PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Doctors' offices say they're having trouble finding supplies. Nurse practitioner Tonia Graham has worn the same mask for a week to treat patients at Wellness for Life Family Practice in Peoria.
"It's not safe at all," said Graham. "They do wear out and do get soiled, and even though we're taking as many precautions as we can, it's not something that's healthy to do, and it's not safe for us. We expose ourselves each time as it gets used."
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.”
Graham says she has no choice. She's gone to great lengths to find cleaning supplies, thermometers, gowns and masks.
Gov. Doug Ducey announced supplies for doctors on the front lines are coming, but it's unclear whether that will be given to private practices.
"I doubt it," said Graham. "I have a feeling that's for the hospitals and not for those of us that are in primary care practice. I don't think our voices have really been heard yet because I haven't seen anyone speaking out about that. I have heard a lot of them are shutting down because they can't get supplies, which doesn't help the community either."
In some cases, she says doctors and nurses are seeing patients using telemedicine for their safety. She's encouraging stockpilers to donate to their local doctors' offices.
"If we protect ourselves, we can still be a resource to the community, to help out the community and keep patients out of the emergency departments and urgent cares," said Graham.