Emergency physicians and health systems around the country are facing severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), like N95 masks, that will leave many health professionals insufficiently protected in the midst of this outbreak. We are receiving reports of workarounds that many of our physicians have had to resort to, such as spraying their masks with bleach at the end of each day and hanging them up at home to dry. While taken out of necessity, such workarounds compromise the protection that PPE is designed to provide
The Administration and Congress must exhaust every option available to increase PPE production and prioritize distribution to emergency physicians and other frontline providers.
We must urge Congress to take action now to fill these gaps with every resource we have available, including from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). We can’t afford for emergency physicians and other frontline providers to get sick because of shortages.
Although we appreciate that the Administration announced that PPE production is ramping up, we need these supplies now and we’re going to need significantly more as cases multiply. While we wait, PPE supplies in the SNS should be depleted and immediately distributed to frontline health care personnel—this is the public health emergency that the stockpile was created for.
Contact your U.S. Senators and House member and urge them to exhaust every option available to increase PPE production and prioritize distribution to emergency physicians and other frontline providers.
For more information and resources on COVID-19 such as facility and personal preparation checklists, policy recommendations, and the latest clinical guidelines for emergency care teams, visit www.acep.org/COVID19 .
ACEP is also keeping patients informed on how to stay safe at www.emergencyphysicians.org/COVID19.