Healthcare workers starving for PPE take fight to Beacon Hill as number of coronavirus cases soars

BOSTON (WHDH) - With the number of healthcare workers fighting the pandemic on the front lines getting sick, the call for more personal protective equipment is stronger than ever before.

More than 100 medical workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in Boston alone and for these essential personnel, say there is a chilling shortage of PPE at their disposal — a concern they are taking all the way to Beacon Hill.

“We are doing everything we can through an incredibly messy thicket that is enormously frustrating for all of us to try to get them the gear that they deserve and they need,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a press conference Thursday.

Since Sunday, the state has distributed over 28,000 masks and 120,000 pairs of gloves Health and Human Services Chief Marylou Sudders said. But she conceded that they know they need to continue to move the supply chain.

President of Massachusets General Hospital, Dr. Peter Slaving said they are ready to double the number of Intensive Care Unit beds as the number of cases soars across the Bay State.

“We are certainly preparing for the worst, hoping for the best,” he said. “We have the ability at Mass. General to go from our current 150 ICU beds all the way up to 400.”

As the number of cases top 2,000 in the Bay State, these new cases bring new concerns for employees getting sick with COVID-19.

Tufts Medical Center has reported 52 sick employees, Boston Medical Center has 15, Brigham and Women’s has 45 and Massachusetts General Hospital reports 41.

“They are incredibly dedicated and incredibly committed to making a difference in the lives of their patients,” Slaving said. “Recognizing and fearful that this could have an impact on their lives.”

For now, hospitals are bracing for the unknown and they say that is a very hard thing to plan for.

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