CA hospitals to face PPE shortage for next 2 years, California Hospital Association says

A Providence Holy Cross Medical Center executive says the hospital goes through 200 to 400 N95 masks in a 24-hour period. "And think about it, we're just one hospital."
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- They're on the front lines, working to save lives in the battle against COVID-19. But are they receiving all of the protective equipment and support they need?

Hospital leaders across the state are describing the growing PPE shortages.

As we watch the number of COVID-19 cases climb, we forget how many masks, gloves, gowns and face shields hospitals need to keep patients and health care workers safe.

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Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Chief Executive Dr. Bernie Klein said the facility uses anywhere from 200 to 400 N95 masks in a 24-hour period.

"And think about it, we're just one hospital," Klein added.

He said supply interruptions happen weekly. Recently, the staff was forced to make their own disinfectant wipes.

"We're going to do what we need to do to make sure that our patients and our visitors and our doctors are safe," Klein said.

"The global supply of PPE cannot meet the current demand," said Carmela Coyle, president & CEO of California Hospital Association.

The California Hospital Association said the increase in COVID-19 hot spots, the lack of available testing and the length of time it's taking to get results are fueling the PPE shortages.

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"When you can't get the test results in a timely matter, you have to assume they have COVID until proven otherwise, which also means that when we are in a COVID unit, staff has to wear additional protective personal protective equipment," Klein explained.

The California Hospital Association expects the supply problem will last two more years. Klein said fixing the problem will require collaboration between hospitals, state and federal governments. But, to deal with the current crisis, Klein is asking the public to prioritize testing for those with symptoms and to do what you can to protect yourself.

"Wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands. If everybody would do those three simple things, we could avoid these peaks," Klein said.

Despite the ongoing PPE supply problems, doctors say the hospital is still one of the safest places to be because of all their precautions. Klein says too many have died tragically because they waited too long to seek care.

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