More than half of 32,000 nurses surveyed reported being short or out of critical health care equipment including N95 and surgical masks, isolation and disposable gowns, goggles, hand sanitizers and full or partial face shields, the American Nurses Association reported Friday.
The survey also found that 68% are worried about being short-staffed, 87% are afraid to go to work, 26% struggle to isolate vulnerable patients and 36% have treated patients with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases without proper protection.
Of the nurses included in the survey, 26% said they have made their own surgical mask, 17% have made their own N95 mask, 14% have made hand sanitizer, goggles and shields and 50% said they lacked training to perform COVID-19 testing.
Also on Friday, President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion stimulus package, which includes $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
“We need this steady stream of aid from the administration to prevent further infections and deaths, support strained health care facilities and teams, and stabilize public health infrastructures and efforts,” said Dr. Ernest Grant, ANA president.
“Screening and testing are a top priority for nurses, and the approach outlined in this measure can enable greater testing capacity and help tackle alarming disparities in COVID-19 cases among African Americans and American Indian tribes,” Dr. Grant said. “Wider availability of testing will undoubtedly increase the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. However, the catch-22 is that our state-level public health entities will be able to better trace and identify those infected sooner. This is key to preventing further spread of COVID-19.”
The coronavirus has sickened more than 883,000 people and killed more than 50,000 in the U.S. as of Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.