Around the same time Australia embarrassingly began hoarding toilet paper, other panic-buyers zeroed in on buying up medical supplies that included medical-grade masks, painkillers, and hand sanitiser.
Now, an anonymous Sydney nurse who works in the infectious diseases ward is issuing a plea to TheLatch— for anyone who panic-bought medical supplies and protective equipment to please find a way to donate them to a hospital in need.
And according to online medical groups and communities, there’s not a hospital in range that wouldn’t accept them in these unprecedented times, particularly with a climbing number of new COVID-19 cases each day and medical staff falling ill from exposure themselves.
“Hospitals worldwide are literally allocating nurses and doctors sometimes only one mask for an entire shift. Even my own hospital is really struggling,” the nurse tells us. “We are on our final bottles of paracetamol, our last Ventolins, and other medical necessities.”
The Instagram account NurseLifeRN, which has a following of over 1 million, recently posted a story poll asking nurse followers to weigh in on whether their hospitals were running out of personal protective equipment (PPE). Of those who responded, a shocking 84% said yes.
Our nurse tells us: “Majority of us are on our last boxes of masks, some are reusing one mask until they are soiled for a week at a time. Some nurses in the US are even being told to wear bandanas as CDC-approved protection, but this is not good enough.”
Her advice? Please, if you stockpiled masks and other medical supplies, or have any unopened protective gear to spare, contact your local hospital or healthcare district and find out a way to safely send them in. Medical staff are frontline workers, and they’re relying on your compassion and support to do their jobs.
“Nurses are on the frontlines to help others. At the moment, we are being put at risk with inadequate levels of PPE, and if we become unwell, our healthcare system won’t be able to continue to help.”
Recently, it was announced that an additional 30 million masks will be in Australia within the next two weeks. But as we’ve seen, a lot can happen in two weeks.
When to use mask ?
• If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected #coronavirus infection.
• Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 1, 2020
Dr. Michael J. Ryan, executive director of the health emergency program at the World Health Organisation (WHO), said during a recent briefing, “There are severe strains on protective equipment around the world.
“Our primary concern is to ensure that our front line health workers are protected and that they have the equipment they need to do their jobs.”
Dr. Ryan also emphasised the limitations of masks in actually protecting you from COVID-19. “There are limits to how a mask can protect you from being infected,” he said. “The most important thing everyone can do is wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face and observe very precise hygiene.”
According to the WHO, you should only be wearing a mask if you’re taking care of someone with suspected COVID-19 or if you’re feeling unwell yourself. Otherwise, masks should be solely reserved for healthcare workers.
If you’re healthy, it’s not necessary to wear a mask.