(WISCONSIN) — This week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a scathing story about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at senior care facilities across Wisconsin. The article details how the Trump Administration sent “unusable” supplies to nursing home facilities such as expired gloves and masks not formally approved by the FDA. Here are some other key excerpts from the reporting:
- “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.”
- “Officials say protective equipment remains scarce, difficult to find from trustworthy suppliers and often priced at many times its pre-pandemic cost.”
- “At St. Paul Elder Services, which has centers in Kaukauna and Green Bay, staff members wear cloth gowns made out of bedsheets and other linens in order to conserve their limited supply of isolation gowns, said President and CEO Sondra Norder.”
“Norder said she wished the Defense Production Act would have been used more to spur production of gowns.”
In response to the story, Gary Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans, blasted the Trump administration for their failure to provide nursing and assisted living facilities with proper PPE.
“As summer will soon be turning to fall, President Trump’s claim that the COVID-19 pandemic would just “disappear” and go away with the heat is proving to be just another lie. In the last two weeks we’ve seen record infection spikes across Wisconsin, and now nursing homes are ringing the alarm bells that they may not have the PPE they need to properly care and protect their residents.
“All of this was avoidable, but Trump refuses to take this deadly virus seriously despite it claiming nearly 150,000 American lives so far. We know that nursing homes, which many Wisconsinites entrust with caring for their aging family members, are some of the most dangerous places to be when it comes to the coronavirus. But despite the threat seniors are under, Trump will not take the necessary steps to ensure we can produce an adequate level of PPE to keep our front line workers and senior citizens safe.
“We know that nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths have been affiliated with nursing and assisted living homes, yet these same facilities are receiving expired and defunct PPE that will not keep their patients safe, or receiving no equipment at all. Trump will never take this pandemic seriously, so the only way to correct course and save lives is by electing a new president — and that’s Joe Biden.”