave of coronavirus cases.

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