PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Frontline workers and state officials made a plea to the federal government for more personal protective equipment on Monday.

“I have been on the frontlines of this healthcare crisis since it has begun,” Alicia Holihan, an emergency department technician at Riverbend Hospital in Springfield, Oregon, said.

Joining virtual hand-in-hand, they called on the federal government to take several actions to increase the supply of PPE.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say this outrageous lack of action will result in lost lives,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said.

In addition to distributing all of the medical supplies from the federal stockpile, they ask the Trump administration to speed immediate production of new equipment and make sure it’s sent to states for distribution to all frontline workers.

“For the first time in my life, I’ve considered whether I need to write a will,” said a respiratory therapist at OHSU, Casey Parr. “I’m already anticipating that I will likely be infected because I lack basic protective equipment.”

Kevin Mealy of the Oregon Nurses Association says they’re seeing safety standards drop across the state, and the executive director, Sarah Laslett, says the stories they’re hearing are appalling.

“In some facilities, protective equipment has already run out," Laslett said. "In Portland, we’re seeing emergency room nurses wearing swim goggles because there are no more medical face shields. On the coast, they are storing their dirty masks in paper bags and Rubbermaid containers to reuse again. And in central Oregon right now, some of our nurses have been wearing the same N95 masks for three weeks straight.”

And it isn’t just the hospital workers. Those with home care jobs are struggling. Irene Hunt, a home care worker in Springfield, recently made the choice for her daughter to stay with her 70-year-old mother-in-law.

“I had to drop my daughter off Monday and I have not been able to pick her back up, to make sure they stay safe because I am afraid,” Hunt said. “I’m choosing to continue to try and take care of my clients and to keep my job.”

Minimal PPE may be the same story you’ve heard day in and day out. The reason it matters more now than ever is because if frontline workers can’t be protected, neither can we.

“Please everybody do your part, Holihan said. "Stay home. That way, we can protect our patients and ourselves."

The group also called on the federal government to ensure all frontline workers can be tested easily, and to identify reserves of equipment in other industries, such as construction.

In many states, including Oregon, construction workers are still considered essential.


Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


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(3) comments

Frederick Fukov

What does Kate expect? She bad mouths the President, she sues the President, she violates our border laws and common sense by embracing sanctuary policies that put the safety and welfare of her citizens at risk-in favor of scoring political points with her predominantly liberal voting base. She ignores the will of the voters who voted in favor of capital punishment, she dismisses the voters again by jamming an absurdly expensive cap and trade bill down our throats without allowing the tax payers to vote on it, because she knew they would vote it down. I mean, that's pretty bad when a liberal governor knows she has a 10% majority of liberal voters, and she STILL won't allow them to vote on a controversial bill, knowing full well they will flat out reject her policy. So what's happening now..is called karma. She's getting a face full of exactly what she deserves.


A pandemic was alway talked about that it was a matter of when not if it would happen, much like the earthquake they say is coming. The state gov and the hospitals were not prepared and they should have been. Shame on them.


I agree that is where the blame needs to lie. The government is not the one responsible for the health care industry's lack of preparedness !!

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