BRADENTON, Fla. - Hospitals and healthcare centers in Manatee County are burning through personal protective equipment, like face masks and gowns. They're going through it five to 10 times faster than they normally would due to an influx of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After asking the community to help Tuesday morning, donations began to pour in. But they still need more.
"We have to protect the health care workers in our community otherwise we are all going to be in trouble," said Kevin DiLallo, the CEO of Manatee Healthcare System.
Manatee Memorial Hospital has been well-stocked and prepared with gloves, masks and gowns for their medical staff. In recent weeks, an influx of sick patients, combined with COVID-19 has their supplies dwindling with no word on when more will come.
When community members heard about the shortages, some 4,000 pieces of PPE came to the hospital within the day. However, as patient numbers continue to rise, those donations will be quickly used up.
"The reason we don’t have the PPE is because of the burn rate, we are staffed and stocked appropriately but the usage of not getting test results back quick enough is causing us to use that," said DiLallo.
Hospitals across Manatee County along with Manatee County EMS, paramedics and firefighters are all in the same situation.
"We haven't gotten an ample supply order from the state and the state tells us that’s from the federal level. We need to make additional measures in our own communities to secure those items," said Manatee County's public safety director Jacob Saur.
They're now asking the community to step in and help them. Any unused masks, gloves or face shields can be donated.
"Boatbuilders, barbershops, construction trades, if they have any of those unused N-95s we’d like to have those to give them back out to our first responders," said Saur.
Manatee County has set up a hotline to take in those donations. You can call 941-744-3939 to help.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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