coronavirus

Dallas Nurse Explains How She Reuses Same Masks Amid PPE Shortage

Tina Thomas said she can see up to 20 patients a day

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Tina Thomas is a nurse practitioner in Dallas and says she’s about as concerned as she’s ever been during her 18-year career.

“I’ve had to start doing some things that I don’t normally do,” she said. “With my patient population, they are high risk.”

Thomas cares for patients in skilled nursing facilities throughout Dallas. Her patients are elderly, often frail and highly susceptible to COVID-19. She said she can see up to some 20 patients a day, and her visits always require a lot of physical interaction.

“I’m the person who takes their blood pressure, their temp, maybe their blood sugar, and I weigh them too," she said.

While she does this, behind the scenes medical professionals are desperate. Thomas said new masks are out of the question right now, so rotating what she has is the only solution.

“The mask is one thing that is really hard because I don’t have anymore. I have about five that I’m rotating out and I have to clean them off every time I use them,” Thomas said.

She said she has plenty of gloves, but was concerned about those as well.

“What I’m afraid of is when I run out, will I be able to find some more, because you can hardly find anything,” Thomas said.

At the end of a full day of reusing masks and interacting with patients, Thomas still has her own family to worry about. She said she removes her clothes, places them in a bag and dumps them in a washing machine before she interacts with her 17-year-old daughter.

“When I walk in the house, the washer and dryer are right there,” she said. “So, I put them into the washer then I go straight into the shower.”

And then she said she wakes up the following day and does it all over again.

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