Health officials: COVID-19 surge leads to local PPE shortage

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Coronavirus

(WBRE/WYOU) — Lawmakers in Washington D.C. are working on legislation allowing the United States to increase production of personal protective equipment. Today in northeastern Pennsylvania local health professionals spoke out about their need right here at home for PPE, as case demographics are changing.

“We’ve been unprepared at the start of this crisis and now nearly five months since the beginning of the pandemic we remain unprepared,” said Jennifer Partyka, local registered nurse.

Two northeastern Pennsylvania health care workers side-by-side demanding for personal protective equipment.

But the demand for medical supplies makes it feel like they are working against each other.

“We’re fighting against each other I am shopping for things against other pediatricians and other physicians across the country in a way that we should not have to be dealing with,” said Dr. Kate Tigue, Pediatrics of northeastern Pennsylvania.

The registered nurse of 25 years says this isn’t a new problem.

“Now that our numbers are surging in the southern states, it is clear from their cries for help, we once again have a PPE shortage which will not improve by this autumn unless we get to work now,” said Jennifer Partyka, local registered nurse.

“We’re not out of the woods here,” said Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) 8th District.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright is just one of many bipartisan leaders calling on congress to pass legislation that would boost the United States’ capacity to produce PPE.

“I am going to keep pushing for the administration to take this action, but we also need to look beyond the short term fixes,” said Cartwright.

In the commonwealth COVID-19 case demographics are already changing.

The Department of Health says they are seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups.

“In the last month we certainly have had more positive 19-20-21 than we have in the early phase of the pandemic,” said Dr. Tigue.

COVID-19 cases among 19 to 24-year-olds in northeast Pennsylvania increased over 10% from April to July.

Doctor Tigue says she believes travel and lack of mask use are to blame.

“I do think that this is the population, that continues to struggle with mask use in settings with what they consider to be their friends,” said Dr. Tigue.

There are 5 bills on the table with bipartisan support:

  1. Buy American Medical Supply Chain Act
  2. Prescription for American Drug Dependence Act
  3. Made in America Act
  4. Securing Americans Medicine Cabinet Act
  5. National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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