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Milwaukee hospitals at critically low levels of personal protective equipment

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Posted at 9:27 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 23:48:06-04

MILWAUKEE — Hospitals across Wisconsin are at critically low levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers, and the state has not hit its surge yet. In Milwaukee, officials say most hospitals have less than a week's worth of supplies left.

"If all the health systems had a week worth of PPE, they would actually be extremely happy. I think the numbers are much less than that," said Dr. John Raymond, president, and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Flu Mask Coronavirus mask

Hospitals across the country have been facing a shortage of PPEs for their workers since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Despite donations from the community, the hospitals are still in need.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, more than half of the state's hospitals have less than a seven day supply of goggles, face shields, and gowns. A third of hospitals have less than a week's amount of N95 masks, paper medical masks, and face shields.

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Harborview Medical Center in Seattle (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

"We are exploring ways to reuse, to extend the life of, to sanitize, to do things that would extend the life of and increase the supply of PPE. It's not ideal. It's not best practice. It's not standard of care, but we do have a shortage of PPE here in Wisconsin," said Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Health Services Secretary- designee.

Governor Tony Evers said the state had gotten supplies from the federal government, but it is not enough. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said this area should not expect more even though the state has not yet hit its surge in COVID-19 patients.

"The national stockpiles are about 90-percent depleted now, so I don't think we can really rely on that in the short run," said Barrett.

Medical leaders are again making a plea to the public for help.

"One of the things people can do to help is donating PPE," said Dr. Ben Weston of the Milwaukee County Health Department.

Coronavirus test, gown and gloves

If you want to help, the Unified Emergency Operations Center for Milwaukee County is still collecting personal protective equipment (PPE) for the frontline workers as they continue to combat COVID-19.

Donations will be collected outside the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice. See below for the full list of items that will be accepted.

People wishing to donate should enter State Fair Park from Gate 5 on South 84th Street at Schlinger Avenue.

ITEMS BEING COLLECTED

  • N95 Masks
  • Procedure Masks
  • Isolation Gowns
  • Safety Glasses
  • Goggles
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Disinfectant Spray
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Gloves
  • Welch Allen Thermometer Probe Covers

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