MOLINE, Illinois — First responders and hospital staff across the country fear they won't have enough supplies to keep up with the need for masks and protective gear, in the wake of COVID-19.
Health officials are seeing a shortage in PPE, or personal protective equipment. That includes masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.
"We're having a tough time getting in supplies and everybody in the area is," Moline Fire Department's Deputy Chief of EMS Travis Noyd says."(So is) almost everybody in the country."
"It seems like everybody wants and need them, understandably," Noyd says.
Genesis doctors and nurses are also trying to preserve the PPE they use, through a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site.
"If we bring 20-30 people here today for the various tests we're doing, we're gonna use a lot less equipment than if they go to 20-30 different places for their doctors offices today," Dr. Kurt Andersen, Genesis Health Group's Physician Leader, says.
First responders don't only use PPE to protect themselves, but they also use it to protect any sick patients first responders pick up.
Noyd hopes that before people stock up on things like masks and gloves, they think of the first responders and hospital staff who need them more.
"If you're not wearing them appropriately, they're not going to help you anyhow," Noyd says. "Leave those to us so we can get them to the people who need them and so we have the gear to protect ourselves."
The Iowa Public Health Department is urging anyone who has any extra, clean PPE to donate the supplies to their local health department or local emergency manager.