Coronavirus: US hospital uses five months' worth of supplies in six days as shortages hit

Five months worth of supplies were used by one hospital in six days, as the US health officials ask Congress for more funding to fill gaps in supplies

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 17 March 2020 13:57
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The head of a hospital in the US state of Georgia has warned that supplies are running short after using five month’s worth of supplies in six days in the fight against coronavirus.

That comes amid growing concerns of equipment shortages in healthcare facilities across the US.

Phoebe Putney Health System CEO Scott Steiner told CNN that equipment at the healthcare provider’s flagship hospital in Albany, southwest Georgia, has been severely impacted by an increase in coronavirus cases.

The total number of recorded cases of Covid-19 in Georgia is now at 121. Of those, 65 patients are reported to be at the flagship Phoebe Putney hospital. At the same time, at least 115 others await test results.

According to the CNN report, Mr Putney believes that the Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, has five more days worth of supplies despite being prepared with six month’s worth of equipment, such as protective gear, before the coronavirus epidemic.


“We might have thought we were overprepared,” said Mr Putney. “But you just can’t believe what we went through from a supply standpoint.”

In comments reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (The AJC), the Phoebe Putney CEO said that the coronavirus outbreak cannot be compared to previous viruses such as SARS, swine flu, or Ebola.

He added: “You can throw in SARS and H1N1 and Ebola. There was Hurricane Michael – that was a big deal. But the thing is, Hurricane Michael came and went, and then you kind of pick up the pieces. We’re what, six days into this here. And it doesn’t appear to be slowing. Is it only a matter of time till all others feel the same?”

The healthcare provider has now turned to volunteers and donations, according to The AJC. That includes bleach supplied by chicken factories, and cardboard boxes provided by restaurants. Staff have also been identified who are able to sew masks if supplies run out.

On Monday, US Department of Health and Human Services officials confirmed to CNN that more supplies such as gloves, gowns and masks were needed whilst they worked on a solution to resolving a national shortage.

“We have been transparent that more supplies are needed -- hence the request to Congress for additional funding so we could procure more and scale up production,” an HHS spokesperson said.

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