BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -State health leaders worried that hospitals still didn’t have enough personal protective equipment nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Some claimed the shortage of PPE likely contributed to the state’s nurse shortage as hospitals filled up increasingly every day.
By mid-December, there were 2,111 COVID patients in Alabama hospitals.
Health leaders said the supply chain was better than it was at the beginning of the pandemic but those on the frontlines of COVID care still didn’t have everything they needed.
“Nurses break down in tears in the unit,” executive director of the Alabama State Nurses Association John Ziegler said.
Ziegler didn’t identify specific hospitals facing PPE shortages.
“All the way down to gloves which should be the most plentiful of supplies. Nurses are heroes, but they just want the equipment, supplies, tools to do their job and it’s very difficult when you’ve been asked to wear the same PPE with COVID patients and then go down the hall with non-COVID patients, and you know that’s not the safest for you or the patients,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler said he hoped there would be systemic changes so that the country never face the same circumstances again.
“No doubt that we’ve learned a lot. We’re doing a better job percentage-wise there are a lot fewer deaths per positives cases and hospitalizations. And hopefully, we cannot be so dependent on China and other resources that are not dependable for our supply chains,” Ziegler said.
Health leaders braced for an even bigger surge in January due to the holidays.