In a press conference on April 14, Missouri Governor Mike Parson claimed his administration has met the personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements of hospital and health care workers “day after day,” despite reports of an ongoing shortage of the materials as coronavirus spreads throughout the state.
“We have met the demand day after day after day. ..” Parson said. “I think it’s important to point out a lot of the successes we’ve had fighting this virus from day one to where we are now.”
However, according to a report by the Springfield News-Leader, hospitals across the state such as CoxHealth in Springfield, MO have entered bidding wars for PPE supplies such as N95 masks due to a shortage of materials from the rapid spread of coronavirus. And in an act of desperation, when severe defects were discovered with the masks privately sold to CoxHealth, the hospital was forced to keep the supplies due to lack of adequate resources coming from government authorities.
It’s also not just hospitals who were saddled with a supply of bad masks.
This week, the Missouri Department of Public Safety announced that over 48,000 N95 masks issued by the state to law enforcement officers and firefighters would be recalled due to potential defects.
Consequently, doctors in St. Louis have been forced to perform invasive and often high-risk procedures with ineffective masks, while many health care professionals are reusing the supplies due to a shortage.
As of April 15, Missouri has over 5,142 confirmed coronavirus cases and 154 deaths from complications due to the virus. As hospitals across Missouri struggle for adequate PPE masks and gear in the face of the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak, Parson’s trumpeting of success continues to be undercut by the developing facts on the ground.