Nurses’ Union Locates 39 Million N95 Masks As Hospitals Plead For More Protective Gear
Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) found a distributor who had 39 million N95 masks, the union announced on Thursday.
This comes after several medical professionals pleaded online and to their state governments for assistance in providing personal protective equipment (PPE).
The union, which has 97,000 members that work in hospitals across California, launched a search for PPE in response to the coronavirus spread.
Within 48 hours, they were able to locate a distributor who had 39 million masks. NBC News reports that they found an additional supplier that can manufacture 20 million protective masks per week and another that can supply millions of protective face shields.
The masks are approved for medical professionals and should provide the safety and sense of security the doctors and nurses desperately need.
“We are continuing to turn over every rock to see if we can find more personal protective equipment to make sure that healthcare workers, who are heroically putting their own health on the line to care for patients, can do their jobs as safely as possible,” SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan said.
Meanwhile, some wondering just how exploitative it was for this supplier to sell these masks at $5 per masks during a crisis:
Meanwhile service employees international union SEiU, who is supposed to represent workers in the health industry, has ‘located’ 39 Million masks that they are willing to sell to hospitals for 5 dollars each. Geez, are we the Nation of Exploitation?— SkinnyYard (@skinnyyard) March 27, 2020
According to NBC News, the masks have already been purchased in the state of California and New York, the Greater New York Hospital Association, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Health Care, Sutter Health County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and Santa Clara County.
Huffington Post also reported a mask discovery.
On Wednesday, the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. donated 5,000 recently discovered masks they found in the church’s large crypt, a burial place utilized for people like Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
HuffPost says cathedral officials confirmed with the CDC to ensure the mask were safe to use. After receiving the green light, they shipped them to two hospitals.
“While we are pleased with these initial results, we recognize they are stopgap measures in light of the estimated 3.5 billion masks that could be needed during this pandemic,” SEIU-UHW President Regan said. “We urgently need the federal government to step in and drive a coordinated national response to the PPE (personal protective equipment) shortage.”