AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday the state should expect thousands of units of personal protective equipment in the next few days and weeks to help doctors fighting the spread of coronavirus.
While not detailing how the new equipment will be released, doctors across Texas say all this new equipment will soon be needed.
“We have the supplies that are needed for right now, but we’re anticipating a surge at 10 and 20 times what we’re dealing with in our hospitals right now," Dr. David Fleeger, president of Texas Medical Association, said.
Much of the needed equipment includes masks, gowns and gloves for medical personnel and ventilators for the critically ill patients.
As coronavirus spreads, the public bought many masks, leaving medical providers on the front lines of the pandemic having to reuse masks that may hold virus microbes. According to Fleeger, unless you're home treating somebody with coronavirus, you more than likely don't need the mask.
“As far as the public is concerned, there’s no real benefit as long as social distancing is being done," Fleeger said. "The drawback is we are short on facemasks, we are short on what’s known as personal protective equipment, and if we have the general public using that then we run the risk that doctors and nurses in their hospitals and clinics won’t have the masks available and they’ll be in direct contact with patients that are COVID-19 positive.”
According to Fleeger, 80% of positive coronavirus cases will be handled at home rather than in a hospital.
"We recommend those patients sleep in a separate bed in a separate room, if possible," Fleeger said. "If you should have to take care of somebody at home, then you should have a mask and you should have gloves if you have to be in close contact with them.”
Another reason healthy people should not wear a mask is that the mask could act as another surface for coronavirus microbes to survive on close to the person's mouth.
“If an individual from the public has contact with a COVID-19 patient, whether it’s their mask, clothing or any surface that have had contact, they could have virus on them," Fleeger said.
Fleeger added if people are social distancing, then that will work just fine. If you have a loved one sick with the virus at home, make sure to continue to clean.
“It’s probably more important that they’re cleaning surfaces that someone might have come along earlier," Fleeger said. "Clean those surfaces so it’s not getting on their hands then touching their face.”
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