Local medical organization talks about a possible shortage of P.P.E.
WENY -- Personal protective equipment, or P.P.E., is becoming scarce as COVID-19 cases are surging nationwide. We spoke with Doctor Michael Scalzone, the Chief Quality Officer at Guthrie who tells WENY News as of now they are doing fine but that's because they acted after the first spike earlier this year.
"We are in good condition right now. So, in the spring many of us were worried about the supply of P.P.E. that we had and obviously across the country as well as in our region. Way back in March and April, we arranged for large purchases of supplies. We wanted to ensure that we had 60 to 90 day of supply on hand should the surge come back the way that it has,' says Scalzone.
Prices for P.P.E. have gone up, but Scalzone says the most important thing is to have a supply. Scalzone exclaims, "There's not doubt that the prices have risen substantially, but that's just not the most important thing. What's most important of course is that we have enough. So, we made the investment and we will continue to make the investment, whatever it costs, in order to protect our patients and protect our staff so that they can take care of those patients."
He feels manufacturers did not expect the demand back in the spring but have since caught up. "What we've recognized is that, it was really a matter of the manufacturers did not anticipate months down the road that this would be needed and that's no fault to anyone. No one recognized this was going to happen in the spring. I think those manufacturers are in better shape and we are beginning to catch up now," mentions Scalzone.
If P.P.E begins to run low, the CDC has certain strategies for these situations which are conventional use, contingency use, and crisis use. Crisis use would mean P.P.E. will be used longer than intended.
"Crisis used would mean that we'd use something for longer than its intended time-frame. So, instead of using a mask for a single use, perhaps you would use that all day long. That type of change. Or, perhaps instead of using surgical masks, a cloth masks might be used," said Scalzone.
Doctor Scalzone tells WENY News from his perspective in terms of a P.P.E. standpoint he does not feel Guthrie will have to go into crisis mode.