Less than a week after diagnosed cases of COVID-19 grew rapidly in the Seattle area, health care providers say medical supplies are growing scarce, threatening to further stress a system already scrambling to control the coronavirus outbreak. The state Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed 79 cases of the disease in four counties, and as of midday Friday, at least 15 deaths have been linked to the illness in Washington. The total U.S. death-toll now stands at 19 – with more than 424 confirmed cases.
Now, as global supply chains have been disrupted and the number of cases climbs, health authorities are hunting for medical supplies and have called on employees to ration. “Limit mask use to on the patient only,” read a Wednesday email from a Valley Medical Center (VMC) staffer to nurses, referring to surgical masks. “Staff will no longer wear masks, unless providing a care procedure requiring removal of the patient’s mask.” According to the email: “Masks are in critical supply” and that “due to disaster conditions VMC will be implementing alternate standards of care to conserve masks for critical and surgical use.” About an hour after the message went out, staff objected and it was retracted, according to Liz Nolan, a VMC spokeswoman, and the hospital found other ways to conserve and nurses were allotted one mask per shift. –Seattle Times
Panicked shoppers turn to preppers for advice: At a press conference earlier this week, Aimee Sisson, the health officer of Placer County, California, gave a few words of advice following the first deaths from the new coronavirus in the state. “It’s good to have two weeks of supplies on hand,” she said, “in case your family was asked to quarantine.” It sounds straightforward enough—but what does two weeks of supplies actually look like? For individuals new to disaster purchasing, it can be hard to know where to start. In some cases, shopping pandemonium has already set in: In Sydney, Australia, police were called after a fight over toilet paper broke out in a supermarket. Meanwhile, survivalist and camping stores are swamped with orders for everything from powdered eggs to solar-powered radios. (At the other end of the scale, luxury $35-an-ounce hand sanitizer is also on back-order.)
We issued a warning about 2 months ago for people to stock up on non-perishable items and needed supplies due to the increasing menacing threats of a global crisis. Some acted on our advice – others didn’t.
In a bid to help those who may be new to preparing for “disasters both natural and man-made,” contributors to the subreddit have compiled lists of long-life foods, including vegan and vegetarian options. Others have offered ingenious solutions to in-store shortages: A tutorial for a home-sewn protective mask has been viewed thousands of times, while a grow-your-own-loofah guide suggests using the plant as an alternative to regular kitchen scrubbing pads. –Quartz