PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new report card is out on local hospitals and it’s raising concerns about the COVID-19 response and what it means for health care workers. The report underscores the need for personal protective equipment.
Red-carded in the report was St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. The report found that not enough N95 face masks are being distributed. St. Mary disagrees and says they are following CDC guidelines.
Meanwhile, nurses say they feel they are on the frontlines of a war, armed with nothing more than a butter knife.
The grades for a number of Pennsylvania hospitals are in. The data comes from the union representing more than 8,000 nurses and staff at several Delaware Valley hospitals.
A video conference with the union and reporters set the tone earlier Wednesday.
“We are the frontline caregivers. We have been told this is a war and we are the boots on the ground,” said Maureen May, with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.
More than half the hospitals are shown to be in the process of building triage tents. The same goes for the creation of separate areas for suspected COVID-19 patients.
But not surprisingly, nurses at all of the facilities indicated concern over a lack of personal protective equipment.
“I understand social distancing but when you have to go with a medical team, hands-on to work on a patient, there is no social distancing,” Temple University Hospital radiology technician Celeste Bevans said.
Bevans and her statewide union are urging medical facilities to relax sick time policies for frontline workers like herself, given the potential for repeated exposure to those with COVID-19 symptoms.
“No matter how much we do protect ourselves, there is some form of exposure — whether it’s minimum exposure and not knowing because of the symptoms, what is and is not COVID-19,” Bevans said. “Some people don’t show the symptoms so it’s like you get this gut-wrenching feeling — and I can speak for a lot of people — when you wonder if it’s today that you’re gonna be exposed.”
Nurses across the board say they are bracing for an overload of cases.
Temple Health says they have finalized a protocol for workers exposed to COVID-19, which includes paid administrative leave for up to two weeks if exposed on the job.