Daily Coronavirus Supply Shortage Roundup

9 mins read

Daily Coronavirus Supply Shortage Roundup

April 9, 2020

NPR: ‘It’s Like Walking Into Chernobyl,’ One Doctor Says Of Her Emergency Room

Michigan Live: Running Out Of Body Bags. People Dying In The Hallway. Coronavirus Has Michigan Hospital Workers At A Breaking Point.

President Trump failed to prepare America for coronavirus. Now, as U.S. deaths pass 16,000, the president has reduced federal support for testing efforts, seized supply shipments, and drained the strategic national stockpile. 

Federal Government Continues Seizing Supplies From States, Equipment Isn’t Going Where It’s Needed

Bellingham Herald: Feds Seize Coronavirus Test Kit Materials Bound For Bellingham Hospital And Northwest

  • “A delivery of test kit materials that would have allowed Bellingham’s St. Joseph hospital and other PeaceHealth medical facilities in the Northwest to run COVID-19 tests quicker were seized and diverted by the federal government to the East Coast, PeaceHealth reports… If PeaceHealth hospitals had received the test kit materials and been able to do in-house testing… it more quickly could rule out patients that tested negative for COVID-19. That, in turn, would have allowed the hospital to conserve personal protective equipment at a greater rate.” [Bellingham Herald, 4/9/20]

Los Angeles Times: Feds’ Stockpile For Coronavirus Response Is Exhausted, Amid Questions About How Supplies Were Distributed

  • “As the Trump administration depleted the national stockpile of medical supplies over the last month to fight the coronavirus, it sent hundreds of thousands of masks, respirators and other protective equipment to states with very small outbreaks, new records show. That left medical workers in areas hit hardest by the pandemic, including New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Washington, hustling to find the supplies they needed with relatively little aid from the stockpile… The distribution of scarce medical equipment has emerged as a key point of controversy in the administration’s response, as states have been left to scramble on their own to get what they need.”  [Los Angeles Times, 4/8/20]
  • “Ventilators also went to some smaller states with very limited outbreaks, including Alaska and Oregon. Oregon received nearly as many devices, 140, as the 150 that went to Louisiana. Yet Louisiana had more than 16,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while Oregon had 1,200.” [Los Angeles Times, 4/8/20]

CNN: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency… Appears To Be Struggling To Get Supplies Where They Need To Go.” 

Axios: U.S. Nearly Empties Medical Supplies Stockpile To Fight Coronavirus

Trump Cuts Federal Support For Testing

NPR: Federal Support Ends For Coronavirus Testing Sites As Pandemic Peak Nears

CNN: Federal Support To End For Coronavirus Testing Sites

  • Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County [Pennsylvania] Commissioners: “While I’m grateful to have had federal and state support for our successful community-based testing site, I am understandably disappointed that the supplies and the federal contract for lab testing are ending just as we are heading into the surge here in southeastern Pennsylvania.” [CNN, 4/9/20]

While Persistent Shortages Complicate Efforts to Track and Curb Cases

Reuters: U.S. Nurses Who Can’t Get Tested Fear They Are Spreading COVID-19

  • “In New York City, an intensive care nurse treated patients for three days after she started displaying symptoms of COVID-19 – but couldn’t get a test from her hospital. In Georgia, a nurse was denied a test after treating an infected patient who died… Many medical centers are testing only the workers with the most severe symptoms, according to the frontline workers and hospital officials. As a result, nurses and doctors risk infecting patients, colleagues and their families without knowing they are carrying the virus, medical experts say.” [Reuters, 4/8/20]

Politico: NYC Could Ease Coronavirus Restrictions In Late May, But Hampered By Lack Of Testing

  • “New York City could begin to ease some coronavirus restrictions in late May or June — but it will require widespread testing of residents for the virus, which the city does not yet have the ability to do… The mayor said Thursday widespread testing would be key to moving to the next phase of the outbreak, where transmission is low and some restrictions can be eased. Yet the city is far short of the test capacity it will need, and has no concrete plan for a large-scale expansion. ‘We would need more testing. And we don’t have it yet,’ de Blasio said, adding the federal government still has not sent an adequate supply of test kits.” [Politico, 4/9/20]

..And Hospitals Continue to Suffer Dire Supply and Staffing Shortages

NPR: ‘It’s Like Walking Into Chernobyl,’ One Doctor Says Of Her Emergency Room

  • “‘It’s like walking into Chernobyl without any gear,’ said Jacklyn, an ER doctor at a New York City hospital who asked to go by her middle name for fear of being fired over speaking out. At her hospital 90% of patients have COVID-19, but health care workers get only one N95 mask every five days. ‘We’re constantly breathing in everything that’s aerosolized because of all of the procedures that we’re doing,’ the New York City doctor said.” [NPR, 4/9/20]

Michigan Live: Running Out Of Body Bags. People Dying In The Hallway. Coronavirus Has Michigan Hospital Workers At A Breaking Point.

  • “Across [Michigan] there are concerns about staffing. Worries about shortages of personal protective equipment. Fears about their own health. At least three Michigan healthcare workers have died from coronavirus… Nonetheless, there are ongoing issues with staffing levels, access to coronavirus testing for staff and a shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPEs, such as masks and gowns.” [Michigan Live, 4/9/20]

Washington Post: Coronavirus-Wracked Nursing Home Evacuated After Most Of Staff Failed To Show For Two Days

Los Angeles Times: Hospices, Coping With Coronavirus Pandemic, Are Scrambling For Supplies Too

Washington Examiner: National Guard Suffers PPE Shortages As Plans Begin For State Sharing

  • “National Guardsmen supporting the medical response to the coronavirus are running short on personal protective equipment, resulting in the delayed opening of COVID-19 virus testing sites in some areas, said the National Guard bureau chief, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, at a Pentagon press briefing. “There have been cases where they have said they have to delay the opening of the sites until they have the PPE,” Lengyel said Wednesday, noting that the demand for new testing sites has not met the distribution capacity of limited PPE.”  [Washington Examiner, 4/8/20]

Wall Street Journal: Veterans Affairs Hospitals Facing ‘Serious’ Shortage of Protective Gear, Internal Memos Show

  • “The Department of Veterans Affairs is experiencing serious shortages of protective gear for its medical workers treating patients infected by the new coronavirus, according to excerpts of internal memos shared with The Wall Street Journal… One memo, which was written Friday for the VA’s working group on the new coronavirus that meets daily by conference call, said mask supplies are failing. ‘Experiencing serious PPE shortage,’ said the memo, which was circulated among top-ranking VA officials. ‘Several sites doing 3-D printing, but it is not enough. Soon, PPE will be rationed; one surgical mask issued per week, one N95 per day,’ it said, using a common abbreviation for personal protective equipment.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/8/20]

Wall Street Journal: Faulty N95 Masks Hamper Hospitals On Coronavirus Front Line

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