It is starting to look like New York might be over the first major wave of coronavirus cases, but health care providers are worried. Many say the state is unprepared for a second wave.
Kelley Cabrera, an RN at Jacobi Medical Center, says she is still only provided with one mask a day.
“I think people really need to understand that when Governor Cuomo put out that edict that everyone can get one mask, one N95 mask per day, it’s a lot better than having to wear one for five days, but one per day is still wrong,” Cabrera emphasized. “We need to have higher standards.”
Home care providers are also struggling with obtaining personal protective equipment. Kathy Febraio, President of the State Health Care Providers Association says a group of them ordered PPE on April 2 that finally arrived yesterday, well over a month and a half later.
“A very large member who used to spend around $250,000 per year on PPE, they are projecting that they are going to spend around $6 million this year. It’s a challenge,” Febraio said. “You are literally getting into a business that you never thought you would need to get into.”
Continued staffing shortages is another huge concern and something Cabrera says should be a priority as the state looks at a potential second wave.
“It’s really great that hospitals have opened up extra space for more patients, but does that come with more nurses?” Cabrera questioned. “We don’t really have clarity on that.”
Home care providers are also worried about retaining staff during this time. The Health Care Providers Association will be launching a pilot mentorship program connecting home health care aides to help them talk through their experiences on a weekly basis.
“Give them a lifeline, someone they can call, someone they can contact, someone they can just talk with every week to say here’s what I’m seeing, is this normal,” Febraio explained.