West Palm Beach Fire Chief Diana Matty told the 850 WFTL morning show that her paramedics and fire fighters have to reuse their disposable masks up to five times before disposing of them due to a shortage from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Chief Matty PPE shortage
Chief Matty says usually, the first responders would wear the mask once per patient and throw it away.
She says the supply of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE’s) are being sent to areas such as New York and Washington State that have been hit hard by the virus. She says her requests for more supplies from the state have not been answered and that West Palm Beach will run out of masks in 21 days. At that time they may have to wear their heavy-duty gas masks or bandanas.
Also, Chief Matty says three of her fire fighter paramedics are under quarantine after the hospital notified the department that a patient they transported tested positive for the coronavirus. The patient informed the paramedics in the ambulance that a family member had recently traveled.