Breaking: US hospitals warn of severe shortage of medical supplies as pandemic rages
Hospitals around the United States warn that they are facing a sever shortage of crucial personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-related medical supplies that could complicate testing and vaccine programs.
Data on the use of PPE and other medical items analyzed by Premier, a health care consulting company, revealed that demand for COVID-19 testing and treatment has reached the highest level since the pandemic began last year, according to a report by The Hill.
The data, gathered between May 2020 through January 2021, was supplied by 50 health care systems across the US.
Officials in several states first began to sound the alarm about shortages of PPE last March, with reports emerging that frontline health care workers were battling the virus without proper personal protection.
Among the items seeing the highest demand due to a surge in hospitalizations through January is sterile water, which is used in many injections including the Remdesivir treatment that former President Donald Trump received as part of his COVID-19 treatment.
Usage of sterile water is up 350 percent from last May while hospital inventories have shrunk by half, according to Premier’s data.
Demand is also soaring for pipette tips and micro pipettes, items that are used during the COVID-19 laboratory testing process. Usage of pipette tips increased by about 100 percent during the holiday season in November and December before falling slightly in January.
Hospital systems have warned that these supplies are increasingly more difficult to come by, with the average delivery time for pipette tip orders jumping from a few days to nearly a month.
Premier said that some shortages were caused by the wave of panic-buying that gripped the country early last year as the first lockdown measures were enforced.