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PPE in Delaware is week to week; Gov. Carney says the state isn't looking for more ventilators

Delaware Public Media

State officials are urging medical providers to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while combating the coronavirus, but Gov. John Carney says, "we certainly aren't looking for more [ventilators]."

Hospitals in Delaware say PPE inventory like masks, face shields, medical gloves and gowns is changing day by day, and that the hospitals are in regular communication with each other and the state to try to target the greatest needs.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Delaware Healthcare Association said, "these needs [for ppe] can change from hospital to hospital, and from week to week, which is why this collaboration is so important — allowing resources to be shifted and targeted where there is a need." 

State officials say large orders are in with both distributors and the national stockpile to try to avoid PPE shortages in Delaware.

But state Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says it’s also incumbent on providers to try to conserve these resources as per CDC guidelines.

“But as we know it can feel a little uncomfortable to staff to use PPE in a conservative way, which often will entail reusing PPE like masks,” said Rattay.   

Carney referenced a recent shortage of medical gowns in Delaware Tuesday.

In an email a spokesperson from Sussex County health system Beebe Healthcare said “Currently, we are not seeing a shortage in gowns in our short-term outlook. This can change rapidly, and we continue to thank the community for the donations that have come in through Beebe’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.”

Carney also said Tuesday the state is not looking for more ventilators.

Delaware has a stockpile of about 550. Delaware Emergency Management (DEMA) Director AJ Schall says the state will be redirecting additional ventilators received on loan from California last week to areas with more need.

“We are right now looking at what we can do to relocate them and where the other hot spots are,” said Schall. “At the same time, we’re going to monitor our hospital caseload and make sure we find a way to procure other ones or request them.”   

State health officials reported a drop of hospitalizations in Delaware Wednesday from 217 to 208. 48 people in the state are considered critically ill with COVID-19.

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