PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona has received a second shipment of masks and surgical equipment from the federal government to help health care providers treat coronavirus patients.
But many doctors and nurses worry that they won't be enough to handle the surge of patients expected in the weeks ahead. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health sent out a letter to hospitals and health care facilities, stating that the recent shipments of personal protective equipment, known as PPEs, arrived from the federal government. However, the letter stated there won't be enough masks and surgical gowns to meet the demand and they don't know when more will arrive.
Ann-Marie Alameddine is president of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.
"As COVID-19 patients come into the hospital, or get tested at drive-thru clinics, it's important that health care workforce are protected, so that they do not contract it and spread it to others," said Alameddine.
Nurse practitioner Tonia Graham has worn the same mask for a week to treat patients at Wellness for Life Family Practice in Peoria.
Complaints have been growing on social media from doctors and nurses about hospital workers having to share protective masks, or sometimes go without them when treating patients.
Many hospitals are now reaching out to private businesses and charitable organizations to help with desperately needed medical supplies.
Despite their concerns, about 75% of the nurses who responded to the informal poll said they are committed to caring for coronavirus patients during the pandemic.
Dr. Dan Quan is an emergency physician with the Valleywise Health Medical Canter. He said they have enough PPEs right now, but the big concern is next month when a new wave of coronavirus patients is expected to pop up and overrun local hospitals.
"What happens if you double the amount of infected patients? That just causes your consumption to go up," said Quan. "As time goes by, as more people get infected, that effects the supplies we might have to protect our staff. It's a huge concern and it's very dangerous."
The Arizona Department of Health Services is adjusting its guidance to health care providers, particularly those in primary care, including discouraging COVID-19 tests for “most patients.”
The new shipment of medical supplies is supposed to be distributed to hospitals and other health care facilities next week.