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Frontline healthcare workers rally for PPE equipment

Posted at 6:32 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 23:19:05-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Healthcare workers descended on Niagara Square, bringing their fight for adequate safety equipment to the street.

"PPE saves lives," was the message one sign read. The frontline workers called on President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act. Cori Gambini, the President of CWA Local 1168, one of the unions represented at the rally, said that the act would streamline the process for getting PPE to hospitals all over the country.

Trump used the act to direct several companies to start making ventilators, but that does not cover supplies like masks, gloves, and gowns.

"How do we get the protective equipment that we absolutely have to have," said Ann Converso, a CWA union organizer.

Gambini said many local hospitals are in CDC contingency plans right now, meaning there are enough supplies, but they're anticipating a major shortage.

Converso said it is ridiculous that CDC guidelines list the use of bandanas as a last resort.

Gambini rallied in Downtown Buffalo on Thursday, fighting to protect herself, and everyone who steps into hospitals. She's been a registered nurse for more than 30 years and said she has never been more terrified.

“I never thought I would ever see the day that I would walk into work, and actually be afraid that my job could actually cause my death," she said.

The nurses 7 Eyewitness News spoke with said they believe the hospitals are doing everything they can with limited supplies.