Jun 12, 2020 - Health

Nursing homes are running out of PPE

Medical staff in full personal protective gear line up to help remove patients from a nursing Center

Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Nursing homes around the country are short on personal protective equipment like masks, eyewear and gowns, despite promises by the federal government to help, Kaiser Health News reports.

Why it matters: Nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus outbreaks, and 43,000 residents have died over the last few months.

  • Personal protective gear is vital in ensuring the virus doesn't spread from one patient to another.

Between the lines: FEMA announced in May that it would be sending a 14-day supply of protective supplies to nearly 15,000 nursing homes around the nation, but some have yet to receive the first batch.

  • Some have received cloth masks instead of medical-grade ones, even though HHS says these masks aren't meant for caring for contagious patients.
  • FEMA officials told KHN that, as of June 4, packages had been shipped to 11,287 nursing homes.

By the numbers: During the last two weeks of May, 3,213 of the more than 15,000 nursing homes in the country reported that they had less than a week's supply of masks, gowns, gloves, eye protectors or hand sanitizer.

  • Of these facilities, 946 reported at least one confirmed coronavirus case since the pandemic started.
  • 653 skilled nursing facilities told the government that they had run out of at least one type of protective supply during this time period.

Go deeper: Controlling the coronavirus in nursing homes won't be easy

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