With cases of the coronavirus spiking dramatically across the country, the nationwide demand for personal protective gear is increasing rapidly.
For nursing homes and businesses in Connecticut, that means maintaining a supply of PPE is critical.
The state has a stockpile for PPE, but not all of it is medical grade.
“That’s something we never really know what we’re getting,” said Karen Chadderton.
Chadderton is the administrator at Riverside Health & Rehabilitation Center in East Hartford. She said they get supplies once a week from the state stockpile, but it’s unclear how long those supplies will last.
“Sometimes what we get isn’t always what we need, but we’re always grateful for anything that we do,” she said.
She said some of the PPE isn’t medical grade – that means it can’t be used by the nursing staff.
“Just because something is labeled not for medical use or not medical grade doesn’t mean it couldn’t be used in a nursing home or other healthcare setting. It shouldn’t be used for procedures,” Thomas St. Louis said.
St. Louis and Dr. Vivian Leung with the state Department of Public Health said they’ve encouraged nursing homes to make use of the supplies as best they can
“We knew that everyone whether you had symptoms or not needs to be wearing a mask to protect the people they’re around,” Leung said.
And with cases on the rise across the country and businesses reopening comes a rise in demand for any type of PPE.
“As people start to open up their businesses they also need to be ordering that PPE and there’s only so much being produced around the world and so all of those things go into supply chain issues as well,” St. Louis said.
Josh Geballe with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services said state aid for these organizations may end in August.
“We're certainly hoping and see that many of the organizations that we have been helping to backstop have become more self-sufficient as the supply chain has stabilized in many cases,” Geballe said.
Chatterdon said doing that has been a challenge
"We were just struggling to build up our supplies so that our staff would never go without,” Chadderton said.