Submitted to The Union
As the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise — reaching 1,940 cases and 38 deaths as of Monday — there is a growing concern about not having enough medical resources to treat patients and keep health care professionals safe.
On Monday, the third case of an adult younger than 65 having COVID-19 was confirmed in Nevada County.
“Hospitals and health-care facilities are overwhelmed even with having rescheduled elective surgeries,” Newsom states in a letter to the president, adding that he expects the “case count to continue to rise for several weeks.
” The state has been retrofitting hotels with hospital equipment to meet the rising demand.
“The problem is the supply chain is severely impacted,” said Hicks. “We don’t know what the future demands will be and how often we’ll be able to resupply.
The situation is so fluid, it changes day-by-day.”
Wood and Hicks said supplies, like N95 masks, are distributed from vendors based on their previous orders. That means supplies can be difficult to acquire in bulk if the medical center wasn’t ordering them in the past.
A spokesperson from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital said that while it has enough N95 masks, the hospital is “concerned with keeping up with demand,” and are reaching out to the county and community for additional supplies and donations.
Andrew Burt of Sierra Care Physicians in Penn Valley said in about a week his practice will be out of personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks.
Burt said he was making an “urgent request” from the Nevada County public to send such materials purchased online to primary care offices or to the local hospital.
“If you’re sick, you shouldn’t be going out,” he said.
For the past few days, a group of county residents has been sewing cloth masks and distributing them to those who need them — mostly people in nursing homes, according to group member Tiffany Nelson.
The Nevada County Masks for COVID-19 Facebook group, which has over 85 members, was assembled to help prevent people from getting sick. Nelson said she’s delivered anywhere from 75 to 100 masks.
“Yeah,” she said. “My hands are a little sore.
While not as good as surgical or N95 masks, Hicks said cloth masks are “far superior to nothing.” Burt suggested that cloth masks be used by individuals who are sick, and that those individuals donate their gloves and surgical or N95 masks to local medical providers.
“They’re close to heart,” he said. “I want to donate directly to them.
“It’s reassuring to see folks come together and toward the common good,” he said.
“The biggest thing we can look at is the uplifting part.”
Multinational conglomerate corporation 3M says it has been producing over 100 million N95 masks since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. On Monday, 3M CEO Mike Roman told CNBC he was unhappy to find the respirator masks at retail stores instead of being directed to health-care workers.
“We’re ready to expedite respirators to wherever they’re needed,” said the CEO.
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.
com or call 530-477-4219.