Medical Sector Grapples With Troubling Protective Gear Shortages

Concerns are growing about a critical shortage of personal protective equipement.

Concerns are growing about a critical shortage of personal protective equipement. Shutterstock


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Utah governor considers statewide mask mandate ... Virginia governor asks schools to change Confederate names ... Atlanta mayor rebukes National Guard deployment.

PROTECTIVE GEAR SHORTAGE | The nation is still struggling to shore up supplies of protective equipment that medical workers use to shield themselves from infections, with items like respirator masks, isolation gowns and disposable gloves in short supply. The personal protective equipment, or PPE, shortages are not only a problem for hospital staff caring for coronavirus patients as outbreaks of the virus flare up in some states, but also for nursing homes and providers of other types of medical care, like cardiology and neurology. “We have kids living with grapefruit-sized abscesses for over three months who can’t eat or drink and there’s nothing we can do for them because we can’t get PPE,” said Kay Kennel, the chief officer of Lubbock Kids Dental, a clinic serving low-income families in Texas. “It’s been just horrible, and given the growing number of infections here, I’m afraid things are going to get worse.” Public health experts and others say that the current problems with equipment shortages could have been avoided had the federal government taken a more proactive approach to acquire and distribute supplies. [The New York Times]

MASK MANDATE | Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is considering a statewide mask mandate following a letter written to him by Utah hospital officials who said they are “alarmed” about the surge in coronavirus cases in the state. “As Utah has reopened our economy, we have been pleased to see the resurgence of economic activity and return of many normal activities. Unfortunately, we have also seen a serious increase of infection. That increase is bringing impacts on hospitals and health care professionals which are unsustainable,” the Utah Hospital Association said in their letter. [Deseret News]

SCHOOL NAMES | Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam asked school boards across the state to rename schools and mascots named for Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee. "When our public schools are named after individuals who advanced slavery and systemic racism, and we allow those names to remain on school property, we tacitly endorse their values as our own. This is no longer acceptable," he said in a letter to school administrators. [NPR]

NATIONAL GUARD | Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that she disagreed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to declare a state of emergency and send National Guard troops into the city. Lance Bottoms said Kemp issued the order without asking if the city needed assistance. [Associated Press]

VANDALISM | A state lawmaker in Ohio introduced a bill that would give the state attorney general the authority to investigate instances of vandalism to state property. The proposal comes after the Ohio Statehouse was vandalized in recent weeks. If the bill becomes law, it would only apply to future instances of vandalism. [The Center Square]

Emma Coleman is the assistant editor for Route Fifty. Bill Lucia is a senior correspondent for for Route Fifty. 

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