Frontline Workers are Fighting to Save Lives While Short-Staffed and Under-Protected
Nurses at St. John’s Riverside and St. Joseph’s Speak Out: We Need More Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) To Protect Nurses and Patients From COVID-19
Nurses Hail Action
YONKERS, NY – April 7, 2020 — Nurses at St. John’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital held an urgent community speak out and press event in front of St. Joseph’s Medical Center today. Nurses at both facilities were demanding greater access to N95s and other critical PPE to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Both facilities have very limited to almost no personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers that are taking care of COVID-19 patients. A growing number of healthcare workers at both hospitals are testing positive for COVID-19.
Healthcare workers are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19 and need the safest equipment to treat patients, slow the spread of the virus, and protect themselves. Nurses are calling on the Trump administration and the federal government to unleash the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase production of PPE, so healthcare workers can safely care for the communities they serve.
After weeks of urgent requests by NYSNA nurses and other healthcare workers to fill a void left by President Trump’s inaction to address the public health crisis created by COVID-19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took a bold step to address the critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies necessary to the fight against the virus.
“A large majority of our nurses are at work every day without the PPE they need to keep themselves and their patients safe,” said NYSNA’s Executive Director Pat Kane, RN. “We thank Governor Cuomo for heeding our calls to action with this executive order. We are at critical juncture: with enough equipment and medicines we can attack the virus and turn the tide. Everyone in New York – “all entities” – must do their duty and share supplies. We can do this if we act together.”
The executive order allows New York State to take decisive action to send material help to the frontline staff in the fight against the pandemic.
According to the text of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.14 (April 7, 2020), provides, in part:
* Any medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators, bi-pap, anesthesia, or other necessary equipment or supplies as determined by the Commissioner of Health that are held in inventory by any entity in the state, or otherwise located in the state shall be reported to DOH. DOH may shift any such items not currently needed, or needed in the short term future by a health care facility, to be transferred to a facility in urgent need of such inventory, for purposes of ensuring New York hospitals, facilities and health care workers have the resources necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and distribute them where there is an immediate need.
The Governor’s executive order directs the Commissioner of Health to immediately identify types of medical equipment and supplies that are in short supply and to require all individual and businesses to provide a list of identified items and the quantities held by each such business or individual. We have identified many industries outside of healthcare that have the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) which we need right now.
The order does not apply to hospitals or other health care facilities that currently need or anticipate that they will need the equipment or supplies in the immediate future. The order provides for fair compensation for any supplies given over to the state.
While the Trump administration continues to refuse to fully invoke the Defense Production Act and other emergency laws to address these critical shortages, Governor Cuomo has stepped into the breach and taken decisive action to send help to our nurses, doctors, first responders and hospitals.
SOURCE: Carl Ginsburg and Halimah Elmariah
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit our website at www.nysna.org.