Carson City medical providers scrambling for equipment, supervisors told
Carson City medical providers and first responders are struggling every day to find supplies of masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment, or PPEs.
“We have enough to get us through a week, maybe two,” Tom Raw, deputy emergency manager, told the Board of Supervisors on Thursday.
Raw said the country’s areas hardest hit by the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, are being prioritized for PPEs.
“Everybody is in the same boat nationwide,” said Raw. “They can’t fill as many orders as are out there.”
The emergency operations center now operating out of the Community Center and run by personnel from Carson City, and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, works through the state EOC.
“As you can imagine the state EOC is having just as a hard a time,” said Raw.
Private health providers are having the same problem.
“From the private sector, we are in desperate need of PPE. There is insufficient PPE to do what we need to do,” said Supervisor Stacey Giomi, who is director of facilities and emergency preparedness and regional director of operations for rural programs for Nevada Health Centers.
Giomi said Nevada Health Centers is working with its regular and new suppliers and is expecting an order of 15,000 N95 face masks, which will be used by nine locations, because suppliers now will only take large orders.
“There’s not a doctors office or health agency that isn’t counting the quantity of PPEs every day on their hand and hoping they get through,” he said.
Mayor Bob Crowell said he wants that kind of data, including the number PPEs, test kits, and tests administered, on a daily basis from the EOC and Carson City Health and Human Services.
“That’s important information for us up here to have, too,” said Crowell.
Nicki Aaker, director, CCHHS, said the department receives positive test results, but not the number of overall tests done. She said that they could try to begin collecting that information through a healthcare coalition of area providers, which are talking at least weekly.
Crowell said there was a rumor that CCHHS does not have enough tests.
“We have test kits and we can arrange for testing,” said Aaker.
But, CCHHS is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which prioritizes individuals based on severity of symptoms and vulnerability to the virus.
More widespread testing nationwide could come with faster tests from Abbott and other companies, but those are awaiting approval from the Federal Drug Administration and, like PPE, likely be prioritized to the hardest hit areas, said Giomi.
Giomi said people with mild symptoms will be told to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days whether they get a test or not.
“If you’re not severely compromised there’s nothing a test can do,” said Giomi. “If you’re having trouble breathing or have pneumonia that’s a different story.”
On Thursday, CCHHS reported one new positive case of COVID-19 in Carson City, bringing the total known cases in the quad-county area to 17, and one of those is now recovered, meaning the individual has now tested negative for the virus.
The board heard several other items and approved an agreement between the city and the Carson City School District to fund three school resource officers, which were previously funded through a grant that has expired. The city’s portion, coming from the general fund, is approximately $215,000 annually.
At its next meeting the board will start looking at the budget and possible cuts, including funding no supplemental requests and reducing the capital improvement budget from $7 million to $1.6 million or less.