HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Nurses on the front lines of the growing COVID-19 pandemic are raising red flags, saying they don’t have enough supplies to do their jobs.
A survey sent to nurses by the Connecticut Nurses Association has been eye-opening.
Some nurses say there isn’t a good supply of what they need. In fact, the executive director of the CT Nurses Associations says, “our nurses are showing up. All they ask in return is to have the personal protective equipment to protect themselves and the families they go home to each night.”
A nurse from St. Francis Hospital posted a picture on her Facebook page of her holding a sign saying, “We need your help!! Please donate masks”. In the picture, the nurse is wearing a bandana, not a mask, around part of her face.
In her Facebook post, she writes, “The CDC is recommending medical staff to use a bandana or scarf when we run out of masks which is going to happen very soon. Currently, we are reusing our N95 masks for as long as we can during multiple shifts and our supply is critically low.”
Most Connecticut hospitals have said while they’re allowing medical staff to re-use masks and other equipment, they have a good supply right now.
“We are glad to hear that from our hospital teams, but we want to make sure that they don’t only have a good supply, but they have a good supply for the long-term and these nurses aren’t being required to recycle or reuse these masks,” said Ann Hulick, Connecticut Nurses Association.
The CT Nurses Association recently sent a survey to their nurses. Nurses say there is a high need for personal protective equipment.
“We are hearing different stories from different nurses. This short of supply of PPE is a real concern,” Hulick said.
The top three PEEs on the list are fitted N95 or surgical masks, face shields, and protective gowns.
They need more for their patients, keeping COVID-19 patients separated from other patients, especially those with compromised immune systems, respirators for patients with severely compromised breathing, and thermometers and thermometer covers.
Channel 3 asked Hartford Healthcare about the survey.
“I meet with my nurse and physician colleagues regularly and last night I had a meeting with my almost 60 colleague and leaders and that’s not what I heard from any of the members, so I can’t really comment on what you’re hearing from the Nursing Association at this time,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer at Hartford Healthcare.
Channel 3 reached out to St. Franics about the nurse’s photo, but they have not commented at this time.
Trinity Health responded to the survey saying in part, “Currently, Trinity Health Of New England has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) based on our surge projections, and advise all staff to utilize PPE in accordance with the CDC guidelines. We are paying close attention to the national and global supply of N95 respirator masks, which are a component of PPE. In addition, we have the ability to share resources among our network of regional and national hospitals within our Trinity Health system when needed. “
The CT Nurses Association says they have been on calls with Governor Lamont and he is aware of the problem.
Area hospitals are looking for N95 masks, but several are accepting homemade masks. Yale New Haven Hospital is also accepting masks, but ones that follow a specific pattern found by clicking here.
For guidelines from each hospital, click the links below:
To see the answers to the survey, click here.