With New York City being the epicenter of coronavirus pandemic in the US, there has been heavy demand for resources for COVID-19 treatment. The new memo by the New York State Health Department said that hospitals shall begin preparing doctors and nurses to work without personal protective gear.
The memo dated Thursday, April 2, said so as there was shortage of personal protection equipment or PPE for the hospital staff. The document was distributed among the hospital admins and medical directors. It reads "facilities and providers need to plan and prepare now for the unavailability of PPE," reports New York Daily News.
The issue surfaced after frontline workers such as nurses and doctors demanded the necessary PPE many times in previous weeks. The memo was out on Friday as Governor Andrew Cuomo passed orders for hospitals to turn over their ventilators and PPE which are not in use to the National Guard in order to distribute them to hospitals with utmost need. Cuomo has also warned about the number of ventilators being dangerously low.
The executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, Pat Kane, after praising Cuomo said: "New York needs to look to New Jersey where the law empowers the state to take PPE not in use from businesses, not just hospitals, especially as President Trump hasn't used the Defense Production Act to order the manufacturing of PPE." There was a shortage of nurses to take care of ventilated patients and were without proper protection, she added.
Recovered to treat patients
The protocol highlighted by the memo was to assign those healthcare workers who have already recovered from coronavirus infection to the patients with COVID-19. This is because, as per CDC, those recover from coronavirus might have developed immunity, however, the idea has not been confirmed, said the unsigned directive from the Health Department's Bureau of Healthcare Infections states.
Among more than 337,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, New York has 123,160 coronavirus cases as of Monday, April 6, 2020.