SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Michelle Gutierrez Vo has been a nurse in the adult primary-care department at Kaiser Permanente in Fremont for 20 years. She is currently in self-quarantine after being exposed to the novel coronavirus but, upon her return, she says she won’t have adequate personal protective equipment, PPE.
“So I have heard of people being asked to reuse the mask,” said Gutierrez Vo via Skype.READ MORE: Atmospheric River: Alameda County Fair Reopening Monday After Storm Knocks Down Trees, Damages Booths
She says that, right now, management is rationing supplies.
“They’re giving nurses surgical masks and PPE; I don’t know how much PPE they’re putting in a brown bag in the beginning of the shift and they are to make sure that is intact for the rest of the shift and that is not good care, that is not good infection control, it is unacceptable.”
Kaiser Permanente told the CBS affiliate in Sacramento that “the health and safety of our patients, staff and the community is our top priority.”
With regards to the lack of protection, “we are prudently managing our resources to ensure this equipment is available for our healthcare workforce for the duration of this pandemic.”
The need for N-95 masks across the country is great. The hashtag #getmePPE is trending on social media. Healthcare workers are pleading for more supplies to fight the coronavirus.READ MORE: Atmospheric River: Power Restored To Majority of Residents; PG&E Blames Downed Trees For Massive Outages
At a south Georgia hospital where 26 patients have the virus, the staff improvised. They cut surgical linen to sew a second, washable mask to fit over the N-95s, prolonging their life and shielding staff from viral patients.
In San Francisco, the GNC health products store in the Marina District is answering the call. Co-owner Amit Dow is accepting N-95 masks and other supplies to drop off at local hospitals.
“We’re doing a donation drive every single day until the coronavirus is gone,” Dow said. “This is a big freaking deal … we really have to work together in order to get rid of this thing.”
Mark Ellis stopped by GNC to donate masks on Friday.
“We have what we need at my home so I think any extras that we don’t really need at this time is far more critical for the folks in the hospitals,” he said.
At ITC Medical Supplies on Geary, Karina Leiderman says there’s never been such a shortage.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Flood Waters Shut Down Lanes Of I-880; Alameda's Harbor Bay Parkway, Silverado Trail In Napa
“It’s sad to be able to see people struggling to find what, a few months ago, was simple thing such as a mask,” Leiderman said.