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Personal protective gear shortage worries health care workers

Posted at 11:37 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 23:37:50-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Doctors, nurses and surgeons are at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. But what happens they run low on personal protective equipment, or PPE's? A local nurse said she wants to know when those might be available here.

"We don't have what would be ideal. Ideally, you should have full protective gear and face goggles and an N95 mask," said Sharon Haak, who is a registered nurse at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

Nurse Haak said when there's a shortage of supplies and a pandemic, CDC guidelines loosened up to allow health care workers to wear paper surgical masks.

She said it is not enough to protect her and patients against the virus; an N95 mask is recommended, but Haak said they don't have enough.

"All of us would feel much more comfortable if we had what we need," she said.

Many local governments declared a state of emergency to make way for more resources.

"It would be nice to know where some of those are being allotted to, if there's any timeline that here locally we might get any," said Haak. "It's a fluid situation. Nobody really knows or is giving a clear answer at this point because this is all just changing day by day."

But Haak's commitment to patient care is unchanged.

"This is our job. We're going to - we want to take care of people, we want to do what we want to do. But we would prefer to be properly protected," she said.

7 Eyewitness News has reached out to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital for a comment but have not yet heard back.