Facilities Continue to Struggle with PPE Supply Chain

December 4, 2020
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The nationwide resurgence of COVID-19 cases is taxing healthcare facilities in many ways, not the least of which is a problem that has continued to vexed many facilities since the pandemic erupted in the spring – personal protective equipment (PPE).

Often, PPE is an overlooked reality of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States: While major metropolitan hospitals have largely stabilized their supply chains for PPE such as masks, facilities and communities that serve some of the most vulnerable populations are still struggling to get what they need, according to STAT.

An analysis by Get Us PPE, a nonprofit group, found that while the PPE requests it received were almost evenly split between hospitals and nonhospital settings in April, in October more than 90 percent of requests were from facilities, such as homeless shelters, natural disaster relief groups, and nurses’ offices in schools. Smaller hospitals are also struggling.

The failure of the federal government to procure adequate protective equipment for frontline workers is an ongoing tragedy. At the same time, a grassroots movement including organizations like Get Us PPE is trying to fill the void. With the pandemic projected to worsen in the coming months, the question is whether it will be enough.

After initially focusing on managing donations of equipment from individuals, Get Us PPE has shifted to partnering with local community organizations, including “makerspaces,” to produce PPE items that remain difficult to source, like isolation gowns.

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