Frontline workers express concerns while fighting the pandemic

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Frontline workers in various fields of work expressed their concerns to Senate Democrats over a virtual press conference.

Maureen Casey is RN at Penn State Health and spoke out about the need for PPE. She says staff met in February for routine training sessions to talk about preparedness for future COVID-19 patients.

“We determined that the minimum PPE needed for one stable non-critical COVID-19 patient cared for by one nurse over a 12 hour shift would be six N-95 respirators, six isolation gowns, six face shields and 12 pairs of gloves,” said Maureen Casey, RN at Penn State Health.

Casey says nurses are currently using one N-95 respirator mask to use six times between multiple patients.

Hilary Rothrock is a home healthcare worker in Harrisburg. Hilary and five other healthcare workers care for her 27-year-old brother who has Muscular Dystrophy and Asperger’s. She says adequate PPE has been completely unavailable to her, so she relies on cloth masks made by a local sewing group.

“The scariest part of this is because of the lack of widespread testing,” said Hilary Rothrock, home healthcare worker. “Our workers could have this virus without symptoms and this means there’s a reasonably good chance that we wouldn’t be able to know which of us introduces this virus that could kill my brother or myself before it’s too late.”

Leslie Bond with United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) says Gov. Wolf’s mandate for essential businesses were helpful, but it’s been a slow process.

“Grocery stores are slowly improving, adding one way aisles and things of that nature although policing that has been difficult,” said Leslie Bond, UFCW. “Most people don’t pay attention and are still bringing their entire families into grocery stores to shop and even some are still having trouble enforcing customers wearing masks.”

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