Healthcare Providers Using Alternatives Masks Due to Limited Resources

Some in the healthcare industry are using masks from hardware stores in substitution for N95 masks which are running low

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Healthcare providers are worried about the increase of COVID-19 patients, but doctors and nurses are also concerned for their own health. They say they need more personal protective equipment to stay safe.

“I can’t get sick, if I get sick and my colleagues get sick, then there’s nobody to take care of you. That’s why it’s super important that we have access so we can stay healthy to keep you healthy," said Dr. Carrie De Moor, an emergency physician.

Moor, who is also the President Elect of the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians, said they're running low on PPE, personal protective equipment.

Moor said she wrote her name on her N95 mask. She said usually she would only use it if she encountered a patient suspected of tuberculosis or meningitis. N95 masks are not something they use daily, but because of how contagious the coronavirus is, they have to replace them multiple times a day.

“If I come into contact with somebody whose positive or highly suspicious, I’m going to need to throw this away or figure out how to preserve this as long as I can, because I might not have another one to put back on, that’s just the reality of what we’re dealing with now," said Moor.

The Center for Disease Control lists on its website recommendations for healthcare providers who may not have face masks available. That includes using a homemade mask like a bandanna or scarf as a last resort.

“Obviously that is not enough to protect them from this virus," said Moor who explained that's why she's suggesting people to go to hardware stores.

"Right now there’s a lot of innovation going on, we have a thinking outside of the box, that’s what a lot of emergency physicians tend to do," said Moor who who says physicians around the country are looking for alternatives.

"We're seeing them go to paint stores, the hardware stores, picking up what we can. I did the same thing yesterday , went to some local hardware stores and paint stores to find additional masks and other protective equipment to cover my eyes and filter out the air I might be breathing when I’m taking care of patients.”

Moor took a picture of herself wearing a painter's mask underneath the face shield and posted it on social media to give people ideas.

Thursday morning Vice President Mike Pence echoed his plea from earlier this week and asked construction workers to donate masks and other personal protective equipment to healthcare workers.

“We’re asking local painters or construction workers or anyone who might have access to respirators,  that they have laying around, think about donating those to our front-line workers so that we can be protected as we care for these patients that come in," said Moor.

“If you’re looking to help out, if you’re somebody who can sow or has some kind of skill like that, we are also hearing of people needing to get head covers, explained Moor.

"If you want to sow, take some fabric and sow a head cover to protect our hair form exposure and things like that. It’s another way  you can get involved without leaving your house."

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