Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Expired gloves, masks not formally approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration, giant blue "garbage bags" unusable as gowns.
That is a sampling of the personal protective equipment sent last month to nursing homes in Wisconsin — not by a sketchy supplier, but by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Much of the equipment has gone unused, according to nursing home administrators, including the blue, garbage-bag-like gowns, which arrived without arm openings. Even if nursing homes fashioned them to be worn as gowns, administrators said they would be inappropriate and unsafe.
"We are grateful that they sent us what they could, but ... when you can't use what they send, it's challenging," said Emily Karls, administrator of Shorehaven Health and Rehabilitation Center in Oconomowoc.
The defective equipment is one more frustration for nursing homes struggling to outfit their staffs with the masks, gowns and other equipment needed to protect workers and patients. Officials say protective equipment remains scarce, difficult to find from trustworthy suppliers and often priced at many times its pre-pandemic cost.
"As a leader, it's terrifying that we can't get what we need to keep our staff safe," Karls said. "It is my job to make sure everyone has what they need to stay protected, and I haven't been able to do that."
Read more: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2020/07/27/wisconsin-nursing-homes-worry-ppe-shortage-coronavirus-climbs/5474751002/
"Officials say protective equipment remains scarce, difficult to find from trustworthy suppliers and often priced at many times its pre-pandemic cost." Yet Racine and many stores are giving away masks. So, what's the truth?