Hospitals Continue to Conserve Personal Protective Equipment

Gov. Abbott said local Texas companies are ramping up production to supply more gear like masks and shields for health care workers

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It's no secret that the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has nurses, doctors and other health care professionals worried for themselves and their families as they treat COVID-19 patients.

Many hospitals across DFW are having to conserve equipment, even reuse masks, to help combat the short supply.

"As far as I know, we have an adequate supply and we're really working conscientiously at it," said Stephen Love, CEO of the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council. "

“Now with that said, aside from hospitals, I have heard some of the private physicians and people that have their own private offices say they’re having short supply and I think everyone is trying to help everyone out, but as far as the hospitals, I have not heard anyone at a hospital say they didn’t have what they needed," Love explained.

Providers like Medical City Healthcare list on its website that they've adopted specific Centers for Disease Control guidelines to reuse protective gear when appropriate.

Baylor Scott and White Health said in a statement:

While our teams are on the front lines saving lives and behind the scenes equipping and encouraging caregivers each day, our System leaders are working around the clock to replenish the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to protect our patients and staff. To ensure we have adequate resources in the weeks ahead, we have implemented conservation guidelines to safely reuse or extend the use of masks using CDC guidance.

Every team member at our medical centers who wants to wear a surgical mask throughout their shift is able to do so but must follow the mask reuse and conservation guidelines. 

We are committed to helping our communities navigate the uncertainty of this virus. We would like to thank our providers and staff, who continue to remain vigilant during this time of heightened awareness of COVID-19. Their dedication to evidence-based infection prevention practices are the backbone of our efforts to maintain a safe care environment.

JPS Health team members have posted on social media their concerns about the virus.

Katherine, a respiratory therapist, said on the hospital's YouTube page, "I'd be lying if I said this is not a scary time for all of us. The scariest thing for me is the possibility of me being responsible for infecting my husband or my kids. I'm doing the best I can to make sure that they stay safe. ... Please, everyone, stay at home as much as you can, protect your family and help me protect mine."

On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas companies like Prestige Ameritech in Tarrant County, are ramping up productions to supply two million masks a week.

The governor, local officials and medical professionals are still urging people to stay home. They believe it is helping.

"We've got to continue staying at home. We've got to continue social distancing, it is making a difference," Love said. "As we look at the models, we are flattening the curve in North Texas, if we can flatten the curve of infection rates, it's going to mean less people obviously get infected , less people are hospitalized and we'll be able to handle when we get to more of the increased volume and the apex of this."

"I know it's frustrating and our hearts ache for the business industry, especially small business owners, we send our sincere thanks to you for your part at staying at home and social distancing," Love said.

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