Nurses Urge for More PPE as 730 Healthcare Workers are Struck by Covid-19

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Sarah Peddie

Healthcare staff in the state of Victoria have urgently asked for personal protective equipment (PPE) as healthcare workers are amongst the worst affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Nurses have written to Daniel Andrews - the Premier of Victoria asking what is being done to protect the nursing staff from the virus as over 730 health workers are infected.

The letter states that the situation with supplying PPE has been inadequate for months, since the outbreak began. 

It also delves deeper into the relationship between surgeons and nurses - surgeons want the nurses to sit in the crowded reception area with no protection and that they should supply their own PPE if they are so worried. 

The Office of Health Protection and Response said that due to the rising number of cases in Victoria, there has been a big increase in dispatching from the stockpile in the past month.

However, an anaesthetic nurse said in the letter that surgeons, surgical assistants and anaesthetists were all given N95 masks but she was only given a paper mask despite having to stand next to the surgeon in theatre - showing that the stockpile is not being shared around.

The deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, told the Guardian Australia: “We need to look very carefully at healthcare work infections to determine whether there has been any breach in PPE, if PPE has been put on or off correctly, and I think the most pertinent discussion at the moment is where and when P2 and N95 respirators should be used.”

Advice given from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee states that when taking care of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19, then this can be performed with a less protective surgical mask and not an N95 one.

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