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Local hospitals stock up on personal protective equipment to avoid shortages

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Posted at 8:03 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 20:03:54-04

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer says personal protective equipment in Detroit area hospitals are running dangerously low.

"At all three health systems, there are less that three days until face shields run out and less than six days until surgical gowns run out," Whitmer said in Monday's COVID-19 update.

In Mid-Michigan, Sparrow, McLaren, and Henry Ford Allegiance Health say they are not seeing a shortage in personal protective equipment yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't preparing for it.

"It's a discussion that we have everyday, but it is not a concern for us right now," said Dr. R. Dale Jackson, the medical director for Sparrow.

But that doesn't mean Dr. Jackson and the other Mid-Michigan hospitals aren't keep an eye on the influx of patients Detroit is seeing daily.

"Very roughly speaking we are seeing about 20% at most of their comparable patient volumes, so we are not on a projection right now to see the number of patients that they are just because of the differences of social mitigation worked in the Lansing area compared to Detroit."

To avoid PPE shortages for staff and patients, Sparrow says they are stocking up while they have the chance.

"We are working to always keep a seven day supply of of all our various types of PPE," said Jackson. "That includes gloves, gowns face masks and face shields."

Although shortages aren't a major concern in Mid-Michigan hospital for now, health officials are having trouble adjusting to the different variations of equipment coming from different vendors.

"We may be using one type of mask in one area and another type of mask in another area, so there is a lot of work that goes in to maintain that same level of quality and protection."

Dr. Jackson says the process to fit masks and make sure they are secure on the staff's face takes at least 15 minutes, which adds up when time is crucial.

"You have to take what are fine tuned processes to do that and come up with just in time processes and then duplicate that effort and multiple areas so that we can touch as many providers rapidly at the beginning of each shift or day."

The governor did announce today that FEMA is sending Michigan 300 ventilators, millions of surgical masks, 200,000 face shields and two million gloves.

One million N95 masks will be shipped to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties this week.

Mid-Michigan hospitals are still taking PPE donations.

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